Stab Magazine | Superior Surf Shorts: Outerknown

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Superior Surf Shorts: Outerknown

For the surfer who: swore off dairy years ago.

style // Apr 7, 2019
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

(For all of 2019’s Superior Surf Shorts, head here!)

Some people like nice things and like to know they were made in the most ethical way possible, it is for these folk that Outerknown exists. Premium performance, premium eco goods with subtle cuts, styles and branding. You know what you’re getting, you know the product is gonna be as eco-friendly as it gets, and you know it’s going to be good.

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“We’re not purists,” says John Moore, Outerknown co-founder (Robert Kelly Slater being the other) and Creative Director, when asked about his attitude to referencing trunk trends past. “We don’t believe in exact reproductions of ideas from a specific era. We reference ideas from all eras (laughs). Well, maybe not so much the 80s. We always put our concepts through a future-facing lens and talk about the problems we’re solving…how do we get this new trunk to work better, while using less virgin fibres and components. And of course, how can each new development fit and look better than the version that came before it.”

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When it comes to boardshort designs rife for the grave, John points to 90s baggy as something that just had to go. “I’m glad to see the big, baggy trends of the 90s and aughts slowly drifting away,” he said. “Those decades didn’t do much for trunks, other than introduce performance materials. The good news now is that responsible innovation in four-way stretch materials is happening in mills all over the world.” Unsurprisingly, the period that spawned the hyper-stretch, super-duper trunk, didn’t have much of an eye on the environment. Now, the challenge is putting all the tech into a pair of trunks, without using the easiest (and most toxic) methods and materials. “Planet-friendly recycled and regenerated nylons and polyesters are now as good as the conventional options and they don’t cost much more,” John adds. “We have no excuses not to use benefit fibres.”

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When it comes to the hallmark of the Outerknown seasonal release, it’s unsurprising that John points to the (wonderfully named) Apex trunk, KS signature short. “This is the equivalent of designing Michael Jordan’s shoe for Nike,” he says, portraying the responsibility, rather than bragging. “The world’s best surfer needs the world’s best trunks, and the APEX was a collaboration from start to finish with Kelly.” 

“Every detail, dimension, colour, and signature print was designed, vetted, and tested by the champ,” John continues. “We pared down the design details and slimmed down the volume in the leg, so the trunks can perform at the highest level, while still having a clean look. The best part is that we recycle approximately 10-12 plastic bottles for each pair we make. This second coming of the APEX is Fair Trade Certified, which means for each trunk sold, additional money goes right back to the workers who made it so they can invest in things that strengthen their communities, like childcare, improved transportation, or simply as a bonus to save for a rainy day.”

If you’re a conscious man with a taste for the finer things, then look no further.


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