There are more surfers than ever and working in the surf industry during these last few years has complicated our personal relationship to surfing. It's given us mixed feelings. More surfers means more 7TILL8 wetsuits sold, but we’re also self-critical product-obsessed founders, and seeing more of our wetsuits in the water makes it challenging to check out of work. The line between 7TILL8 and surf was blurring more than we preferred.
We always preferred surfing in solitude, but last year, we found ourselves withdrawing more from the pack to experience uncrowded breaks and unfamiliar territories. We moved somewhere nobody knew us so that we could recenter and reclaim the bliss of surfing for ourselves. However, when the surf isn’t great for long periods of time, that solitude can start to feel like restless loneliness.
It got us thinking...if surfing is about the bliss of being alone, where do we go to find community?
This is how we started getting more curious about diving.
During one particularly flat summer, we learned there was an overpopulation of sea urchin in Southern California that was harming the kelp beds. We both grew up in food-obsessed cultures where “uni” is not a burden. It's a delicacy. It’s also not very hard to free dive for. One foggy morning on the coasts of Palos Verdes, we filled up an entire cooler’s worth of uni and invited a group of friends to collaborate on a meal, centered around that catch. We saw how sourcing seafood could bring people together, spark curiosity for diving, and inspire an understanding of the ocean in a totally different way from surf. We only identified as surfers before, but this feeling of connection brought some clarity to our perspective.
We surf to be alone and we dive to be together.
This summer has been kind of reminiscent of that one, and so instead of chasing swell, we decided to stay put and explore our curiosity in diving even more. We’re content with the waves we’re getting because we’re also exploring below the ocean’s surface. Trying new things has led us to some incredible collaborations and unforgettable experiences. We’re looking forward to sharing these stories with you soon.
Grace and Andrew