Last Sunday afternoon, Wayne Babcock held court at his bustling Angels Antiques on Carpinteria Avenue greeting his mostly repeat customers and gently haggling over prices in the cluttered curiosity of his pickers’ paradise. Babcock has spent 30 years collecting antiques, or as he might say “junk,” and it shows in the volume and variety spilling out from Angels—the Victorian home where he also lives among the wares, decorations, furnishings, surfboards, old Hawaiian and nautical kitsch, and miscellany that he has diligently hunted over the decades. You get the sense that Babcock has trouble letting some of his treasures go, a fondness that will soon be stressed as he liquidates everything in preparation for closing the store and selling the landmark property.
“It’s time. It has been 30 years, a good round number. I’m using a sledgehammer to make it happen. I love this shop, but I’ve come to realize that unless I close, I’ll never get anything done,” Babcock said. “I can’t be caretaker for all this stuff anymore.”
What he wants to get done next will still allow him to pursue his passion for picking, but he’s narrowing the focus to surfboards. He owns hundreds of surfboards in every shape and size, a collection that represents a comprehensive history of the sport and its evolution. The boards tell stories of the places and people who rode them, so Babcock will be using his time in the future putting together his definitive exhibit on surfing.
“The surfboard collection got so big and so important that it…
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