Alex Gray Talks Surf and Careers With Kids of S.O.Y.

What a way to wrap up our Surf Days with the kids at Westside Costa Mesa’s S.O.Y. program! After spending 3 days surfing with the staff at S.O.Y. and volunteers from Volcom and Froghouse, the kids had the great opportunity to get some insight from world class, big wave CHARGER Alex Gray.

Before he arrived, Alex had asked, “What should I talk about?” but I think that was a formality, because Alex knew just what to say to remind these kids about the life lessons we learn as surfers, and about following your passion, sticking to it, and being triumphant – even if you are a little…scared.

I think my favorite life lesson and analogy of his was of relaxing in stressful times. The ocean, he reminded the kids, is so big, “you won’t win” so all you can do, in all that turmoil is to relax and go with it. “Wait for things to settle down a bit, and then use your energy to make your way through the opening.” He reminded the kids that sometimes life can throw situations at you that feel a little rough and tumble, but just like in surfing, you need to take a breath, relax, and let the situation pass. I think that’s a valuable reminder for most of us :)

Thanks Alex, for taking time out of what was one of the biggest days here in Newport to come and hang with us and talk story. We appreciate it, and I know it’s something the kids won’t soon forget.

PS Thanks, SOY for the Volcom Brownie!!

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Word on the Street – An Intern’s Perspective

By Jaime G. – Volcom Sustainability Intern

Intern - Jaime G. - Switch Frontside Big Spin Pic by Michael Joseph Perry

Hey Everyone! My name is Jaime Gutierrez and I attend San Diego State University where I am soon to be one of the first graduating classes to hold a degree in Sustainability. I have been working with Axel Eaton this summer as a Sustainability Intern and we’ve been working on everything from helping out with our recycling program here at Volcom HQ, to participating in beach clean ups with the dedicated Surfrider Seal Beach/HB Chapter, as well as having a blast learning how to surf with the enthusiastic kids of Costa Mesa through the “Save Our Youth” program. Working at Volcom HQ with Derek Sabori has really been an epic learning experience. It is great to be surrounded by people who share the same passion as you – whether it is surfing, skateboarding, or snowboarding, we are all shaped by our surrounding environments. For that reason, Volcom’s New Future is true to  keeping these board sports alive and well by fighting to keep our oceans healthy, protecting the air we breathe, and mitigating the consequences of climate change that can adversely affect board sports. Being able to apply my knowledge from school to real life scenarios alongside with my passion for skateboarding has been unreal and I couldn’t be more stoked!

Word on the Street

Although I have spent my fair share working at Volcom HQ, I also had the privilege to work off-site and get a sense of how our sustainability initiatives are affecting the action sports industry as well as our local community. That said, I visited local shops such as Frog House in Newport Beach as well as Surfside Sports in our very own Costa Mesa and also participated in a very successful beach cleanup with Surfrider. Let’s just say I got more out of it than I expected. Not only did I receive some valuable insight, I was also lucky enough to meet some awesome people who are doing their part in making a difference in this world.

The overarching goal of this project was to see how the public views Sustainability and what they would like to see done. We also wanted to see if Sustainability attributes in our products at Volcom influence the customer in their purchasing decisions. We will use this data to help improve our Sustainability Department and respond to the needs and interests of our customers.

Duke at Surfside

One of the first people I was lucky enough to interview was Duke Edukas, the co-owner of Surfside Sports whose shop has been true to this industry since 1975. Not only is Duke helping out our surfers, skateboarders, and snowboarders with some of the finest products, but he also shares a passion for creating a better, healthier future. Another person who took time out of their busy workday to answer some of our questions is Sales Associate Tyler at Jack’s Surf Shop in busy Huntington Beach.  Thanks Tyler! As an avid surfer, Tyler has a direct connection with the marine environment and is fighting for cleaner, healthier beaches. We also interviewed Keith a Sales Associate/Surfer at legendary Frog House at Newport Beach. With Keith’s superb knowledge of the local surf scene, these interviews were far from dull.

A few questions were geared towards finding out what Sustainability means to the individual, what can Volcom do to improve Sustainability as a company, and if there hope for the new future.

In the Shops: Some of the opening questions we asked:

JG: What does Sustainability mean to you? What’s your connection with the environment?

“Sustainability means, to me, our caring about not just the “now” but about the future… the future of the world, our children, our grandchildren, etc. Unless we are responsible with what we do now the future won’t be as good as it could be. I live in this world… isn’t that connection enough? The air we breathe, the water we drink. California is going through a dramatic drought right now so we have to be careful and make sure we don’t destroy the environment for the future. We have to act responsibly.” – Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports

“Sustainability means to me something that is durable and will last for a long time. If you break the word down, the ability to sustain gives it a deeper meaning when you look at the environment surrounding us. My connection with the environment is that I surfed this morning… its beautiful weather, especially when you’re out in the water. Seeing a plastic bag floating around is not something you hope to see… a lot of people need to do their part.” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB

“A way to produce new products from old products. The ability to not run out of a resource. As a surfer, there is a direct connection with the environment.” –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House 

JG: Did you know Volcom has a Sustainability Department? If you did, any ideas of what goes on in that department? 

 “Yes I did, led by Derek “The Man” Sabori. I know you guys do “Giveback Series” that goes towards environmental efforts.” -Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports

“Yes, because of the stone recycle logo.  I’d imagine trying to improve and find different materials and different ways to be more efficient.”  –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House   

“No idea. I could imagine probably clean ups.” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB

Keith's Stoked!

The second realm of questions was to see how our efforts are affecting the public and how we can improve our Sustainability Department.

JG: We’re really excited about the work we’re doing and the progress we’re making – What can we do to let the public know more about our Sustainability efforts?

“I feel like it’s a delicate subject not to shove in someone’s face without sounding pretentious. I think subtlety is the best approach along with small things as the logo change… it’s something small but makes such a big impact.” –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House    

“Recycled bags are a good way to start and spread awareness. I do feel like you guys need to hype it a bit more, market it a little better, post photos on Instagram, etc. Throw some posters up in our shop we get a lot of foot traffic in here!” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB

“More programs such as the donation of jeans that went to helping the homeless. It was a great deal.” – Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports    

What would you like to see us do as a company in regards to Sustainability?

“Having Sustainability in all aspects of the brand.” –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House

“I think you guys are on the right track listening to people like Derek who are on the fore-front of the movement within your company and if people like Derek are the fore-fronts within all the companies it will translate into a movement through our industry.” -Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports    

“There’s a lot that can be done. Clean ups and product lines are a good start. They have influence on the everyday person. Going out and speaking to the community is another effective way since word-of-mouth is so powerful. Kind of what you’re doing right now.” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB

JG: Are you willing to pay more for an organic, responsibly grown cotton tee? Or an item made with Recycled Polyester rather than virgin poly? If so, what’s your limit?

“Yeah for sure. A few bucks here and there wouldn’t hurt for a good cause.” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB    

“I’d be willing to pay more if the fit was better or if there was some added benefit such as the fit, style, etc…but for the pure fact that it was recycled probably not.” –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House   

“I am willing to pay more… limit? There’s no limit… with the stipulation that customers buy it. It’s all about that. If customers buy it, I’ll buy as much as they can shove down my throat.” -Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports    

Lastly, we wanted to see what our fellow shops thought about the new future.

JG: Do you believe Sustainability initiatives in the action sports industry are influencing youth in any way?

“Absolutely. Every time we do something like that as an industry, it translates into a trickle-down effect to our younger clientele, our younger sports enthusiasts that we set the example and they’ll also live by.”  -Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports         

Tyler's Hanging Loose

“I wouldn’t say so. From what I’ve seen, kids think the Earth’s going to be the same forever and ever. They’re just living in it, not really taking action. They just want to get out and surf… but if they see the beach really polluted they’ll think twice.” –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB    

JG: With collective Sustainability efforts in the action sports industry, do you think we can make a difference?

“I think so… simply by setting an example for the youth. It has to start somewhere.” -Duke, Co-Owner of Surfside Sports 

“Absolutely. It comes down to  a lot of factories in China pumping out a lot of clothes and its whether or not those factories are willing to adapt to a larger picture.” –Keith, Sales Associate at Frog House     

Yes. Especially Volcom. Volcom has a huge “say so” in the action sports industry and pull in society. Volcom is a good company to make this change.”  –Tyler, Sales Associate at Jack’s HB 

At the Beach: Along with interviewing the local shops, we also found out how those passionate about keeping our beaches clean feel about our initiatives in Sustainability. Thanks to Surfrider for letting us help out on this productive day. I was fortunate enough to hear from those participating at the beach clean-up and met some folks such as Mike, Jessica, and Kylee. Each of these folks has their own unique background and perspective.

Mike, a long time surfer and Huntington Beach local had quite a few things to say.

JG and Mike Cleanin' it Up

JG: What do you think about our zero waste program where we are trying to aim for as little waste as possible after our events? It’s a great effort to have in mind.  Especially in a place like Hawaii. I bet the locals were really happy about that.

JG: Do you feel Volcom’s efforts in Sustainability are a good way to get our youth involved? Oh yeah… That’s a great way to teach them… because they probably do not get that in many other places… I doubt they get that much in school or society in general. Really good to focus on that especially if they are kids who are surfing and skating.

After having spent a few hours at the beach cleanup, there was a hard worker that caught our attention that was there from the start of the event. Her name is Kylee and she was taking charge of the sorting of trash to help make this beach cleanup more efficient. Volcom recognizes hard work and we made sure to hook Kylee up with some Volcom gear as well as an interview.

Kylee is 16 years old and attends Edison High School in Huntington Beach.

JG: We’ve been seeing you working hard all day sorting out trash from the beach cleanup. What drives you to be so passionate about cleaning up here? I originally started because I needed community service hours. But when I finished, I realized I really liked working here, helping out, and helping out with the environment so I kept coming back. I really like it.

JG: Did you draw this inspiration from your high school, friends, or just being a local here? Yeah just being a local here. Just seeing everyone littering… it’s your own beach… you just see it and want to help.

JG: What do you feel about companies such as Volcom making efforts in Sustainability? I think it’s awesome. What you guys are doing here is so awesome. I really support it. Thank you guys so much for doing this.

After having interviewed Kylee, we met Jessica who is with Surfrider. Just like the rest of the crew at Surfrider, Jessica was extremely passionate about making changes in this world to produce a better tomorrow. Here are a couple of things Jessica had to say…

JG: What do you feel about companies such as Volcom making efforts in Sustainability? It’s great but I feel you guys should improve on reaching out. Think about how many people like Volcom, but would like Volcom more if people knew they were trying to be environmentally responsible and spread awareness.  That’s where I believe a lot of these companies are lacking. They have these entire departments dedicated to Sustainability but no one knows…

JG: Are you willing to pay more for an organic, responsibly grown cotton tee? Absolutely. They’re marked up a little more but people are still buying. I wish more companies would be doing this.

JG: What would you like to see us do as a company in regards to Sustainability? I wish none of the processes with clothes went overseas… think about all the fuel that is being used shipping clothes back and forth.

Outro: After interviewing some of these charismatic, awesome folks, we found out how people felt about Sustainability and our efforts in trying to create a better new future. We also found out some areas we can improve on. Ultimately, receiving this input from “the word on the street” is truly valuable. Learning how we can shape our future from one-another, face-to-face, human-to-human is truly the best way to get on board in making a positive difference in this world. That said, I’m convinced that Volcom is committed to help create a better, healthier, new future that our next generation (and many more) can enjoy. There’s still a lot more work ahead, though…











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Alex Gray x The ECOBOARD Project

This guy rips AND is standing by his ECOBOARD. Developed by our friends at Sustainable Surf, the ECOBOARD Project label is the first, independent 3rd party, consumer facing “eco-label” for surfboards. It verifies the use of more sustainable materials in the surfboards we ride,  and ensures they are made with the latest advancements in green chemistry, and recycled and renewable materials.

Big thanks to Alex Gray for taking the time to share his thoughts…Be sure to ask for the ECOBOARD label on your next board. Hopefully, your shaper/glasser knows about it. If not, you’ll be glad you turned them on to it!

Thanks Nathan Peracciny for another great piece!

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Stoked on the 2nd Annual SOY Surf Days!

By Axel Eaton, Sustainability Intern

Such an amazing time spent with the fun-loving and free-spirited youth of West-Costa Mesa!  For the second year in a row, we spent three days with the organization SOY (Save Our Youth) teaching kids how to surf as part of our Give Back Series.

Save Our Youth was founded on the idea that teenagers needed an alternative to gangs and the temptation of the streets. As a non-profit agency providing a worthwhile option to an at-risk lifestyle, SOY provides a challenging and healthy environment where teens receive mentoring, tutoring, and college preparedness.

Each morning we met about fifteen kids at Orange Street @ 7am.  Despite waking up early the kids were absolutely fired up and ready to go!  Case in point, some of them were so eager to surf that they’d often be in the water before I could even put my wetsuit on.  Mother nature blessed us with perfect waves & conditions with 2-4ft waves and an ocean temp of 68 degrees.

After practicing our technique on the beach we hit the waves for a solid 3 hours or more of surfing, bodysurfing, and boogie boarding!  For most of the kids it was their first time surfing… They blew my mind!  Many of them were getting up and taking waves all the way to the sand as if they’d been doing it for their entire life.  I’d often joke with the kids, “Are you sure this isn’t your first time surfing??”.

Volcom employees like Richie, Jake Hoose, Jack Morrisey, Deniz Pasinli, Jamie Gutierrez, McKenna Gunderson, and Katie from The FrogHouse volunteered as surf instructors.  Also, surfboards were borrowed from Richie and The Froghouse.  Thanks to everyone who helped out!!

Thanks to the Froghouse for their support!

We surfed until we got hungry and then came in for a tasty breakfast from Shirley’s: bagels, coffee, and orange juice.  YUM!  We filled up on caffeine and didn’t waste anytime getting back in the water.

I have been giving surf lessons to family and friends for the past three years.  Surfing with the SOY kids is special; they are so cool!!  First off, they’re fearless and always wanted the biggest and gnarliest waves.  Also, each and every one of them is kindhearted and respectful to their peers and environment.  Finally, it seems like they constantly radiate good vibes and have a fun time no matter what situation they’re in.

The Save Our Youth mission is: nurturing the teen community to make positive decisions in life.  This is evident in the way the kids were acting; I believe that the organization has done an exceptional job in providing an environment for the kids to mature and become well-rounded citizens in their community.

Check out these photos that capture the excitement!

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Volcom Teams with Surfrider HB/Seal Beach Chapter Beach Clean Up in Bolsa Chica

Hey!  I’m Axel Eaton and I attend the University of California Santa Barbara.  This summer Jamie Gutierrez and I have been working for Volcom & Derek Sabori as Sustainability Interns.  I could not be happier; working at the Volcom HQ is such an empowering experience – I am constantly surrounded by amazing people who are doing extraordinary things.

On Saturday, we teamed up with Surfrider Seal Beach/HB.  Long story short, it was an epic day at the beach!  We encouraged all of the volunteers to pick up trash and they could, in return, earn some awesome Volcom sunglasses, hats, and much more.  We rewarded the most hard working and enthusiastic volunteers with Mizu water bottles andtons of Volcom gear.  169 Volunteers showed up on Saturday morning and collectively picked up 258 POUNDS OF TRASH!

Thanks to everyone for doing their part to keep our beaches clean!  Who knew that cleaning up trash could be so fun?



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Summer Daze with Keepers of the Coast

This past Saturday Volcom East and our good Friends over at Keepers Of The Coast held our last Summer Daze Beach Clean-Up event (Whoa! Are we really that far along with summer!?).

The weather was as close to perfect as you could get (Minus the 100 Degree Heat!) and with over 70 volunteers we proceeded to clean up a solid amount of trash along with over 6,000 cigg butts off the beach. We awarded two winners with a pair of our Volcom with Repreve Board shorts and handed out tons of Volcom high wear and stickers to everyone who attended. Local media helped with promotion of the event with 2 of the three main news outlets asking people to donate their time to our events cause.

Here are a couple photos from the day. Enjoy your week!

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Sustainable by Design 2014 – The Second Chapter

Couldn’t be happier to share this with you…

Each year, the focus on sustainability at the Volcom Pipe Pro has intensified and in 2013 Nathan Peracciny created a film to capture the story of the people behind the movement to make the Volcom Pipe Pro ‘Sustainable by Design’ and a certified, Deep Blue Surfing Event™. We followed it up this year with a film that highlights the reach of the story and the affect it had on people all over the world.

The film presented here in it’s entirety, takes an intimate look at the commitment of the sustainability community on Oahu, the beauty of the wave, and the fun we’re having crafting this Deep Blue Certified Surf Event™.

Special thanks to Sustainable Surf, TR3EES, and Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii for their expertise and to Nate Peracciny for his vision and beautiful craft.

PS Check in at the Volcom Surf Instagram feed on Friday July 25th, for details on a Firewire Surfboards giveaway! They were so stoked on the film that they’re helping us celebrate…


Posted in By Derek Sabori, Events, New Future, Sustainable by Design, Volcom Pipe Pro | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Daze – 2014!

Once again Volcom East has partnered up with a local Non-Profit organization out of St. Augustine, FL (Keepers Of The Coast) for our 4th Annual “Summer Daze Beach Clean-Up Series in the Jacksonville and St. Augustine areas of NE Florida. We set up in 5 locations around St. Aug on Saturday, July 5th (The Daze After) and gathered over 150 volunteers that collectively picked up 10,218 cigg butts off of our local beaches along with close to a 1/2 Ton of trash.

We gave out a pair of Volcom Highwear to the first 50 at each event and awarded a pair of our Mod-Tech Boardies to the person who picked up the most cig butts. Our Winner picked up 850 in a 1 hour time period! Goes to show how much our beaches need the spark of these events to get people to understand how important it is to keep them clean.

Stoked we could get the word out through the local papers with a Sunday paper story on the event, two local news channels coming out to cover the event and broadcast them during the evening and late news with our set-up showing :)

Thanks to some of the local outlets that covered the event:

We have one event left for the year on August 2nd in Jacksonville Beach, FL (Volcom East Backyard!)

Get out and join one of these if you can.

PS. A boat load of pirates showed up, too!

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World Oceans Day Hawaii Wrap Up

Yarn Art

Just came off a great weekend celebrating World Oceans Day Hawaii with our friends and event founders, PangeSeed! We were lucky enough to have a sponsorship role and were very happy to be able to premiere the new, soon to be released film by Nathan Peracciny called Sustainable by Design, a look at the New Future stories behind the Volcom Pipe Pro 2014.

Art Show

The event kicked off with a beautiful art exhibition called Sleep With the Fishes featuring the works of Olek and Kozyndan on Friday night and then went into Film Festival mode all weekend long. Saturday night featured the very inspiring movie Revolution by filmmaker Rob Stewart and offered a Q&A by way of Skype with the time difference keeping the activist up into the early morning hours – great opportunity, though, to hear the insights of the film’s ambassador. All the films that were featured are worth learning about and watching if you get the chance.

Sunday was our day, and I was so honored and excited to premiere the story of the story behind the Pipe Pro this year. Nathan did an amazing job connecting the dots for us and I was joined by the people without whom, the New Future story would not be possible. The discussion panel consisted of an All-Star line up of:

  • Kahi Pacarro, Executive Director, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
  • Jim DiCarlo, Founder, Each One Teach One Farms / The Bokashi Bucket / Throw To Grow
  • Jen Homcy, Foundwood Founder, Founding Partner, TR3EES Sustainability Strategies
  • Maureen Purington, Clubhouse Director, Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii – Windward
  • Dave Wassel, Volcom Pro Surfer, Hawaii Ambassador
  • Jason Shibata, Volcom Team Manager, Hawaii Ambassador
  • Tai Van Dyke, Volcom Pro Surfer, Hawaii Ambassador

We had a great discussion regarding community, activation, coastlines, sustainability, surfing, and next year’s Volcom Pipe Pro. Big thanks to all of them – what a privilege to moderate such a talk.

WODH Founders Tre' Packard and Akira Biondo

Happy to Have This Team on My Side

Art for the Seas


The Reason for WODH

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Volcom Japan – Full Circle Event

A Report from Eddie Miyoshi, Volcom Japan

On May 6 Volcom, Patagonia and Full Circle once again sponsored a surf for disabilities event for those in wheel chairs to experience –  Another amazing event!

The beach was packed with families, kids, legend riders, as well as young chargers! This year we had our first 72 year old blind participant, first time on a board, stood up with exhilaration!

Great vibes and great for the community!

In addition this weekend, Full circle flew in Christian Otter Bailey to do a little wheel chair skate and surf demo in Japan, to encourage the kids and local community.

Complete with a full Japanese camera crew and hosts  for a national network broadcast they followed the crew for a week at the skate park and on the beach. Was great to get this kind of exposure for the program on National TV here. They even did a section of the team shopping the Volcom Odaiba store! It was amazing! Big thanks to Otter and Kojimasan for setting this up and making it happen!

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