Local craftsmanship, artistry await holiday shoppers in Pungo, Sandbridge

Dylan Rogers, owner of Pungo Board House, holds two of the stock surfboards made by Steve A. Morris that are sold at the shop in Pungo. The board on the left has a Pungo Board House brand and the board on the right shows an S.A.M. Surfboards brand, which is Morris’. Morris also makes custom shortboards and longboards of all kinds. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

VIRGINIA BEACH — Sandbridge Christmas tree ornaments, surfboards designed specifically for local surf conditions, and artwork inspired by local scenes are among the handcrafted, Virginia Beach-made items that shoppers can find at local businesses this holiday season.

Several local shops feature items that were made by Virginia Beach artists and crafters, giving shoppers who are interested in local gifts a number of options that range from the whimsical to the practical — and that carry price tags of a few dollars upwards to well over a thousand dollars.

One local craftsman and surfer, Red Mill Farms resident Steve A. Morris, decided about 20 years ago that local surfers needed surfboards designed specifically for East Coast beaches. Now, Morris designs both long and short boards at his home, which he markets directly to the consumer [(757) 621-2613] or at Pungo Board House [(757) 426-0111 | 1789 Princess Anne Road | pungoboardhouse.com].

The boards that are direct-marketed are tailored specifically to that customer’s tastes, Morris said, while he works closely with Dylan Rogers, owner of Pungo Board House, to craft boards designed to suit the needs of Rogers’ customers. 

In general, the boards are a little thicker and wider than commercially made boards, which are usually designed for West Coast waves, said Morris, who began designing surfboards in the 1990s.

“I made a board for myself,” Morris said, “and when I took it to the beach, a friend asked if I could design one for him. It just kind of snowballed from there.”

The prices on the surfboards range from about $500 for a shortboard to $600 or more for a longboard, depending on the design.

“It all depends on what the customer wants,” Morris said. “Some like their surfboards airbrushed or with custom artwork.”

Jewelry handcrafted in Virginia Beach is also sold at Pungo Board House and at the Sterling Pelican [(757) 463-3353 | 2545 Sandpiper Road] in Sandbridge.  

The Sterling Pelican produces pewter Christmas tree ornaments designed by owner Ritchie Gregory, who crafts an annual ornament each year specifically for the Sandbridge community.  

This year’s ornament is a seahorse. Ornaments for previous years dating to 2010 are also available. 

“We started it as a memento to Sandbridge people, who wanted something to remind them of their stay here,” said Gregory, who also owns R. Gregory Photography.

Customers can also commission portraits by Gregory at the Sterling Pelican or choose from a variety of locally made jewelry, including bracelets and necklaces. The prices range from less than $20 upwards to about $80 for a few items.

The Tar Roof [(757) 655-5005 | 1791 Princess Anne Road | thetarroof.com] in Pungo focuses on local art and photography, with prices ranging from $5 to $6,500 for some paintings, co-owner Eddie Compo said. “We’re 100 percent local, whether it’s painted or hand-crafted,” he added.

The Tar Roof features oil paintings by local artist Alex Venezia, a Kellam High School graduate who paints still life or portraits that feature live models. Some of the portraits suggest local scenes, including the beach or wooded areas.

The Tar Roof also offers photography that depicts beach scenes, Christmas tree ornaments, hand-crafted jewelry, stained glass, ceramics and decorative items such as dream catchers. Kitchen items, including wooden bowls and salt and pepper shakers, also are available.

The 2016 ornament crafted for the Sandbridge community and sold at the Sterling Pelican. [Courtesy]
At the Tar Roof, a detail of “Climbing Rose.“by artist Alex Venezia. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

© 2016 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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