Mitch Abshere is an entrepreneur of fun. Have you noticed him slowly entering your surf-world subconscious? He’s moving. He’s making. The founder of Captain Fin Co. has art-inspired Captains Helm surf shops in Oceanside, Costa Mesa and Tokyo. He’s also collabing on projects with Tanner Gudauskas and Vans, Stance socks and us, SURFING Magazine, on the board page you’ll see on page 58. All this in addition to making fins for surfers like Alex Knost, Droid Doheny, Dane Reynolds and Josh Kerr, and making a one-off magazine called Beached Days. His mission of it all? Create some cool shit and bring fun back into the surf world. Hell, we’re having a good time already. —Nate Zoller
MITCH: My whole thing is having fun. The surf industry is in a place where people and companies are so serious, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but what I’m trying to do is keep it lighthearted. At the end of the day we have to ask ourselves: what are we doing? Me included. I’m making a fin or a fricken T-shirt, you know? It’s not like I’m saving the world.
I sat around Donald Takayama for years as a shop rat and watched him shape hundreds of boards. He would explain everything to me, including fin shapes and how they are placed in specific areas on a board. My interest in boards and fins evolved from there.
Captain Fin is not a performance company; it’s about making a quality product that people are stoked on. Everybody’s involvement in Captain is based off of friendship. I’ve known Alex Knost since he was a 12-year-old kid. I didn’t know Dane until a year and a half ago, but he ended up already knowing about Captain Fin and loving it. I don’t have any money so it’s not like I can go out and pay what other companies pay — I have nothing to offer but a part of what we are doing. I think a lot of people enjoy that side of it.
More people than ever are open to riding different surfboards. I’ve ridden a longboard my entire life and when I was growing up I could count on my hand the number of kids riding longboards. People heckled me forever, where now a lot of those people have quivers of fishes and longboards and everything. Guys like Dane Reynolds and the Gudangs are experimenting with different boards and that’s the best. Especially when kids get to see that they don’t have to ride a specific shortboard all the time. People should be riding whatever boards allow them to have a good time.