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Listen To Turtle: Pop-culture mojo spawns wave pool brand

Rip Curl tapped our collective desire to seek out the perfect wave. By translating our collective quest for surf into “The Search,” they created one of the greatest surf-related campaigns ever. But it’s lost on all of us who simply can’t relate to a three-week boat trip in the Mentawai Islands.

A like-minded campaign to The Search simply won’t work with wave pools. It’s just not core to rock up to a surf park and slap down the credit card for a session. Wave pool culture, until it fully comes into its own, for the moment must rely on the biggest thing it has going for it. Hollywood.

For now, at least, pool surfing’s roots are firmly entrenched in pop culture. One needs to look no further than the ’80s classic “The North Shore.” In the film, an Arizona surfer named Rick Kane wins a wave pool contest. His prize is a ticket to Oahu and entry into the Pipe Masters. He fumbles his way through love and lineups guided by the sage insights of surf-bro Turtle, played by actor John Philbin.

So, under this framing of surf culture and business within the wave pool world, we are proud to announce we have discovered the Quiksilver (or Rip Curl or Billabong or Volcom) of chlorinated surf brands: “Listen To Turtle.”

The brand was started by Cindy Green-Terry. The soft-spoken supermom translated the warm glow of ’80s nostalgia into one of Instagram’s favorite accounts and storefronts. Ms. Green-Terry took time out to tell us why and how the brand started.

How did Listen To Turtle start?

I started LISTEN with no intention of having it become the fansite that is today, but I’m so happy it did. LISTEN is still, of course, a super small business, but it’s been so fun connecting with fellow North Shore fans. I love hearing their unique stories and seeing their stoke when I come out with new merchandise and fun posts. 

I’m a mom of three and my third, Ian, was born with neuromuscular difficulties of which are still undiagnosed today. All of this was created for him – so I could help out with the therapy bills. Early on, I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what it was or how I could try to fix it and it was during one of these nights that a North Shore song started playing on my computer and it brought me back to a place from my childhood in the ‘80s where I had no stress and no worries and it felt so good to escape. I had watched North Shore on VHS practically daily with my neighborhood friends because their family friend’s husband was an extra in the movie. And that night I just started drawing…

Tell us about how the art and messaging came about

I drew the image of Turtle that is now the logo and came up with the idea of putting LISTEN under it. It was inspired by the OBEY brand style, and I thought it would look good on hats. Over the next month or so, I created a North Shore movie-inspired art show and had it all displayed at our local coffee shop. People loved it… some didn’t get it but, either way, I had leftover hats to sell. My friend convinced me to sign up for Instagram (I had no social media at the time and still don’t have Facebook) to reach a larger crowd. Slowly, as I posted clips and videos and inserted hashtags, I found that there was a void that I was filling – there was a huge number of people worldwide, from all walks of life who dropped North Shore lines on the daily and watched it to bring them back to life in the ‘80s and to escape the stresses of life. It was a place for me to come also. To laugh like I used to and to feel connected when I was struggling with feelings of guilt and confusion. 

Share with us something from this journey

The last six years have been so much fun. I have connected with so many rad people. I’ve been able to be challenged creatively in so many ways and it’s been such a fun job. I always joke with friends and family that my anthropology degree from the University of Hawaii (Manoa) has not been wasted! I look forward to many more years of LISTENing to Turtle! 

View this post on Instagram

#Howzit ?! Testing… Testing… 1,2,🌴 Just throwing down one of our random, fuzzy, hidden-messaged, unprofessionally edited gems to see if Instagram snakes it out from under us L.Burkhart- Style 🐍… If they do, it doesn’t mean anything… we don’t need this win… We’re just glad we made it this far and hoping for that #ValidatingShaka from Vince✨🤙🏽✨ @gerrylopezsurfboards Stoked for all you loyal supporters out there who have stuck with us and offered help!! Thanks for the laughs, the love, the 80s stoke… Let’s keep this #LISTENmovement alive! It’ll be beautiful man #OhWowUnreal Drop us a line if you can see this post🤙🏽🤙🏽 #LISTEN2Turtle #LISTENtoTurtle @johnphilbin_ #NobodyListensToTurtle #WeDo #Hawaii #NorthShore #Surf #SoulSurfer #Wsl #ScrubItKook #GoGetItRoger #80s #1987 #YeahNoh #Surfing #Avp #Turtle #RickKane #Burkhart #TahitiPro

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