Jessica Boynton of Hakuna Wear: Be Free to Be You
Different things in our daily life instill in us that our body should be perfect—thin, bikini-worthy, flawless. But truth be told, the perfect body does not exist.
In this episode, the amazing woman behind Hakuna Wear, Jessica Boynton, will teach us that every body is a bikini body and to just be free to be you.
Hakuna Wear is more than just your ordinary swimwear brand. Not only do they make functional and sexy swimsuits from plant-based fabrics, made to fit all body types, and do not fall off as your surf, but they also empower women and men to be true to themselves.
Social Media Profiles:
- Website: https://hakunawear.com/
- IG: https://instagram.com/Hakunawear
- FB: https://www.facebook.com/hakunawear
- Where did the brand name Hakuna Wear come from?
- How did Hakuna Wear start?
- What is Hakuna Wear's vision?
- Hakuna Wear products
- Hakuna Wear's manufacturing process
- "Be free to be you" tagline
- Product research and development
- How are you acquiring customers at this point?
- Connecting with other entrepreneurs that have a similar ethos and passion
- What was your first surfboard?
- Best wave you've ever caught?
- Most memorable surf trip?
Location: San Diego, CA
Hello, Saltwater High. Today, I have Jessica and help me with the pronunciation, Hakuna Wear?
Is that the way you pronounce it? And I just love the tagline, "Be free to be you." Right? Which I personally think is one of the hardest things in life to actually master. Because we have so many pressures from society, from our parents, from our friends, right? To be like them or to be in a certain way or not to be us, right? So I just love that tagline. So we're going to talk about a lot of stuff, but I would love to know where the name came from. It sounds Hawaiian, maybe?
I like it, but it sounds that.
It's sound that. First, where does the name come from—Hakuna?
Okay, cool. Yeah. We kind of have two tag lines, "No worries swimwear," which is where the "hakuna" came from. So it's actually from "hakuna matata" means no worries. And I was mulling over names for so long and I just couldn't figure out something that really encompass all of the things that I was trying to do except for no worries. You really don't have to worry about anything when you're wearing Hakuna Wear. And so that's kind of where I stuck. And I loved that it sounded Hawaiian, even though it wasn't Hawaiian.
It's actually Swahili.
So it's Swahili?
Wow, that's awesome.
Yeah. But it's kind of like the play on Kahuna, right? Hakuna, Kahuna.
So it's fun.
Yeah. Have you been to Africa?
I haven't, no. I'd love to go, though.
Oh, dude, you got to go. By far one of my all-time favorite waves is J-Bay in South Africa. It's a great trip, right? Everywhere, from the animals—I love animals, so being in Africa with the big game is amazing. And then surfing with Cape Town, J-Bay, there's so much good surf, too. The nice thing about having surf brands is that, of course, we have to do what's called research and development.
And unfortunately, we have to get on airplanes and go to these exotic places because that's what our customer is experiencing. So we want to make sure that our gear works in those great places.
Yup. I just got back from a product development testing trip.
Very nice. Very nice. From Dominical?
Okay, cool. Yeah. So I've been to Costa Rica a couple of times so Pura Vida is very similar to the "No worries" kind of tagline, right?
Their country tagline is Pura Vida, which is just kind of cool.
Yeah, Pura Vida and Aloha are both kind of in that same vein.
Yeah, very cool.
And I think it encompasses the "Be free to be you", too. And that kind of comes from a deeper passion of mine. I just see so many people struggle with that. Like you said, it's one of the hardest things in life. And bikinis, especially for women, but also swimwear for men, has always been something that I think the swimwear industry, the fashion industry kind of like focuses on that bikini body, the summer body, and it makes you feel like you have to be something that maybe you don't feel like. And that's why, Hakuna Wear, it sounds like we're just another swimwear brand, but we're really trying to go past the swimwear into the your body is an amazing thing that works for you and you can do anything with it when you believe that. And that's part of the "Be free to be you". No matter what you believe in, no matter your gender, no matter anything, you're an awesome human.
Yeah, yeah. Thank you.
Oh not me, but in general.
Yeah, you too.
Yeah, I love that idea. Yeah, that's interesting, right? So basically you're empowering women and men too. I saw there were some board shorts. I want to talk to you about that. You're empowering people to, maybe, yeah, just be who they are and if they don't want to wear a super skimpy bathing suit because that's what's in the magazines, they should feel good about wearing something that doesn't fall off in the surf, for example, or that I saw has a pocket. So you can put your wax or for me, sunscreen, right? I'm always if I'm out for a long time, I have one of those sticks. I saw you have sunscreen, I want to talk to you about that too. But yeah, having sunscreen in the water, especially if you're somewhere tropical like Dominical for example, so important, right? Already in California, the sun's pretty strong, but when you get closer to the equator, those of you who haven't traveled and once you do, you got to treat it like a different animal. The sun, it's a real deal. It wants to take your skin off.
Yeah, and funny you mention that because people were asking, "How was your trip? "And I think my product development tests on this one was I think I need to make full-length surf leggings and full coverage. Because you just can't be out there for a long time without it. It's like, no matter how much sunscreen you put on, no matter how many layers you're wearing.
I think it's a great idea. It's interesting because I'm going on a surf trip in a week and a half to Sinaloa, Mexico. And it's a place I go to every year. There's a bunch of us that go every year to this great wave called Patoles. So 2 things for me. One is the deck pad. I'm always wearing a wetsuit. I live in California, right? So when you when you don't wear a wetsuit, it rips me up. It rips up my knees. I have this scar tissue on my stomach, I had pyloric stenosis as a kid and so my scar tissue gets all gnarly and then the sun's beating me down. So seriously everyone talks about going to warm water, I just get beat up in warm places. And then you're sweating and your sunscreen won't stay on. In fact, I was looking. It's really hard to find. For guys, you have what they call them, long johns, right? So there's no sleeves, right? And so which is kind of cool, but they're warm. But what I was looking for, which would be really cool, so you should think about this is like the decathlon wear. So the decathlon wear, if you look then there's not a ton out there, right. The decathlon wear is a little bit thinner than a wetsuit. So where I'm going, it's going to be like 75, 80 degrees. You don't really need a wetsuit. And I'm sure Dominical must have been like high 70.
Oh my God, it's so warm, yeah.
So warm. So you don't really even want a wetsuit, you just want the covering. That's why I was thinking the decathlon full suits, those are the only things that I could find and everyone was sold out. Those are the only things I could find that would cover the whole body.
So you would prefer a full suit rather than like a rash guard plus leggings because then they would separate, right?
Yeah. The rash guard though for me because of the scar tissue on my stomach, there isn't enough protection. It needs to be a little bit thicker.
I know what you mean. Yeah. I think they have in Mavericks that's a little bit thick, but it's not neoprene. It doesn't keep you warm, but it has that padding. That's what you need.
I'm telling you, dude, that would be amazing. I'll be your sampler research and development guy.
I'll look into it. You're not the first person that's asked in terms of man for some sort of leggings or something because of getting burned.
Yeah. Or even like wetsuit leggings that you could wear underneath your spring suit pants or even your shorts. Because my knees get ripped up from the deck pad, I would try to pull my shorts down below my knees, but it doesn't really work, right? Because then your butt's hanging out half of the way or whatever. And then I even thought, "Okay, I'm going to get an old wetsuit and I'm going to cut the legs off." Right? And those would be perfect, but then they just fall down in big surf. It doesn't work, dude.
So all those things you're saying are exactly why I started Hakuna Wear.
There you go. There you go, I'm telling you. I want to do a special Wave Tribe men's. Well, we'll talk about that later. But anyway, yeah, it's absolutely why I started Wave Tribe, too because all the bags that I could find were all made of plastic. I was like there's got to be a better material than just all this plastic, which I found. So, yeah. So getting back to Hakuna, so you scratch your own itch basically. Is that what you're telling me?
Yeah, I did exactly what you just said. I went on a tropical surf trip. It was my first one where I actually knew how to surf and I was out there in overhead surf and I brought all my standard surf bikinis. And they just all fell off. They all fell off or I was sunburned or I didn't have a pocket, and if you go on a trip in like the Philippines or Indonesia, you always have to take a boat out to the break because it's not necessarily close by. And so you got to pay the person. You have to have multiple things. And so luckily, I was with my husband and so he carried everything. But I was like, "This is really unempowering. I'm a woman who travels alone all the time and I shouldn't have to rely on him to keep my money and my keys and my sunscreen."
Yeah, that's definitely not a good idea.
No. And then I talked to some other people and they like hide things on the beach. And I was like, "That's not good. You're in a third-world country and you're hiding stuff on the beach." No bueno.
Yeah. So it reminds me, I took a trip to Indo with some friends. I've been to Indo many times, but this one particular trip I took with a friend of mine and his friend who I didn't know so well, and I'll never forget. So, you know rupee, the Indonesian currency, you get a lot. It's not like one dollar, you get one. You end up getting a lot of bills. And he was so scared to leave the bills in the hotel room, which was ridiculous because it was fine. He would take a block of money and he would tape it. He would tape it to his stomach underneath his wetsuit, right?
Oh my God.
And I was like, "Dude, you got to be kidding." And it wasn't even that much money. It was probably a couple hundred bucks. This guy was a teacher and had a good job. It wasn't like he was traveling the world that he had to keep his money. I go, "Dude what are doing?" He's like, "I don't wanna lose my money." And I knew that was going to be my last trip with that guy, for sure. I was like, "This is ridiculous."
That's pretty funny.
So you come up with this idea and so what do you do next?
Yeah. So I always loved fashion which you can see. I know everyone else can't see you, but you can see.
Yeah. That shirt screams fashion, by the way, I have to say. Yeah.
I have all my sewing stuff behind me. So I've been sewing since middle school. My mom taught me and I used to sew costumes and I would sew dresses and fun event wear and my mom actually sewed my wedding dress. So, pretty into fashion but I never really liked production, like making the same thing over and over. And so when I first had the idea, I was like, "Well, how am I going to make this work?" I want to get into it and I finally have something in fashion I feel like can actually make a difference, which I was really excited about. But then I actually was talking to my dad and he recommended somebody who he knew was making triathlete suits. So in that same vein. And I contacted them and then that's what got me started. Even though that relationship didn't end up going through, it's what got my brain thinking, okay, I can actually make this happen. And I'm excited about making it happen. And I have a really good idea. So the first suit was our Cloud 9 suit, which was made out of geoprene. It's like one-millimeter geoprene and we put a pocket in there, we made it functional but also sexy. And we did a Kickstarter, Indiegogo and we're able to raise money for that. And board shorts, which is actually my husband's idea, we talk a little bit about those, too.
Yeah, nice. So this is 2018, did I see? Is when you started?
So 2 years business and then COVID hits. Yeah. Welcome to the world of an entrepreneur.
Yeah, yeah. And so I also read that you are PhD Chemist. Is that what I read somewhere?
So I would say this is a bit of a pivot from that world. But I do remember my chemistry classes in college and there wasn't much fashion in those classes.
Let's just say I was the only one in my PhD program with a tie-dyed lab coat.
Nice! I love that. Hey, dude, there's an idea, tie-dye lab coat. I bet you would kill it. Like tie-dye nursing outfits.
It's actually a good idea.
That is a good idea. See? I want 10%.
That's what happens when entrepreneurs get together.
Yeah, exactly. We come up with 10 new ideas that we cannot focus on our current projects and do these other projects.
Oh my God. I feel like herding cats is in my brain.
Yeah. Okay, so you decide you create the first couple of models. And then have some success because you pre-funded, which is great. That's always a great way to go, right? Get the money first and then produce.
And then I saw your manufacturing looks quite dynamic, right? You got a lot of pieces moving so it probably depends on the piece where it's manufactured—one factory does this, another factory does that. So how did you figure all that out, because that is quite a task.
Great question. A lot of trial and error. So I started out manufacturing in San Diego. I talked to a couple of people who manufactured internationally and not internationally and asked them, "Well, what do you think?" And most people said that doing things domestically when you're starting is great because you can have a lot more control overseeing the samples coming through. So I was like, "Okay, I'll do domestic." And I started in San Diego and quickly realized that unless you're in a place where manufacturing happens a lot, it's really hard to get quality product. So I ended up more in L.A. was where I really started have the bulk of my inventories. All my inventory is behind me right now. And in my office.
I see it. It's looking good.
It's kind of cool. So for all listeners out there, whenever you order Hakuna product, I do a little dance and then I go get stuff right inside my house.
Happy dance. Happy dance.
Yes. So I started manufacturing in L.A. I worked with an awesome team there, but the prices were still really high for me. And so I started researching some other areas in China and Thailand and just trying to figure everything out. But while at the same time trying to maintain ethical standards and I'm a big believer in rising up other countries. I'm not like an isolationist like we should only help ourselves. I want to help the whole world with our global economy. But at the same time, it's tough from afar to know is this actually a good choice or is it not. Who knows?
Yeah, yeah. No, it's hard. Just to back up a little bit, anybody out there that's like, "Oh, I know how to sew and I can create a company." You're wrong. Well, not you're wrong. So this is actually a huge piece, right? Because it's one thing to be able to make a few pieces, say, 5 pieces, right? At home. But if you have to do a hundred pieces or 50 pieces and then you have to do small, medium, large, extra large, then it gets super complicated. And I know this from experience because I had never sewed before in my life. And I was like, "Oh, can't be that difficult." And I wanted to create a billboard bag. So what we did is we got used billboards and we cut them up and then I bought a sewing machine, right? And so I was like, "Oh, this is going to be awesome." Oh my God, sewing is so hard. It is so hard.
Especially for a fabric like that.
And then the timing on the sewing machine goes off. Sewing is so difficult. So I'm like, "Okay, I'm definitely not going to be able to do this." So then I hired a seamstress, right? And she was able to do it. But here's the deal. I was paying the seamstress 15 dollars an hour, which is okay. This is a couple of years ago, sounds pretty good. Plus materials, plus all of the extra stuff that goes along with having a space for the sewing machine and fixing the sewing machine. By the time you added all that up for 1 board bag, there's no way. I would be giving them away. In fact, I did. I was giving them away basically. People gave me money, but it was basically not a fair exchange. So there's a lot of people that think, "Oh, well, just do it in America because we're Americans and we want to support." But also, it's not feasible, right? Because the customer demands. And it's okay to be a little higher on the kind of range of prices, right? But if you're too high, then it's just you price yourself out of the market. And a lot of that's because the labor costs and because of the manufacturing quality. Things have to be good, right?
If it's not good, it's not sustainable. That's number 1. It could be made of the best eco-material in the world, but if you throw it away in 4 weeks, that's not eco at all. So anyway, I just had to tell that little sewing story that I've never told before.
Yeah. And one thing that a lot of people don't realize is, like you mentioned, the sizing, I would love Hakuna Wear to carry all of the sizes. I would absolutely love to extend our sizing, but inventory-wise, I can't afford it. I can't support it. And that stinks. So, yeah, it's interesting all the little things that when you own your business, you are just hoping that you make it and then you can do all the things you want to change out in the industry.
Yeah. It's tough. When I first started, I was naive and I thought, "Oh, I'm going to change the industry first." But it doesn't work that way. Now, it's such a different landscape than when I started. The joke is when I started Wave Tribe, green still meant the color. It didn't have this other kind of meaning to it. So I totally understand what you're saying and I think it's awesome.
Well, now it's swung the other way where you almost can't believe anybody that says that it's green, it stays on well, or anything because you're like, "Wait, is this actually tested in overhead surf?"
"I just need a picture." Yeah, I'm with greenwashing.
That's your job. That's your job. Testing overhead surf.
We have the pictures.
Nice. Very cool. So now where are you at? I saw there was a bunch of stuff on the site, there's bathing suits, there's sunscreen, so what are you doing? What's your vision? I love the video, by the way. If everyone's listening, please go to the front page and watch the video. It's a really sweet video.
Thank you. Well, let me tell you a little bit about the sunscreen because that's also an interesting story. It's called Hippo Sweat, and it's actually my husband's brand. And he started it before I met him. So it's kind of like we met as two people that love surfing and came together and make a surf brand.
Very cool, very cool.
And it's kind of funny, but yeah, hippos actually excrete a natural sweat that is a sunscreen or a natural sunscreen that's a sweat. And so that's where he got the name.
So we have that. Stays on really well. And then we have kind of a whole line for women and then some unisex stuff and some men's board shorts and the board shorts have the tie on the side, which is innovation in board shorts and surfwear. And then going forward, my goal ultimately is to be a brand that's by the people, for the people. So I want to have a platform where you can actually submit design ideas and then we will take that, make a sample, and then see how many people vote to get it made for real.
Love that. I love that.
And crowdsource it. I think that would be awesome for the surf industry and really get all these different ideas flowing from everyone. You have that idea within 5 minutes of our talking, right?
So yeah. So it's amazing. Everyone has things that when they go out, they realize, "Oh, this would be so good for being active in the water." And it's hard to get that made without going to a bigger company or sewing it yourself. So it's going to be cool to do something crowdsourced. But I don't know when that's going to come out.
Yeah? You're still working on that?
Yeah. Still working on lots of different things.
Yeah. Welcome to the club. So how are you acquiring customers at this point? Are you doing marketing? I saw your Instagram page looks great, by the way.
So you're doing social media. I saw a couple articles on the site. Just wondering what your customer acquisition strategy looks like.
Yeah. So I got my hand in a lot of pots. This year has been a huge focus on the eCommerce side, as I'm sure most entrepreneurs have kind of shifted that way. Originally, I had printed out some catalogs and I was ready to go to all the retailers and wholesale and then March hit and I was like, "Oh, that's not going to happen." So I have this joke that I'm going to cross, because I don't want to waste the catalog, I'm going to just cross out 2020 and put "Oops".
Yeah. Oh, I love that. I love that. Yeah.
But we decided to pivot to eCommerce and I have been learning a ton about search engine optimization and trying to do things as organically as possible before I go into spending a ton of money on marketing. But yeah, it's been fun and it's very interesting and that's actually what I do for my day job. I'm in marketing.
Kind of cool to have an application.
Yeah. Like a little petri dish.
Yeah. there you go. That was a good one.
A little experiment, yeah.
Yeah, so eCommerce. I personally love eCommerce. So when I started Wave Tribe, it was old school like you got to go to the shops and have sales reps and sell to the shop and then hope the shop pays you and realize that very rarely answered the phone because they're out surfing. And so anyway, I'm not saying that it's not always a good avenue, but when direct to customer, kind of the environment change because it's shifted quite a bit in the last I would say 5 years, last 3 years really shifted. Especially with Amazon, right? Amazon's like this behemoth for eCommerce, but it's really for an entrepreneur, for a manufacturer, it's really a more sustainable business because number 1 if you're selling to shops, your margin is horrible. Your margin is half of what customers would pay you. So it's really difficult to build a business on a wholesale model. I think it's okay to have wholesale in there maybe like 70, 30, or something. But what I love about the direct to customer side of the business is that you get to know your customers. You're like, "I've go for surfs. I've been on trips with my customers. I've talked to them." I just love that aspect of it. Because we're all humans, we all want a connection. And I think having a connection to like-minded people or like-minded brands or brands that represent an ethos that I'm already excited about, right, is I don't know, it just makes the world better, I would say. What do you say? Be free, be you, better world or something like that. So, yeah, I applaud you for that pivot because I know it's not easy for clothing, right? Because traditionally people go somewhere, especially bathing suits. You go somewhere, try it on, right? But I mean I would say that's less and less true. I can't remember the last time I went somewhere for clothing. It's all online for me. So yeah, I just keep going and I'm going to send you a link after this podcast. I'm part of an entrepreneurial community where it's an online network of entrepreneurs and we're all basically helping each other and sharing ideas. And it's called eCommerceFuel and I joined in 2014, 15. And so it's awesome because if you're trying to figure out SEO or you're looking for a supplier in Vietnam, you can make a post, and people like, "Oh, yeah, talk to Jim or John." Or whatever. That's your dog in the background, I love it. Yeah. Looking for a bikini for the dog.
Yeah. That's one of my favorite things too is connecting with other entrepreneurs that have a similar passion. And yeah, I want to go the same direction and I'm all about helping people. I've been approached by competitors and then asked like, "Hey, how do I do this or how did you do this." Or whatever. And I'm happy to share, happy to collaborate.
The world's better that way. Very cool.
I'm watching your dog and now he's one for the carpet.
She's 5 months old.
She's going crazy back there.
So you grew up in San Diego. Is that where you grew up?
No. Funny enough, I grew up in Miami.
Oh, Miami girl. Oh, oh.
Yeah. "Oh, oh" is an appropriate response.
And it's funny, I grew up around bikinis and having lots of bikinis and swimwear, and I never really thought about them until I started surfing and that was when I moved to San Diego. And then now it's my passion. It's a big part of my life.
Yeah, it does that. And surf is way better out here anyway. So you're stoked.
Yeah, I've never actually surfed in Miami, which is crazy.
Wow. I've even surfed in Miami.
Yup, yup. For a couple of years, I was going out for this conference and so I always took my board. It wasn't great but there was surf. It's like a little wind swell, it's nothing like out here, dude. But look, Kelly Slater came from there, so there must be waves somewhere.
Yeah, very cool. Very cool. So what else? Is there anything else you want to say to the Wave Tribe Saltwater High land? We'll put all of your links and talk about how awesome you are and everything so people can go check you out.
What I always say is I'm here. We have a team of contract workers and everything, but I'm the person behind the messages when you message online. I'm behind everything, so if you have any questions, like sizing, literally anything, if the price is too high, if there is a size that you want that we don't have, there's a color you want that we don't have, just message me and you never know what we can make happen. We've done custom suits before. We've done suits for kids before. I just don't have the ability to have an entire inventory. But yeah, we're so open and I'm here. So that's what I always tell people. There's a human behind it. And I would love to talk to you.
Awesome. I love that. So I have a couple of ending questions I'd like to ask you. What was your first surfboard? Describe to me your first surfboard.
Oh, that's a great question. So the first surfboard that I owned or I own, I actually still own it.
Oh, you still have it? Nice.
I still have it.
So I was in Pacific Beach in San Diego and I was just walking down the street. I hadn't gotten an apartment yet. I was living in a hostel. And I was going by an outside-the-house yard sale. And I saw this board and it looked kind of good.
Right. Kind of beat up.
I was like, "Hey, what's this for?" And so I feel it. And it's kind of soft, not a foam board. Something in the middle.
Okay. Is it half foam, half not foam, or just so old that it was soft, maybe?
No. Not so soft. So I buy this board for 250 dollars which is pretty expensive for a beat-up board. I didn't know obviously.
Woah. But that's alright. First board, dude.
Yeah. 8' single fin and I took it back to the hostel like my first possession. So it turns out, I looked it up, right? What it was is this new or old innovative design that was like a plastic resin. So it was soft and then the rails were really interesting. So it's kind of like a Holley on the bottom, but then super sharp rails in the back. So it had some dings and stuff and I brought it in to get it repaired and they were like, "Oh, we can't repair this. We don't even know what this is made from."
Right. They're like put a match up to it.
So that just cracked me up and I ended up just putting tape on it and serve me up for a while. And now I keep it because I'll take it down if I know we're going to Baja and we're going to be leaving the boards on the car. But I want a bigger board, I'll bring it.
Nice. I like that. Love that. Still have your first board. Amazing. Do you remember the brand or the name of it?
I'm totally blank.
It's okay. It's alright. Not a big deal. All right. Best wave you've ever caught?
Oh my gosh. Okay, so that's funny. I was just thinking about this because the swell is bigger in Costa Rica and one of my friends caught a really good wave and she was like, "Oh, that wave is burned into my memory." And I was thinking to myself, "Well, what waves are burned into my memory?" Because I honestly feel like they all blur together.
They're all so good.
They almost got a blur for me. But there is this one wave at Swami's and it was probably the biggest wave I've caught maybe of all time but definitely at that time. And it was just funny how it happened. This happens to me a lot. I was distracted talking to a friend and that kind of got me out of my thinking about the fact that it was big. And so when I saw this wave come straight towards me, I just turned and burned and didn't even think about it. And then I was on it. Like, "Oh!"
What did I do? Yeah. That's amazing.
I remember that wave pretty well. That was a fun one.
That's awesome. Yeah. Okay, most memorable surf trip.
Yeah, surf trip, the Philippines.
Okay, yeah. Tell me about that. I've never been to the Philippines.
We went to this island called Siargao.
Is that where Cloud 8 is?
Cloud 9, yeah. That's where the suit got its name.
I thought of it on that trip. So there's a couple of spots on the island and Cloud 9 is one of them. Cloud 9 is definitely the most advanced but it was just all day surfing. There was actually a—when it's not a hurricane, it's the other one?
Typhoon. Yes, there was a typhoon coming. So we got some good swell. And it was my first true tropical surf trip and it was my first time riding a much smaller board. So there was lots of firsts and it was really cool and I had a lot of fun. The reef wasn't as crazy as Bali were touch it and you're like.
You die. Your finger explodes.
Exactly. It wasn't as gnarly as that, but it was somewhere in between California and Bali. Still sharp, but not that sharp. And so it was just a little bit more manageable. The wave that we surfed was an easy take-off. And yeah, it was a really, really fun trip.
And what was the setup like? Was it crowded, is it half? No, not crowded?
Not crowded and the people were just so nice in the lineup.
Yeah. I love Filipinos.
Really good vibes. That's always what makes it.
Costa Rica was the same. It was just such good vibes. Or Dominical. I don't know about other places but.
Yeah, no, kind of depends, I guess.
Yeah, Pura Vida. Very cool. That's awesome. I haven't spoken to too many people that have been to the Philippines, but I've always heard really good things about it and yeah, I'm stoked you got it.
Yeah. The swell was really exciting. And that was over my birthday and my husband's birthday. So that was a birthday trip and that was fun too.
Yeah. And did you fly to Manila and then had to skip, change planes to the next island?
Yeah, it was Manila then Cebu then Siargao. And now I think they have direct flights but at the time they didn't.
How was the food?
The food? There was a couple places there that were really good. The Philippines in general, it was hit or miss. So yeah, there were certainly some places that were amazing and Filipino food like fish and stuff is really good. But then there are some places like the egg, the duck egg thing. I don't know about that for me.
I'm a vegetarian, so it won't work for me.
What's it called? Balut?
Balut, yeah. I think that's it.
But there was actually an Italian place in Siargao and my favorite part of it, it was really good food, but my favorite part was that at the bar it said, rum and cola, 1 shot of rum, 2 shots of rum, 3 shots of rum and the 3 shots of rum was cheaper because rum is cheaper than cola there.
Oh, dude, that's so funny. That is funny.
So we definitely had some strong drinks there.
So you just came back from Costa Rica, did you have to get a test coming back in?
You did? Okay, all right. Cool.
It's pretty accessible. Get everything done.
Yeah. I'm just wondering on my Mexico trip whether we're going to have to do that.
Oh yeah. I think you do have to. I want to know about your wave and your surfboard.
Oh, man. Well, my surfboard was called Crazy Horse. I'll never forget it. I do have a picture of it somewhere. It was my best friend, David Miller's, I think it was his older friend or neighbor, somebody. I don't remember how I got the money for it. I just know that somehow I ended up with it.
How old were you?
Oh, man. I was probably 10ish. Yeah, I was young and yeah it changed my life for sure. Changed everything about my life. I've had a lot of pivots in my life. And it's one thing that's been consistently with me, the ocean, I would say, but surfing is part of the ocean. My relationship to the ocean, it has never gone away. I actually did a sabbatical in India for 6 months, and I was in India I was in a place called Varanasi and I had a palm reader, which before this happened, I didn't really believe too much in palm readers. I'm just walking down the bazaar in Varanasi and this palm reader's like "Hey, 5 rupees. You can read your palm." I was like, "Yeah, right. Whatever." So I gave the guy 5 rupees. He looks at my hand, he looks at me and he says, "You're missing the ocean very much, aren't you?" I go, "How the hell did this guy?" And then he said some other things about me that nobody knows. Nobody knows. It was freaky. It was so freaky.
That's pretty cool.
So there's something happening in the ethos out there that sometimes comes through in Indian palm reader I think.
That makes sense.
Yeah. Best waves. Huh?
I was going to say it was being away from the ocean for me as well that made me realize I never ever wanted to leave it again.
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. For sure. Yeah. It's such a magical, mystical, amazing relationship, right? I surf today, it wasn't that great but we were in the water, I was with a friend, it was cold, it felt great, sun was shining, you're looking out on the horizon and you see nothing manmade, hopefully. In Ventura, unless you're up north, you'll see some oil rigs. But where I surf, you just see the islands, right? The islands are in front. And I think it has to have an effect on the psyche when you are looking out for an hour-ish at a time at nothing manmade. It'd be like being in a forest and just like looking at the trees, it's really like that, right? There's nothing manmade.
And the vastness.
Yeah, exactly. The vastness, the openness, right? The openness, the sense of being small or smaller or the smallest. So, yeah, the ocean's really important. Definitely. And for me, the best wave's so hard to say, I always say the best wave is the next one I'm on. But yeah, etched in my memory, J-Bay definitely is in there, waves in Bali, waves in South Africa, Peru, I don't know. Dude, the list goes on and on.
I know. They kind of blur together, right?
Yeah, they definitely blur together. Yeah. I think I could pick them out if I went down and back into my meditative state of that trip. But yeah, that's just all in there somewhere waiting to experience itself.
Yeah. I feel like I'm still a barrel dodger, but I feel like one day when I decide to finally commit, that will be the wave I remember.
Oh, a barrel dodger. I was like "Barrel dodger, what's she dodging—a barrel?" Now I get it, I get it. Barrel dodger.
When I see the barrel and I'm like, "Nope!"
Oh, really? Wow.
I get scared.
Okay, wow. I'm the opposite. I can't stay out of them. Even if I know they're closing, I'm going in.
Everyone says that. You got to go for a million closeouts before you get a good one.
It's crazy how many times I've been smashed on the head. Really, it's ridiculous. The odds of making a barrel are so low. And of course, we see these on Instagram. In a regular surfer's life, one in a hundred, and a lot of the time it was lucky. You just put your head down and you're like, "Oh, oh, I just got barrelled. What the hell just happened?"
Yeah. Those have all been mine like, "Wait, I think a few droplets of water."
Yeah. The best ones are when on these trips, there's usually a photographer that I go on and you think, "Oh man, I just got jacked and I need a photo and you weren't even close. It was feathering above you."
Yeah. Don't look too hard at your favorite waves.
Yeah, yeah. Better not keep the photographer out of the water. Awesome, well, it's been such an honor and a pleasure to speak with you, and I wish you much success in everything that you do and maybe we can circle back around once you launch a new line or something and you want to announce it to the world. So like you, I'm happy to share resources or tips on eCommerce. I'll send you the link to that forum that I know you would find great value in.
That'd be awesome.
That's always nice to have other like-minded people to kind of walk the journey with and to get advice from. So I just wanted you to know that the door's open also.
So, yeah. And yeah, anything else?
I don't think so. You can find us at hakunawear.com or Instagram, Hakuna Wear, on Facebook, Hakuna Wear.
Be free to be you.
Yeah. Be free to be you. Just good vibes all around.
Awesome, very cool. Well, I might go check out those shorts right now. See if I can get them before my trip.
Oh yeah, definitely. They're super comfy. If what you're talking about is like just extra rashes and extra stuff you don't need? The front is completely flat. So you don't get any rubbing with the strings or waxy strings or anything.
Yeah, that's a great idea. I've never seen that on shorts before actually. I've seen on some women's but not on any men, so I think it's awesome.
Yeah. So if you really have to pee though and then it might be a little bit more.
Well, that's what everyone says but usually, when you're wearing board shorts you're either going into the water or you're taking them fully off.
Yeah. You're right actually. All right, Jessica. Amazing to talk to you and wish you all the best.
Thank you. You, too. I'll talk to you soon and enjoy your trip.