Hang Ten

There’s nothing odd about a college kid with a part-time job, but what about one who owns his own clothing company with four of his friends?

“It’s a really hard job. It helps having my friends in the company,” says Robbinsville native Stephen Thompson. While a freshman at Pennsylvania’s DeSales University in 2005, Thompson founded Pyknic Boardwear, a clothing line for surfers, skaters, and snowboarders. Thompson and a friend, Andrew Marshall, had come up with an idea for T-shirts that they could wear to parties, but “it never really took off because we were using iron-ons,” Thompson says, “and we couldn’t get the iron to work.”

They decided to hire an outside company to customize the shirts, which their friends were eager to buy. Besides T-shirts, Pyknic sells sweatshirts, hats, and stickers on its Web site, pyknicwear.com, and at Wave Hog, a surf shop in Ship Bottom (609-494-1040).

This month Pyknic hopes to debut a new line of swimwear, including bikinis and board shorts. The company also sponsors bands, such as Moraine and the Years Gone, and athletes, such as New Jersey surfers Chris Nunez and Danny Ferraro.  Thompson, now a college sophomore, and the other members of the company dream of one day opening their own Shore-based store. “I would do it now if I could,” he says. “But my dad won’t let me drop out of school.”

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