Representing a diverse group of builders who are progressing the sport of surfing and a passion for creative thinking, Vissla is a modern surf apparel company to get stoked on. Not only does Vissla offer quality products, but they also exemplify a generation of creators and innovators.
How did Vissla get its start?
Vissla launched in Southern California on March of 2014 with a team of experienced industry leaders including Founder, President, and surfer Paul Naude.
What does the brand represent?
Vissla is a brand that represents creative freedom, a forward-thinking philosophy, and a generation of creators and innovators. We embrace the modern do-it-yourself attitude within surf culture, performance surfing, and craftsmanship as well as a surf-everything and ride-anything mentality.
What sets Vissla apart from other surf brands?
Vissla is a true modern surf brand. Gone are the days of sponsoring world tour athletes with huge paychecks. Modern day surfing is much more than that now and embraces the everyday free surfer who enjoys the sport for what it is. It was also important for Paul to build a brand that gave credit where it’s due to the unsung heroes of surf, aka the shapers and craftsman. After all, this sport wouldn’t be innovative without the builders behind the boards and we take pride in sponsoring some eclectic surfers in addition to shapers, artists and photographers.
The brand has a diverse group of ambassadors. How are these guys chosen and what do they represent for the brand?
As mentioned above, we have built a team of ‘Creators & Innovators’ who truly set out to create and innovate. No other brands in our sport support the diverse group of builders that help progress the sport. Some great examples are Jeff McCallum from San Diego who makes the most beautiful and unique surfboards, Danny Hess who builds wooden boards in his woodshop in San Francisco, Donald Brink who experiments with asymmetrical and alternative surfboards, Travis Reynolds who creates beautiful vintage inspired boards in Santa Cruz, and last but not least, Hayden Cox of Haydenshapes who build some of the most innovative and modern surfboards in the market today. In addition to these craftsmen, we’ve made an effort to build a great team of photographers, artists and filmmakers, including Jack Coleman, known for his amazing super 8 surf films, Kenny Hurtado who is responsible for a lot of our lifestyle contemporary inspired photography, and Jeremiah Klein who is one of the best surf photographers in the sport today. Lastly, there’s the surfers on the team who are made up of just a diverse group as our craftsman. Our surfers range from performance surfers who are the epitome of the modern day free surfer like Eric Geiselman and Brendon Gibbens to free spirits like Bryce Young and Derrick Disney who can shape their own boards and also ride any type of surfboard like asymmetricals, twin fins or long boards.
Vissla has put on some pretty incredible events like the Self Shape Surf Contest and the Creators and Innovators Tours. Any upcoming events that our readers should get stoked about?
We put on an annual event called Cosmic Creek – a retro-style experience paying homage to an earlier era in surf. This year it will take place on May 21st & 22nd at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, California. Bringing us back to the alternative, more experimental time of the 1970’s, where surfboards ruled the shops, when shapers were gurus and surfing had a mystical soul about it. The event features three divisions including Locals, Creators & Innovators, and Pros. The Pros and local entrants meet at the waters edge with Beach Marshal Ralphie and “draw cards” prior to their heat for priority on the board selection. It truly comes down to the luck of the draw as to which board you will surf in your heat as Vissla supplies original 60’s and 70’s Single and Twin fin options for competitors to choose from. The Creators and Innovators division consists of local and legendary shapers from San Clemente to Laguna Beach including past contestants, Gary Larson of Hobie Surfboards, Dave/Dan Bohne of Infinity Surfboards, Donald Brink, and Ryan Engle to name just a few. While the local entrants and Pros ride original craft, the Creators & Innovators ride a craft they shaped themselves inspired by the 60’s and 70’s time period. There is also a Creators & Innovators tent where you can demo boards from Danny Hess, Haydenshapes, Donald Brink and Jeff McCallum. On Saturday night there is always a free concert on a giant grass hill with live music and this year the Allah Las will be playing. Music on the beach is provided both days by Reverberation DJs who play dusted off vinyl and our all-time favorites. Local vendors provide provisions at the event, from breakfast and lunch by local restaurant, Shwack to morning caffeine by Stumptown Coffee.
Cosmic Creek is open to the public and a true gathering of legends, groms, craftsmen and storytellers. Cosmic has become a soulful grassroots eclectic surf gathering, a celebration of heritage and platform to swap ideas about surfboards, music and art.