After 25 years of offering a free service, James O’Mahoney is closing his Santa Barbara Surfing Museum, located on Helena Avenue in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. O’Mahoney said its next-door neighbor, the Santa Barbara Museum — which he also owns — will remain open.
The decision to pull the plug on the surf museum came shortly after investor Ray Mahboob bought the building late last year. With the high-end Entrada hotel about to open its doors at the bottom of State Street this summer, Funk Zone real estate values are going stratospheric.
“You have to turn the other cheek, I know,” said O’Mahoney, “but I’ve run out of cheek,” adding, “plus I need to get a new hip.” In the meantime, O’Mahoney says he’s looking for someone interested in buying his collection of 60 vintage surfboards, hundreds of skateboards, and about as many ukuleles.