Captain Billy's Crab Shack
Ahoy mateys! What's crackalackin in the shack of Captain Billy's?
Ahoy yourself! What's crackalackin? Probably the anticipation and intrigue in the air as we head into our first summer of trading. I foresee pub brawls and burnt tourists on the streets of Bondi. And hopefully lots of skateboarding and cool new shoes and clothes.
How many people walk in off the street looking to order a potato cake and dim sim?
We tend to get the more discerning crab eaters from the USA in floral shirts wandering in. They're not so much the dim sim type - that's more the Australian people, who call on Saturday afternoons trying to make dinner bookings. Sydney's only crab restaurant recently shut down, so they're pretty disappointed and confused when I tell them we don't serve lobster from the tank.
So what can we find in store if there ain't no deep fryer working its magic?
CBCS is primarily a skate store, stocking everything from the usual street decks to carbon fibre race boards. We are also the Sydney seller of SE Racing Retro bikes (including PK Rippers and Quadangles). In terms of apparel we stock international brands including WESC and Lifetime Collective and local brands Schwipe, of the castle and Mont Laroc. We do all we can to steer clear of anything with a giant logo emblazoned on it. There are enough daggy middle-aged men getting around in Bam t-shirts without us creating more monsters.
Where did the concept arise for the store? It takes me back to the '80s flick “Summer School” with a much younger, skinnier Kirstie Alley, where the kids all hung out at the local surf shack.
Haha - you just reminded me of the biggest insult we've had from a customer yet: 'Gee you have a large range of skateboards for a surf shop.' Basically, we wanted a shop that was the opposite of every Spartan tough-guy skate shop. So we chose tiki (not surfie!). We found the name on a second hand t-shirt in a Bangkok market.
How popular is the concept of your store now that the '80s and '90s retro feel of skate wear is taking over the street wear scene at the moment?
We are finding the retro boards (e.g. Powell and Vision '80s decks) are just as popular as the street boards at the moment! Clothes and shoes are also reflecting these colours and graphics, which is pretty cool. Skateboarding is meant to be about having fun and being creative, not fitting into a certain style or attitude, so there's something out for everyone (no matter what age) at the moment. It's also nice to see young skaters appreciating the history of skating, and learning about old pros and their graphics, and even wearing their t-shirts.
Just how dangerous is it for you guys to be located directly opposite a bottle shop?
It's actually more useful than dangerous - I can tell the time of day by who is passing in and out of their doors - there are so many people who don't realise that I know their secret habit. The guy that manages it is pretty weird too - he vacuums the road outside every weekend.
I saw you guys featured on “Getaway” while channel surfing, and noticed Ben Lee was taking Catriona Roundtree on a shopping spree through your store. Did they eventually cop anything? I can't imagine little Ben as a skater or Catriona bunny hopping on a BMX.
Yeah - apparently Ben shops here all the time...? They didn't cop anything except an education about the guy who lives in Bondi who dresses like a man but has fake boob implants.
Footwear wise, what are you stocking in store? Nike SB? Vans? DC's?
In store at the moment we have Nike SB, DC, Vox, Circa, Osiris and Vans. Early next year we'll also be one of the few shops in the country stocking Vans Vault and alife, which is pretty exciting. I'm especially looking forward to the Vans Vault Mountain Hi and the alife Everybody High Soda shoes.
I noticed you guys were able to swindle 3 of the extremely limited DC x PK Ripper BMX', How did you score that and are you selling any of them, because a lot of our readers have been fiending this awesome ride.
We were really lucky to be the only store in the state with 3 DC PKs to sell! When DC found out about Jamie's original PK Ripper and the other retro BMXs in his collection, they offered them to us straight away. If anyone can tell you the history of those bikes and how great they are, it's Jamie. I think he's even showered with one of the bikes once. We had phone calls everyday about the new DC PK, but unfortunately for so many people, they had been sold months before we even received them! SE Racing has started remaking PKs too (as good looking as the originals), which we stock.
What's next for the Crab Shack?
With all the phone calls we get, I think we'll be branching out into the restaurant industry (complete with an indoor skate park and crab shaped pool)... secretly everybody likes the taste of seafood extender, no matter what it's supposedly made of.
For more info hit up our shop guide for all their details