The sun on your skin, salt on your lips; the ocean, rhythmic and steady, beneath your board.
It’s just you and the sea, connected by a spiritual force you can’t quite describe. Your feet are dangling in the water, one on each side of the surfboard, as you watch sets of rolling waves gain momentum as they pass underneath you. You and your board dance with the ocean; up and down with the waves. Now you see it, off in the distance! You bring your hand up to your eyes to shield the sun. That’s the one! That’s the one you’re going to ride. It’s building as it nears the coast and you quickly flip around and start paddling. You feel the momentum and strength of the wave directly under your board now. You push up and throw your legs under you. Standing now, you balance your board to ride the barrel of the teal wave. A satisfied smile spreads across your face. Your soul seems to be smiling too.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? To some of us, it seems too good to be true. But for Kassia Meador, this is a typical day. If you don’t know Kassia yet, you are in for a treat. She is the creator, owner, and designer of Kassia Surf, a wetsuit company in Santa Monica, California. She is also a pro-surfer, accomplished photographer, and uber-taleted artist. She is, without hesitation, a California dream.
Next week, we are proud to launch Kassia Surf on our website, the first time we’ve offered wetsuits to customers. Kassia describes her suits as, “all about freedom and empowerment. Superior quality, life enriching, enlightening, functional, future flavor with a classic twist. Made by mermaids for mermaids!” Her first collection is inspired by her love of space and the free spirit of the ’70s. “Tie dye space is the place!” she says on her website. Kassia knows a little something about wetsuits. She’s been surfing since she was an early teen and made a name for herself in the surf world early on. She designed wetsuits for Roxy for years and just this last year decided to create her own. If anyone knows what women want when surfing, Kassia does.
We had the chance to meet up with Kassia and her friends at San Onofre beach this week to hang, take photos, and of course, surf. To say this crew was beyond cool is an understatement. Kassia, who is always smiling, exudes the laid-back California lifestyle and surf culture she grew up in. After hanging with her for the day (which just happened to be her birthday!), I could start to see her personality and passion in each one of her artfully designed wetsuits. She shines as bright as the designs she makes. Read on to learn more about this rad and incredibly talented California babe:
Where are you from? How do you think it’s shaped who you are today?
I’m born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. The California sunshine and many appealing point breaks pulled me to the ocean when I was 15. Since then I have put everything I had into surfing and the ocean. My passion for surfing got me traveling around the world, shooting photos, expanding and experiencing. The light in California is also something so special and has always really inspired my photography too.
How long have you been surfing? Have you always wanted to design your own wetsuit since you were young?
I have been surfing for 18 years now. It’s crazy to think it’s been more than half of my life and I still can’t get enough of it! Being a California surfer, we almost always wear wetsuits. I remember my first summer at Malibu, my boyfriend at the time gave me an old full suit of his. I was just a kid and didn’t have any money so I cut up his old suit and made myself a wetsuit jacket, which I wore all summer long. That’s when I really started thinking about wetsuits and wanting to make them unique, custom, and cool. I would draw out new designs all of the time, hoping to one day design my own.
How did Kassia Surf come to fruition?
I had been surfing for one of the big surf labels for 15 years and designing wetsuits for them for the past seven. I learned so much and had such an epic time for all of those years, but it was time for something new and fresh and totally unfiltered. I said thank you and walked away about a year and a half ago. Ever since, I’ve been working hard to bring Kassia to life.
Where do you find inspiration in life?
I find all of my inspiration through experience: Riding waves, traveling to new places, old friends and new friends.
And how about inspiration for design?
Definitely traveling inspires me for design, thinking about what I really want and need. I also love going to art shows. I get so many ideas from visual stimulation.
Do you have any advice for people just beginning to surf?
Just go out and have fun! It’s not about being the best surfer in the water, its about being in the water, riding waves and having the best time doing it. Surfing takes a lifetime to learn so get lost in the journey and where it takes you.
Do you have any advice for a goon like me who hasn’t been on a board in over five years?!
GET OUT THERE!!! In life we only have so many breaths — make them count!
Imagine it’s just you out there surfing… you and the waves… what’s going through your mind?
Nothing! That’s the best thing about it. Surfing is my active meditation — tune out and tune in!
What is a typical day like for you?
If there are waves, I have a cup of tea and go surfing. If not, I do some yoga. After that, I head downtown and work on some new wetsuit ideas, some of my photo stuff or maybe an art project or video. And if the waves are really good and I get things done, it’s back to the water to wash off the day.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? From whom did you receive it?
Gene Krell has said, “There are no coincidences.”
You live in a dreamy part of town — any cool, favorite spots you love that you’re willing to share with us?
Go grab coffee and morning treats at Gjusita on Sunset and 4th, its delicious. And if you want to get wowed by creation and shade your face, stop by Nick Fouquet’s hat shop on Lincon Blvd. You will be happy you did!
I can’t wait for people to see your website and the videos you have on there! For anyone who hasn’t seen them yet, how would you describe your surf videos?
I can never put words to imagery in a way that would give justice. Go see my friend Tim Ojeda’s newest film! It’s a radical surf film that just came out last year. Also check out all of Thomas Campbell’s films — they are the best! And you can go to our website to check out trailers and other film shorts we’re putting out.
Who’s playing on your stereo right now?
I’m actually listening to this podcast I am obsessed with right now. It’s called REVERBERATION RADIO and it’s the best!
Being free means…
Living your passions!
Kassia, thank you for letting us spend the day with you!
All photography by Kassia Meador.
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