How To Start A Core Hardware Brand In 2018
Lowtide traction is for surf, but its ethos is purely skate.
Lowtide MFG is a surf hardware brand that focuses on traction pads, leashes, and fucking around with your friends.
Released on June 8th, 2018 by surf industry stalwart Jamey Stone and his partner Chris Hughes, Lowtide’s mission is to sell cheap(er), high-quality pads to people who love the act of surfing but hate all the flower petals, crew cuts, and limp dicks that surround it.
In that same spirit, Lowtide’s slogan is Stick and Destroy.
And Stab likes that.
So we hit up Mr. Stone, who has been a proud O’side Pier-Rat since the ’80s, to hear Lowtide’s story.
Stab: Jamey, tell us a little about yourself!
Jamey Stone: I grew up surfing in Oceanside, did the whole amateur NSSA thing, but the whole time I was actually hanging out with skateboarders, not surfers. I always felt like surfing was a little too clean and crispy, because I grew up doing all the contests and having sponsors and shit, whereas skating was way cooler and more fun.
So after trying my luck on the Bud Tour, I started working for Transworld Skateboarding and was enamored of the way skate brands did whatever they wanted to do. They didn’t worry about what anyone else was up to. They’d tell you to “fuck off”, and if they wanted to do something crazy, they did it.
And that was the inspiration for Lowtide?
Exactly. I wanted to make a surf brand but run it like a skate accessory company. And our team riders Brad Flora, Duran Barr, Max Gardenier, and Seth Conboy are like all these sick guys out there that rip every day, but they’re not trying to chase the QS or anything. They don’t give a shit about that. They just wanna surf hard, put up good video parts, and have fun, but in this climate I think it’s really hard for anyone to get a decent sponsor unless they’re a 13-year-old prodigy-child trying to get on the Tour someday. So we’re kinda making our own path.
And it looks like you guys are gonna market your pads at a lower price-point, is that right?
Yeah, not super low, but I just think it’s like, Cool, you got a John John pad, that’s rad. But why should you pay $5 extra just because it’s a signature pad? So we’re gonna do sick, top-level stuff without all the added advertising and rider costs baked in. So instead of being $45 they’re gonna be like 40. It’s gonna be something the average surfer can relate to at a fair price.
You guys have been pumping out a lot of cool, funny marketing pieces via the Gram. Who’s behind all that?
That harkens back to skating, when it was fun in the ‘90s. Ya know, the Mark Gonzaleses, the Jason Jesses, the Lance Mountains – guys that weren’t afraid to put themselves out there in a corny way and have a little bit of fun with it. So really it’s a collaboration between the riders, myself, my partner Chris, and our filmer Blake Michel, who is super young and sharp with his edits.
Anybody who starts a business is doing so with the goal of making a little cash, but it seems like you’ve put a precedent on fun with Lowtide.
Yeah, I worked in the industry a long time – Transworld Skate, Surfing Magazine, a few brands, etc. – so I worked hard and made some money, but now I wanna do my own thing. I don’t want to have to lean on people for a bunch of bullshit. I want to do a fun brand, and if it makes us a little money, killer. But I’m not relying on Lowtide to pay the bills or anything. It’s more about putting a brand out there that I think the industry needs right now.
If you like the look of these pads, or even just cut of Jamey’s jib, get some Lowtide gear here.
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