Thursday, February 22, 2024


By Joe Ditler
The Emerald City, according to author L. Frank Baum, was the capital of the Land of Oz in his fantasy book series and the film, “The Wizard of Oz.” Emerald City The Boarding Source is a cutting edge surf shop in Coronado, the same town where L. Frank Baum lived. Baum died decades ago, but the Emerald City lives on as a tribute to his imagination.
The store offers hundreds of surfboards, skateboards, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) to buy and rent, along with a wide selection of clothing and footwear lines. That, combined with surfing and SUP instructional services, has given Emerald City a reputation for being a one-stop-shop for everyone’s board riding needs.
Emerald City opened in 1988 on Coronado’s main street, in the heart of historic downtown. While it thrived in a fluctuating market, the store recently underwent a restoration that has allowed owners Kelly and Larry Kraus to expand their products and services and grow the business.
The Kraus brothers, long-time residents of Coronado and staples in the surfing community, undertook the massive restoration in January. “We will have our soft opening the first week of May,” said Kelly Kraus. “Then in June, once we get the bugs worked out, we’ll have our grand opening celebration and invite everyone down to see what we’ve done.
“In remodeling Emerald City, the brothers made certain the building was restored to match its earlier splendor and was environmentally friendly. To walk through the front door and see the original high arched ceiling (built from turn-of-the-century, old growth and rough sawn lumber) it’s apparent they got it right. “We removed the drop ceiling,” said Kelly. “It’s amazing how that has opened up the building. The original ceiling is a work of art.”
The nearly 3,000-square-foot display area will be used to open up view corridors. A protruding overhang at the entrance was removed, and the arched display windows invite natural light and an enticing view from the street.
“One of the biggest moves in this renovation,” said Kelly Kraus “is our dedication to go green wherever possible. We added solar panels on the roof and expect them to reduce our electric bill by at least 80%. We also salvaged wood from the ceiling and used it throughout our interior design and as our dressing room doors. They’re really quite beautiful.”
New décor includes a wall mural by iconic surf photographer Aaron Chang, innovative window displays, and creative dressing room art. The design vision is the work of interior designer Jules Wilson. “One of the goals of the remodel is to expand the store’s branding to attract travelers from across the bridge,” said Larry Kraus.
The brothers plan to host art shows once a quarter to celebrate ocean art and area artists, with a continually evolving “look” inside the store.
“As excited as I am about our re-opening of the store,” said Kelly, “the kids are even more psyched. We were kid-central in Coronado before the closing. Now they stop me every day and ask when we will reopen.”
Emerald City The Boarding Source is located at 1118 Orange Avenue. For more information visit their website at, on Facebook, or call (619) 435-6677.
This image from the inside looking towards Orange Avenue shows the degree of restoration undertook by owners Kelly and Larry Kraus in the renovation of their Emerald City Coronado store. Photo by Ben Siegfried.

An artist’s rendering shows how the façade of Emerald City will look when completed. It’s a much cleaner and open look, offering both natural light and views from the street. Rendering by architect Dorothy Howard.

Joe Ditler
Joe Ditler
Joe Ditler is a professional writer, publicist and Coronado historian. Formerly a writer with the Los Angeles Times, he has been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and Europe. He also owns Part-Time PR (a subsidiary of Schooner or Later Promotions), specializing in helping Coronado businesses reach larger audiences with well-placed public relations throughout the greater San Diego County. He writes obituaries and living-obituaries under the cover "Coronado Storyteller." To find out more, write or call [email protected], or (619) 742-1034.

More Local News