by Chris Marchewka
Do you know any “board people”? You probably do. They are those lucky few who, when given a well-balanced, streamlined slip of timber (surfboard, snowboard, skateboard, kiteboard, windsurf board, ironing board, etc.), they move with such grace and skill that the rest of us are left slack jawed, wide eyed and perhaps a little jealous. Dan Floyd is one of these gifted few, but he’s not the type to brag. Floyd runs a small surf shop on the Isle of Palms, loves his family and will gladly, in his words, “share the stoke” with you any day.
Floyd’s been in the water on a board in some form or another for the greater part of his life, traveling all over the Carolina coasts, Florida, Mexico, Tahiti, Hawaii and the Caribbean. A few months ago he won Best Wave in a kiteboarding contest in Florida, beating other boarders half his age and winning a new surfboard. It’s displayed in his shop, OliNah, located at 1204 Palm Boulevard.
Although the name of Floyd’s shop has a distinctively exotic quality, it isn’t exactly a real word in any language. The name of the shop is derived from his daughters’ names, Olivia and Hannah. The older of the two, Hannah, recently placed second in a surf contest at the age of seven.
Even though he’s spent the bulk of his life traveling around the world participating in surf competitions, Floyd is all too happy to settle back in Charleston. A South Carolina native, Floyd graduated from the College of Charleston and worked for a time doing geological work for an environmental firm. However, his passion eventually took him away from the rocks and into the surf. And when he settled down, he made sure it was to do something he loved.
“If I can get this thing [OliNah] to pay it’s bills and pay for a little school and daycare and kids’ stuff, that’s all I could hope for. I feel like I get much more of a reward from genuinely helping people enjoy the ocean”, Floyd says.
Of course, Charleston’s prime kiteboarding conditions offered some draw for Floyd. Moderate wind and relatively mild winter temperatures are perfect for kiteboarders and Charleston’s barrier islands offer miles of great waves. If stomping nosegrabs twenty feet above the water doesn’t sound like your style, Floyd’s newest interest might be the most accessible to amateurs, but no less fun. Paddleboarding uses a large board that can be moved through the water via hands or a paddle. As a sport it’s existed for almost a century in the U.S. and has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years as a great work out. Check one out at OliNah and see if it’s right for you, but remember; the ocean has a funny way of holding on to people.
“It has pretty much dictated where I’ve worked my whole life,” Floyd admits, “but it’s also helped me get everywhere I’ve gone and given me some great experiences.”
1204 Palm Blvd.