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Boys of Summer

Stay Wild

Mowgli Surf’s Alex and Philip Seastrom on making surfwear fun again

Story by Tess Eyrich // Photos by Chantal Anderson

A few years back, Alex and Philip Seastrom got tired of contemporary surfwear—in particular, the cargo shorts and black t-shirts with white logos that’d become unwelcome paradigms of 2000s fashion. “We saw a hole in the market; no one was really making exciting clothes,” Alex says. “Everything was all black with the longest shorts imaginable—the ugliest shit possible.” That’s why in 2009, the twin brothers decided to launch Mowgli Surf, a line of ’70s-inspired separates in psychedelic prints and patterns, many of them the result of by-hand dye processes, done from their parents’ house in suburban L.A.

Though the line wouldn’t hit stores until 2011, the guys’ affinities for clothing and art (Philip started out designing skateboard decks, and both brothers made money in high school selling vintage Powell Peralta gear they’d purchased from a distributor in China) led them to L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, where they mastered the technical aspects of the industry. After graduating, they snagged their first account, Thalia Surf Shop in Laguna Beach, Calif., and since then, the line has snowballed into a full-fledged brand that’s carried by both local surf shops and heavy-hitters like Urban Outfitters’ Without Walls and cool-girl favorite Nasty Gal.

“Mowgli is California design,” Philip says. “All of the other surf brands are darker and kind of all over the place, but Mowgli is Southern California fun—that’s what we do. If you see our clothes, I want you to think, ‘I’m going to go to the beach and have a good time.’ I want you to think about California.”

And even though they’re both Southern California-born surfers, the 25-year-olds are quick to assure that their line is anything but exclusive (they swear they’d love to see their clothes on everyone from Tom Cruise to the guy sitting next to us at breakfast). More than anything else, they just want everyone to feel a little more comfortable—nah, a little cooler—wearing Mowgli pieces.

“People are kind of afraid to step out on a limb and wear color,” Alex says. “I like the ’70s a lot because everything was about being sexy—the short shirts, short shorts and long socks.”
“Now, you’d be surprised by how many guys are self-conscious about their legs,” Philip adds. “But clothes are cool because they reflect how people see themselves. They’re about how you want the world to see you outwardly, and I think that’s really special. If I make a shirt that makes a guy feel cool, then that’s awesome.”

See more of Mowgli here >>>



Stay Wild

After 10 years of adventures I'm selling my first home.

So many memories. I first bought when I was 22 and living back at my parents in Orange County. I didn't have a ton of money and wanted to save every scrap for travel and camera gear so I knew I needed alternative rent payments. My friend John Peck (pipeline pioneer and surfboard shaper) traded his 1974 VW Bus for one a couple year prior and said of the Ford Econoline van, "these things are the backbone of America." We took a month long trip to Baja in his and I was sold. I scoured craigslist for a white ford panel van.I found my 2 year old shimmering white beauty in Costa Mesa. It was the pride and joy of a Baja 1000 fanatic who outfitted it with a beefy suspension and all-terrain tires. Over the years it has given me a retreat from the hustle of Southern California. With it my program has been to get business done then take off for more rural places to work, surf and hike. About two and half years ago I converted it with the help of friends into a tiny house on wheels. It has now allowed me to cook and work comfortably and organize all of my surfboards and gear. It has never been my intention to sell it but a few months ago I ran into two brothers  in the middle of the desert with the largest Sprinter van I'd ever seen. I'd always been a Sprinter lover- German engineering, diesel engine... They had just boughten it and were looking to sell it and buy a school bus. It was a price I couldn't pass up and so I'm selling my baby to recoup my investment on the new van. It's going to be weird not having it around anymore, the new owner has to agree to let drive it around their block once a year ha. All good things must come to an end. 

Buy Cyrus Sutton's Adventuremobile on Ebay here >>>


Stay Wild

A Sitka Surf Adventure

You don’t hear much about surfing in Newfoundland. 

It’s not because there aren’t any waves. There are plenty of waves. And it’s not because it’s cold. It’s cold enough that great white hunks of ice float past the coast after shearing away from Greenland and being carried off by the currents. It’s mostly because Newfoundlanders are unusually suspicious of anyone from the “Great Away.” The few surfers of The Rock, as this harsh-weathered island is often known, have never felt inclined to set up surf schools or post their spots all over the Internet. If you want to find waves here, you will, but you’ll be on your own, which only adds to the allure of experiencing an adventure few have been on. 

Newfoundland, if you’re not familiar with it, is the easternmost landmass in North America and boasts the North Atlantic Ocean as its playground. It’s big—bigger than Ireland, almost as big as England. Newfoundland declared itself a self-governing colony of the British Empire, and remained so until 1949, when it reluctantly became a province of Canada. The glaciers scraped its bones bare in the last Ice Age, leaving what one nineteenth-century visitor called a “monstrous mass of rock and gravel, almost without soil, like a strange thing from the bottom of the great deep, lifted up suddenly into sunshine and storm, but belonging to the watery darkness out of which it has been reared.” 

Buffeted by storms and blizzards, Newfoundland isn’t an easy place to make a life—not then, and certainly not now. Sometime long ago, a group of people that archaeologists refer to as the Maritime Archaics settled on the island, surviving by hunting birds and seals. Later, it became the domain of the ancestral Mi’kmaq and Beothuk, an indigenous group who drew their life from the land. Around 1000 C.E., the ships of the Vikings broke into the waters of Newfoundland. The voyage was led by Leif Erikson, more popularly known as Leif the Lucky. It was he, not Christopher Columbus, who should be credited with the discovery of the New World. After a harrowing journey, he led his ragged crew ashore the beach of L’Anse aux Meadows, setting in motion a long chain of events that would result in the Beothuk’s unhappy ending. 

In the years following Leif’s landing, a group of Viking voyagers made a determined effort to establish a permanent habitation. One hundred and sixty potential settlers landed in plank-hulled ships and set to work building sod houses, workshops, a smith-works, and an iron smelter. To augment their stores, they traded with the island’s original inhabitants, who they called Skraelings, or Wretches. Unfortunately, the cross-cultural relationship eventually deteriorated, and after three hard winters, the Viking colony ended in violence and failure, becoming a little-known footnote of history. 

Almost 500 years later, the Europeans again breached the shores of Newfoundland and were able to successfully establish a permanent residence. In 1497, the seafarer John Cabot claimed the island for England, giving it the name it bears today, “New Founde Land.” The seas around the island were incomparably rich, and lore tells that the icy ocean was so thick with fish you could lower a basket into the water and retrieve it bearing an outrageously large catch. A lucrative salt cod industry soon developed, with seasonal fishing camps springing up in the island’s many coves and bays. In time, the English residents became year-round fisherman, providing life for their communities in what previously seemed a barren and unforgiving land. For the following centuries, Newfoundland remained a sparsely populated realm of fish ports and outpost towns, its people sturdy, resourceful, and always keeping a weather eye to the sea. The Beothuk, decimated by disease and colonial violence, died out completely. Shanawdithit, the last full-blooded survivor, died of tuberculosis in 1829. 

There were other industries that sprung up over the years, such as sealing, mining, and most recently, drilling for oil from giant offshore rigs. For the most part, fishing was the hard labor that paid the bills. In the latter half of the twentieth century, the cod fishing industry unfortunately collapsed; with stocks a fraction of what they once were, the Canadian government declared a moratorium on cod fishing in 1992, putting tens of thousands of Newfoundlanders out of work with the stroke of a pen. Like I said, it’s never been easy in this hostile region and probably never will be.

Subsequently, the Atlantic that bounds up against Newfoundland’s margins is a restless mistress, as I’m sure Leif and his shipmates would have attested to. It’s been said that a restless sea means waves to be found, so if you’re up for a surf trip that’s off the beaten path, here’s all you need to know: Get your warmest wetsuit and a few sturdy boards, book your passage to St. John’s, walk out of the terminal, get a cab, ask the cabbie to help you find someone who will rent you a used truck with a good set of tires, unfold the map, then… GO.

Once you’re out on your own, and chances are you will be, set up camp, wait for the waves to come and the wind to die, and then reconnoiter the glories of the shore. Take your pick of heaving slab, rolling point, or rampy beach break. If there are any locals out, show respect and remember that you’re very much from the Great Away. And, as I’m sure they’ll readily confirm, people from the Great Away have been imposing their ideas on the island and its inhabitants for a thousand years. And then, fucking surf. Surf until you’re so cold that your fingers won’t grab the rails anymore. Come in, put your sweater on, pack up the tent, and drive through the outpost towns, wind-warped shacks, and piles of weather-beaten lobster traps. At sunset, park the truck downtown and buy a couple of locals a round of stiff drinks. Then raise those glasses to everyone—from Skraelings to Vikings to shivering fishermen—all those who discovered Newfoundland and the secrets to taming that beautiful devil’s shores. 


4th of July Kook Out!

Stay Wild

New Belgium Brewing & Stay Wild Magazine present...

The 4th of July KOOK OUT!

A Surf Contest & Party for Total Kooks.

Pacific City // On The Beach // July 4th // 12-4pm

Being a kook is great! Kooks are open-minded and fearlessly learning to live with each new wave that comes their way. Let's kook out together on the 4th of July and celebrate NW Cold-Water Surf Culture!!

Prizes will be awarded for the most kooked-out tricks, costumes, and styles. You'll want in on this action since the prizes are coming from our buddies at Mowgli Surf, Stanley, Aloha Sunday, Sitka Surf, and more...

If it gets cold you can just soak in a portable hot tub provided by the Original Nomad.

Awesome Live Surfy Music in the sand next to the crashing the waves (so dangerous!) by Ed Ghost Tucker

((( Stay Wild Summer Issue )))

The KOOK OUT will be the first chance to get your sandy hands on the latest issue of Stay Wild.


JULY 5th!

Join us for a day of environmental stewardship as we team-up with Surfrider's Portland chapter and New Belgium Brewing for the first Oswald West Action Day at Short Sands. Someone has to clean up all those exploded fireworks! Might as well be us, right? RSVP today >>>