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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Maldon Sea Salt

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Packaging, as anyone working in the food supply-chain will tell you, is critical to the success of a launch and the enduring “shelf appeal” of a product. A convincing back-story is also a way to leap of the shelves into shoppers basket. Whether its the packaging of the iconic Maldon Sea Salt, the history of salt-making in the immediate vicinity or the excellent product itself, I suspect, the truth lies in a combination of the three.

Rumour has it that salt was first harvested in Maldon, (Essex, United Kingdom) on the Blackwater estuary – over a thousand years before it was actually called “Maldon” in the Doomsday Book –  by accident nearly 2,000 years ago. Casius Petrox, a commander of the local Roman legion, had instructed his staff to warm his bathwater, as they were on the Essex coast sea water was in plentiful supply. His retinue warmed the water to such extent that some evaporated leaving a crusty residue. Allegedly, so pleased was Casius that he took up salt-making.

Why is this part of the Essex coast so perfect for salt production? It’s an area of flat tide-washed marshes and, even for the UK, has a comparatively low rainfall meaning increased  salinity – or a high last content.

Fast forward to 1882 when The Maldon Salt Company was incorporated – although salt was produced at an original site well before this date. By the turn of the 20th century orders started to arrive from the top grocers including Harrods and Fortnum & Mason. An early critique from Harrods suggested “the salt much better than ordinary salt for pickling beef”.

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So how is Maldon Sea Salt harvested? Essex coastal seawater is first filtered and then boiled to remove impurities. It is then reheated in large pans until the salt crystallises. The skilled saltmaker then ‘draws’ the salt by hand from the pans. The resulting residue being those pure-white crisp clean pyramid crystals of Maldon Sea Salt.

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In April 1922, the Osborne family acquired the company and it has now passed through  four generations of their family.

Maldon, I suspect by coincidence, was the location of the first self-service Tesco supermarket in the UK, established in 1956.

A great boost to business occurred in 2000 when well-known TV Chef, Delia Smith, sprinkled her magic and recommended Maldon Sea Salt in her cookery book. The shelves emptied as a result. Delia was the first of many TV chefs to name-check this wonderfully pure and simple product.

When you first use Maldon Sea Salt it helps to crush the crystals a little in your palm to ensure the salt is sprinkled evening over your meat or fish prior to cooking.

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In 2012 a proud moment for the team at Maldon Sea Salt was when they were awarded a Royal Warrant to coincide with their 130th anniversary.

Naturally, in addition to the obvious kitchen uses much of Maldon’s annual salt crop is exported all over the World for use in a myriad of production processes but also to keep the roads ice-free.

 

 

Images courtesy Maldon Sea Salt