Passion for getting it right: Spyder Surf’s secret to workforce success

By Staff Analysts

Aug. 2, 2020

“I fell into the role. I had no idea that I was going to end up in retail for the last 20, almost 30 years now,” said competitive surfer and Spyder Surf managing partner Dickie O’Reilly.

Founded by Dennis Jarvis in 1983, Spyder Surf has been a Los Angeles area mainstay ever since. And it has had no problem keeping up with the trends either, releasing new board models to fit all kinds of needs. O’Reilly has been with the brand from the start, seeing it grow from one small retail space to two Los Angeles locations.

Spyder Surf’s flagship store on Pacific Coast Highway used to be an 850-square-foot space. Today it boasts 7,000-square-feet of signature surfboards, wetsuits and other surfing gear. Likewise, Spyder II in Hermosa Beach has been showcasing their products to millions of surfers since 1997. Maintaining a strong presence in this competitive industry can be quite a challenge. Spyder Surf’s secret? O’Reilly and his team know exactly what they’re doing.

Creating a brand, shaping a culture

Spyder Surf’s story began where all good stories do: the passion for getting it right. Jarvis began competitively surfing in the mid-1970s. As a professional surfer, he quickly learned that his equipment could be better.

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He grew up practicing art, so he decided to make the equipment himself. Soon after, he began shaping boards for some of his best contemporaries. “I was shaping boards for competing surfers, and I was surfing against them. We were all friends,” Jarvis said in a 2015 interview.

Jarvis was more than a pioneer though; he was also O’Reilly’s mentor.

“Competing as a surfer myself and dabbling in a little bit of the Pro Junior contests, he was my sponsor and he was making me surfboards. And then you have me working at the store. I worked there through high school,” O’Reilly said. After he graduated from college, an opportunity opened up for him to manage the store. He has been growing the business ever since. “He’s a creative genius and [an] amazing craftsman. A bit of a mentor for me for sure.”

Innovating for Spyder Surf’s workforce

When O’Reilly is not out on the beach, he’s thinking of ways to operate more efficiently. As managing partner, among his duties are monitoring attendance and processing payroll.

But when the administrative work cost too much time and energy, Spyder Surf turned to

“You know, the fact that you uploaded all of our employee data saved me a ton of time there,” O’Reilly said when asked about his experience. “What was a half a day for me starting out payroll is now an hour at most, and the side of it is about 15 minutes. So that alone frees up my time to do the other stuff that’s more important,” he added.’s Employee Time Clock App is installed on Spyder Surf’s tablets, which allows them to monitor their stores.

“Love being able to log in from anywhere and see who’s there — exactly when they got there, when they came, when they left, when they took their break or didn’t take their break at the right time. I’ve never seen it before,” he said.

And because it also generates timesheets that can be exported to an existing payroll partner, they are able to pay employees accurately and on time, at a fraction of the effort.

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Riding the waves into bigger things

Spyder Surf is showing no signs of slowing down. The brand continues to evolve, from their product lines to the way they run their stores. O’Reilly looks forward to using more of’s features. “I’m excited about seeing the lifetime salaries and comparing it with our sales,” he said.

Moving forward, O’Reilly’s team is balancing growth with keeping their tight-knit work culture alive.

“We would love to keep growing, but we’ve got a small core group of really good people that have been with us for a long time too. It’s a family,” he said. If their progress so far is anything to go by, Spyder Surf is riding the waves into bigger things.

O’Reilly is keeping a level head, though. “We do it slow and we’re going to continue to do it slow and make sure we do it right.”

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