Surfer + Product Designer
With no safety net, everything pure is coming out of you. You're not filtering yourself anymore for somebody else. You're just being totally raw and real, and I think that energy is exchanged through everything I create. People see that and feel that.
“We all have the potential to create. It’s just really easy to talk yourself out of doing it,” says pro surfer, photographer and entrepreneur, Kassia Meador, who believes, “if you just have no inhibition and follow your instinct, then you’re capable of anything, no matter how improbable.”
Kassia’s whole career has been based on turning improbability into possibility. Growing up in the urban sprawl of the San Fernando Valley on the edge of LA, it was improbable she should feel drawn to the waves of Malibu. “It’s not often you see a Valley girl with a surfboard,” she says, recalling how some weekends she wouldn’t even leave the beach, preferring instead to sleep in her car in the parking lot, so she could surf again at first light.
“School was rough for me,” she says. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I just knew you were supposed to go to junior high, then high school, then college and then this and that—this very linear way of fitting your entire persona into this formula gave me anxiety.” When she started surfing, the anxiety lifted. “So I just threw myself into it and started tuning into myself, listening to myself.”
The industry recognized her as part of the resurgence of longboard surfing and, at 17, she turned pro. Since then, her combination of passion and talent has taken her and her board to the most beautiful waters in the world. She’s lucky, she says, to have parents who believe in her, even when she told them she wasn’t going to college because she wanted to go to Australia, chase waves and live in a car for 6 months. “They gave me the option to follow what was inside of me,” she says.
Recently, she continued to follow her instinct and parted ways with her sponsor of 15 years in order to launch her own company, Kassia + Surf, the only wetsuit brand in the world geared specifically toward women. “Guys assume that all girls like pink and flowers, and that has always been really hard for me,” says Kassia. “The whole point for me in making women’s suits is that I am a woman and I know what I want.”
It was a huge and risky decision, both financially and emotionally, says Kassia. “It was very scary leaving, and I could easily have rationalized myself out of it,” she says. “But I kept reminding myself not to argue for my limitations.” In her experience, giving up the safety net and taking the less certain path almost always leads her to a better place.
“You can live a life of wondering ‘what if’, or you can live a life going ‘yeah, I did it!’” she says. “If you go down one path, it’s going to lead you to another. At least you’re trying and you’re not stuck in your head. You have to show up for fate, and test yourself. Then you’ll know how far you can really go.”
Stories & Surroundings
"This is the Palo Santo-infused triangular surf wax we created. Begin each session with the clearing fragrant energy of palo santo. 'SNAP-OFF' triangles mean you always have a corner and a flat side for the perfect wax job. Enter the water with magic."
"This shark head I found downtown. I think it was a Universal Studios prop in its time. Saw it and had to have it. Now she lurks on our work studio wall downtown."
"Some t-shirt scribbles…"
"Polaroids of my friend Paz playing a beautiful expansion of ‘Venus and Furs’ with some projections of shadow images I shot. It was a magical night."
Directed by Lance Drake Written by Caroline Ryder