Ahh... Spring. The weather's warming up and it's time to hang up your winter boots to let your toes frolic in the sunshine. It's also time to announce our totally fresh retail partner, Golden Breed.
While talking to the awesome team at Golden Breed, we found out that this top Aussie surf brand had a little more in common with Rainbow Sandals than we thought: Golden Breed started in California USA back in the late 1960s. Yes. Way.
The "Golden Breed" name and logo was first used by surf entrepreneur Francis 'Duke' Boyd in a 1967 surfing competition in California. Textile company Don Rancho Corporation saw it and loved it, registered the trademark, and with a posse of world champion surfers, became the coolest brand on the planet.
In 1969, South Australian surfer John Arnold came across Golden Breed in his travels, bought the license and launched it in Australia. It was a huge success until the late 70s, when unforeseen circumstances threatened the future of the business, and the brand decided to take some time out.
In the late 90s, Golden Breed staged a comeback and barreled its way into the hearts of beach loving Australians. Now a fully-owned Australian company, they're a brand that's all about quality, comfort, and being the "real deal" – something we can totally get behind.
From today, you'll be able to pop into Golden Breed in Byron to get your Rainbows Sandals. Looks like the golden days of Californian surf and beach culture are shining brighter than ever on Lawson Street. We is psyched!
Badass surf pics. Every time we see one, it makes us wish that we were out there rippin’ it up. If you’ve ever tried taking cool photos, you’ll know that it takes some mad skills to really make a picture pop. Lucky for us, we’re hooked up with some of Australia’s best surf photographers like Nate Smith, and he took some time out of his schedule to speak to us about life behind the lens.
The man has worked with the likes of Kelly Slater, Tom Carroll and Taj Burrow. His work has been featured on magazine covers and ad campaigns all over the world. In 2010, he took home two awards at the Red Bull Illume action sports photography contest. When it comes to making your passion your work, legen—waitforit—dary Nate Smith is what it’s all about.
Describe Nate Smith in a sentence.
Nate is a hard working, loyal man who loves getting out and about, meeting people and traveling. Loves dogs and meeting interesting people.
What is a typical day for you like?
Most mornings start with grabbing a coffee with my girl and walking my dog. If I know the waves are going to be good somewhere, I’m up before sunrise to go meet up with whoever I’ve pre-arranged a morning session with. Then back home to take care of the business side of things, sending emails, photos and planning on what's next.
How did you first get into photography?
I came from a fairly competitive surfing background where I surfed a lot of contests, chasing the Pro Surfing dream. I actually was forced out of the water shortly after I won a fairly big contest and the first place trip was to the Mentawais back in 1989 (or thereabouts). I sold the trip to a mate and got myself a camera whilst I was dry docked and healing, and just took photos of the locals guys and then sold them back to them for $5 a photo. I figured it was easy and a cool way to make some money and to also help fund my contests, but I soon gave those up and just kept shooting.
Has it always been surf photography right from the start?
It has been, pretty much. I assisted a Sydney based fashion photographer Adam Watson for many years, in which I really learnt a lot about shooting, finding your style and understanding film and how all that worked. I also learnt how the business side of things worked and how to deal with clients, invaluable really. Surf photography just came naturally, because I’ve always felt super comfortable in the ocean. But if you want to make in surf photography, you really do have to know more than one way of shooting. Just shooting someone on a wave won’t cut it these days.
Favorite surf beach and why?
I have many favorite spots, but my fave is really across the road from my home, South Narrabeen. It’s a great stretch of beach and gives me many options to shoot and surf on the odd occasion.
Who’s your favorite surfer to shoot?
All of the top pros have days where you know you’re going to nail something really special. But the obvious guys like Kelly, Julian, Dane, Jordy always give you something—they know how to work the photo side of things.
Besides surf, what are your other favorite photography subjects?
I'm really fortunate that I have been sent all over the word to shoot surfers, and that usually means going to all types of different places—from concrete jungles and big cities to isolated islands. It’s great to learn how to shoot a cityscape or a beautiful landscape while you’re in these places. I love shooting portraits and I have been working on this for some time now. I usually shoot at least one person in an official manner on every trip and try to incorporate the place that I'm at into the shot. I have a healthy appetite for learning all types of photography, so I’m never bored, that’s for sure.
What inspires you?
I get my inspiration from life. It’s as simple, yet as complicated as that. It’s good to just walk around and watch things go by. I notice things all the time, either when I'm out training, running, or walking with my girl and dog. I don't always have a camera with me, but I like to observe everything. I like watching other photographers, and I find people who are learning to take photographs very interesting. You can learn from everyone and everything just by keeping your eyes open.
Can you name a favorite photographer or work that has influenced you?
Toughest question yet. Well, there are lots really, but Jon Frank, Jeff Hornbaker and Ted Grambeau are some of the guys I most enjoyed viewing work from in the early days. There are so many people who take beautiful images, and I like seeing everything—good and bad. I really enjoy looking at what a few fashion photographers do too.
What kind of gear do you use?
I use all Canon gear at the moment.
What’s your favorite lens and why?
I think my canon 24-70 f2.8 series II, because it suits my needs perfectly. It’s an L Series Lens and glass—it’s hard to beat.
Do you have a favorite piece of work?
I have a few that stick out in my mind, but for different reasons. One is the Andrew Mooney shot that won the Close Up and Athletes Choice Award in the RedBull Illume back in 2010. Red Bull sent me to Dublin Ireland for a week of festivities, so that was cool. And another fave is a portrait shot of former pro surfer Nathan Hedge in Western Australia taken earlier this year. I like it for what it represents and what I somehow managed to capture that in the photo. Not everyone gets your personal work, but that’s the beauty of photography, it’s personal.
What is the one thing that you wish you knew when you first started taking photos?
One thing I wish I knew would be that although I get to go to a lot of really nice surf breaks, I have very little time to actually ride some of the waves. I hardly surf anymore that's one thing I need to change.
Is there a surfer/place that you really wish to photograph but haven't yet?
Yes, there is actually. It’s a place that’s been shot a bit lately but it’s a place I have not gone to myself—yet. It’s called Apocalypse, it’s in West Java and I want to get up there and put my spin on it real bad. It’s one crazy wave but sadly it’s very hard to get on. Soon though!
What’s your most memorable project to date?
Young guns II for Quiksilver. It was held on a BIG extravagant boat with the whole Quiksilver Team, and there was a helicopter strapped to the boat for 2 weeks. Easily the best way to shoot and the best trip I’ve done.
Is there a particular project you’re working on right now?
Nothing major, but I have started photographing Sydney CBD from a lot of different angles. I really love shooting cityscapes and after spending some time in NYC last year, I now see Sydney in a whole new light.
If you had to be a camera part, what would you be and why?
I would have to be some prime piece of L series glass, like a 50mm 1.2 lens. It’s a quality L Series Lens that would be always pointed at cool things, not a lens that would be replaced anytime soon.
What advice do you have for someone who’s thinking of getting into pro photography?
Make sure you have a backup job. That would be the very first piece of advice I’d hand over. And learn yourself—it’s the only way. No point asking someone how to do anything, as I believe if you do this, you’re shooting for the wrong reasons straight up. It’s fun to learn, so get out there and make mistakes and learn that way. Plus, it’s even easier now that we shoot digital. Find your own style and have fun.
What is your usual getup when you’re out shooting?
Well, now I’ll have my Rainbow Sandals glued to my feet. Normally in summer, I’m in shorts and a t-shirt. I don’t like sunscreen when I’m shooting (its ends up all over the place) so I usually have a really big lightweight towel over my head that goes down to my waist and to my hands. In winter, I’ll rug up accordingly.
What do you love about Rainbow Sandals?
What’s not to love about them! They look and feel great. They wear in rather nicely and mold really well to your feet. I can wear them anywhere and with anything—shorts, jeans, on planes, anywhere. They are pretty damn good. Get some.
Our Byron Bay mate Wispy is in America on a great big adventure, and every once in a while, he’ll check in with us to give us a lowdown on the action.
Recently, he found himself riding the waves in Peru and at the top of Machu Picchu. Were we envious? Maybe just a little more than a lot. But heck, we're psyched that he's out there traveling and having a cracking time!
Here’s the update he sent us. What can we say? The bloke’s boss.
Hi RS Oz,
I just thought I’d send you a couple of photos of my trip to Peru.
I took my Rainbows all the way to the top of Mt Machu Picchu. I was hoping for some sunshine to get a nice clear pic, but it rained all day. I hiked for 13 hours that day and it rained the whole time. (I didn’t do it in my Rainbows, I just put them on at the top for a bit hahaha)
Excuse the mozzie bites hahaha
Before that, I was in Lobitos in the north of Peru. It’s a small fishing village, really dry, pretty much the desert with oil fields on land and a few offshore oil rigs. The waves are good, Peru has point breaks all along the coast and the best of them are up north near Lobitos. I stayed there for about 2 weeks, then the waves went flat, so I headed off to see Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is amazing! It’s full of tourists, but the ruins and the surrounding jungle is crazy, really a must see!
I’m back in California at the moment, hopefully heading down to Mexico in Dcember, then home in January.
Hope all is well for you.
Please be warned that this blog post is peppered with puns. Sorry, but we could't help ourselves.
We get quite a few emails every day from Rainbow Sandals fans, but when we received an email from Hayden Quinn of MasterChef Australia fame, some of the girls on the team went nutty as fruitcakes.
Of course we were keen as mustard to get him on Team Rainbow, so we mailed him a pair of Premier Leather Sierra Browns and got a chance to chew the fat with him a little.
You might know that he cooks, he surfs, loves the ocean and was 2012 Cleo Bachelor of the Year, but did you know that if he were a kitchen utensil, he would be a lemon juicer? Yeah, we didn't think so. It's something he only tells good mates... like us. We're like two peas in a pod. Maybe. At least that's how we feel. Too creepy? Man, we just like the guy.
Tell us about the first time you surfed and why you love it. One of my first waves I ever surfed stand-up was on an old coolite board which an older family friend passed onto me. It was in Greenmount Bay on the Goldy (looked a lot different back then). I guess I just loved the feeling and the freedom and that 'salty sunburnt head' feeling you get when you get out.
What do you love most about the ocean? The multitude of excitement it can provide for us -- surf, fun, beauty, food, insights. It's a life source.
Favorite beach: Dee Why, where I grew up.
What is your favorite place to eat at and why? At home, mainly because I get to share the meal with people most important to me -- friends, family, loved ones. And if I am super lucky, someone else will be cooking, like Mum. Haha.
If you were a food, what would you be? Octopus.
If you were a kitchen utensil, what would you be? Lemon juicer.
If you could pick any person (living or otherwise) to cook for, who would he/she be and why?
My grandfather. I never got to meet him so it would be unreal to see what sort of person he was.
What was the first recipe you ever created? One of the first recipes I ever cooked was the classic Toad in a Hole. It was something I would cook when I got home from school. It is in my new cookbook Dish It Up, which will be available December this year. Check out my current eBooks at www.haydenquinn.com.au/shop
First place ever traveled to: Internationally, that was NZ for a rugby trip. 2003 I think. Since then I have packed a lot in.
Favorite place visited: Damn. Central America was pretty amazing, but then I love Italy (just got back from there) and India was a real experience.
Where you would really like to visit: Not really a place, but one day, I want to do the Trans Siberian Railway, which is a massive train journey from Beijing, China to St Petersburg, Russia, or vice versa.
Cook, Presenter, Author. If you could only be one, which would it be? Ideally, I would love to be a better writer. I have always enjoyed writing about my travels. If you can write, then you can do all the other stuff and share it with everyone.
What is your favorite daily attire? Shorts, Rainbows, grey or white shirt.
Why do you love your Rainbow Sandals? 'Cause the more you wear them, the better looking they get.
In June 2013 when we were introducing Rainbow Sandals to retail stores in Australia, one of our first stops was Byron Bay.
Naturally, we were drawn towards the coolest shops and walked right up to Unplugged. There were hand-shaped surf boards and 70s skates, an original vintage motorbike, and skateboard and surf pics on the walls of their retro-inspired den of fashion, music, art and icons.
After doing our little song and dance routine, we hoped and prayed that these guys would be interested in Rainbow Sandals. In fact, we felt so at home at Unplugged, we would have been totally happy to hang out there and bug them for the rest of the day. But we had to go, our counterpart had just flown in from the US and was zombified with jet lag.
Fast forward to September 1 and we couldn't be more psyched to announce that you can now get your Rainbow Sandals at Unplugged Byron Bay! We'd like to say mahalo to Olivier, the top bloke who curates and cultivates the undeniably pimpin' vibe of Unplugged.
Unplugged Byron Bay is at 1/2 Lawson Street, Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481.
Open Mon - Sun: 9.00 am - 6.00 pm.
While trying to infiltrate the inboxes of retail buyers all across Australia, we came across this guy.
Who is he, you ask? Well, this man is Christian "Wispy" Barker. Surfer of waves, player of guitar, dweller of Byron Bay.
Wispy can spot a fat wave from a mile away. Before we could even tell him who we were and about the totally rad sandals we wanted to put on his feet, Wispy said, "I would like some Sierra Browns."
Ok, so what really went down was, a friend of ours was talking about Rainbow Sandals coming to Oz and Wispy was like, "Dude, I just lost mine and I want some replacements."
Besides having loved then lost Rainbow Sandals, we found out that he rides for McTavish, has an almost famous beard, and plays bass in a band.
Here he is, doing his thing.
Being the top bloke that he is, he obliged us with a Q&A.
Name: Christian "Wispy" Barker
Home town: South West Rocks, resides in Byron Bay
Weight: Not much
Sponsors: Rainbow Sandals, Mctavish, Super Awesome
Shaper: Bob Mctavish
Magic Stick: Mctavish Blue Bird, single fin 6’8”x 20 1/2”x 2 1/4”
Favourite Surf Spot: Indonesia
Favourite Wave: Desert point. Its super crowded but you only need one good wave out there and you're stoked.
Favourite Maneuver: High line speed trim (Not the most radical maneuver, but it feels so good!!)
When and how you started surfing: My first surf was probably around the age of 8 but I didn’t really get into it till I was about 12. My brother was doing it and so were most of my mates, so I just followed suit. There's not a lot else to do in a small coastal town when you're a grom. I’m so glad that I stuck with it.
Inspirations: Family, my girl, friends, Joel Tudor, Tom Curren, Hendrix, nature, too many to list...
Other stuff you do besides surfing: Play guitar, skate, travel, read, take photos. I also like making things with my hands, like bits of furniture and stuff for around the house.
One little known interesting fact about yourself: My beard has its own Facebook page.
Why you love Rainbow Sandals: They are the most comfortable shoes I own! They mould so well to your feet and get better with age.
Psyched to have you rockin' Rainbows, Wispy!
Gosh, we've been on quite a run around to get to you guys, but we made it and we're excited to say, "It's bizness time."
So here we are, bringing you the most awesome thongs that are a staple of almost every Californian's wardrobe. If you own a store, or know someone who knows someone who owns a store, and you're interested in getting Rainbow Sandals in, drop us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a parting word from the people behind California's most loved footwear.