Octopus x Vans: Adventure Gear For Those Unafraid Of The Dark - Stab Mag
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Octopus x Vans: Adventure Gear For Those Unafraid Of The Dark

Collab of the year?

Words by Alistair Klinkenberg

If you’re looking to grab a slice of the collab then hit your local Vans stockist or Vans.com/surf

What is Octopus?

Well obviously they make grip. And in recent years you can add board bags, luggage, and a tasteful range of limited apparel to that too. But more than that it’s a society, partially secret, kind of like surfing’s Freemasons.

There’s a number of high-profile industry folk involved (which you’re not allowed to talk about) and the face of the brand is a collection of elite free surfers who stamp tentacled pads on their boards. It’s unclear who owns what where (when) Octopus is involved, but if part of the fold you’re looked after with: gear to get the job done, the best edits, and the prestige that comes as a part of the company you keep.

A Vans collab is the ultimate tip of the cap for an emerging surf brand, and Octopus’s dance with Californian heritage is well deserved. Since launching a few years ago, their output has been flawless, filling the over-designed, often overly tech-heavy grip and leash world with minimal black gear that looks nice on any craft and works just like it should.

The Octopus x Vans collab reflects the former’s ethos that surfing’s an outdoor pursuit that often requires travelling (domestic or international), that you need gear for that, and, that most surfers don’t want accessories plastered in colours or gimmicks. Vans runs on similar stuff, so, unsurprisingly, the collab works. Just well made gear that’ll make your life easier, but won’t yell, “I bought this from Huckberry just for this one road trip.”

There’s something to be said for pair of trunks you can hike, climb, swim run and surf in.

The capsule’s streamlined and simple. There’s a hoodie (black, nice uncomplicated combining on the two logos), tee (ditto), and then we get to the practical stuff. Firstly, the trunks, which are the Vans Surf Trunk 3 with an Octo twist. In general, we’re not for wearing boardshorts unless absolutely necessary (i.e., you’re getting wet), but these toe the line nicely between shorts and board shorts. They’re stretchy, come with the patent Vans fastening system (no getting caught in the zip, velcro, or buttons), have a zip side pocket for day trip essentials, and even a nifty clasp that you can connect your wettie top to.

It’s also worth noting that this very same board short technology and design placed second in our search for the best board shorts of 2021.

Harry B paying the bills in Octo x Vans.

For the footwear, Octopus has ticked all the boxes in terms of what surfers need from shoes. There’s the UltraRange EXO in black and cream for stomping around the headland. A mainly cream Sk8-Hi 138 Deacon for strapping on for long winter mornings running up and down sandy tracks to check the surf. And a lovely pair of ‘marshmallow’ corduroy (mirroring the ripples of Octo’s standard-issue ‘John Doe’ grip, which feels delightful underfoot) Slip-Ons, which are damn perfect for dressing up or down in summer, slipping on and off whilst ducking in and out of petrol stations etc.

And then there’s the booties. We’ve written glowingly and at length about Vans bringing their skate know-how to the in-vogue world of surfing in booties, so the Octopus gang were charged with dressing up something that’s had all the R&D you could possibly put into a rubber boot in it’s development. The white heel and blacked out stripe works nicely – looks like a Darth Vader x Stormtroopers collab – and who doesn’t love the curious effect of two recognisable logos slapped together on the same piece. It just smells, ahh, limited.

If you’re looking to grab a slice of the collab then hit your local Vans stockist or Vans.com/surf

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