Too much water is putting a local surf shop at the risk of going under. 

Surfari Stand Up Paddle & Surf has had to temporarily close shop at 210 Main St. because 6 feet of water poured into the basement in five minutes Thursday afternoon. 

“We had customers in here and then all of a sudden they heard Christian swearing in the backroom and the water was coming up so fast,” Nicole del Rosario said of her husband and co-owner. “Within five minutes it was completely to the top of the basement.” 

The source of the water? 

When the storm clouds rolled over Cape Ann on Thursday afternoon, del Rosario said all the resulting rain accumulated at the abutting construction project for the mixed-use development of what will be called Harbor Village. 

“And every bit of water from that building came in here.”

She said the water flowed into pits right against the surf shop’s walls and then poured into its basement, rising above the basement's ceiling and destroying the shop's air conditioning unit and thousands of dollars worth of merchandise.

Two doors down from the construction project, Home Style Laundry at 212 Main St. has been experiencing similar problems. 

“Both the surf shop and I have struggled with water,” said Home Style owner Tyler Gross.

Seeking solutions

Harbor Villages project manager Ilene Vogel, of the North Shore Community Development Coalition, said that the flooding didn’t originate at the construction site. 

“We didn’t create the flood,” Vogel said. “It was rainwater that came from the sky onto the site.”  

She explained that because there is no longer a building — the defunct Cameron’s Restaurant — on the site, the water ran right through the site and onto the next property.  “We have a pretty sophisticated drainage program that will be put in place when the building is completely built,” Vogel said, explaining that because the developers are in the middle of construction it has yet to be integrated into the structure. 

In the meantime, North Shore Community Development Coalition and Groom Construction plan to place crushed stone in between the properties and add temporary gutters to help with water flow. 

David Groom outlined in an email to the Times that while his construction company “shares no responsibility since we are performing work under the directive of engineers who have been designing solutions both temporary and permanent,” it did work with its subcontractors for the past four days “straight, and overnight” to help the surf shop with "cleanup and remedial solutions.”  

This included overnighting electrical parts from California, setting up generators, buying temporary air conditioning units, and working with local businessman Mac Bell to use an adjacent building to assist with cleaning surfboards, wet suits and inventory that had been in Surfari's basement.  

In a text correspondence with the Times, del Rosario explained that she had asked for the shop's belongings to be left in place for insurance to view. 

"But the landlord and Groom insisted on moving our belongings to the alley out back and to an offsite location of their choice," she wrote. "(Surf) boards were hosed of excessive mud on the way out of the building by a cleanup team so our staff did not overly mud up the storage facility they chose." 

Not the first time

This is not the first time that the del Rosario’s surf shop has experienced flooding in the basement. 

“It happened in March,” del Rosario said. “We were completely flooded and lost thousands of dollars worth of stuff.” 

She explained that when she arrived on the property this spring she found 3 feet of water and a basement wall blown out. 

Robert Colbert, the landlord of 210 Main St., did not return the Times’ calls in time for publication. 

Nearby Home Style Laundry also has experienced flooding,  in the back of the shop, due to the construction, Gross said.

“My foundation goes down into the ground and they took all of the dirt away without asking and no permission,” he said, adding that at one point Groom had come in to help stop potential flooding a while back, but nothing has worked permanently. 

“It has just been one Band-Aid after another and they have not fixed the problem,” Gross said.   

As the surf shop experienced major financial losses due to last week's’s rainstorm, Vogel said she is talking with insurance companies on how to handle the situation. 

“We will do whatever we can to ensure they get reimbursed,” she said. 

“When these things happen, it is terrible, and this is a business that wasn’t able to function during a busy time and I feel bad that was the case,” Vogel said. “Unfortunately construction is never a fun time for anyone.”

Meanwhile, del Rosario is waiting to hear back from the city Building Department to hear if her building is secure and next door's construction site has  proper drainage installed "so that we don't end up with water in our building again."

A representative from the city's Building Department did not return the Times' call or email in time for publication. 

Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or


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