BEHIND THE COLLECTION: Catch Surf's 2017 Range
When you’re a competent surfer, can hold your own in a jostling 6ft line up and feel more at home in the ocean than with your feet on terra firma, it’s safe to say that you’ve gotten to the point where you’ve earned the right to have a little fun. The allure and challenge of a different surf-craft beckons with Catch Surf’s latest 2017 range; designed for advance-level surfers and weekend warriors alike, and emblazoned with the 80’s throwback graphics that have become synonymous with the Catch Surf brand.
Between the growing popularity of softboards among mainstream surfers, and the line-up of big name Catch Surf ambassadors such as Jamie O’Brien, Noa Deene and Julian Wilson we decided it was high time we caught up with the man behind the brand, Founder and President George Arzente. If ever there was a man who has harnessed that grom-like energy into a formidable commercial force, it’s George. His enthusiasm and passion for the industry and the Catch Surf brand is simply unrivalled. Read on for exclusive insight into what it’s like to work at the Catch Surf office, the new boards just released in the 2017 range and the team who brought it to life, and George’s own favourites from the latest collection.
Join the conversation!
George, thanks for catching up! Can you tell us who you are and what you do at Catch Surf?
Sure! I’m the Founder and President. I lead the development of all our boards, direct the clothing line and manage the operations and overall direction of the company.
Have you always worked in the surf industry and how did you get to where you are today?
No, I grew up landlocked. I was obsessed with skateboarding and dreamed of surfing. After college, I moved to New York City and worked on Wall St. After grinding the rat race I moved to California in 2007 and surfed every day. And it was then that I decided to follow my passion and start Catch Surf.
For those that don’t know, who and what is Catch Surf?
Catch Surf is the brand that pioneered and leads the soft surfboard movement. Before Catch Surf, there were soft surfboards but no one progressed the performance, evolved the shapes or what you could do on one. And they were generally marketed to surf camps and beginners in very basic colors. We pushed the tech, pushed the performance and focused and refined our boards for core surfers – not beginners or surf camps. All the while, we focused on simply having more fun and living the dream. And we love our iconic 80’s style that keeps our boards looking fresh and true to Catch Surf.
Where are you guys based and what is the Catch Surf office like?
We are located in San Clemente, California, USA. Our office is super fun; tons of comradery. We always have some sort of skate ramp/bowl in the back… I always say my weekend starts on Monday. It’s a super fun and creative environment. I am very fortunate to have one of the best teams in the business.
The Catch Surf and Beater logos are instantly recognizable and you guys have a massive global following – what do you think makes your boards such standouts in the market?
Behind all the logos, neon colors and marketing are simply the best soft surfboards on the market. The proof is in the pudding. We eat, sleep and breath these things. We are perfectionists and it shows in how our boards ride, look and feel.
Your 2017 range has just hit our shores and we can’t wait to take them for a spin, can you tell us about the models we’re seeing here?
Jamie O’Brien’s line of boards are always dialed and a go-to for max fun. We also added a Noa Deane pro-model ‘Stump’ which looks insane and is one of our most high performance models in the range. We also introduced a new concept with Barry McGee and Josh Lazcano: finless LOG riding. Their ‘DFW’ model comes with little side-bite fins for training wheels but once you progress you can remove them and enjoy a new way to slide and glide. It’s super fun and offers a new challenge for surfers. And finally, our …Lost, Mad Huey’s and Happy Hour Shades Edition Beaters are a new twist on a classic go-to summer sled. I am super stoked on the 2017 range! Our best yet!
Who is the range designed for?
We design and market all our boards to core surfers and weekend warriors. While beginners can learn on our LOGs and Planks, we focus our development and design efforts on advance-level surfers. I feel it’s best to focus on the top and the fruit of that development will benefit all ranges of surfers. However, Catch Surf’s mission is to offer core surfers a fun way to mix up their surfing with different types of boards and ways to ride. We want to complement their other boards to offer a dose of fun and relief from the seriousness of ultra-high performance surfing.
What’s the process like to take a new range from first concept right through to the final product?
That is top secret… (laughs). But we are constantly coming up with new ideas for boards and testing prototypes. Only the best ones become a reality. It’s a constant process and never ends. I am a perfectionist to a fault and am never satisfied. We will keep pushing our boards further and further to offer our fans the best possible experience in the water.
What’s the inspiration behind the graphics we’re seeing on this year’s new range?
We are always inspired by the core image of Catch Surf boards; that 80’s retro look that screams California style and fun. We’ve always had that look and always will. In terms of Pro models, each team rider directs their own art which means their model is a direct reflection of their own style.
Can you tell us about the team you worked with to bring the new range to life?
We have a super-talented team of surfers, artists and manufacturing gurus. We have been together for a long time and the energy and enthusiasm to make the best boards is stronger than ever. We are always working on newness and constantly improving everything all the time. It truly is a passion. We are not corporate fat cats looking to make a quick buck. We have been doing this 10 years and are relatively young and are all super-passionate about surfing.
What board/s from the latest range will we catch you on and why?
I ride one of four models depending on the conditions: 7’0” LOG, 5’0” Stump (TRI), Beater PRO and the Womper. I love my LOG because I can catch any wave in the most crowded of lineups. I like the Stump in good surf because it’s easier to catch the wave and flies down the line and tucks into the smallest of pockets. Beater PRO is my go-to for messing around in summer when I am casually hanging at the beach and the Womper is my go-to for shore pound death barrels. Variety is truly the spice of life. Lol.
Last but not least, how did the team celebrate getting the final product out into the hands of your fans?
Believe it or not, a celebration would imply our job is done or has reached an end; it isn’t and has not (laughs). The reward of seeing a grom or local hero ripping on one of our boards motivates me and the team even more. It is a compounding effect. Our entire team is super stoked on the 2017 range but we are always striving to improve and create more Catch Surf magic. So we high-fived, tossed back a few coldies and went back to doing what we do best…