Iconic Surf Brands

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I love surf/hippie/beach culture. Whilst it may be a complete mare to get to in July and August the realm of Tarifa, on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is a Mecca for those who get their kicks on a kite, surf, SUP or boogie board – see our previous post here on Morey Boogie Boards – Morey Boogie boards.

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This is a lifestyle, available to all adherents. Whether you are a weekend hippie with a real job in corporate finance, benefit from a distant relative having invented some practical gizmo that makes life easier even today, a vacationing student or a “Crusty”, who sees the conventional pressures to earn a living, have a mortgage or to otherwise conform to some dated middle class ideal of the perfect life, as pointless, then there’s a welcome for you on the beach.

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For core participants of this tribe, whose transient existence may be complemented, if they have the funds, see previous references to those in the City and/or being a Trustafarian – by a VW bus – see our previous post here – Volkswagen Kombi – as the perfect transport for your kites and boards, their careful devotion to their appearance on an off the sand is crucial. Indeed being able to take the beach with them as they return to their other life is made possible by several wonderful and iconic surf brands who shroud the faithful when the smell of the salt air is a fading memory.

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Founded in Tarifa in the 1990’s by designer Andoni Galdeano and entrepreneur Herbert Newman, the El Niño brand of surfwear is defined by a passion for the perfect wave and embraces much of what our tribe of surf worshippers love. It’s colourful, expressive and almost all pieces bare the distinctive El Niño logo that my family has always called “the Angry Sperm” – the little discontented drip. In fact the name comes from the “levante” wind of the same name that blows from the East  over Tarifa.

For Adults and Children – add an El Niño shirt to your summer collection by clicking the Amazon link after the image

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El Niño The Child 11102 T-Shirt, Men, Men, 11102, Grey (Stone Grey), Medium

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El Niño The Child 0128013101 T-Shirt, Children, 13101, Orange (Fiesta), 12

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Quiksilver was founded in Torquay (Australia) in 1969 by Alan Green and John Law. It is now a multi-million dollar business, one of the largest manufacturers of surf and related sports goods, operating many stores worldwide. The company developed the successful young woman’s wear brand “Roxy” – who’s logo is a duplicate of the Quiksilver wave doubled to form a heart – it also owns the DC brand of skate shoes.

After a difficult period of trading in 2016 and restructuring the majority shareholder is now Oaktree Capital Management. In 2017 the company’s name was changed to “Boardriders” and is now based in Huntington Beach, California.

Quiksilver, along with Rip Curl – also founded in 1969 in Torquay (Australia) and still owned by co-founders Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer – and Billabong – founded on Australia’s Gold Coast (Queensland) by Gordon and Rena Merchant in 1973 and now co-owned by Oaktree Capital – are regarded as the “Big Three” Surfwear companies.

Add a pair of Quiksilver nubuck flip-flops to your beach collection by clicking the Amazon link below the image

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Quiksilver Men’s Molokai Nubuck Flip Flops, Multicolour (Brown CTK0), 42 42 EU

Or a pair of cool DC low top shoes….

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DC Shoes Trase TX, Men’s Low-Top, Blue (Navy/Camel Nc2), 8 UK (42 EU)

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Orange County on California’s Pacific Coast is the home Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach each with their own distinctive surf communities. In the 1984 Shawn Stussy – a young surfboard manufacturer – who signed his boards with his distinctive signature – founded his eponymous surfwear brand with Frank Sinatra Jnr (unrelated to the singer) in Laguna Beach.

Stussy surfwear became a favourite of the hip-hop scene of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. The brand is now a favourite of Drake and A$AP Rocky.

In 1996 Stussy left the brand selling his holding to Sinatra’s family who still own it.

A piece by Stussy is a must ….how about this signature cap? Click the Amazon link below the image

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Stussy Stock SP18 Snapback Hat Teal

Images with grateful thanks – El Niño Tarifa, Quiksilver/Boardriders, DC Shoes and Stussy.

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Triumph TR2, TR3 and TR4

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The response to our recent post featuring the Triumph Stag – see our previous post here – Triumph Stag was phenomenal. Whilst watching a film set in the 1950’s that featured a dashing young chap arriving to pick up his lady love in an early Triumph sports model, I decided to dig deeper into the Triumph Stags’ ancestry. I discovered that the star of the TV show was a Triumph TR2 – quite a stunner.

I have never suited the image of cordouroys, a flat cap and a pipe-smoker but these seem almost compulsory for the devotees of the sprightly, iconic and classic English sports cars.

A model described as the 20TS (unofficially the TR1) was shown at the London Motor Show in October 1952 – see below a rare photo of this prototype – to a mixed reception. The then Chairman of Standard-Triumph, Sir John Black, requested the assessment of the 20TS from BRM’s development engineer and test driver, Ken Richardson. It was so damning – a slow, poor handling death-trap – that Sir John sought Black’s help to redesign the car.

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Black’s efforts resulted in substantial improvements and in March 1953, at the Geneva Motor Show, the TR2 debuted. It benefitted from a parts pool culled from the Standard Motors range that gave the TR2 excellent reliability, albeit with rather basic handling and an uncomfortable ride. It sold between 1953 and 1955.

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In 1955, the TR2, as a result of minor styling changes and an upgraded engine became the TR3 – “Small Mouth”.

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In 1956 Girling Disc brakes on the front were added exponentially improving the braking. Styling changes alone to the TR3 in 1957 resulted in the TR3A – as it is often described – was, for me, the nadir of good design for this series. Although far from “modern”, the TR3As were appreciated in both Europe and the US with annual production exceeding 10,000 vehicles.

In 1962 TR3B entered production and look virtually identical to the TR3A but with engine and carburetor upgrade. It was offered concurrently with the new TR4 in response to dealers concerns about the TR4 being regarded by the core audience as being too modern.

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Realizing that the TR3 needed a significant facelift in 1961 Triumph engaged Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti – already well known for his work with Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and BMW – to design the TR4. His boxier body looked much more modern with a larger cabin, although under the skin it was largely a TR3 with upgraded steering. Michelotti designed extensively for Triumph, his work included the Triumph Stag.

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In 1965, the TR4 became TR4A with a much improved ride, a more tuned engine and quieter exhaust.

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For me the TR4 with its wire wheels and elegant lines is the definitive small English sports car.

The TR3 and TR4 saw production runs in the region of 70,000 cars each so there’s lots of potential examples out there both those that are Concours ready and those that could benefit from a significant re-build. Checking sites like http://www.hemmings.com or http://www.erclassics.com will demonstrate that a price range – depending on condition between £5,000 and £30,000.

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You’ve been promising yourself that you’ll find a classic sports car to rebuild – perhaps now’s the right time.

Would a Buyer’s Guide to the TR2 and TR3’s assistant you in your quest? If so, published in July 2018 is an Essential Buyers Guide –  click the AMAZON link below the image to order your copy

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Triumph TR2, & TR3 – All models (including 3A & 3B) 1953 to 1962: Essential Buyer’s Guide

If a TR4 is more your thing then there is also and Essential Buyer’s Guide for this model – click the AMAZON link below the image to get your copy

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Triumph TR4/4A & TR5/250 – All models 1961 to 1968 (Essential Buyer’s Guide)

You’ll, of course need a trusty Haynes Owner’s Worshop Manual – get a copy here that covers the TR2 to TR4A – please click on the AMAZON link below the image

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Haynes 0028 Car Maintenance Service Repair Manual

I do appreciate that your enthusiasm may only stretch to wearing the T shirt – in this case a personalised vehicle registration plate – if so, please click on the AMAZON link below the image

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Triumph TR2, TR3, TR4, TR5, TR6, TR7 Chassis Plate T-Shirt *PERSONALISED* Model & Reg Plate (M, Charcoal)

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Photo Credits – with grateful thnaks – Hemings.com, Standard-Triumph

The Country Is Calling – Be Prepared!

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As we run headlong towards the wetter autumn/winter seasons, the prospect of walking the dogs across common land to the local pub for a roast lunch with pints of foaming craft brew then to adjourn beside a roaring log fire is either a dream Sunday for many of us or a Christmas Card image.

Regardless, I buy into a Swedish expression – and they know a thing or two about wet, dark and cold weather – its not how bad the weather is but how good your clothes are. I have a fairly standard weekend wet weather uniform that runs from a simple yet iconic Barbour Waxed jacket, there are many fabulous styles to chose from, but I have always really enjoyed wearing the “Beaufort” model with zipped in lining – see our previous post on this iconic jacket here Barbour Jacket

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Buy your own Barbour Wax Jacket from Amazon by clicking the following link BARBOUR CPS0819 MWX Jacket Men XL

If a longer coat is required with some essential layering – as mine doesn’t have a lining – an iconic Australian, Driza-Bone stockman coat, designed for horse riding in torrential rain – cannot be beaten – please see our previous post here – Driza-Bone coat

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Buy your own waxed stockman’s coat from Amazon by clicking the following link FULL LENGTH WAX STOCKMANS COAT FINE QUALITY DOUBLE FOLD ENGLISH WAXED COTTON (XL 50-52″ 22-24 Unisex, Chocolate Brown)

Under a water-proof jacket a shirt is sensible and the wonderful Woolrich range takes a lot of beating. See our previous post here – Woolrich shirt

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Why not buy a Woolrich shirt – the Black Watch is fab – by clicking this AMAZON link Woolrich Men’s Trout Run Flannel Button Down Shirt, New Royal Blue, Large

Having successfully kept the body warm and dry the next real challenge for anyone considering a “yomp” – and we haven’t herd that word since the Falkland War – in the countryside is the feet. If your preference is for English products then there is a simple answer to this is. Combine long thick wool socks with the definitive English Wellington boot – the Hunter. See here our previous post on these excellent English rubber boots – Hunter Green Wellington Boots

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Buy your own pair of Hunter Wellington Boots by clicking the following Amazon link Hunter Unisex-Adult Original Tall Wellington Boots, Green, 8 UK

Now this is a delicate subject, and I suspect something many will share as a concern, I blame years of cycling, rugby and generally holding me up and propelling me forwards but I have developed calf muscles that would look good on a bullock! They are strong, certainly, but pose somewhat of a challenge when seeking to access a wellington boot that are designed for really hefty calves. My solution has been found by those nice French folk at Le Chameau.

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Le Chameau, are fabulous French-made rubber boots that are given a uniqueness by being handmade by a single boot-maker – who have a year long apprenticeship – in a tradition that has lasted for ninety years. This year sees the celebration of this iconic brand’s 90th anniversary of its founding by Claude Chamot in Cherbourg (Normandy, Northern France). In 1949 M. Chamot established a factory in Casablanca in Morocco and was thus enabled to rename his business “Le Chameau” – French for a Camel – by way of a small “blague” play on his name and the location of his new production facility!

The Le Chameau leather-lined and vulcanised rubber “Chasseur Heritage” is simply the best pair of boots that I have found particularly as I am able to give them my correct measurements. Please remember never put your Le Chameau boots by the fire or against a direct source of heat.

Why not get your own Chasseur Heritage boots by clicking the following AMAZON link Le Chameau Chasseur Heritage Kevlar Mens Wellington Boots Green – 42 EU

Photo credits Barbour, Driza-Bone, Woolrich, Hunter and Le Chameau

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Driza-Bone coat

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The company who manufacture Driza-Bone (trademark first registered in 1933) – “dry as a bone” – was established in 1898. It is Australian owned and is manufactured in Australia.

The Driza-Bone derives from traditional Australian stockman coats with a tough cotton construction and an oilskin coating. Used primarily for riding, they are long in the body and tied at the legs for protection for horse and rider against the rain.

See also Piaggio Vespa ET2 –  as they are also perfect as coats for riding scooters in all manner of wet London conditions.

Oilskin manufacturer, Emilius Le Roy, emigrated from Scotland to New Zealand in the late 1880’s and recycled clothes for sailors from lightweight sails that were waterproofed by the application of linseed oil. T.E. Pearson took Leroy Coats to Australia where they sold well to stockmen, he also developed a new means on sealing the coats to reduce their flammability. He and Leroy entered a partnership to make the coats.

Steve Bennett, the Australian who founded Country Road  in 1974 – “creating simply beautiful merchandise designed to reflect an authentically Australian way of life” – purchased the company in late 2008 and relocated the business to Melbourne, (Victoria).

Aside from its classic design and hard wearing qualities, in my experience of many years of wearing, Driza-Bone coats are very comfortable and hugely durable even in the worst weather. They are not a fashion item – they sit above that – but they are an iconic symbol of their Australian heritage.

Photo from Driza-Bone

RM Williams’ “Craftsman” Boot

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Reginald Murray (‘RM”) Williams was born into a pioneering settler family in 1908 at Belalie North about 200 miles from Adelaide, a horse trainer and bushman who rose to be a millionaire entrepreneur.  His adventures in the outback created a recognisable and iconic Australian style of bush-wear.

RM was taught leather working by a horseman, Dollar Mick, including making bridles, pack saddles and riding boots. In 1932, to fund the hospital care of his son, RM founded “RM Williams” and he began to sell saddles. In 1934, he established and rapidly expanded a small factory running in his father’s back shed at 5 Percy Street in the Adelaide suburb of Prospect.

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RM’s most iconic designs were his handcrafted riding boots. They are formed of a single piece of leather or suede and stitched at the rear with elasticated sides.  As of 2013, the company’s handcrafted riding boots comprises 70 hand processes and a single piece of leather.

RM sold the business in 1988 but sadly it entered receivership in 1993. The company was then taken under the control of RM’s long-time friend Ken Cowley who, with businessman Kerry Stokes, and Ken’s family ran R.M. Williams Ltd. for over twenty years.

RM died in November 2003. In March 2013, the Cowley family released a statement of an intention to sell the company to a new owner for AUS$100 million sum. In April 2013, R.M. Williams sold a 49.9% stake to L Capital, the private equity affiliate of LVMH.

These guys a wish list item for me. I have known of them for over twenty years as a friend from Sydney had the well known classic Craftsman boot which at that time he had owned for over fifteen years – they were pristine with minor tell-tale wear and a fabulous sheen.

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In July 2016 I was in London and went to the new Westfield Shopping Centre at Shepherd’s Bush. I walked into the newly opened RM Williams store to discover I was in fact the very first customer.

A charming girl who had been seconded from RM William’s office in Adelaide was so well informed and enthusiastic in her desire to impart details about the hand-made boots I felt almost rude leaving after the limited time I had ran out…only to be stung by the excessive parking charges at Westfield!

She explained that they would prefer – if I lived in the UK – that I should opt to have a rubber rather leather sole, as the leather is so thick it took a while to dry out and risked deteriorating if not totally dried before it got wet again. She explained the use of kangaroo hide – which caused my son some disquiet – but it was explained as a by-product of meat production.

I am determined to return to place an order in due course – but suspect I may go for a suede pair.

Stop Press: Since we became an Amazon Affiliate in December 2017 I have now discovered that I can get my favourite RM Williams chocolate brown suede Craftsman via this source – so the order is on its way! If you’d like to join me in this please click on the link below the following image 

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R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:43

Images from RM Williams

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