source and date unknown
source and date unknown
President Lyndon B. Johnson in his Open Road, 1968.
Ryan Lovelace considers himself a “freelance surf-craft builder”. Based out of Santa Barbara, California, Lovelace has gained global recognition for his hand crafted surfboards that are built with the rider in mind as well as the wave. Ryan is currently on his “Shapetastic Voyage”, a tour in which he ships himself all over the world, sets up shop, and builds boards for retailers or custom orders (I’ve witnessed him sell out before the boards were even created). Read on for what he’s up to and what’s next.
Where are you right now?
I’m in Ericeira Portugal, an old fishing-turned-surf town outside Lisbon.
When did you have your first taste of surfing, and when did you realize it would be such a huge part of your life?
I started obsessing over surfing when I was little, my family would go visit my grandparents in Hawaii and my brother and I would beg my dad to take us out and push us into waves! Living in Seattle made surfing a difficult thing to accomplish regularly until I moved to Santa Barbara out of high school. There was absolutely no stopping me when I finally was able to surf every day…it didn’t matter the conditions, I was in the water as much as possible; it only got worse when I started building my own boards and experimenting with designs.
How did board shaping come about?
I had a longboard and was really curious to try different designs and saving enough money to buy one was a far more daunting task, mentally, than building my own - I grew up building things and working with my hands so the thought of building one was really exciting to me. I made one and it was all over…I was obsessed - a month later I made another, a few weeks later another, and at some point I realized my house couldn’t hold many more boards and if I wanted to make more I would have to make them for other people!
You’ve mentioned that you spent some time in the Texas panhandle when you were a kid, in what way has that influenced you and your work?
Stephen my step-father comes from the panhandle and we all come together every other summer for a family reunion at the ranch. It’s something that we all look forward to and I know is a big part of a lot of our lives; I’ve learned a lot about life and just being human through my relationships and conversations. The ranch is out in the middle of the prairie and you can just wander as far as you want. We all get to spend real time together and just take it easy, everyone in the family has had a pretty profound influence on my life in one way or another and I wouldn’t trade my time there past or present for anything!
We love that you “ship yourself” all over the world to shape boards rather than staying in one place; what are your travel essentials?
I bring a handful of my tools; power-planer, wood planes, sanding blocks, sanding screens and the outlines of the different model boards that I shape. I usually pack more in the way of tools and surfboards than clothes, and I’ve started biting the bullet and slamming my [Stetson] crushable hat into my checked bag…I cringed when I pulled it out the first time, but after a few hours it is literally unaffected…it blows my mind!
Tell us about the Cosmic Collider.
My house, you mean! Ha! She’s a 29 ft. 1948 Chevy school bus with a VW bus on top; I understand that it used to follow the Grateful Dead around the country, but much of its history is currently unknown…I’m sure it’s interesting! I built a bedroom off the back of the bus to free up floor space, and know it will continue to morph and change as time goes on. I’ve got a few projects for it planned for the summer, new front brakes, tires, solar power and hopefully a shower off the back, under the bedroom.
We love the story behind your Dune hat purchase.
A few months before [my surf film] Almost Cut My Hair premiered I had developed a bad habit of cruising into Jedlicka’s Saddlery to stare at hats. The Dune became about the only hat I had eyes for and I went back to look at it probably 4-5 times. I hemmed and hawed and in the process did some research on Stetson and it’s heritage, I knew if I was going to spend that much on a hat I had to believe in the company and know where it was made at the very least. What struck a chord with me though was the early history of the company, the fact that on the plains a Stetson was a sign of success to a neighbor or competitor…a cowboy’s status symbol of sorts. I decided then and there- a week before the movie’s premiere and the beginning of my fourth season of the Shapetastic Voyage - that if at this point in my career I didn’t feel like I had accomplished something, that I likely never would. So I sacked up, walked in, bought it, and wore it to the premier.
If you weren’t shaping boards, what would you be doing?
I have no clue! I wanted to do photography and graphic design when I got into shaping, and luckily I still get to do those things almost daily within doing this.
Where is your favorite wave, and which board are you riding on it?
Home, Rincon! I would (and normally do) ride a board that I call the V.Bowls – it’s a mid 7’ single fin that draws really long, clean lines that fit the wave really well.
What advice would you give to 20-somethings looking to turn their craft into a full-time business?
Start now. The sooner you immerse yourself into it fully, the sooner you start learning more than you could imagine. Take it slow and one day at a time, don’t look for more business than you can handle, and focus on slow growth over big moves.
What’s next for Ryan Lovelace?
TEXAS! I head back home for two weeks to get caught up on my orders for friends in Santa Barbara then hit the road with my dog and girlfriend to head for the ranch!
all photos via @ryanlovelace Instagram
Stetson was first and foremost a man: John B. Stetson, a man with extraordinary vision as well as a down-home practicality, who, in 1865, created a hat that makes us proud to be part of the glorious progression of American history.
We take the occasion of our upcoming 150th anniversary to remind all that John B. Stetson established a company as well as his original hat, and since 1906 the John B. Stetson Company has held the trademark registration for Stetson® in the United States.
A “Stetson” is not a type or style of hat. It is not a generic descriptor. We are flattered to be embedded in the consciousness of so many, but a “Stetson” is not a Stetson® unless it is ours, and we take our legacy – and our trademark – seriously.
Thanks kindly, and here’s to another century and a half, at the very least!
Founded in 1865, the Stetson brand got its name from its founder, John B. Stetson. Nearly 150 years later, Stetson has become a renowned provider of apparel, footwear, accessories, fragrance, home décor, and spirits— spreading quality products with authentic American spirit to all corners of the globe. For additional information, please visit http://www.stetson.com/ or follow us at @StetsonUSA.
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas performing their never-before-recorded song “Cry Cry Cry” live in the Stetson Showroom
Last Thursday, we teamed up once again with MTheory, And Publishing, & Hidden Track Music for the Hide & Seek II showcase at Blackheart Bar on Rainey Street. Festival goers were greeted by a barbershop quartet belting out the classics and optional face painting, as well as complimentary hot dogs. They were then encouraged to weave through the front yard, through the house-turned-bar, and into the backyard where bands were performing straight through from noon to 6pm.
We provided a wide selection of hats and helped the artists find their style soul mate to complete their look before their set time. Other Stetson swag up for grabs for everyone included bandanas, pins, and t-shirts. Roaming photographers armed with Polaroids snapped stolen moments of the crowd (including Winston and Ted of Mumford and Sons) as another keepsake from the event.
Enjoy these photos by Daniel Davis of our favorite moments from the event:
Oh SXSW, you never disappoint. Great weather, amazing music, and all of the Tex-Mex and BBQ we could physically consume.
We arrived in ATX late Tuesday night, and started Wednesday morning at Magnolia Café on South Congress with their chipotle eggs benedict. We continued exploring South Congress, visiting places such as Allen Boots, Big Top Candy Shop, and Uncommon Objects, where we actually uncovered a vintage Stetsonian hat!
We made our way downtown for some more sightseeing when we bumped into our Center Stage Artist, Jessica Hernandez at the Deltas right before they played the Live Nation Party at the Annex.
After swinging by a few more showcases, the Stetson team met up for Mexican food and margaritas at Guero’s on South Congress. Whether you go for the enchiladas, tacos, or polenta (or all three in a combination plato), you will leave satisfied.
Stay tuned for a recap on our showcase at Blackheart Bar!
We are so excited to be heading back down to Austin, Texas for the SXSW music festival! Here is a list of what we’ll be up to while we’re down there:
Thursday, March 13th we will be at Blackheart Bar with And Publishing, Hidden Track Music, and MTheory presenting some of the top up-and-coming European based artists. There will be a ton of whiskey to choose from, free hot dogs, and Stetson swag. What more could you want?
(photo courtesy of Hatbox)
Come see us Friday at Hatbox, a Modern Haberdashery located at 115 E 6th Street in the heart of downtown Austin. We will be selling a wide array of Stetson hats that will help protect you from the intense Texas sun in style.
Last but not least, we teamed up with the Agency for the Performing Arts to present some of the best new artists APA has to offer at The Palm Door located at 508 E. 6th Street. Sorry, this one is official, so you’ll need a badge for entry.
We hope to see you there!
We woke up Saturday morning with what could only be described as a fried food hangover, so we paid a visit to what might be the only juice bar in the state of Tennessee called Juice Nashville to revive ourselves.
We started wandering down Division Street after grabbing lattes at Bond Coffee when a pale yellow 1967 Ford F250 caught our eye. We
ran walked over to the truck, which turned out to be owned by King Baby, a badass handmade jewelry company that combines silver with precious stones and leathers wearable by everyone from bikers to pop stars. After getting a tour of their store/studio with Kim, we met the owner Mitchell and took a few photos by that glorious f250. Before we parted ways, Kim gave us a super helpful list of places to try to visit before we left the next morning.
One of our favorite stops along our Tour du Nashville was HatWRKS, a hat shop owned by Gigi Gaskins who is also a milliner herself. Her store is covered from floor to ceiling with Stetsons, her own custom hats, and a few other companies as well, so it’s no wonder that rock stars and movie stars make it a point to swing through her store to pick up a new hat whenever they’re in town. She is extremely knowledgeable of the headwear industry and is a true artist. Make sure to stop in and say hello if you ever find yourself on 8th Avenue South.
After a lot of running around, we drove over to East Nashville to try The Silly Goose, which was recommended by a lot of the locals. This place is all about fresh, wholesome ingredients. You really can’t go wrong with any of the couscous dishes or sandwiches.
After dinner, we went back to our hotel to change and head to the #1 recommended stop by friends who have visited Nashville: Santa’s Pub. Named one of the best dive bars by Esquire, it’s a karaoke bar that only serves beer (for reasons only Santa can explain) and if you cuss, you’re getting kicked out. It’s a little off the beaten path of downtown and the strip, but it’s totally worth a visit. Best of all? He’s a die-hard Stetson fan.
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page.”
Have you ever heard the story of how the John B. Stetson Company came about? It’s kind of a long story, but the original Stetson hat dubbed “The Boss of the Plains” was actually created by John B Stetson on the fly while traveling with a group out West. When he returned in 1865, he borrowed some money and started a modest company that would end up an American heritage company nearly 150 years later.
Would John B. Stetson’s legacy been as great had he not ventured West? We will never know. But feeling inspired by uncle Stetson, a few of us decided to pack our car with a camera and a stack of hats, and head down to Nashville.
We hit the road bright and early and got a few hours of driving in before we stopped for pancakes and coffee in Maryland. Awake and energized, we continued our Southwest adventure.
Virginia welcomed us with picturesque views that lasted throughout our short drive through “The Old Dominion”
Anxious to hit Nashville, we skip lunch and grab some snacks at a gas station in West Virginia, but then we got distracted by some picturesque windy roads and decided to grab the camera…
Back on the road! The rest of West Virginia was a blur, but we all perked up as soon as we saw the “Welcome to Kentucky” sign. We took I-64 for another three hours and landed at Willie’s Locally Known in Lexington. We were in deep-fried-and-bourbon-flavored-everything heaven. If you are ever lucky enough to find yourself here, order the fried green tomatoes, the blackberry habanero chicken wings, and the ribs. Try any of the local bourbons on the rocks and wash it down with a pint of KY bourbon ale. The atmosphere was laid back with a dark ambiance and the live music was homegrown bluegrass and folk by the Rumpke Mountain Boys. Unfortunately it was too dark to take any photos of the restaurant or food, but you can tease yourself here by looking at the menu.
We each walked out of Willie’s in a fried food coma but knew we had to muster up the strength to drive the last three hours to our final destination, Nashville. Naturally, a heavy rainstorm joined us that stretched out the duration of our drive but we finally made it around 1 am! All of the plans we had made in the car to visit downtown once we arrived vanished when we checked into our hotel and swan dove onto our beds.
Check back Monday for day 2 when we explore Nashville!
Miley Cyrus wearing the customized Bar None hat Madonna gave her as a gift.
Check back for pt. 2 coming soon!
Did anyone catch Miley wearing our Bar None hat (customized by Madonna’s stylist) during her Unplugged set on VH1?
Get yours here.