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It’s 10 a.m. on a Thursday morning in Ojai, California, and Anna Ehrgott is putting the finishing touches on a boardbag order so she can sneak away into the nearby Los Padres National Forest. As soon as the last bags hit the local post office, the world’s her playground. Specifically, the afternoon has birdwatching and a few little waves on tap. Ehrgott, who grew up surfing Topanga in Los Angeles, has blazed a path as a surfer-entrepreneur with a calculated eye towards sustainability. While surfing has taken her to some of Earth’s most frigid waters, she and her fiancé, Dane Gudauskas, and puppy Collie Bonnie have recently made Ojai their home. With the Topatopa Mountains as her backdrop, she’s focused her attention on building Sagebrush Bags, her sustainable surfboard bag company, which sources deadstock and upcycled materials to create one-of-a-kind products to protect and transport your surfboards.
“I try to work really hard when I’m home, but I really need distinct breaks to get away from everything,” says Ehrgott. “And road trips are the way I do that.”
While Ojai is better known for horses and old-time charm than surf, it’s well-positioned for adventure. With surf in nearby Ventura, Carpinteria, and Santa Barbara, and the proximity to Los Padres National Forest, it’s a rich HQ for escape. And for Ehrgott, a mad dash for the outdoors is part and parcel of her work-life. Which is why on this fine Ojai afternoon, Ehrgott packed up her Sagebrush-converted cargo van, tacked on a teardrop camper from Outdoorsy, and hit the road.
“Around here we have so much wildlife. The mountains behind here. The Topas. The national parks. There are hundreds of miles of basically Montana back there. We have bears, Bighorn, It’s pretty wild. I always feel this weight lift off my shoulders as soon as I get out of town and go out in the mountains. It feels like such a good reset and I feel like myself again.”