If you haven't yet heard the story about the person who approached Rob Machado one day at the airport, moments after Rob got off a plane from Mexico, then you haven't yet heard one of the most memorable tales of hilarity that a pro surfer has ever told.
It shocked us. It shocked SWITCHFOOT too.
You'll hear the story at the beginning of this episode featuring Rob and his longtime friends from SWITCHFOOT Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, and Chad Butler.
SWITCHFOOT is from Encinitas, California and they go back a long way with Rob. This episode reveals many funny and surprising elements from their shared past and we think you'll love it.
Love SWITCHFOOT? Their new album Native Tounge was just released on January 18th, and you'll find them on tour starting February 14th. For more, visit SWITCHFOOT.com
Hendo is a huge human who rips. He rides a Seaside. A Cymatic too. When it’s really small, a Baked Potato. He is also one third of Pro-Lite, a company that makes what many of us at Firewire think are the best surfboard bags on the planet, for example, The Smuggler, a collaboration with Firewire team rider Timmy Reyes, designed to hide a third board during airplane travel in a board bag that looks like its only holding two surfboards.
Pro-lite has a sustainability initiative centered in part on recycled materials (for example Session Day Bag) and centered entirely on making things that last long and stay out of landfills.
It's common for Hendo to hear about Pro-lite bags that have endured endless travel over more than 25 years of use.
Todd Glaser is a professional photographer, former professional bodyboarder, and friend and collaborator to Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and many others. In this episode he shares thoughts on the Seaside shape, the Seaside surf spot, and his new special edition of Proximity Book. There are many nuggets in this episode you're sure to enjoy.
This episode is borrowed Kassia and Maureen of the Good and Social podcast who interviewed Firewire CEO Mark Price on many topics.
The Good and Social podcast is a series of conversations with social and environmental innovators from across industries featuring risk takers, activists, business owners and non-profit leaders who are turning ideas inside out and industries upside down.
You can follow them on Instagram at @goodandsocial.
What you know is that Rob Machado is a Pipe Master. You know that he competed on the world tour for ten years. And that he won twelve events before retiring in 2001.
You also know about his second career. The seventeen years since he left the tour, surfing everywhere; inspiring, exciting and influencing people who surf all over the planet.
But there are things you don't know.
You don't know the secret story (until now) about how Rob broke his hand; the injury that led to his 2001 retirement. Or about the way he built his circle of friends as a six-year-old and maintained that crew his entire life.
Most importantly, you don't know the way Rob became responsible for bringing psychological support to the World Surf League.
This episode is an intersection of these three subjects and much more, culminating in a conversation about events that excited everyone who saw them in September as Rob surfed in the trials for the Surf Ranch Pro and nearly beat a collection of today's most promising up and coming surf talent.
This episode was recorded at the home of Rob's Brother, right across the alley from his own home in Cardiff - by - the - Sea, California.
Both yards have trophies lining their edges. Some hidden, some in plain sight. Each one containing a story of Rob's competitive career, and providing clues about the life Rob has led since.
Energy = Mass x Speed of Light Squared. This was Einstein’s big idea. And while you might not be the type stay up at night researching this type of thing, Tomo is very much that type of person.
This episode covers Tomo’s interests in physics, the universe, esoteric ideas, and obscure scientists. But you’ll also hear provocative thoughts on surfboard design that counter a lot of traditional wisdom. Because that’s what Tomo does - counter the norm with elevated surfboard performance and heightened sensations while surfing waves.
Shaping since 1996, Dan Mann made his first board for Kelly Slater in 2015. Then it sat in a San Clemente shed. For 24 months. Until....
Mark Price is the CEO of Firewire Surfboards. Kamea Chayne is the host of Green Dreamer - a podcast for creatives, visionaries and entrepreneurs dreaming of a sustainable future.
This episode covers much with Mark, such as:
- What first got Mark into sustainability.
- The process of manufacturing conventional surfboards versus ECOBOARDs.
- Mark’s greatest personal challenge in growing Firewire from a startup.
- What Mark believes allowed people to break through their initial resistance to riding eco-boards.
- What Mark believes has been key to Firewire going from startup to becoming a global brand.
- The most common struggles facing Eco-Entrepreneurs and how to overcome them.
- How sustainably-driven startups and small companies can compete against large corporations that already dominate.
For more on this episode, visit GreenDreamer.com. And to see Mark surfing the Slater Designs Cymatic, visit firewiresurfboards.com/the-wire.
"I love conditions" Says Timmy Reyes; "Whether it's a one-foot glassy beautiful day with a little peeler... that gives me as much joy as a twenty-foot day... glassy and peeling.... its the same to me."
On a one foot day Timmy prefers the Go Fish. On a twenty foot day, he likes the Hydronaut.
Timmy also likes freezing water, scary waves, the Northwest and Wrestling with Mother Nature; the phrase he uses to describe his experiences in larger waves like Jaws and Puerto Escondido. Above all he likes Chuy Reyna, the Man in the Van from the last episode, so Chuy joins us in this episode.
If you grew up in California in the 80's or 90's you saw Chuy Reyna on TV. In magazines. In surf videos like Blazing Boards alongside Mark Occhilupo.
If you're growing up today in California you've seen him beachside with more surfboards than you've ever seen fit inside a Mercedes Sprinter.
He's the man in the van and to put it bluntly in pidgeon - 'Chu surf mo' bettaa dan u' today and yesterday and probably for a lot of tomorrow's to come. He's 50 and his turns look as fun today as they looked in 88'.
In addition to managing Firewire's Demo program in the United States, Chuy also stays on the front lines of product development alongside Rob Machado, Daniel Thomson, and Kelly Slater.
He's talented at fine-tuning shapes and surfboard building technologies because he hasn't just surfed every surfboard shape and surfboard building technology in Firewire's history, he also surfs at the most important level of talent when it comes to deciding what surfboards will land at surf shop racks and which ones won't - he shreds hard enough to hang in a lineup with professionals, but he's not a freak, he's normal. He bridges the gap between everyday surfers and sponsored surfers, and his opinions matter to everyday folks. That's why he's the man in the (demo) van.
It’s not physically possible to fit each of you who read this inside the Surf Ranch gates at the same time, but we still wish you had been with us on April 10th in Lemoore.
By now you’ve most likely seen the result of our time there with Kelly and the Surf Ranch crew. The video we made just reached 100,000 views on YouTube and it shows Kelly riding both he LFT Gamma and Helium Gamma.
To celebrate the recent 100k benchmark, we thought it would be fun to share some stories and stoke with you from such a fun day of watching Kelly surf and also surfing the wave ourselves.
We share our thoughts on the best boards for surf ranch, subtleties of the wave that first-time surfers there will find useful, our garden pavers that were installed while we were there, Jordy Smith on an Omni and a Cymatic, and more.
To invent something is to take nothing and turn it into something.
To innovate is to take that something and significantly improve it.
The surfboard leash was invented by Jack O’neill’s son Pat, a Californian. And it’s most recent innovation has been crafted by Jan Pearson, a Swede - he is from, and currently lives in, Sweden, where he surfs often, in a part of the world bordered by Finland and Norway, often dodging blocks of ice like crowds of surfers. It is fucking cold in his corder of the world. But there are waves. Fun ones.
In Jan's travels to surf destinations that don’t involve dodging mini glaciers that can destroy boards and bodies, he noticed that while other parts of the planet didn’t have ice cubes in the lineup they did contain other things that float. These things could not kill you, but they could kill animals and Jan imagined, could eventually threaten humanity.
It was plastic that he saw. Trash. Other waste. And it inspired him to found Revolwe.
Jan used his new company as a laboratory for innovation. He started with surfboard bags, water bottles and other accessories.
He saw each product as an opportunity to innovate through reduced environmental impact, and what impressed us was his leg rope.
Press play to join us.
John Van Hamersveld designed The Endless Summer poster - very likely the most iconic graphic design ever produced in surfing - an enormous cultural achievement that was only the first rung of many on a ladder that has since led him to become one of the most recognizable graphic artists ever.
John has designed album artwork for The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Eric Clapton. He has also worked with artists of the day like Asher Roth. His art is seen throughout surfing, for example on posters promoting the Pipe Masters by Billabong.
Today he crafts murals for cities. He designs sunglasses for Electric Eyewear. He lives in a gorgeous home in Palos Verdes overlooking a stretch of ocean so storied that it has stayed locked tight under local reign for decades.
In this episode of The Wire podcast, we get inside John's head as he uses words to describe what's on his mind, a rare break from so elegantly conveying his thoughts through art, which you'll find examples of in the show notes for this episode.
Deep Shaper talk. Thoughts on Craftsmanship. And freezing in Poland followed by getting stranded in Dublin. Dan Mann has had a wild week, and we dig deep into it in this episode.
Kevin Whilden is a scientist with a Masters Degree in Geology and a lifelong interest in how the world works. Today he is partnered with Michael Stewart at Sustainable Surf, overseeing a host of programs like Deep Blue Events, an initiative directed at helping surfing's largest brands lower their carbon footprint at surfings most respected events, and The ECOBOARD project, a collaborative effort with over 150 surfboard brands dedicated to lowering the environmental impacts of surfboard production. This episode covers much about climate change and its impact on surfing, but it also covers much more, for example, your opportunity to win a Slater Designs surfboard of your choosing by filling out The Deep Blue Survey in this episode's show notes. Our favorite part is about four minutes in when Keven details the time he spent in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Enjoy!
Taylor Jensen has just become the WSL's World Longboard Champion for the third time. A huge accomplishment for a huge human. At 6'4 200-something he's called 'The Big Predator" by Firewire teammate and longboarding legend Wingnut - and Taylor has more than one legend in his life - his father in law is Australian legend Nat Young who won three Australian titles in 66', 67' and 69'. So championships run in the family. In threes. But in spite of his competitive nature and successful run when it comes to the contest side of surfing, he's not scared of jersey-less sessions, and experimenting with multiple styles of longboard and varied styles of shortboard as well. For example, the Slater Designs Omni which you'll see in the show notes for this episode. Regarding variety in his sessions, he shares; "I think that the different feelings you can get from all different kinds of boards is an amazing thing. It's so rare in any sort of sport." He continues that "In baseball, you have a bat and a ball and that's it. That's your game. but in surfing, you can have a different board for every condition. Every time it changes you can have something different. You ride what fits the surf. That's how you get the most enjoyment out of every single session." Sounds good to us.
By partnering with Mafia Backpacks in San Francisco and renowned designer Yves Bahar, Michael Stewart was able to build the Deep Blue Bag out of repurposed kite sails, boat sailes, and climbing rope from Yosemite. In the process, he pulled off what many would like to pull off on Kickstarter - complete funding for his Deep Blue Bag project, allowing him to bring Deep Blue Bags to the masses next year. But there is a lot more to Michael Stewart than designing surf friendly and environmentally minded accessories. At Sustainable surf, he and his partner Kevin Whilden manage The ECOBOARD Project, a third party 'eco-label' for surfboards that are made with a measurably reduced carbon footprint when compared to more traditional materials and production methods. Sustainable Surf also helps SUGA make yoga mats out of used wetsuits. They make sandals out of tires and fishing nets in collaboration with Indo Sole. They have even partnered with the city of Malibu to turn styrofoam waste into surfboard blanks and collaborated with brands like Rip Curl to eliminate over 90% of the waste at events like the Rip Curl Search San Francisco. All this and more in this brand new episode.
Over the past couple months, some of the most popular videos we've released have featured zero surfing. Shocking. Why? Because we're a surfboard company. And surfing is what we do. It's the reason we exist. And the most reasonable thing to assume is that surf videos would be the most popular videos we release. But it hasn't been the case over the past couple months. Instead, our most popular videos have shown the way we turn trash into paving stones, and the way Dan Mann turns trash into surfboards. Together these two videos combined for nearly 200,000 views on Instagram during the two week period they were released. This excited us because environmental sustainability is front and center at Firewire, and if our audience is as excited by it as we are, then that means more sustainability for everyone. More actions towards a healthy planet. Higher awareness of the environmental crisis. More people doing more than standing on the sidelines as climates change, species die, and the fate of our ocean becomes more uncertain. With these two videos in our rearview, Dan Mann and Mark Price hopped onto this episode of The Wire Podcast to talk about both Firewire's paver program and Dan Mann's interest in building things from trash. It's a fun episode that covers much, and we think you'll enjoy it.
The details behind technical catastrophes, nearly stolen prize money, Graham’s relationship with Andy Irons, and what the WSL might do with wave pools. Plus way more. Graham was an executive at Billabong for more than 10 years. And before that, he was the CEO of the ASP - remember that? The ASP? It’s what the world tour used to be before it became the WSL. Graham has been a part of professional surfing since its inception and today he has one of the most intense and exciting jobs in all of surfing at the WSL, overseeing more than 180 events a year. This episode was recorded at the WSL North American offices in Huntington Beach during the U.S. Open of Surfing.
When Dan Mann was a kid, he built an illegal shaping bay in the most precarious of places - a military base on an island south of San Diego, CA. The story is hilarious, and he's on The Wire today to share it alongside Rafa Gomez. Rafa runs Firewire Surfboards in Southern Spain, but he also spends three months of the year in Nicaragua where he owns a business. Rafa is a textbook example of aligning work with surfing and we're always happy when he visits us here in California. This episode also covers much about boards and fins, specifically the Spitfire, Dominator, Chumlee and Unibrow. We hope you enjoy this episode. And we hope you go surfing when it finishes.
Troy Eckert was the marketing mind behind Volcom for 20 years. He was the first employee at Volcom and retired young in 2010. Derek Sabori was a surf industry outsider who joined Volcom in 96' and worked his way up to Vice President of Global Sustainability before leaving in 2015. These two guys were hugely successful as surfers inside Volcom, and they say much of their wins both personally and professionally have come from yoga, which they are now representing through KOZM - a yoga-inspired clothing line for men, made fair with care. This episode covers a ton about surfing, yoga, Volcom and KOZM, and it's one of our favorite episodes so far.
Today on The Wire we’re joined by Daniel ‘Tomo’ Thomson, who you already know as the designing mind behind The Sci-Fi, The Omni, The SKX and many more surfboards, like The EVO, which after several years is still one of the most popular boards at surf shops around the world. This conversation was recorded during the Hurley Trestles Pro in September and it covers many things. Like the low point in Daniel's life that inspired him to set the path that has led to his current position as one of the world's most well known and respected surfboard designers. He discusses the difference between working with Kelly Slater and Stu Kennedy. He also shares the backwards approach to designing surfboards for big waves and why it works so well, and much more. Enjoy.
You're flying westward towards the ocean above Orange County, moments before landing at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, and there you see it. Out the window. Painted on top of a factory roof big enough to take in clearly from your seat on American Airlines. It is Birdie. Wearing his Birdwells. He is the iconic mascot of Birdwell Beach Britches, and he is the X that marks the spot on Birdwell's HQ, only visible from airplane or helicopter. Birdwell is the longest running advertiser in SURFER Magazine because they’re one of the longest running board short manufacturers on earth. In fact, they were one of the first companies to sell boardshorts commercially; specifically tailored to the needs of surfers, as still evidenced today by the wax pocket on each pair, designed to hold an entire bar of wax. It’s design elements like this along with the easy to notice label on Birdwell’s high waisted trims that make these shorts some of the most recognizable articles of surf wear in lineups today, even among surfers who don’t wear them. After a storied history, Birdwell is today owned by an unexpected group of surfers from Facebook and Instagram. They grew up surfing and today shepherd the board short maker from a rich past towards a future horizon, at the same address that Birdwell has called home for decades. C.E.O. Geoff Clawson joins us on today's episode of The Wire Podcast to discuss what life is like as a surfer at Facebook and Instagram, what made Birdwell Beach Britches seem like such an exciting company to own, and how he carefully balances product innovation with paying homage to Birdwell's traditions. We also cover much more. Enjoy!
This episode is an hour and a half of hanging with Kelly Slater in his San Clemente home alongside Action The Dog. We talk about The Gamma (his new surfboard), golfing with Bill Murray, and the difference between finding yourself stranded on an island with Eddie Vedder vs. Jimmy Buffet. We also dig into the details behind Kelly's role at Outerknown, what life was like when he was sponsored by Quiksilver, and previously unheard stories about his friends Dane Reynolds and Bob Hurley. We also go on a lot of fun and unexpected tangents such as cryogenically freezing yourself on accident (don't do it), the curiosity of brain traumas, the social habits of dogs vs. humans, and what it's like to make deep changes in your diet, life habits and more If you enjoy this episode, you can rate it 5 stars on iTunes.
Jess Lambert meditates calmly on what others might find tedious. She’s known around her home in Byron Bay, Australia as someone who can spend as much as 10 to 30 hours drawing intricate lines on surfboards that interweave to create the enchanting aesthetic you can see in the show notes for this episode at firewiresurfboards.com/the-wire. Since drawing on her first surfboard in 2014 she has created over 50 pieces in total that have have been sent to clients across Australia, the U.K., China and more. But her art on Timbertek and LFT boards from designers like Daniel Thomson and Dan Mann doesn’t just hang on the wall in clients homes and offices. Jess often has her work coated when finished, so that clients can slide it across the water on waves, and not just show it off to friends. Enjoy this episode.