Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Red Belly Boardshop

The Location: 1671 Plymouth Rd. (on the corner of Murfin and Plymouth)

The Facts:
Red Belly Boardshop opened in 2002, becoming one of the premier action sports shops in the area. They are active in snowboarding, skateboarding, kiteboarding, and wakeboarding. They sponsor local competitions at various locations in the Ann Arbor area, as well as the occational local video. They also offer comprehensive kiteboarding lessons, as well as snowboarding lessons and skating tips.
Redbelly has a full stock of hard and soft goods, from shoes to decks, as well as skate and snow vids. Other items for sale include hardwear for all your equipment, rails, mini-verts, etc. They offer tune ups for gear, waxing, edgesharpening, just about anything you could need.

My favorite part of going to Red Belly is that it's owned and operated by riders/skaters/whatever you call kiteboarders. They know their stuff, and they're always willing to help you with a question. They'll work with you regardless of your knowledge (or lack thereof) to get you in the right gear for the right price.

Their stock is large, though there are a few brands they don't carry. When asked about a particular brand, one of the guys responded, "while their high end boards are good, there's a huge disparity between quality and price." While I'm not sure how true that is, the concept is good: only supply quality products. I lift my hat to those guys for it.

The soft goods selection has increased in recent years. It's populated with the brands you'd expect: Volcom, DC, Vans, etc. along with Red Belly's own line of clothing and hats. They even have their own board.

I like the concept of RBS along with places like it. It's somewhere where some guys focus entirely on their sport of passion. They're not just geared at making money, they're dedicated to the culture. While RBS doesn't stick out in terms of uniqueness in terms of boardshops, it does stick out in terms of Ann Arbor culture. There are few good boardshops in SE Michigan, in general, and RBS has higher quality and larger selection than the other shops in the area. The reason: the owners/employees. Good job guys, keep on huckin'. Four Stars.

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