For nearly 25 years, a small retail space housed in a typical, nondescript Orlando, Florida, strip mall has been nothing short of a mecca for skiers from across the globe. An anomaly on many levels, Performance Ski & Surf is the rare shop that stocks a full line of elite-tier slalom skis, trick skis and even jump skis, as well as gear. It’s a place where, on any given day, the chance of running into a local or visiting pro skier is a very real probability, and chances are, that pro will be a member of the Performance pro team, and will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. In the late 1980s, Bill Porter had a dream: He wanted to create a store that understood and addressed the specific needs of real skiers. He envisioned a place that skiers could call their own, and that would stay open late enough for them to pop in after their final set of the day.
Driven by a deep-seated passion for all things water sports, he is now giving Performance Ski & Surf a brand-new home — one he feels his shop has always deserved and, more importantly to him, one his customers have long deserved. The shop will have added floor space and higher ceilings, giving Porter the opportunity to showcase his products in the manner that he has always wanted. Although the shop isn’t moving far (just down the street from its current location, to 1355 Sand Lake Road), the customer experience will be greatly enhanced.
WATERSKI: After almost 25 years with Performance Ski & Surf in one location, why move now?
Bill Porter: We have this reputation and this history in the sport; I kind of think people are underwhelmed when they pop in for the first time and see we’re not a megastore. We are small, quirky, a home for all skiers, and that’s been a part of our charm. A move to a new location has actually been in the works for a very long time.