AROUND TOWN: FreeRide Surf and Skate Shop

Just off the University of Florida campus on Thirteenth Street, nestled among a frozen custard café and a drive through taco joint, is a every landlocked surfer’s dream come true: FreeRide Surf & Skate Shop. Gainesville is full of charming locally-owned businesses, but FreeRide is definitely one of my favorites. As a Florida native and recreational longboarder, this shop is my guilty pleasure—the place I go when I need a shopping fix. Here, beach bums can satisfy their every wish, as it offers an awesome selection of new and used surfboards, sandals, sunglasses, bikinis and cover-ups. FreeRide also has a killer collection of shorts, skirts, dresses, purses and tank tops from popular brands like Roxy, Vans and Volcom. From the hand-painted wave mural on the wall outside to the tiki hut-esque décor inside, this place will make you feel like you should have your toes in the sand and a coconut in your hand. In true CollegeFashionista style, this place is the epitome of rad.

Name: Elizabeth Larson

Role: Sales associate

CollegeFashionista: What are the most popular items sold here?

Elizabeth Larson: The most popular items would be skating accessories, skateboards, longboards, helmets and other gear. We’re always having sales; for example, right now we just marked down a pair of $50 shorts to $10!  

CF: What are some of the major brands you sell?

EL: We sell Volcom, Billabong, Roxy and Quicksilver and occasionally RVCA, but Rip Curl is definitely our biggest brand.

CF: Do you think Gainesville has a strong presence of the surfing and/or skateboarding culture?

EL: Not so much the surfing due to being inland, but we do have quite a few surfers come in. It’s definitely more skaters and people beginning to get into longboarding because it’s become really popular hobby in the last couple of years.

CF: Are there any items in the store right now that are on your wish list?

EL: There are always items in the store that are on my wish list! One thing that has been on the top of my wish list is the rad (pair of) VonZipper sunglasses that just came in our new shipment a few weeks ago. 

CF: What’s your favorite part of working here?

EL: My favorite part about working here would definitely be the awesome people I get the opportunity to meet and work with. It’s a great environment to work in.

Learn More: Whether you’re in the market for a new surfboard or a beachy dress, pay FreeRide a visit at 420 NW 13th Street and browse their year-round collection of bathing suits before the spring break rush!