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Terry Simms of Simba Surf: Making Surfing Safer with the World's Best Aquatic Helmets

Listen on: Spotify | Apple | Google | Breaker | Overcast | Radio Public | Pocket Cast | Stitcher

In this episode, get to know the man behind the world's best surfing helmets—Terry Simms, the founder of Simba Surf, where he shares what inspired him to create the helmet, how he made it, and the many benefits it gives to all surfers of any age.

Some of the helmet’s benefits include fostering long and healthy surfing lives for everyone and protect us from the damaging effects of long-term exposure to sun, wind, and water.

Terry also takes us back to the 60s and 70s by sharing the start of his surfing journey until he became a pro longboarder and his experience being with some of the legendary surfers during that time.

Terry Simms of Simba Surf: Making Surfing Safer with the World's Best Aquatic Helmets

Social Media Profiles:

Topics Discussed:

  • Surfing J-Bay, what's it like being in Africa
  • Effects of COVID
  • Surfing Simuelue and Telos
  • Surfing lifestyle
  • Working with legendary surfers from the 60s and 70—Bob Pearson, Pat Farley, Jeff Maldonado, Cy Lucas, Dorian Paskowitz, and many more
  • Teaching surfing
  • Vision and the start of the Simba Surf Helmets
  • Trying to help humanity recognize some flaws
  • Being responsible
  • Surfing contradictions

If you got any problems or questions for Terry—may it be about surfing, the helmets, or anything at all, you can email him directly at simbasurf@yahoo.com.

Location: Ojai, CA

Transcripts

Saltwater High! Welcome to Terry Simms. What's up, brother?

What's happening?

Good, dude. So good to have you on the podcast. I met you, God, it must have been over 10 years ago-ish. Maybe 10 years? Not sure. We were in the jacuzzi, you were with your wife, I think. No?

Well, that's good.

Yeah. And yeah, dude, tell me about what's going on.

Oh, God. Just trying to survive the COVID craziness. And I think I have this new disease called SDD—Social Distancing Disorder. I do feel like messed up, I cling on to my phone all day, I won't be quiet, get real clingy and close to people. It's kind of weird.

Yeah, yeah.

So that part has been emotionally a struggle for me. But, on the good side, there's been some really, really, really wonderful stuff happening. So, life balance, right?

Cool. Have you gotten in the water at all?

No, not much. Honestly, my business is international surfing, my career. And since this thing hit, it tanked. So it's been a hard year of waiting around. I've had a couple key people keep me going and I love them to death for that.

Nice.

I'm starting to get a couple of phone calls. I do have my first trip coming up to J-Bay in May. So that makes me real stoked.

Love J-Bay, bro. Love that wave. If anybody's listening out there and has seen that wave and dreamt about it, it's by far, I think, one of the most epic, not only waves on the planet, but just the whole area is just amazing. You want to tell us a little bit about what you think about that area?

Oh, jeez, what do I think about it? Well, how old was I? 1960 whatever, and I sat down in front of a black and white, watched Break and Endless Summer, and of course absolutely shocked at Cape St. Francis, Mike Hynson, and Robert and all that. Well, with watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, whether it was real or not, still had a major impact, but that other piece of footage probably impacted my life more than any other single event. It spawned the whole desire to go see the animals, go meet the peeps because they're solid peeps, right? And then to go ride the world's most iconic right. And if you're a right foot, then it's a rite of passage for me.

Yeah. For sure, dude. Yeah.

When I went there, I was shocked at how good it was. It was twice as good as I thought it would be, honestly. It exceeded my expectations and the people.

People are amazing. I love the South. Actually, just before this phone call, I was WhatsApping with one of my best friends who lives in Cape Town and kind of checking in with him about how things are going down there. And, yeah, South Africa, it's one of those trips like we all dream about going to Indo and all these other places, but I would say that trip in itself, because of just the diversity of seeing the animals and you're at the bottom of this continent, right? Africa. There's so much just energetically being in South Africa is something that's worth experiencing. And surfing J-Bay is just insane. I'm also a standard foot. I've actually done that trip about 5 times. Everyone says, well, "What's your favorite surf trip?" And my response is always, "The next trip that's coming up is my favorite surf trip."

Oh, absolutely.

But if I have to say, the full experience of going to South Africa, even just Cape Town, it's amazing. So I'm stoked you're going, dude.

Yeah. Going to reconnect with my good buddy Bruce Gold. So I get to hang out with the last hippie and the ultimate soul surfer and an incredible pleasure to be around those guys because there's very few of them left now.

So are you taking some people with you?

I have a really good client/friend. He lives in Kenya. He's a wildlife photographer, David Golden, just put out a new book, actually. He's a Peter Beard underling and his work is beyond incredible. And through him, I've gotten more exposure to animals and the plight of all the animals, of what it's like to live in Africa. Because it's such a far departure from what you think it's going to be.

Yeah.

It really is. It's easy for us in America to sit there and go, "Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah." But then when you get there and you see the impact, literally the impact of the cultures clashing, right? You see one old culture clashing with the indigenous culture, then you see the tourists come in and they don't know what to quite do. And so it's a very eye-opening, like you said, not only wave-wise but internally and spiritually, it's a real eye-opener. It is the cradle of the world and you certainly feel that when you're out there.

That's a great way to put it, dude. I think the cradle of the world, it describes the feeling I get every time I go there. Yeah. I'm stoked you're going, dude. That's insane. I'm trying to get back there. It's been a while since I've been back because I move around the planet. I've been focusing on Indo the last couple of years and then before that I was going to Brazil and South America. Then I had kind of my Central America tour. So I see I have a 5-year cycle. I go do 5 years and then I go to my next location. I don't know if you're like that.

That's kind of one of the most beautiful things about being a surfer in this period. Still, we're lucky. We're still early on enough in our infancy of surfers that we're still able to go out and find new locations. I had a bunch of Costa Rica early on, then it got crowded and I moved on and I went to East Cape Cabo, it got crowded, moved on. But all these places that got packed out, they moved forward and look harder.

I like that.

So I got more places and I reached farther and I reached farther and I reached farther. And then I realized, dude, I believe there's more unwritten waves in the world.

I love that.

I really do, I really do. And I think there's a never-ending amount of adventures out there if you have the right mindset. You go out thinking, "Oh, I'm going to hit the road, I'm going to go wind, and go get spit out of a barrel." Well, you're probably going to be disappointed. But if you go out saying, "You know what, I want to have a good time, I want to make friends and I want to leave a positive impact." Dude, that's achievable everywhere you go. So like you said, my best surf trip is my next.

Yeah. Absolutely, dude.

That really. And you know what? That's funny. That kind of sums up this whole Corona deal for me. This virus deal is that one of the problems I've been having is I've had nothing to look forward to for a year. And I got to tell you, it's pretty crushing for a surfer, man. For this surfer anyway. They love to stay. Bruce Gold, he wrote me and he goes, "Yeah, I've never left J-Bay. I was thinking of maybe going to Indo." Because I do a lot of Indo. I love Indo to the maximum degree and I wrote back, "Why? Why would you go anyway? You're at J-Bay. Are you kidding me? Dude, just get fucking better than that." And he writes back, "I guess you're right."

Nice, nice.

So some people are different. Some people are just quite happy with sitting there in their honey pot and home. And they're connected to it physically, spiritually, mentally. So I get that too. But for me, I'm like you. I've been on a constant circumnavigating the world for the next adventure.

Yeah, I joke with my friends that I live surf trip to surf trip. Everything that happens in between feels secondary or mundane.

It's what we're waiting for.

Basically, I kind of set my year up so that I'm going on a trip at least every couple of months because that's when I feel alive, right. That's when I feel yeah, this is worth living for.

Exactly, exactly.

So yeah. So getting back to Indo a little bit. I don't know if you've been up to where I'm going to tell you about, but right before COVID, I took a trip with a couple of buddies to a place. I've also been going to Indo for a long time. We went up to Simeulue. I've done Simeulue. So Simeulue is the island above Nias. So it's the northernmost island off of Sumatra.

By the Banyak or just off Sumatra?

Off of Sumatra, yeah. So you fly out. So there's flights out there. It is Sharia Muslim but everyone's cool, right. So of course the Australians are the only ones that are really out there. So they've set up about 4 or 5 camps around the island. But dude, waves are just insane. And if you look at a map, so it's in the same swell window as Nias just open up to the whole southern, all the swells that are coming off southern India and Sri Lanka, all that energy just pushing down. So anyway, I want to put that in your ear, because it was an amazing trip and it's one that I haven't heard too many people go on. So, yeah, I'll send you a link. I did a little article on it.

That whole week is crazy. It's crazy good. How many great waves I ride. I did my first trip to Telos a couple of years ago.

Okay, I don't even know where that is. Where is that?

Well, you know what, it seems to be if you look at the globe, it's a big giant chain on the ring of fire. Right? It spans from Bali, Java all the way up into Nias and then Ments and then Telos and then Banyak and then a big gap and then the final chain. The final part of the chain I think is pretty much Maldives, right?

Okay, it goes out that way. Yeah.

Like archipelago that's thousands of miles long kind of like the Aleutian chain but bigger. Oh my God! I just couldn't believe. Even in that one little region I was at, it was just spot after spot after spot. It was really great, I got to tell you. I just love that area. I love the vibe, the Muslim thing's never a problem on these outposts because the people are just genuine.

So good, yeah. They're so good. Yeah.

If you're good with respect and try to leave something good behind, they really appreciate it. What they don't like is the takers, the people who just come and take and leave.

Dude, I don't think anybody likes those people. Right? Regardless of what religion you are, if you're gracious and kind and you've got a good stoke and vibe, that's what counts, right? That's what counts at the end of the day, no matter the color of your skin or wherever you are in the world. I've seen as many white dudes being assholes as I have any other person in the world. And I'm a white dude.

I actually think I kind of fell on that department personally, I think.

Yeah. So how did you come up with the idea to kind of live this lifestyle? It's pretty amazing, dude. Did you just like, "Fuck, I just want to surf the world and start out taking my bros out there."?

It was a long road. At one point in my life, I was living on the beach with my mom and my brother Pat in Mission Beach. And we obviously started surfing really young, 1st grade or 2nd grade. My brother excelled at it. I enjoyed it immensely. So I was with him. And then as time went on, I got really good at other sports. I developed a good arm so I was great at football, basketball, baseball. And then when I got to about 17, 18 and I finally graduated high school, my mom gave me the question, "Well, you can go out and try to be a man and get a job and you're 9 to 5 and put in your time. Or you can try to be a pro baseball player." Because I really love baseball. Really love baseball a lot, a lot of a lot. And I was good at it and I was impressive. And I have everything it kind of takes to be one of those guys. And so I wanted to do that. But there was something that surfing gave me that sport did not. I think when you're born, you become a product of your time, your location, your parents, and then your peers and your siblings trying to mold you into about 90 percent of what you are. And then from that last part, you get about 90 percent, my life—a 90 percent ability to make an actual decision. It's called my actual intuition, not my media-driven training or my school-level conditioning. So I chose surfing. And I got to tell you, it was a blind decision, man. I didn't know why I did it, my mom was kind of scoffed. She said, "Nobody makes money at this." It's 1970, whatever. And she goes, "But I love you and I want you to do what you love." Because she told me, "A successful person is a person that wakes up in the morning and can't wait to go to work and is bummed when he's got to leave." And I said, "Well, that's surfing." Like you, I just wait. I sit and I wait for that moment and then I can wait for so long. So when the surfing took its place in my life, which was predominant and primarily the number one thing, all girls, everything slid off the side—jobs, girls, everything. But I needed my friends. And then I realized through morphing into several different things, but always maintaining the surf edge, when my opportunity came when I moved to Santa Cruz, all of a sudden I changed locations, I was surrounded by a different group of people that were extremely supportive. Bob Pearson, Steve Colletta, Brenda Scott Rogers, Doug Scott, all these people that were in the industry and were fine, upstanding citizen people. Really, really good citizens. And I have never been accused of being a good citizen. I've been a freaking raging maniac my whole life, rebel with no clue.

Rebel with no cause.

People gave me so much acceptance and they weren't judgmental of me, even though I know they didn't like what I did because I did a lot of stupid stuff. I wasn't the best person to try to emulate, let's put it that way for the kids. But anyway, so the surf thing came in prevalent. I went into it heigh-ho. I joined a shortboard revolution competitively in the 80s. I would surf for G&S and Rusty and 2 years of competing and I made not one friend. I made not one penny and I made nothing. All I got was beat down, looked at by a bunch of high school jocks that had perfect hair, perfect teeth, never had a job before in their lives guys. And I just did not fit. And then I moved to Santa Cruz, got a job with Bob Pearson, thank God, thank God, Bob Pearson. I love you, Bob Pearson. He has no idea what he did to this world by hiring me. Anyway, and then Bob gave me the job and I ran with it and I worked in the factory. And then another job happened with Santa Cruz'n and Pat Farley and Jeff Maldonado and Cy Lucas. And they put me to work in an all longboard shop. And then I found my calling. Oh my God. Longboarding. It wasn't even the craft, really, because I like every surfboard. To me, there is no irrelevant surfboard. Every type of surfing is totally relevant. Doesn't matter if it's 5 foot, 1 foot, 8 foot, 9 foot, zero foot, handgun, hardboard, wood board, China board, bodyboard, belly board. I don't care. Right? It's the act of riding the wave to me. And so, it turned out longboarding was just the vehicle that gave me access to the group I wanted to belong to. A group of people that would inspire me. They would watch over me a little bit and they taught me through love and acceptance, rather than beating me down for what I was bad at. Instead of throwing me out of the bus, they kind of hailed me up, right?

Yeah, that's what we all need, bro.

Because I turned back to my old stupid ways. Being around those guys and the girls really are what planted the seed that I wanted to make something in my life with surfing. And I knew from all my experience and knowing all the older players that there is no real career. You're an athlete and all pro athletes are the same. Just like Miki said, we're all a bunch of whores for sale. And as soon as you're done with your bodysuit, your body fails, you are down the line. And so no future. So I knew that. And everyone's, "Oh, you need to win a title. You need to win a title." And I go, "I don't care about a title. Hell, I don't remember who even won the Super Bowl last year. Why would I care about a number?" Everybody forgets numbers. I want a cover because a cover is what my mom wanted. One thing she said before she passed to me, "I sure would love to see a cover of you someday, Terry." And I was like, "Well, I'm not going to try." So that was always my goal. And through Bob Parker and Rich Harbour and all the sponsors that backed my play. So I wasn't too successful competitively because my style is pretty hard to nail down. I'm not traditional, I'm not modern. I'm just a surfer, surfs like I do. So to be judged by people who were called judges. Well, just the word alone gives me a little bit of an attitude, right? Like, who are they to judge me? They haven't walked in my shoes. They don't know where I'm from.

That's for sure, bro.

When I look at other people, when I look at their surfing, I don't judge them. I don't know where they've been. I don't know what problems they might have in their head. So that led into the professional longboard thing then that led into the 4 covers in '97. And then that led to me getting a job with Dorian Paskowitz, who is another one of my surf fathers, and he, I don't even know why. Excuse me. He picked me up and he put me in his surf camp with Izzy and his sons and his daughter, and he gave me responsibility for something that was so close to him and his family. It was incredible that they would let an outsider in, let alone someone like me. So I ran that for 2 years. I met a client who said, "I want you to come to New York and teach me how to surf my local break ditch plains." I went out, I taught him how to surf ditch plains. I met all these incredible dudes. Right? Tony Caramanico and Jimmy Goldberg and John Paul Manowski and just everyone, all these characters that were just epic characters in the 70s, right. Who knew that really, New York was so gnarly and so cool even in the 70s and 60s. It was way cooler than the west coasters made it out to be. Way cooler. And then through that, I just started a string of people. They just started calling me up. "We want to go surf for 2 weeks. Where do we go?" And I went, "Oh, you're asking me? Okay. That's good."

Are you going to pay me? Awesome.

"Are you going to pay me? Oh yeah, let's go to J-Bay. Let's go to Hanalei Bay. Let's go to Maldives." Everywhere I can think of, we went to.

Nice.

And that's really what started it off. And then, I obviously came to grips with it really quick that it wasn't an industry favorite kind of look. Maybe I felt a little guilty. It's like there's 2 surfers, right? Well, there's 3. There's one that doesn't care. We'll throw them out. Then, the other one is the guy who's sitting at home who's all pissed off because his spot has gotten so freaking crowded. You can't blame them. Most of my friends are like that. They're so upset because they can barely go get a wave to themselves at their own spot now. And then there's me. And so I had to make the rational decision. Do I want to sit back and watch the problem, watch it happen, and get grumpy and kind of pissy? I excel at that when I want to and I don't want to deal with that anymore, I want to excel in the positive. So I decided to take responsibility for the new surfers coming in. And I looked upon it this whole time in my career as that's exactly what I do. I'm not a yes man. I don't sign NDAs. If you get an NDA you want me to sign? Then don't even call me. If you're that person, I don't even want to know you. If you're that weird, right?

Yeah.

The people I teach are proud to be a surfer. They're proud to say they surf. Now, not all of them achieves becoming a surfer, but they all surf. You know the difference, yeah? There's surfers that surf and then there's surfers that live the surf life.

Right.

The one the Hawaiians gave us, right? The Ohana and the family. That's what surfing is. It's the world's answer to how we can all be on the same page and find equality in opportunity and equality in race and spirit and language and everything. So it's the ultimate equalizer. And so I've been on a mission ever since that when I teach people, I really try to embark. When they first talk to me, I tell them, "Well, you know what? Anyone can teach you how to stand up and ride a wave." Anybody can do that. That is what I do, but really what I want to do and what I want to do for them is I want to help make tomorrow better. I want to give them the gift of maybe tomorrow can be a little better because now I have a place to go. For my reasons. You know that freedom.

Yeah, dude.

You can paddle out the gnarliest spot in the world, you can go out on a wedge on a big ol Swansea, I'm going to get my picture in the mag and I'm going to be the man. I'm going to be the bomb. And you can do that. And walk away feeling good if your neck ain't broke. Or you can go down to Mondo's and surf 1 foot with a bunch of beginners and just hear this new group of happy surfers that have changed the lineup so radically in this last year that I find the lineup, although it's more crowded, it's way more friendly and positive than it's ever been. And I love this fresh blood. And so you can be that guy, too, or you can fly to Indo or wherever you find and you can go sit on your own private Idaho and never share away with no one and never seen no one and be completely lone wolf if that's what you like too. So the diversity of it and everything is the greatest part. So that's kind of the evolution of what I'm doing.

That's a great story, bro. So tell me a little bit about the helmet project. I think you guys just launched recently, right? I did speak to your wife about that about a month ago. Yeah. Love to hear more about what the vision was for that. And I think it's a great idea. I was talking to my buddy Christian down in Poseidon Surf. He was telling me that, I think he has some in the shop, and he loves the design and just thought they were great. So, yeah. Well, how did that all come about, the vision for the helmets?

Some people have a hard time thinking out of the box. I have a hard time staying in the box. Right? I never want to be in the box. I'm never that guy. I want to let my freak flag fly, bro. I'm the long-haired, well, I used to be long-haired, short-haired overfare leaping gnome. That's me, man. I just cannot be trained by any preconception of what I'm supposed to look like or whatever, right. So the helmet, it was 1990. I was doing my pro thing, longboarding with Bob and shooting with Bob Barbara a lot. And when you're shooting and doing movies, in order to be a standout, you have to do a lot of risks and you have to do what they want and go out where they want and do what they want. And you got to basically be a crash dummy. And I loved it because I love being challenged, so it was killer. But I ended up basically after a lifetime of being in fights and a rough childhood and being hit in the head a million times and knocked out more times than I can remember, all these new studies came out about accumulative, low-impact head trauma. And I started wondering why I struggle with society so much. And I started to think that maybe I've got some issues. And so when this really cool guy named Danny Cortazzo came up to me in Santa Cruz and said, "Hey, I want you to try my helmet, I'm working with this guy—the G man—and the G man made a helmet, a watersports helmet." It's the first surf helmet that's been adapted by the surf world. And it's a water sports helmet. Anyway, so he gave me one. I wore it instantaneously because I was getting surfer's ear. Really bad. And I couldn't wear a hood, I couldn't wear a hat, I could wear nothing because I was hitting it all the time and stuff flying off me, yard sale every time I fell. And so I tried the helmet and dude, it was insane. I loved it. Okay, it's a helmet. It was comfortable enough, it was protective enough. And after 10 years wearing it straight, my surfer's ear bone growth receded.

Wow. Are you serious, dude?

Serious. And you know what, I'll tell you what, I'll tell anybody out there. Doc Scott's doing it anymore, but he looked at me and he said, "You have 60 percent closure in your right ear. You better start covering it up. Because it's the wind. It's the wind. You're always on the beach. So even the spray gets in your ears." So he goes, "You better protect it. Try a hood." I tried a hood. I lost 4 of them. "Okay, try a hat." Okay, lost the hat, first duck dive. Tried the 5/4 with the lid on my head. Hated it. Right? I couldn't function in that thing at all.

Yeah, squishes your neck.

Then with the helmet. And I was like, "Oh my God! It duck dove unreal, it kept me warm. I went 5 years with it straight. Went in again to Doc Scott. He looked at my ear and he goes, "Oh my God, you're down to 20 percent closure."

Dude, that's insane. I've had one drilled and the other one I have is like 90 percent close. So I would love to reverse that baby.

You'd have to keep it constantly because you remember what Doc Scott said. He goes, "Dude, I've never heard, I've never seen this."

I have never heard it. Yeah.

But he said, "It makes sense because the reason it starts is because it's a natural bone growth that protects your ear, your inner ear, naturally. It makes sense that if the inner ear does not feel like it's under attack, that growth would recede slowly."

Yeah, makes sense, dude. Totally.

So, and why they don't say that and white people don't do that, I don't know. Typical America, I guess.

Yeah, yeah.

Somebody's making a lot of money drilling holes in their head. And that's a big accusation, I shouldn't say that. They're allowed to try, but it's definitely something that was a big thought and planning for the helmet.

That's awesome, dude. I hadn't even thought about that benefit, but I think that's huge.

Oh, it's a huge one. Not to mention a lot of guys, too, you get a perforated eardrum underwater. If you're surfing and you get a perforated eardrum, I hope you got friends around. Because if you've ever done that to themselves, it's about as debilitating as you get. Really bad news. And then skin cancer was a huge, huge, huge issue on mine. My brother passed away a couple of years ago from it in the head.

I'm sorry, dude.

So the skin cancer thing is not even talked about anymore. It's like almost swept under the carpet. And yet my daughter and everybody's kids out there that are listening right now, man, they are going to be highly susceptible. There's less ozone layer, more pollution, more sun time. The beach is a groovy scene now. It's going to be something that's going to happen more and more, so we're thinking that this helmet has way more function than just your obvious head protection. So Danny gave me the helmet and I wore it for 10 years. It finally fell apart. I never got another one. Mr. G was never one big guy to sponsor or pull giant ads. So it just kind of fell out of my pocket and since then, up till like 3 years ago, 4 years ago, I just kept looking for new ones, but I never saw a new one. They're always the same one I wore. And I was like, "God, I like that one. It's okay, but jeez, I think I could do better." And so that's what I did. Geez, how did it start? Oh my God. I had like a weird dream. There's an old cover of Surfer magazine. Hang on a sec.

Nice. Oh, sick. Okay, yeah, I remember that one, dude.

Remember that?

I remember that one.

I had a dream and this was in it. And I knew right then and there, man. Okay, that's it. Gladiator surfing's coming. And then I'll send some to Kelly Slater, right? And I'm like, "Oh my God. Will he make that thing at 10 foot." Give me a Batman. It's sport right there, man. I might actually be really good at that.

Yeah, with your baseball background.

Like Jamie O'Brien's baseball one he did and the boxing surfing. It's like I'm freaking out. So anyway, I go buy a red cherry ball school ball. I deflate it. I draw this weird combination of a Sumerian helmet from Maria or actually tell you the truth, I think the first helmet we looked at was Corinthian. Greek.

Corinthian.

Yeah. It was the original design. Right? And everybody started talking about it. And then all of a sudden it turned into the Roman Spartan helmet because that's what everybody can relate to. Most people don't know what Corinthian is so, but it is a Corinthian design helmet. 600 BC. So with that, we took this picture, and then all the Marvel stuff happened. And I went, "Oh my God." And I threw them all together in one, cut out a funny little orange ball that you play on the schoolyard with, put it on my head, walked into my room, walked into my house, and scared the hell out of my wife. And then she looks, "Wait a minute, that looks kind of cool. Well, I have a friend who is an engineer. Why don't you go talk to him?" So Gamal, me and Gamal got together and I talked to him and what you see now is what me and Gamal came up with.

Very cool.

We had a couple tweaks from Gary Linden helped a little bit in designing the ear padding and Danny Cortazzo helped with the jaw wing a little bit. We had input because the business I'm running, well, the business I'm in right now is I want to inspire everybody in our company to have input, to be able to have input.

Very cool.

So, yeah. So we came up with this first model and it was completely inspired by the G man. If it wasn't for the G man, none of us would be in them and thousands of lives would be lost and now I feel like I'm just trying to pick up the torch and carry it a little farther. I didn't design this with any other thought in mind other than duck diving and aquatic surfing. Period. I didn't design it for Eskimo rolls or kayaking or any other sport. I designed it as a surfer. So it had to be exceptional at duck diving. It had to be exceptional in draining. It had to be exceptional at not ripping your head off. I had to forgo this one criteria that everybody else seems to want us to do and we probably will do eventually, is the certification. Right? CE EN 1385. That's the class 2 whitewater rafting thing that you got to have to be certified so that the government agencies will hire you. But the fact is there is no agency and there is no certification for surfing. Only whitewater rafting.

Interesting.

That's it.

What about skateboarding, I wonder? I guess that's not water.

So bicycle helmet.

Yeah, bicycle helmet. Yeah, you're right.

I think its bicycle is its own, surfing, whitewater rafting is its own. Motorcycles its own along with cars and then there's snowboard mountain helmets. And really what we are, I'll tell you the truth, what's funny about it all is the thickness of the padding. The thicker you make the padding, the higher-rated it could be because the more it will absorb shock.

Exactly.

But if you think of surfing, the last thing we want is some mushroom on your head because that's when your head gets ripped off. And that's what we found out about the G model, the G man's model was that all the input I got from the big wave guys and the guys who ride heavy water and it happened to me a couple of times, is when the lip hits you, it kind of rips your head around it. Your head is thick, right? Because they're certified, right? So they're totally certified. They're insane, right? They can rip your head off in the more extreme conditions and not to mention, I got to tell you, I got tired of being called the human Q-tip. Oh, Guillame Wingnut. Lick my fucking rash, you rat.

So is it because of the volume of the foam?

Not the volume, it's the thickness of the foam.

Thickness of the foam.

Yeah, exactly. And if you'll look at it too, you'll start to see and you go, "Oh yeah. That's pretty thick up by the face." And so we designed ours specifically for going through solid, surf wave, water moving. Not Eskimo rolls or whitewater and stuff. So that really is the differential. I'm completely inspired by the G man, I can never thank him enough for saving my ass. I hope to meet the guy someday. It's insane, the industry. Right? This guy's been out there saving lives for 30 years, almost, man. You never hear about him. Why? Because he doesn't pull ads. What an industry, it's kind of funny. I shouldn't say that because they're probably listening to me going off.

But you're in the industry now, bro.

Oh, not yet. I have a thousand helmets.

Come and get them.

We've got distributors all over the world. And I hope people, I think they will and I hope they will, because, as you know, every single time I hear a story or I hear of another friend and I don't know if I saw you last Saturday, but where we were.

Yeah, you were at Rincón.

I got to tell you, I couldn't even get near you guys. I was a fucking weeping ball of shit over in the corner. And it just fucking kills me.

Yeah. That dude probably would have survived if he had a helmet on, right? Maybe.

Yeah, and I probably would have been normal if I wouldn't have taken so many drugs, I don't know.

Yeah, woulda, coulda, shoulda. It's important for the younger kids out there or anybody, dude, not just the younger kids, especially if you're surfing in a crowded area or in a reef. I surf the Ventura reefs all the time and I'm always dropping into water. There's rocks. Hobsons and Faria, there's rocks all over the place in those depending on the tide. Dude, I've fallen down and been that close to just busting my head open. So locally it's as important as if you're surfing a reef in Indo or Hawaii or whatever. I got a buddy who wears a helmet, he's been wearing a helmet. Shout out to my buddy Ernie. He's been wearing a helmet since I've known him for probably 15 years. He's usually the only dude in the lineup with a helmet.

That used to be me at Santa Cruz.

I think it's a great thing to bring to people's attention. In Ojai, here, I have an electric bike and I wear a helmet when I ride my bike in town. Right? So why wouldn't I wear a helmet if I'm surfing? It doesn't make much sense. I don't know. I think this is an interesting point in surfing's kind of evolution where the helmet is going to be discussed more. So I think this is perfect timing for you, bro. And my helmet goes off to you and my hat. Because I think it's rad, dude. Because I don't know anybody else do anything like this and pushing it. So that's great.

There's been a few. I think someone's got a hat out that looks pretty cool. I think Red Bull sponsoring a couple of them and so there's some out there. They're starting to look at it. But it's an expensive endeavor. So, there's not any kind of guarantee. It's not like making another pair of sandals or board shorts or clothing line or plastic board from China or something. But I think surfing is at a major crossroads at this very moment. And I think it's come to pass that we are now in a contradictory state. We almost don't even have our name anymore. Like we were surfers. Surfers, right? Now you say that to Joe Blow on the street, he's thinking you're talking about surfing the web. We barely have our identity anymore so it's moving so fast, surfing started to chase its own tail. I think we're at a major crossroads. And I'm hoping that this company, like a branch in our company did, Patagonia inspired me. Right? On how good a company can actually be run for surfers, by surfers, and for everybody. With surfers' experience, the experiences we all have collectively are the whole gamut of life in every waking form—from birth to death to victories to total failures, to being scared, to being elated. We go through it all emotionally every single time we paddle out just about. So I'm hoping that this company that we're creating right now will help create a more open forum and less judgment. Surfers have always been too judgmental. It's one of the faults I see in our culture. Even though I believe we are ahead of a lot of different groups as far as being spiritual and being physically fit. I don't know a lot of theories in life out there, but one of them is a guy named Spinoza, and he believes that everything on this planet is here for us to enjoy. Every single thing here is for our experience. That's why it's here. It's for us to experience. And when we deny ourselves those experiences, we deny ourselves the fullness of this time in this plane. Right? And so I'm hoping that this company will help inspire other people and maybe other companies to really pay attention and to really be concerned about our future. There's never been a future in surfing because like you said, all we do is sit around and wait for sets. That's all we do—wait. We wait. I wait for daytime, I wait for sunrise, I wait to get in my car, I wait in my suit, waiting on the beach.

Waiting for the tide, waiting for the wind.

I wait for a set and then I ride for 5 seconds and then I'm waiting again. This perpetual state of wait. So surfers in a real true meaning, we're never really actually present. We always live in the future, but we're stuck in the present. So we have this contradictory thing that we want to achieve. We have this energy we want to tap into, but it's blocked periodically from these outside influences that slow us down. And so I'm hoping that what's slowing surfing down right now is this judgment thing. We make fun of each other. I know that's a hazing thing and I know it helps to bring people's humility into the circle. But at the same time, I think it's extremely important that we take our heads out of our own little lives and put our thoughts into our future, which is the kids. The kids, the kids, and the kids. They're the ones who are going to be getting everything, they're the ones who are going to take it from where we leave it and is this what we want to leave them? It's not what I want to leave my daughter. Bunch of uncaring jerk offs that go for every single wave because they're better than you and burn you. And then you get all the everybody else is like guys that are brand new. Rincón last 2 weeks ago, I was out, and I caught a wave and I'm screaming down the line. And of course, I have to yell the whole time, right? And I'm yelling and I look at this kid, this 200-pound football player, college kid paddling his brains out on a soft top. Not even looking, just plowing. Right? And I'm like, "Oh my God, he's got too much momentum. He's never going to be able to pull out." Right? So I get real close to him and I try to do the down and around, he sneaks up and falls in my lap.

Oh no, bro.

200 pounds of college athlete in my lap. Down I go. I've got my helmet on. Right? I lift him up, the guy's in my lap, I push him off my lap, he looks at me and of course, what am I, instantly on fumed. Right? So fumed at first. Dude, I used to get in fights for stuff like that. Right? I've seen many a person get their ass kicked for that same exact infraction.

Knuckle sandwich.

The guy looked at me and he just erupted in apologies. "Dude, I'm so sorry. Oh my God. I didn't duck. Dude, I can't even tell you how bad I feel." It nullified everything. I just went, "Oh my God, you're such an asshole. Why would you ever even think of yelling at that guy? He has no fucking clue. He's totally nice. And it didn't hurt me. I'm okay." And then the bigger thought was and my point of this babble was there's no responsibility. And that's what my company is with a capital R, dude. We're trying to be responsible right now in front of everybody in the world. And the reason I'm doing it is because I can take it. I can take the heckling. I don't care. You call me what you want, slap me around. I don't care. I'm coming back and I don't give it a frank because it's my thing. And my thing is to make sure that everybody understands how important it is that we all take care of each other because if we don't, no one else is. And if that's the way it goes, then you can expect your children's children's children to not even exist because we'll all die before them, because we're going to turn this beautiful marble into a wasteland. So it's a lot deeper than me just selling product. It's got everything to do with me trying to help humanity recognize some of our flaws, and I'm offering just a small, small answer that will hopefully chain react into other people doing the same, like the industry saying, "Hey, you know what? If you're surfing Pipe and you ride for me, you got to wear a helmet." In fact, you know what? You ride for me, I'm paying you 2 million a year, whatever the guys get, you wear a helmet every day. Because we want you saying the right thing. We want you promoting safety to kids. We want you to look responsible. We want you to look like an athlete. What do you think they're going to think when they show up in the Olympics with no helmets and long hair? Hello. You'll be laughed at.

The surfers are here.

Yeah, here comes the beach bums again. In fact, one little side note, I would have to say, the new schoolers, the guys from the 90s, let's say it's Peter Mel and that group fleeing up. Well, boy, these young kids, man, they are truly athletes. These guys are athletes. The Higgies and just all these guys and then all the whole family, Coco and her brother and just every one of them I can think of right now. Look at the kid dude who aided that in Morocco. What was his name? Billy Kemper. Dude, these guys are athletes. They are training, eating, thinking, biting, feeling animal machines of athletic precision.

Got to be these days. Got to be.

Well, not really. I was at Mavericks on the giant day and I watched the guy paddle out in a short john.

Are you serious, dude?

It's 65 foot to 70 foot, freezing. He paddles out in a short john.

You got to kind of love that, too, right?

I loved it. Once I actually was around all day listening to the guys and whatnot, I started picking up on it. That guy's a jerk off to the highest degree because he's putting everybody out there in danger because when he offed it, someone's going to have to go get him and those guys will go get him because they're that way. They will do any one of these rescue and there is no bigotry out there. They don't care about module, you'll get a rash and shit. And I'm sure. So it's really weird that he would do that because again, surfing's contradiction, right? It's a free love hippie. It's love, it's peace, it's free. It's free, it's free, it's free. But really? Really? If we turn it free, then what's going to happen? There's going to be 20 million people out there, their trash on the beach, parties. Oh, we're going to massacre the thing. So anyway, that's what I mean when I say the contradictions that are happening right now are weird.

Humans are living contradictions, right? Hypocrisy runs deep all through humanity. So it's no question that surfers wouldn't be the same.

Oh, so I didn't just have this giant epiphany.

No, you could also have epiphany. That's all right.

I really started to kind of understand that with myself. I go to these moments when I'm not perfect because I am flawed, bro. I screw up all the time.

All of us are, bro. All of us.

It's what I say. Because I get verbal because I get doubtful because I'm a little afraid of rejection, so I say things that are stupid. So I just can't come across right. And then I think, "Oh, what the hell, man?" To other people, I represent the spirit of freedom. Yet here I am being unfree because I'm a slave to my own negativity. Sucks. So I'm working on myself that way.

Good, bro.

For everybody I've ever burned out there.

Terry sends you a big hug if he ever burned you.

Give me a hug, just slap me when you see me, just warn me because I got new teeth.

Yeah, looking good, bro. Looking good.

But so that's kind of the story with the helmet.

It's awesome, man.

It's good for everybody. It's big waves, small waves, any wave.

We'll put the link in the show notes. But if they're just listening, where can people find the helmet and if they want one or if they want to talk to you about a surf trip, too, let's give them both resources.

Surely. I'm easy enough to find, but my email is simbasurf@yahoo.com.

Nice.

S-I-M-B-A S-U-R-F, that's my personal email, use it any time for anything.

Awesome.

Any time for anything. Youth, especially, man. You got problems, you got things, you got questions. People got technical questions. Any question, I don't care. Throw it at me. I'm so stoked to have any of it. Now the helmet is simbasurfhelmets.com.

Sweet, simbasurfhelmets.com. We'll put a link in the show notes so everyone could look it up.

It actually says simbasurf.com. But I'd like to put helmets in there.

We'll give you the right link. You'll get there in the show notes. Don't worry about that.

Peter Mel up in the Santa Cruz has them at Free Line. Mitch down at Becker in Malibu has them. Surf Divas in San Diego have them. And we're now spreading our wings to other shops.

Awesome, bro.

But it's a slow going where these things go.

It's been so good to get to know you, bro. We got to go and have a beer some time in Ojai and maybe paddle-out one day.

Oh my God, I'd love to. It's been a while. I haven't been real motivated this year because the guilt has been kind of crushing me surf-wise. I felt knowing that there's so many suffering, I just couldn't get the mojo together.

Yeah, I know the feeling, bro.

It's been real tough. And I'm just praying that everybody listening out there has a thought be on themselves and starts thinking about the children and the youth because that's all this world's got.

True that, bro. Thanks a lot, Terry. Really appreciate it, man.

Well, thank you so much for being stoked and for being responsible like I'm talking about and showing some soul and showing that you really do care. And sure, man, I would love to go have a beer with you and shoot the junk and catch a sesh, man. That'd be great.

Yeah, dude. Awesome, bro. Thanks a lot, Terry.

Thank you so much, man. Super Mahalo.

Mahalo to you, bro.

And my dog is saying goodbye.

Yeah, that's perfect timing.

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