Friday, March 06, 2009

Surf Fridays!

My lovable and super cool cousin, Lesley Bruening Christianson, shot me an e-mail recently. She thought I might want to know about a long-time friend of hers, Perry Samios, who is making incredibly innovative board bags. She connected me with Perry so I could ask him a few questions but first, here's a little background from Les...

Perry and I met in Santa Cruz in the late 90's. I actually used to work for him at his company, P-CO Productions. We became super good friends. It was always fun to hang out at Perry's cuz he always had the sickest pads.

My favorite was his oceanfront house with the shingles on East Cliff Dr. in Santa Cruz, where everyone would just pull up on their cruisers, and surf directly across the street. We would do lots of fondue parties and pumpkin bowling tourneys after Halloween. Perry is also one of the funniest people I know. He has that raw, sarcastic kind of humor that makes him fun to be around.

We went on a surf trip one year with a few friends to Costa Rica. Spent the majority of time in Pavones (near the Panama border). Pavones is one of Costa Rica's most famous surf breaks offering one of the world's longest lefts, which on a good day, can connect for 2 - 3 minute rides.

Also met up a few times in Maui. Perry is a great surfer. He now has a beautiful little girl named Naya, who I'm sure will grow up with the same love for the ocean, just like her daddy.

Cool, thanks Les! Now, here are a few questions that Perry was kind enough to answer about Soma AirBag Designs and more...

Can you tell me what encouraged you to start this company? It must have been some bad experiences traveling with your board(s). So many people can relate!

Oh yeh! I know that those whom have traveled with their board have their frustrating stories. The first seed of this idea came about in the late 80’s (when glass-on fins were pretty much standard), when I did a South Pacific trip for 6 months and found this inflatable fin block. Produced very cheaply with low end plastic material but insane general concept. It just grew from there.

How did the technology part of these bags come about?

R+D, testing, 25 prototypes, material experimentation, coating experimentation, working with one of the leading factories in the world that does laser heat welding, trial & error & modifications.

I read that the biggest bag will hold a 7'6. Are there plans to make bags for longer boards?

Long board models will be available this Fall along along with KiteSurf bags. Keep your eye on our future line-ups as our expanded line will release a lot of super innovative mixed-medium bags and options. That’s all that I can say for now...but people will be even more stoked. (Note that the online shop has a scroll feature drop-down box offering their current 3 sizes).

Do you know if anyone on the ASP world tour is using the boards?

Not that I’ve heard of yet. We just released our first production run. But Satoshi Sekino (famous Japanese pro surfer) is in discussions with us becoming our Japanese distributor along with his brother. Most existing foam bags are all currently produced in the same handful of factories with same attributes...just different labels and colors. Their marketing is more image-focused (produced by riders) than actual innovation, engineering & foresight. Our angle is really going to be technical with proof in the pudding. That is not saying that we will not be backing pro guys...we’d be stoked but that would be gravy - not the meat. I must be hungry with all of these food references.

Your video was fun to watch - is that you in the video?

Nah, I’m not into being the face guy. I just want to design and make cool, innovative and protective surf stuff. That is Dave from Stretch Surfboards…the coolest cat around. He is such a mellow guy that it is funny hearing people’s responses to him being crazy or aggro. See what a few beers does to ya!

I’ll leak a bit of our future video demo to ya here: It involves 2-story drops on the boards tip and tail along with a little game of hockey...except the puck is a Soma + board and the players are two 250cc motocross dirt bikes. It will be pretty entertaining along with speaking 1000+ words. I’ll be in the blue/white helmet. There may be injuries so be sure to check it out.

The shop finder is under construction - can you give me a short list for some stores that are currently selling the bags?

So we produced our first production run and sold out within two weeks with direct buyers solely by going viral along with help of industry friends (Thanks Daily Stoke, SwellInfo, Surfline, TransWorld Surf, Futures Fins, iJustSurf along with a handful of others) before even being able to fill any dealer orders. New stock will be available May 15th.

Our reps are in a holding pattern until that time (Kass=Hawaii, Tyler=FL, Dan=East Coast, Jeff=Texas, Igor= Eastern Canada, Shylo=Northern Cal, Mike=S. East Coast) but we should have dealers close to most people by the end of summer. Until then interested peeps can order directly on our site. We have been contacted and in discussions with International Distributors from Japan, UK & parts of northern EU, France, Spain, South Africa and Australia thus far.

You guys are currently sold out until May! Is demand greater than supply?

For the moment. We were being a little too sensitive to the current state of the economy and ensuring that we stay lean during these times. May restock will be good.

Have you personally taken your boards in the airbags on a surf trip or two? If so, were you stoked?

Yes, very stoked for the obvious reasons. PROTECTION and portability. This has been our true hands-on testing in the R+D. Long flights + hot weather + a lot of dragging it around = Real Life Use.

Is Soma an acronym for something?

Soma is a place between Reality and a Dream...much of where I live for the better or worse.

What is your favorite place to surf (if it is not a secret)?

I own some property in a type of place I’ve always dreamed of since a kiddy. (See pics).

What is your favorite board to surf these days?


What is the last concert you went to?

Pennywise & Reverend Horton Heat.

What was my little cousin like to work with?

Oh shit, you’re going there! Lesley is nothing short of a comical reality TV show. Traveled to Costa Rica with her and her presence was the fire of much fun. She moved to Hawaii while I was already living there & rooted herself in a holey tent on the N. Shore of Maui with her husband living off of those pre-baked chickens from Safeway. This is not to mention the time they almost killed us when she picked us up from Kahului airport off their rockers...I saw the end of my life around every corner, cliff and cane field. What’s not to love about that chick!

Love it! Thanks Perry - anything you want to add?

Our stoke comes from hearing other peoples stoke. That is our goal.


Le Vyusher said...

Looks like you can surf those board bags too. Greenough style!

Le Vyusher said...

There's some other wolfvision moments on my blog, search Bonzer Escape!!! and Shortwave Transmission. My camera has been in repair so that has put a hold on my aquatic photographic adventures. The camera has been repaired and I'm just waiting for another day when things come together. I've been so wave starved lately and selfishly, I admit keeping sessions to myself. I really like "Dauby Dribbles", it always takes me back to that day which was a classic Southern Cali dusky day. "Wolfvision" is a representation of my memory imprint. The contour effect is meant to resemble the contours of my memories that fade and distort as time stretches on.