Editor’s Note: This episode of CREATORS is presented by our partners at RAEN.
Within two minutes of entering Tanner Gudauskas’ tastefully designed Oceanside home, we make a beeline to the surf dojo. The surf dojo is a detached space that measures about three-hundred square feet, and it’s jammed to the brim with surfy paraphernalia: a Weird Waves poster signed by Dylan Graves, a Stoke-A-Rama poster signed by all the participating groms, an old Surfing magazine cover signed by Christian Fletcher, a VHS copy of Momentum by Taylor Steele on top of a well-worn VHS player, and a few prototypes of Positive Vibe Warriors soft-tops.
Today, the guys are especially frothy about a collaboration with Mikey February and JUJU Surf Club that just released. While the brothers grew up in San Clemente, there’s been a Gudauskas diaspora in the past few years. Dane and his wife Anna ventured north to the Ventura area. Pat started his family in San Clemente, and Tanner scooted south to Oceanside about five years ago. So getting the brothers and their high-five energy together in one room is pretty special.
The RAEN ambassadors are all incredibly talented surfers. Tanner and Pat spent time navigating the WSL ranks to the World Championship Tour, and Dane carved a path for himself surfing interesting waves on interesting boards. They’re generous with smiles and good energy, and in deciding to build Positive Vibe Warriors together, they’ve committed to magnifying the connective aspects of surfing for all-comers. The Gudauskas brothers know that despite all the fun, surfing can be intimidating. And it’s not always welcoming to beginners. They feel strongly that surfing belongs to everyone to enjoy. And when it comes to a surfing welcoming committee, the Gudauskas brothers and their creation, Positive Vibe Warriors, are second to none.
“We’ve always been proud of actions speaking louder than the words on the board or the shirt,” says Tanner, referring to the nonprofit arm of Positive Vibe Warriors that includes surfboard drives and free contests for groms that they host annually. “It can be a slogan that lifts your day. It started as a mantra. The perspective is glass half full.”
They take inspiration from the rest of the RAEN team, too. Referencing Kassia Meador, JJ Wessels, and Tia Blanco, they’re drawn to individuals carving their own path.
“It’s really just appreciating and celebrating uniqueness,” says Dane. “All of those individuals are creative and inspired about what they do. “They stand apart from the general masses. It inspires you to be who you are inside and to follow whatever pursuits you want to do, whether it’s something that no one’s ever heard of or something that everyone’s heard of.”
“That’s the goal,” says Tanner. “To be able to continue living how we live creatively; enjoying the ocean. However you can do that, that’s kind of like the dream…Positive Vibe Warriors is genuine. It’s just who we are.”
“It’s more about sustainably connecting to surf,” says Pat. “We just want to be surfers our whole lives, and I think that we will be.”
All three of the brothers share in the belief that there is no singular way to be a surfer. It’s open to everyone, open to any interpretation of riding waves. Surfing has taken them all over the planet. They’ve made friends in every corner of the globe, shared adventures with all manner of people, and throughout it all, surfing has been the backbone. And that’s what they want to share: not so much the actual act of riding waves, but all the things that comes with it.
“You can tell that creativity is a huge part of our life,” says Dane. “How to make people inspired to go surfing and share it with each other. Bring families together. Bring strangers together. Just surf and enjoy it. Surfing is ultimately fun. It’s enjoyable. To see others have that opportunity to access it and experience it in whatever capacity they want – that feels good to us.”
For more of our CREATORS series with RAEN, check out episodes with Kassia Meador, Tia Blanco, and JJ Wessels.