So, there I was, editing a magazine in a world of dying print publishers. My employees, my friends, my competitors, dropping like flies, and personally, after almost a decade in the same office, I was getting quite itchy feet. So…I quit and started a traction pad company.
Editing Surfing Life Magazine was an amazing experience. The content was always strong and we learned to do a lot with very little, nurse and grow relationships with valuable partners and pump out a lot of work in a small amount of time. But, after almost a decade, I figured it was time to shift these skills, relationships and work ethic into something kinda, sorta totally different… but also not.
Enter my new, little project: PAAD Traction. Don’t you think it’s absolutely ridiculous to have to pay $50+ USD for a piece of traction – especially when the majority of them are covered in the most heinous of graphics and colors? Yeah, so do I. So, I took stock of the market; the big guys doing their thing, resting on their laurels; the surf brands, and board brands, producing their own product, but really not making too much noise; a couple of smaller guys having a dig.
So, we launched our little venture on Boxing Day of 2016 with the aim of providing simple, functional, good-looking, lower-cost traction, sans ego.
Oh, right, but you came here to find out how I pissed of Noa Deane, didn’t you!?
Well, I heard on the surf industry grapevine that the RAGE TM boys, a brand spearheaded by Creed McTaggart, Noa Deane, Ellis Ericson, Beau Foster and Toby Cregan, took a bit of offense at some parts of the our brand credo, this in particular:
“We won’t push some pseudo-punk ethos on you, because in reality, we’re all a bunch of ponces prancing around in tight, black suits and it doesn’t even hurt when we fall off. That ain’t punk.”
Honestly, I love those guys and what they’re doing. I was always amped to run content of them when editing Surfing Life, especially Noz and Creed. If you sent Shieldsy to shoot one session with Noa then he’d come back with ten cover options! All of their team are incredibly talented and I am still hanging on any new clips they’re about to drop.
But, in reality, the PAAD message was developed long before I, or anyone else, knew anything about RAGE TM. So, while I’m flattered they even noticed us, it’s a little pretentious that they think our jargon is directed at them. Some people take affronts to their brand or product – even ones just based in assumption – far too personally.
Either way, I love an industry in a state of flux. It’s how the surf industry with born and continues to grow. I’m interested to watch RAGE TM’s trajectory and how they pivot to accommodate both their personal values and their customers’ values. As their customer grows older, will the appeal of the punk-aesthetic and FTW vibes might grow a little old with them? We all went through that stage and we all spent a truckload of coin on “anti-establishment” surf gear. The RAGE TM crew, themselves, have transitioned through styles and trends to where they are now. Who will they be in a couple of years’ time?
Our project is still small-time at the moment, and I know that. It’s a labor of love. Is it all working? Well, I’m not giving away any other paid jobs yet, that’s for sure! But we’re moving more products each week than we did the last, and I’m learning a ton in the process. It’s nice to leave a steady check to take a life risk and pursue your passion every so often. I’d like to think we’re, uh, well, gaining traction? (sorry!).