Brands are Beautiful

posted by / Blogs / November 22, 2011



Brands are fantastic. Surf brands especially, are fantastic things. They benefit the surfer in countless ways, smoothing his path, and dissolving obstacles for him at every turn.

A young ripper may board a plane bound almost anywhere, and be received like a deity upon arrival. He will be coveted by the beautiful and envied by the strong. He will be toasted by the wealthy, and adored by their children. And when he is swimming in the universe’s good favor, to whom shall he direct his gratitude? The brands that came before him, preparing the way.

People do what they are told, and surf brands have been telling the people how amazing surfers are for decades. Lovelies don’t flock to the beach looking for surfers on merit; they take it on faith, and from their mothers. They go and strut and swoon, because fashion mags and insipid tv told them that they must.

This myth wasn’t built by us or our fathers surfing in quiet obscurity, and it wasn’t built by Kelly, surfing amidst a media circus. It was built by the blunt marketing perseverance of Ocean Pacific, of Quiksilver and their brethren. It proceeded from greedy fat men selling t-shirts and dreams to snowbound, unhealthy, miserable shivering masses in malls across America. For the last 50 years, brands from O’neill to Rusty to Rip Curl have sold dreams to the poor in spirit, and have given a kickback to us. We, the spoiled children of the beach. We, who never pay for t-shirts or wetsuits unless we choose to. We go on reviling the legacy brands, but we must acknowledge the truth in our hearts. We drink daily from the trough of every big brand that we revile for stealing our money and corrupting our core. Even as we protest, we have benefitted from their swindling mirage of crappy bottle-blond cliches.

And we must recognize our duty. Branding is our bread and butter. We don’t create value in the surf world. We don’t invent useful things. We live the dream by day and sell an amped-up and dumbed-down version of that dream by night. We ruthlessly innovate in the pointless and priceless art of cool. It’s our duty. It’s why we’re not required to go down to Jack’s to pay full retail.

In a series that starts next week, we will take a tour of the men and brands which make it all possible. The men and women who have paved the way for all of us who surf, from Orange County to Bondi, to work infinitely less than others of comparable mental acuity.

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  • tity

    … well this shows how incredibly fake you all are!!!!

  • Rad Dude

    at least you’re being honest about what KOOKS you all are.

  • badass

    fuck nike

  • another poser

    sick bros… let me go down to the wedge and throw sand at bodyboarders, and then do some jip johnsu …hardcore for life.

  • brandtastic

    Awesome! Let’s forget their insidious effects on the minds of the people (massive use of clever psychology techniques to push the buttons we all have, simply to sell more product), their perpetual need to convince us to perpetually purchase, and the ridiculous effect that has on the resources of the planet … just so they can keep growing and growing in a mindless mission to …. err … just keep growing …
    … until the CEO decides to sell the brand, either to a bigger-fish buyer or onto the stock exchange so faceless shareholders can dictate how little the brand should pay the kids in China who make its clothes with the poisonous cotton and dye that keeps their overheads down and their annual dividends up.
    In reality, the brands are the products. Build ’em up by convincing the people of the midwest that surfing is cool and they need our stuff to be better people, then sell the brand off for millions and retire quietly to the pointbreak you bought.
    Hey, here’s a massive innovation in surfing – a real game-changer that hasn’t stopped making things easier, faster and all-round better for almost every surfer on the planet. It was called the Thruster and it was brought to you by none other than Simon Anderson International MegaCorp Unlimited PLC.
    Oh, hold on, no … by a lone shaper with dedication and vision working in his small shaping shed. It worked, so we surfers all copied it. No multinational brand-wank involved.
    Keep kidding yourselves that the shiny stuff keeping you OC folk so disconnected from reality actually IS reality. It helps the rest of us keep perspective on the shallow depths from which you operate. Meanwhile, we’ll keep surfing those thrusters, or not. The real-life choices we make, of course, are ours, not the marketing department’s.

  • Joe

    What a croc

  • Cavey

    This is an all time low. Holy shit, it sounds like this guy has taken all the glam the surf industry has sold and put it on a pedestal above the surfing itself. Its apparent that the “creatives” at surfing mag have run out of stories about actual surfing and are now forced to write a teen gossip column about the industry in order to keep the advertising dollars coming in; keep sucking that tit Mr. Winters. What about those of us that just like to surf, regardless of whatever crazy marketing ploy billabong, quick, or rip curl is producing. There are vast majority of people outside orange county who would be perfectly happy if the industry was the same size it was in the 60’s or 70’s. On a positive note; at least they don’t try and hide the fact that they are sell-outs on the lowest level.

  • Jeff

    You are the biggest douchebag I’ve ever wasted 5 minutes on. Surfing magazine has sucked for a long time, but once again you prove that any OC monkey can get a job peddling bullshit onto the masses. I’m gonna puke…

  • joe

    orange county = 40 year old soul patch, fedora wearing d-bags.

  • marinerassurferas


  • dropping oreos bits in her corn hole

    orange county = full of lame pricks at the wedge that throw sand at body boarders and wear big puffy clown jackets who grew up on golf courses

  • peter

    articles like this are why i don’t surf south of san francisco. this is not about surfing.

  • tity tity

    …and fuck 25 bucks for a logo!!! who wants to pay that??? and who is paying that??…they sell really good blank t-shirts at genrration X clothing, 3.99 and there AAA which is good quality… its in Oceanside right off jeferson.

  • Mic J

    This is a Joke right???

  • JohnnySubtronicGinandTonic

    Yeah like any of you would be able to go online and post without your corporate made computers… hahaha. You guys are so soul, that’s why you’re complaining on cyberspace hahaha. Hypocrites.

  • johns teabag male friend

    i didn’t base my computer purchasing decision on brand..
    thanks for trying to assert your claim.
    fall back n*gga

  • somedude

    there is a guy in oceanside CA with a rip curl logo tatted on his chest over his heart.


    “Brands are Beautiful” ???? .. really ???, but hey there’s some of it, not all, honestly i like patagonia they’re helping our surf stuff consumption more environment friendly and it helps communities for environmental cause.

  • brandtastic

    Hmm … computers, the Internet and so on are massive innovations that have changed our landscape.
    T-shirts, rash vests, wax combs and quick-dry shorts? Less radical, methinks.
    Unnecessary tat for the sheeple = billions for the boss and his bros.

  • pooper

    One can only hope that as soon as slater steps off the tour and out of the spot light that surfings recent explosion in popularity will decrease. At least to some extent

  • PMS (PostModernSh**)

    Ooooo, I get it. It’s like that Dolce and Gabbana ad that has these gorgeous people, dripping wet, about to… and then you see the clapboard slam, marking the end of the scene. In advertising now, it isn’t the suspension of disbelief, the spectacle that is sold, rather, it is the overt HONESTY that is supposed to be the trigger. We know it, you know it *wink* “We acknowledge this is the way it is, but what the H*11 you gonna do about it? WE OWN YOU”… Time to move your money into a credit union, people. The brands do not define, represent or have any authority here any longer. Rejected.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    First of all, who is j. winters, and does this dude even surf, or just bang keys on a laptop. He’s says there are positive effects today from these surf companies. The only effects I see today, are more crowded line ups, kooks on sups, and a bunch of wannabes wearing their rags. Personally, (years ago), I got so disgusted with these surf companies, and their greed, (they could care less who wears one of their tees, as long as they make a profit), that I took all my surf tees, (quickdollar, billabog, ripcur, ect.), put them in my yard, poured some gas on them, and burnt them, (true story), and never looked back. Bottom line, all you really need, is a board and some wax. J winters says he’s “a spoiled child of the beach”, and maybe he is, maybe his surf life is so shallow, that he needs all that hype from the surf companies, about surfers, for his own ego. Personally, I just feel blessed, when I can paddle out, with just my board and some wax.


  • chris

    surfing magazine was so much better when evan slater was editor…

  • 1FromTheCheapSeats

    just when you think surfingthemag can’t possibly go any lower ( again ) on the embarrassment writing scale this comes along.
    who the f’ is in charge of this f’ing joint?
    truly sad to see e. slater and companies elevation of ‘ing into one of the best surf pubs ever have this website drag it down to new depths of craptacularness in such spectacular fashion.
    and it really is a shame …

  • wangy

    I know you get your bread and butter from the corpos, but please give the surfer some credit. If it wasn’t for his or her courage and skill they wouldn’t have the opportunities offered to them. All the brands just jump on board and deify the top .0001 % of surfers while the rest of the pack who f-in rip have to cut throats to get some board shorts.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Hey, j winters, bring it on, the men and brands that made it all possible,for better or worse, was supposed to start a week ago. What happened?, am I on the wrong web page, (if so, please direct me to the correct one), or did you get cold feet and kick out on this article. Please reply, if you can handle a little heat.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Hey, j winters, can you be so kind as to tell us, where your series is going to be, in the mag., or on this website, and if so, where? According to your article, it should of started 2 weeks ago. I think you owe it to the readers, to keep them informed. Please do your readers a common courtesy, and reply here, I,m sure you can take a little heat.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Well, I guess j winters doesn’t even read the replies to his own article, or is he just choosing to ignore a simple request for some information on his series, which he said, was going to start 2 weeks ago.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Hey, somebody from surfing, (like the editor), should do winter’s job, and give their readers the respect of a reply here, about this so called article on brands, which was supposed to start two or three weeks ago. Maybe surfing mag., got cold feet and kicked out on this one, maybe their afraid of a little heat or backwash on this.

  • tony (ty) carson big island

    Hey, maybe someone, (like the editor), should do winter’s job and reply to their readers, where and when this article on brands, (which was supposed to start 3 weeks ago), is
    going to happen. Maybe surfing mag., and the ‘editor’, got cold feet, and kicked out on this one, maybe their afraid of a little heat or backwash. Please show your readers a little courtesy, and reply here.

  • Brindes Porto Alegre

    Olá, ótimo artigo, poderiamos incluir como auxilio a criação de brindes personalizados como metodo de marketing tanto na area mencionada no artigo quanto em outras areas. Temos o exemplo de algumas corporações de Porto Alegre, que fizeram e está dando certo.