Innerlight Surf Shop
Innerlight Surf Shop was started in 1969 by Yancy Spencer III, and located in nearby Gulf Breeze. At the time, Spencer already had his own surfboard brand called The Seeker and was sponsored by Greg Noll, one of the largest surfboard manufacturers in the U.S. Noll relinquished ownership of the original location, and Spencer renamed it Innerlight Surf Shop. Spencer first surfed on May 1, 1965 and over the years won many competitions and contests in America. In 1975, he won the U.S. Pro Championship, and in 1994 was inaugurated into the East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame.
Throughout it's forty-plus years in business, Innerlight Surf Shop has had many locations, with a maximum of eight stores in the 1980's. At the same time, Spencer's brother J.B. Schluter took over the retail side of the business, while Spencer remained at the forefront of it's promotions. Spencer's son, Yancy Spencer IV further carried the torch to the surfing world by competing and promoting the Innerlight brand, and traveling from Pensacola to California, Hawaii, and Australia. In 2004, Yancy IV won the East Coast Longboard Championship. Spencer's other son, Sterling, also a surfer, started winning contests in 2004, and all three Spencer men have competed on the world-class level.
Still, the heart of the business has remained local. Here they sell surfboards and all surfing accessories, sponsor contests, give lessons, and Sterling both directs and produces movies about the sport. Every year, they make a contribution to the local Surfers Memorial, which has taken place since 1990.
On Valentine's Day 2011, Yancy Spencer III unexpectedly died of a heart attack while surfing at one of his favorite spots in Malibu, California. His vision has carried on, and the surf shops continue to grow. New locations have opened, more surfers enter the water - as shown by the several hundred attendees of the annual surf camp.
Future generations will continue to carry the love of surfing and be inspired by the memory of Yancy Spencer III by the statue of him that was unveiled on February 16, 2013 on Pensacola Beach.