This July, Troggs Surf Shop celebrates four decades of serving Northern Ireland’s surf community. It doesn’t get more core than Troggs: a family business founded by a passionate surfer frustrated at how difficult it was getting hold of equipment in Northern Ireland, run by a multiple Irish National Surfing Champion, and with a surf school and now a new store dedicated exclusively to surf and watersports hardware. We caught up with proprietor Andy Hill to find out more about the shop and its history as they build up to Troggs’ 40th birthday.


exterior of troggs surf shop, northern ireland

The Store

“Troglodyte means cave dweller and the first store we opened was in a basement unit. Originally the store was called Troggs Underground Surf Shop, as we were physically underground!”

First opened 40 years ago, Troggs Surf Shop in Portrush, Northern Ireland, started life as a “wee surf shop” in the garage of the Hill family guesthouse. Founded by Ian Hill in 1984, Troggs was inspired by his son, Andrew Hill, and his frustration at not being able to get his hands on good gear. Andy, the now-owner of Troggs, was fiercely competitive, taking part in surf competitions from a young age. With a need for decent wetsuits, boards and accessories, the garage shop gradually grew when the family moved house, and eventually became a dedicated surf store in 1990. Surfer owned and operated, this core store is manned by a team of knowledgeable and dedicated locals with an extensive amount of experience. Andy Hill, said, “We want people to enjoy surfing and catch as many waves as they can!”


old photo of troggs surf shop


The Founder

“Over 50 years ago in 1963, Ian Hill paddled out on his Bilbo Pop Out 10’6 Malibu surf board into the waves on Casterock beach, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, becoming one of Ireland’s first surfing pioneers.”


ian hill, founder of troggs surf shop, surfing at castlerock in the 1960s

Ian Hill first discovered surfing in Cornwall, whilst on holiday in Bude. He was already a competitive swimmer and lifeguard, and in the early 1960’s, bought his first surfboard from British surf industry pioneer, and one half of Bilbo surfboards,  Bill Bailey. When he was 27 Ian surfed the north coast of Ireland, at Castlerock, for the first time. 60 years on, you’ll still find Ian in the water, ‘stoked as ever’. Andy, speaking about his father, said, “My father introduced me to surfing and I can't thank him enough for all the opportunities this has given me in life.”

The Owner

“In 1992 Ian's son Andy entered the business bringing a wealth of experience, not only as a graduate of Oceanography, but also as an experienced surfer. Six times Irish National Surfing Champion, competitor in seven European Championships and three World Championships, Andy was well positioned as the new face and driver of the business.”
andy hill of troggs surf shop surfing

Andrew Hill was taught to surf by his dad in Portrush in 1979. Only a year later he began competing, and has represented the Irish National Team for 15 years, whilst holding the record for the most consecutive Irish National tiles in the Open (1989 - 1994). Over his lifetime, he has travelled the world surfing with his wife, Frankie. “I'm fortunate enough to have surfed some of the most wonderful spots in the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Western Samoa, Hawaii, Maldives, South Africa, Indonesia, the west coast of Europe, Central America and California, but some of the best surf I’ve ever had has been in Ireland.”


perfect wave at whiterocks, northern ireland

The Gear

“In 1984 as interest in surfing grew, Ian began to source and sell equipment from the small garage of his guest house in Portrush, Country Antrim, to newly fangled local surfers who enjoyed riding the waves of East Strand, West Strand and Whiterocks.”

Troggs has a proper hardware focus. From surfboards, SUPs and skateboards to a huge selection of wetsuits, accessories and apparel, one of the Troggs stores is guaranteed to have what you need. Whether you’re a competitive surfer in need of a high-spec surfboard and winter suit, or off on a road trip and need a backpack, roof racks and snorkel, you’ll be able to tick everything off your kit list. We’ve supplied Troggs Surf Store since the launch of C-Skins in 1997, and are stoked that they are now stocking our latest NuWave natural rubber collection. Take a look online or in-store at their range of C-Skins wetsuits in varying thicknesses, plus rash vests, hoods and shorts.


The Progression

“In 1997 ‘Troggos’, as it is known today, relocated to the Main Street of Portrush, Northern Ireland.”

In 1990 Ian and Andy opened the first Troggs Surf Store, in Portrush. Four years later the father-son duo opened a second store in Portstewart, set up their online shop in 1999, and launched a third shop in Ballymena in 2007. The Troggs Surf School is managed by Andy’s son Ethan and his partner in crime Albert Dallas in Portrush, where they offer 1-1 coaching, group lessons, kids camp and a range of other activities, plus a beach hire office. They've recently opened their new technical hardware store at 6 Causeway Street, Portrush.


andy and ian hill of troggs surf shop, northern ireland


The Future

“Troggs wants to pay the stoke forward!”

Already established as the premium surf store in Ireland, both in store and online, the team at Troggs aim to keep it that way. Looking forwards, the Hill family and staff members are going to continue offering the best product range of surf hardware, fashion, leisure and lifestyle products. “Over the last 60 years, since my father started surfing in 1963, we’ve attained a wealth of knowledge and surfing heritage. We want our customers to know they can always come in for advice, experience, and expertise.”

Visit Troggs Surf Shop at 88 Main Street, Portrush, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, or their new technical hardware store at 6 Causeway Street