Saturdays Surf NYC
Saturdays Surf NYC has anchored a new and authentic surf culture in a city that is, or perhaps was, the antithesis of that lifestyle.
The bustling concrete jungle of New York City isn’t known as the natural habitat of the briny-bronzed and bleached. For many years, while “surf culture” may have been visible in the city, it was marketing-driven and detached from the area’s substantial history with the sport. Spring would roll around, and so would the decorative surfboards and banners of boardshort-laden pubescents. But where was the honesty in it? And how could the New York surfer relate? Colin Tunstall, Josh Rosen, and Morgan Collett made it their mission to solve exactly this with the 2009 birth of Saturdays Surf NYC.
The core of surfing itself is authenticity. It is a respect for the basic and primitive — an honesty with yourself, your physical capabilities, and a unity with the elements. It’s also about diligence and dedication. The best beaches and waves are reserved for those who have earned them — a constant hustle that is reminiscent of the work ethic of The City. There’s something beautiful in the relationship between the flux of New York — the swell of suited bodies in rush hour tides — and the ebb and flow of the ocean. The ’66 film, Endless Summer, almost perfectly foreshadowed this with shots of high profile surfers Hynson and August donning perfectly tailored suits and pomade-controlled locks with their boards tucked casually under arm. With a constantly rising population of the young and adventurous, it was only a matter of time before New Yorkers realized that Rockaway was only a train ride away.
But the New York surfer can’t live their life shirtless in sandals (have you seen the A train in the summer?). For Saturdays (and potentially the first time for a surf brand), luxury was the lifestyle of their customer. The mold had to break. So Saturdays utilized the philosophy of New York City culture to drive the design of their products, while paying homage to the refinement of OG surfers from the ‘50s. Sustainable, timeless, and contemporary pieces would allow materialism to take a backseat to utility. Think cotton poplin wovens effortless enough to toss over 7 AM salty skin, along with the style to hold up at the office and just enough edge to untuck for after-work drinks. The typical Saturdays customer doesn’t want hibiscus patterned polyester gear, nor will they spend money on it. The dedication and love of surf is subtle and personal to the New York surfer. It’s a contribution to the balance of other passions.
This balance is depicted perfectly in the offerings within any Saturdays shop. Classic leather goods ornament casual cotton and nylon staples, many of which are decorated with nothing more than simple branding or the collaborative artwork of partner artists, if anything at all. Custom soaps mimic surf wax, but you won’t find any cliched coconut amongst the rich eucalyptus and delicate foraged fruit scents. A curated selection of media and artwork, including “Expencive Porno Movie”, an experimental surf film shot on Super16, provide just the right amount of surf imagery. These items allow the Saturdays customer to become immersed in the lifestyle in a way that integrates with other factors of their identity. Saturday’s ‘open arms policy’ embraces the daily realities that deviate from the traditional surf lifestyle. This keeps them relevant to a multitude of customers while embracing an identity gap they couldn’t possibly fill: “you”. Whether finance, design, marketing, or barista, there is something truly authentic for everyone.
Saturdays is dedicated to respecting the environment that “surf” is interjected into, which is obvious in the nuanced customization of each flagship as much as the patterns and actual stock of each location. Their Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya, and Osaka locations all deeply respect the discerning eye and intention of the Japanese shopper, scaling back the branding to allow each shop to fuse seamlessly into their respective neighborhoods. Local influence even bled into the Spring 15 collection with the Crosby Safari woven, hugely inspired by Tokyo’s iconic Hotel Okra graphic wall coverings. A Saturdays cold brew coffee is only available at the Bondi location, and the Crosby street flagship features a private courtyard to escape the urban bustle.
A surf shop for the sophisticated, Saturdays is just as much for the weekend warrior as the dawn patrol. The Saturdays lifestyle is one of passion. It isn’t the choice between hard work in the city and the freedom of the water. It’s embracing the rhythm of both.
Learn more about Saturdays Surf NYC and shop the entire collection online at saturdaysnyc.com.