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Who the Hell Is @OCinstanews?

Unkle Tito has been saluting groms and glassing buttdarts all over our feed. 

news // Aug 19, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re from Southern California and have an Instagram — a fairly redundant statement, now that I think of it — you’ve probably heard of @ocinstanews. As for the rest of the world, maybe you haven’t.

We’re here to inform.

The controversial Instagram account has grown steadily since its changeover six months ago (its handle was previously @towersey) and has caused a stir in the Newps/HB surfing community. Known mainly for its prolific Instagram stories, OCinsta takes an energetic, highly partisan approach to Orange County’s pop culture happenings — surf, cuisine, road laws, and so forth.  

I met the account’s founder, 37-year-old Chad Towersey (AKA Unkle Tito), moments after his phone was hurled from stage by Andre Nickatina at the Snapt 3 premiere. Chad was, as always, in phenomenal spirits.

Stab: Hey Chad, why don’t you tell us a little about your history in the OC.
Chad Towersey: Well, I grew up in Newport Beach as the fourth generation Towersey. My brother, Punker Pat, just had a baby, so that’s five generations of Towerseys in Newport.

Were you a full-blown surf grom growing up? Aspirations of going pro?
I sort of wanted to be a professional surfer, but I was more just enamored with the surfing lifestyle and the local legends in my hometown. I loved the camaraderie and having that vibe of a local contingent down at 54th Street.

What’s your take on localism?
I used to be the grumpy old man — sitting out the back, waiting for the best waves, protecting the local groms and ensuring that the ethics of surfing were being properly maintained. Somewhere along the way, I changed my tune and decided I wanted to keep the stoke alive and represent the local contingency to the best of my ability, while still showing the fun side of surfing.

Now, the infamous @ocinstanews account… what’s the story with that?
It all happened when the stories feature came to Instagram. I had this IG account called @Towersey, and I’d have people coming up to me and saying “Hey, I really like your stories”. Then I got a call from my mom who said, “Me and your brother (Punker Pat) don’t like what you’re putting on your IG page, and we hope that you’d reconsider what you’re posting, because you’re carrying the Towersey name.” I hung up the phone, looked at my fiance and said, “Taylor, I think we’re onto something.” The next day I started @ocinstanews and began covering Orange County to the best of my ability.

Does it bother you that your family isn’t stoked on your work?
I think that families hold each other to the highest standard — everyone wants to see their relativs carrying the torch in the right light. I happen to be someone that’s very controversial, so maybe my family doesn’t love everything that I do, but at the end of the day I try to put smiles on the faces of local community members, and I hope that will resonate with my brother so eventually he’s happy with what I’m doing.

This is just one example of the situations Chad finds himself in on a daily basis. To properly understand @ocinstanews, you’ll have to follow his entire timeline of daily stories. 

What were you doing before this?
I used to work in sales but got laid off in the beginning of July, just as @ocinstanews was starting to gain some traction. July 1st marked the beginning of my unemployment, and I’ve been running the gamut of @ocinstanews ever since. I’ve been loving being unemployed and building some good relationships along the way, where I think there might be some potential opportunities with my IG account. (Chad recently got a new job in LA, doing what or for whom I’m not sure.)

And all of these local shops you support — C’est Si Bōn, Banzai Bowls, etc. — are you getting paid by them? Free product?
I wanted to give back to everybody that I see throughout my local neighborhood, promote local businesses, and not let places like Starbuckingtons — that’s got four freaking locations in Newport Beach — dominate against places like The Bōn. Now it’s all starting to come full-circle, because everybody who’s getting promotion, people are starting to come in and talk about, and that’s where I feel like I’ve done my job.

What do you hate more? Buttdarts (Lycra-clad, street-riding bicyclists) or Starbucks?
I hate corporate greed the most. I don’t have anything against buttdarts, I just want them to conduct themselves properly and follow the rules of the road like cars do. They hog the road, they don’t stop at red lights, and to be completely honest, twelve deaths happened last year on buttdarts.

Are those deaths attributed to bikers getting hit by cars, or…
Yes, getting hit by cars who may be on their way to church on Sunday, not knowing their lives are about to be changed forever. We think that buttdarts should be going to Grit Cycle, riding stationary bikes, and having a safe, fun time. Stay off the roads, buttdarts. That’s all we’re asking.

What’s your end goal with ocinstanews?
I would love to entertain the possibility of doing some play-by-play for the WSL, but at the end of the day, I’m looking for a Vice show. Something like Crocodile Hunter meets Anthony Bourdain — going out and spotting the gnarliest talent across the world.

 

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