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WSMS CAMP x OCEANR Partnership (Interview)

Custom rash guards crafted to spread the salt and soul culture of WSMS Surf Art Music Camp!

We had the pleasure of interviewing our wonderful brand partner Alec Zappone of WSMS last week.

Alec recounts the magical story of the roots and culture behind surfing, our need to protect the tranquil beauty of our ocean, and how they combine art, music, and surf into an immersive experience for little lovers of the sea.

What inspired you to establish WSMS Surf-Art-Music Camp?

“I would say I was mostly inspired to start WSMS Surf Art Camp from witnessing the level of exclusivity in the sport growing up around it. I always felt there was a better way of shaping the community than through judgment and harshness.

On top of that, as a kid, I attended a surf art camp in Cocoa Beach Florida, which is where this idea of combining surf, art, and music originated. I always had such an amazing time coming in from surfing to create artwork under the sun and felt that was the epitome of being a surfer.”- Alec Zappone, Founder of  WSMS Surf camp.

The Story Behind WSMS Surf Art Camp

“To me, WSMS Surf Art Camp is the start of a movement to make surfing more inclusive. Historically, surfing has not been the most inclusive sport out there. There are tons of barriers to enter as well as judgment and hazing from the elders. Although I do believe there need’s to be certain regulations made for safety, I’ve always felt the right approach to this was through education, not judgment and harshness. This is something that struck me as unfair growing up in the industry as a kid.

WSMS Surf Art Camp was created off of the realization of a need for an all-inclusive, safe surf experience amongst the young generation of surfers here in Saint Augustine Beach Florida.

Most of the neighboring surf camps in our town have an instructor-to-child ratio of 1 to 4 or even 1 to 5.This tends to leave kiddos feeling vulnerable and alone in the ocean.

We do 1 instructor for every 2 campers at our camp, that way an instructor can always have a hand on their student’s board, making our students feel safe at all times in the ocean.”

“On top of that, a driving force of starting this camp came from the belief it is very important to pass on the roots of surf culture to these kids rather than just the skill of surfing, which is where the Art and Music comes into play.

At the origin of surfing, there was lots of music, dancing, and creativity as it was mostly done as a ceremonial practice. As time went on most surfers were both musicians and artists who were known to shape their own surfboards and often seen playing the ukulele or bongos under the sun between surfing sessions.

At our camp we paint on recycled materials from construction sites and teach the basics of the ukulele, an instrument that directly correlates to surfing’s origins.Last but not least, we are proud to be known as a camp that does not force any kids to surf if they are not feeling comfortable or confident and instead offer what we call a “free swim” group to any that may be feeling timid.

Free swim is when the kids go out in a group with body boards or just swim to get acclimated to the oceans movements and power.”

The WSMS Surf Art Camp Movement

We asked Alec to explain the movement behind the camp, and how he instills the love for our oceans in budding surfers at such a young age.

“To me, WSMS Surf Art Camp is the start of a movement to make surfing more inclusive. Historically, surfing has not been the most inclusive sport out there. There are tons of barriers to enter as well as judgment and hazing from the elders. Although I do believe there need’s to be certain regulations made for safety, I’ve always felt the right approach to this was through education, not judgment and harshness. This is something that struck me as unfair growing up in the industry as a kid.

The ocean is something we all have the right to play in and seeing how hard it is for some men and women to get into surfing inspired me at a young age to be the change I wanted to see in this industry and sport.”

The inspiring love behind your design

At OCEANR, we are on a mission to reclaim the oceans by removing as much plastic waste as we can and recycling it into something new. Along with the help of our ocean-loving brand partners, we want to inspire and enable others to live more eco-conscious lives both on and off the water.

For Alec, he sought a design that would bring a little smile to all those who attended camp, a design that stood out on the water, and most importantly a sustainable design that was crafted to protect the ocean.

“My inspiration behind the WSMS Camp apparel designs stems from happiness and positivity. We consider our campers at WSMS Surf Camp as the “Happy Campers” and I wanted our apparel to portray that upon first glance.
I would say through collaborating with the designers at OCEANR my visions of design for our apparel came to life and then some. I am very grateful for the crew at OCEANR.”

Our designer Ana created a bespoke, sustainable clothing range for the Team & Kiddies in WSMS Surt Art Music camp committed to removing plastic from the ocean and reclaiming post-consumer waste from our environment.

We use recycled polyester in our custom rashguards, which is an eco-fabric derived from post-consumer waste. Recycled polyester can be recycled again, which is why this material is highly valued in the circular economy!
Most of the recycled polyester we use is made out of recycled plastic water bottles these bottles are recycled with a mechanical process that first transforms them into flakes and pellets, which are then spun into high-quality yarn.

 Every WSMS-designed rash guard prevents 12 plastic bottles from entering the environment from entering the eco-system.

We are overjoyed at the power of our sustainable clothing collaboration and how it can become part of the solution.

Our total combined clothing collection prevented 840 plastic bottles from entering the ecosystem!

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