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It all started as a little surf shop in 1980 in Newport Beach, California. It wasn't called Pacific Sunwear then. It wasn't even all that different from all the other shops carrying surfboards and wax, except for one thing, the founders had a better idea. You see, during Southern California's wet, cool winters, the beaches get empty and the surf store business goes dry. Where does everyone go? To the mall of course. That was the idea: to be the first surf shop to move into California's popular mall locations.

The first mall opening was in 1981 in Santa Monica Place. It was huge. Soon they opened seven more mall stores up and down the coast in places like Torrance, Thousand Oaks and West Los Angeles. By 1987 they had grown to 21 stores.

They introduced juniors and shoes, expanded the store size, opened their first outlet store, opened their first non-mall store in Greenwich Village, New York, and just kept growing. From one surf shop to over 859 Pacific Sunwear stores and 76 Pacific Sunwear outlet stores in 50 states and Puerto Rico.

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