Sunset Beach legend retiring from nautical antique store

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Eric Bakker with one of his favorite historic Diving Helmets. Photo by Chris MacDonald

One of the biggest characters in Sunset Beach history is retiring and select items in his legendary nautical antique store are going on sale, starting Friday, July 1.

Certain ship lights, compasses, ship’s wheels, bells and lots more will be discounted 25% and active duty U.S. military, as well as veterans, can get an additional 5% off (with proof of service), according to Eric Bakker.

Bakker, 86-and-one-half, has been a purveyor of nautical wonders from around the world for more than 50 years, including 45 years at Antiques of the Sea, 16811 Pacific Coast Highway, across from Captain Jack’s Restaurant in Sunset Beach.

His incredible marine equipment has been seen in such well-known movies as “The Perfect Storm” (with George Clooney), “Greyhound” (starring Tom Hanks), “Waterworld” (featuring Kevin Costner), “Midway” (with Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson) as well as at Tokyo Disney Resort.

His love of the sea began when he grew up with his Dutch parents on the Indonesian Island of Celebes, before moving to a seaside town in Holland. He later came to the United States’ West Coast and became successful in sales, merchandising and owning restaurants, including the popular Sandcastle in Sunset Beach.

He has a new website, AntiquesoftheSea.com, that shows the variety of nautical antiques and collectibles found in his unique business. “Due to limited space and occupancy, we suggest making an appointment,” Bakker said. “We’re open from Noon to 4:30 p.m., Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment on weekdays (call 562-592-1752).”

“Eric is indeed a real unique character, who, along with his wife, Elaine, have helped make our coastal town thrive for over half a century,” said Mike Van Voorhis, former Community Association president and current Huntington Harbour Commission chairman Mike Van Voorhis. “Not only has their nautical antiques store helped bring Sunset Beach international fame but their Sandcastle business was one of the most popular restaurants around. I wish Eric, and his wife, Elaine, the best in retirement.”

Sunset Beach legend retiring from nautical antique store