Build a wave pool, build a brand (or just sling some tees sans surf park)
People celebrate surfing through their clothing choices. It sounds weird. And yes, it’s still hard for us to wrap our heads around it. But it’s there. Out there in the frothy ether, the stoke exists.
Right now we are observing several brands springing up around freshwater waves. The wave pool merchandise niche is expanding. It’s spreading in places with wave pools. And it’s sprouting in those places where surfers are counting off the days until their local surf park opens its doors.
The companies behind the wave pools, The Wave, Urbnsurf, BSR Surf Resort and any of the ones opening in 2020, all have (will have) merchandise. We here at WavePoolMag even jumped on board with product as well (Check it out it’s wonderful, amazing and will solve all your problems.)
Palm Springs Surf Club, with many surf industry vets behind the brand, will launch its line of product when the surf park debuts to the world next year.
“We are in full design development right now with our release of our PSSC merchandise,” said Jamo Willis Creative Director at Palm Springs Surf Club. “We’re focused on building a brand around not only the surf couture but creating more of a lifestyle brand. Very excited to show the world what we have been working on.”
When pressed Willis wouldn’t say what that will look like exactly. PSSC does have a great logo and the novelty of a surf club in the desert is sure to resonate with surfers and the general public looking for something a little different to wear.
Expanding on this “fish out of water” surf culture theme, other brands have sprung up. Country Club Surf Club and Lemoore Surf Club shine on the juxtaposition of a shaggy beach lifestyle transported to land-locked environs.
“I’ve been working this Country Club Surf Club project for a couple of years now,” says Joe Frizzelle. “It’s super fun, pretty much self-entertainment based around what’s happening in pretty much the raddest thing we’ve dreamed about as kids – wave pools.”
Frizzelle says he got the idea while designing boardshorts for Volcom. The office was trying to process all that went down after the first WSL event at Kelly’s.
“We were all joking around and I said I was going to start a company called ‘Country Club Surf Club,’” continues Frizzel. “Everyone laughed. Then I said ‘I just bought the domain and I got the Instagram account!’ We designed up the logo that afternoon, mocked up tees and hats then built the website for it. I think we started at about lunchtime and had a fully up and running website by 11 pm that night.”
Taylor Lobdell of Lemoore Surf Club developed his wave pool jones in Orange County back in the day, taking to the famous Wild Rivers wave pool in Irvine.
“The only wave pool I’ve ever “surfed” was the “Monsoon Lagoon” at Wild Rivers in Irvine California,” says Lobdell. “It’s now paved with track homes, but as a grom, I used to froth there and stand up on the soggy Boogieboards.”
Kelly’s wave pool transformation of America’s industrial food basket also rekindled Lobdell’s obsession with wave pools.
“I have been obsessed with the Surf Ranch since the first edit dropped,” says Lobdell. “At the time when Kelly’s first edit dropped, I used LinkedIn and property records to figure out the property’s address in Lemoore. I then leaked the info to Reddit and Beachgrit. I blew up the spot!”
What followed is basically the standard niche-brand birth story in the age of Instagram: Design a logo, sign onto a print-on-demand service like Printful and then create an online storefront. Yes, it takes a healthy fixation on wave pools. But it also takes a solid day job.
“Sales translate to about one extra-large meat lovers supreme pizza a week,” says Lobdell. “It would be more, but I have a full-time job and can’t sit on the gram all day slinging merch.”