Stab Magazine | How To Start A Core Hardware Brand In 2018

How To Start A Core Hardware Brand In 2018

Lowtide traction is for surf, but its ethos is purely skate. 

hardware // Jun 12, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

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.

flora airguitar

Flora, fully throttled.

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.

boys salud 1800x1350

Team riders Seth Conboy and Brad Flora get 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.

gripclosup4 1800x1350

Traction-wise, Lowtide has seemingly drawn inspiration from Dion’s brand The Octopus Is Real.

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.

kraken flat final


If you like the look of these pads, or even just cut of Jamey’s jib, get some Lowtide gear here


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

“I Don’t Want To Say Schizophrenic But We Saw A Plethora Of Different Scenarios To The Wave Out Here”

Rio Waida, Teresa Bonvalot, Harrison Roach & Honolua Bloomfield win Manly.

May 24, 2022

The Former Top 5 Surfer Carrying The Next Big Surfer-Owned Beer Company On His Back 

What would you do if Matt Hoy showed up to deliver you beer?

May 23, 2022

CT Told To Elect Single Surfers Rep From Shortlist Of Four Tasked With Reviewing All Future WSL Policy Changes Onboard ‘Special Committee’

Take your pick: Tyler Wright, Jadson Andre, Tatiana Weston-Webb or Griffin Colapinto.

May 23, 2022

What Happened To The Best Surf Film Ever Made?

Captain Martin Daly demystifies the conspiracies surrounding his and Michael Oblowitz's Surfer Poll-winning "Sea of…

May 23, 2022

Stab Podcast: The Dane Reynolds Interview

Carrying the torch for authentic creativity, storytelling, performance and passion.

May 23, 2022

Waves To Be Lost And Waves To Be Found 

A silver lining to the problem of sea level rise.

May 22, 2022

California University Professors Claim (Most) Wetsuits Are Being Made Wrong In Peppery Peer-Reviewed Study

“What the surf industry is marketing is not being driven by science.”

May 22, 2022

Why G-Land’s CT Comeback Is Ten Years Late

A tale of geopolitics, swooshes in Surf City, and hurricanes in the urban jungle.

May 21, 2022

An Interview With Transgender Longboarding Champion Sasha Jane Lowerson

"In longboarding, the girls are so much better than the guys, and that's just a…

May 21, 2022


The Best Surfing I’ve Ever Seen: Blake Kueny

Insight from a man who spent good years pointing a camera in John John’s general…

May 20, 2022

First Transgender Woman To Compete In Surfing Wins WA Longboard Event

History has been written

May 20, 2022

WSL Now Sponsored By Ladder

A seemingly odd partnership that actually makes perfect sense.

May 19, 2022

Now Unlocked: Former’s New Film, ‘System Is Yours’

17-minutes of pleasure from Dane Reynolds, Craig Anderson, Droid, Ben Howard and Kaito Ohashi.

May 19, 2022


Bobby Martinez Isn’t Going To Sweet Talk You Into The Bobby Quad

"It kept me in the water on shitty little gutless days. Take that how you…

May 19, 2022

Dane Reynolds On “The Best Thing In The World,” Business, Fin Splay, The WSL, Modern Surf Culture And More

The Stab Interview: Sealtooth.

May 18, 2022


Chapter11 Drops Three New Edits

Clean waves, cleaner rail work, and A-frame goodness.  

May 18, 2022


The First Time JJF Visited The GOAT Ranch

When wavepools mesmerized.

May 18, 2022

A Small Fat Nothing Burger

The Snapper CS will be a tough act to follow for Manly. Here’s why.

May 18, 2022