In the bloodbath that was today's market, Zumiez (Nasdaq: ZUMZ) proved to be one of the bright spots.

Fourth-quarter net income for the board-sports-related retailer increased 10.3% to $12.4 million, or $0.42 per share. Total sales increased 12.7% to $126.6 million. And same-store sales for the quarter jumped 4%, compared with a 12% surge in the same period last year.

Despite Zumiez's admission of a difficult near term, investors responded optimistically to the company's report, probably because it guided for a profitable 2008. The Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation said it will earn $0.90 to $0.93 per share in 2008, with comps expected either to be flat or to increase by the low single digits. And of course, the fourth-quarter results also beat analysts' expectations.

Furthermore, Zumiez has gotten dragged down in the undertow lately. Like one of its suppliers, fellow Hidden Gems pick Volcom (Nasdaq: VLCM), Zumiez stock has taken a beating. They've fallen nearly 70% in the past six months, while Volcom's are down 52%. Between the uncertain consumer climate and Zumiez's recent history of lowering its guidance, it's been a tough time for Zumiez shareholders, since this stock used to be such a high flier.

I prefer Zumiez to rivals Pacific Sunwear (Nasdaq: PSUN) and Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF), whose Hollister concept competes with Zumiez. That's because I've always liked how Zumiez not only provides apparel related to board sports but also peddles gear. It seems more authentically part of the lifestyle that it caters to.

On the other hand, I prefer Volcom to Zumiez, since Volcom does such a good job of creating an authentic brand, supported by initiatives such as musical acts, concerts, films, and board-sports competitions, all of which I believe help carve a moat around its brand as being "the real deal." Still, both look cheap for high-growth companies, even if things will be tough in the near term -- both have PEG ratios well below the key 1.0 threshold, for example.

Any investor with a long-term timeframe and a belief that the board-sports lifestyle will continue to grow in popularity might want to consider stepping on board, despite the near-term angst.

Catch up on Zumiez's wild ride over the past couple of months:

Zumiez and Volcom are Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendations. Pacific Sunwear is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Either service is free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, but she'd watch skateboarding over football any day. The Fool has a disclosure policy.