Cape Cod Wahines wind, wave, and kitesurfing

Wahine Sponsor Spotlight on: The Pump House Surf Shop

By Marietta Hitzemann

Pump House

If you’re looking for a well-stocked surf shop that specializes in high-quality gear, hand-selected for our local Cape Cod conditions, check out the Pump House Surf Shop in Orleans. The owners, Matt Rivers and Jamie Demetri, have lived on the Cape their entire lives and have been CCW sponsors since 2006. By the way, the Pump House is also the best skate shop on the Outer Cape.

I stopped by in mid-December to interview Jamie for a Wahine profile and ended up writing about the two of them, instead. Theirs is a long, fun story – complete with a romantic subplot – and this short profile barely scratches the surface.

Was that a double-dog dare or a triple-dog dare?

Matt bought the Pump House during his senior year in high school. He’d been working part-time for the previous owner, when the place was called Cinnamon Rainbows, and then took it over after graduation on a dare from his dad. (BTW, there’s still a Cinnamon Rainbows in New Hampshire.)

“I was too young to know any better,” he said when I expressed some appreciation about figuring out what one wants to do at such a young age. “I loved surfing and needed a job. I was 17, didn’t have any bills, and figured it would be better than dishwashing.”

There was very little inventory at first, “it was pretty much a garage with a couple of boards and some board shorts,” but Matt made the business grow. As the years went by he was able to buy better gear from better vendors and now, well, come in and see for yourself.

Jamie and Matt

New Orleans, Boston, and then back to the beach

Jamie’s known Matt for a long time – from high school and from the local surf scene. “I bought my first pair of women’s board shorts at the Pump House,” she said. “When I first started surfing, there wasn’t much gear made specifically for women. Matt started stocking it as soon as it was available.”

But it wasn’t until after Jamie earned her Bachelors degree in New Orleans (Tulane) and returned to Massachusetts for a Masters degree in adolescent therapy that the two of them realized they belonged together. “I worked at a private psychiatric hospital and did volunteer work out here on the Cape,” Jamie said. “I loved it. I still have my license and might start a private practice some day. But for now, I’ve decided to help run the Pump House – we work so well together and we get to surf and skate regularly.”

“For a lot of people, surfing and skating are necessities. In good or bad times, people need a release. Everyone needs self-care. When you have a link with surfing, that becomes your self-care, your stress release, the thing that keeps your head on straight.”

Jamie and Matt got married on Maui early in 2008. They surfed every day near Lahaina while they were there.

A well-balanced life

So how much surfing do they get to do? A lot. While the shop is open (April through December), Jamie and Matt surf the Cape waves either before or after work, depending on the tides, and then they head to Mexico while the shop is closed (January through March).

I asked Jamie about competing and she said she’s tried it, but it’s just not for her. “It’s not like going out to surf – it’s really different. But I always do the Old Timer’s  – that’s a blast, really fun.” (The Annual Old Timers Longboard Contest is held the third or fourth Sunday in August at White Crest in Wellfleet.)

Jamie surfing

When there aren’t any waves, they ride their skateboards (a longboard for Jaimie), or they fish or kayak. “The fish are always there,” Matt said, and then bragged that it was Jamie who caught the biggest bass in 2008.

What about snowboarding or skiing? This is New England after all… “Nah, we like to head for the warm weather in the winter,” Jamie said. “Besides, snow sports are so expensive. With surfing and skateboarding, you pay for your gear and you’re done.”

Come on down…

The Pump House has a reputation for great customer service and my husband and I have both experienced it first hand. I also was able to watch how Jamie and Matt interacted with each of the customers who came in the shop that afternoon. They’ll make sure you get the right gear, even if they have to order it or send you someplace else.

So see you at the Pump House!