Volcom’s wave-pool obsessed designer kicks off their own brand

So, wave pool-themed T-Shirts is a thing now. Brands include Lemoore Surf Club, the Palm Springs Surf Club and the highly visible Country Club Surf Club. All three brands are running hot on social channels and in select retail outlets fuelled by the unique juxtaposition of the shaggy surf aesthetic with private club exclusivity.

It’s a brave new world out there where creatives design a logo, sign with a print-on-demand service like Printful and then create an online storefront. Art chops, a sense of humor mixed with solid surf knowledge help. And, yes, it takes an obsession with wave pools as well.

We spoke with Joe Frizzelle of Country Club Surf Club, one of the most visible in this new crop of chlorinated brands.

country club surf club wave pool merchandise
One of the more classic lines from the cult of surfing came from Sean Penn in 1982’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

How did you get the idea for this?
Honestly, it all started the day or two after the first contest at Kelly’s pool, the Future Classic in 2017. I was designing boardshorts for Volcom at the time and the was all this banter going on about the contest in the office, we were all joking around and I said I was going to start a company called “Country Club Surf Club.” Everyone laughed, then I said, “just bought the domain and I got the Instagram account!!” It was on!! 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. It was classic.

What’s your history – you have some surf industry roots?
I worked at Volcom for 14 years. I spent eight of those years designing boardshorts/wetsuits/lycra and hybrid shorts. The previous six years at Volcom, I was designing fleece/specialty tees and some tee graphics as well. My first job in the surf industry was with Quiksilver in 1999 as a sample coordinator. From there I quickly moved into a graphic designer position for the tees and fleece dept. I’ve been super fortunate to be at both of these brands surrounded by really great people that pretty much taught me everything.

joe frizzelle of wave pool brand
Joe says the trips to places like BSR Surf Resort are one of the perks to owning your own wave pool wear brand. Photo by Nate Leal

Do you have any other brands?
Nope. I have a full-time design position and this is just a super fun project we are trying to build..

What’s been happening with the brand lately?
Country Club Surf Club keeps growing stronger. We just opened our first retail account and stuff has been selling really well. Far better than expected, so we are super pumped. We are going to open a couple more surf shop doors soon, so stuff is ramping up. We have also built solid relationships with the crews over at BSR and Palm Springs Surf Club. The main goal for Country Club Surf Club is to have a fun, a positive wave pool vibe, so our product can sit in any wave pool retail location and enhance the stoke of each surfer’s experience. Of course, each pool location will/has it’s own “private label” products for sale in their shops. We want to to be the wave pool brand that sits next to them. Wave pools are so rad, they have come so far, Can’t wait to see what the near future brings! For now, i’ve still got my full-time job. Country Club Surf Club is my passion project. It’s super fun. I’m the “designer”,“ marketing dept”,”web designer”, “team manager” and now “sales rep”. Really, enjoying trying to figure it all out. On the product side, working on getting some board shorts, wetsuit tops and UPF sun shirts to add in the line too.

joe frizzelle of wave pool brand country club surf club
A sample of goods from wave pool brand Country Club Surf Club

You shared with us about an epic trip to Waco – is that one of the perks at CCSC?
That trip was awesome, it was organized by my buddy Brett Sheffer @projectbrett  who coordinated everything for us. From booking the sessions to lining up 3 killer photographers as well as keeping us fed, it was epic! We also had fresh bluefin sashimi courtesy of Dustin Hall which was top-notch! The real perk is to experience this with all your buddies and hang with the crew at BSR, they really take the wave pool experience to the next level.

You can find out more about Country Club Surf Club here. Photograph at top of the article by Tom Carey.