Surf Shacks 041

Ryan Lovelace
Santa Barbara, CA

Will Adler

Ryan Lovelace is a surfboard building, dog loving, small business operating surfer who has a fondness for projects that fall into the ‘easier said than done’ category. His surf shop, Trim is an eclectic store and local hangout in Santa Barbara where you can also find a colorful collection of Ryan’s hand shaped boards. Until recently, Ryan and his girlfriend Katie have been living in their magical converted bus known as the Cosmic Collider.

Will Adler

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Seattle Washington, living in Santa Barbara since 2004.

How did you first find this epic bus?

How does anyone find anything these days? Craigslist! It was listed as an RV/Bus conversion with the details: “Runs, Drives, Stops, Registered.” and a photo that barely even scratched the surface. I caught one look at it and knew if it was half what I thought it was, that I better do anything and everything I could to try to make it mine.

How did you come up with the name Cosmic Collider?

I honestly don’t remember how that one came about. If you’re a personal friend of the bus you know it as Ophelia, which is a reference to a beautiful song by The Band. The Cosmic Collider became its nickname and stuck online.

Is it still running?

It is! I’ve been troubleshooting problems here and there, like the entire braking system for a few years, which for as far as I can tell at this moment, are solved. About six months ago I rewired it, had the brakes rebuilt by a mechanic here in town who specializes in heavy machinery, and threw a new radiator in. It could use new tires before any decent drives, but as it stands now it is operational!

What has been your most memorable journey in the Cosmic Collider?

Honestly some of the drives close to home have been the most moving. I love driving it down tree-covered canyons and through oak forested areas – and we have a fair bit of that here. It feels right for the bus. Driving it on the freeway is an adventure, but what surprises me most is how little people seem to notice it when it’s on the highway. I always look at people because I’m so stoked while driving it, wondering if they find it as novel as I do.

Will Adler
Will Adler
Will Adler

What are your favorite parts of the bus?

The bedroom is magical. Katie and I lived in there for two and a half years up until a few months ago. It’s extremely cozy and warm, such a private little nook that is all encompassing when you’re settled up in there.

Let’s talk about your store, Trim Shop. How’d that get started?

Trim was really something I was hoping somebody else would open before I did. That is to say, I didn’t particularly want the responsibility, but I knew Santa Barbara needed it, was ready for it and that the community would be receptive of a more eclectic surf shop. Katie and I did a lot of talking about the idea and set our sights on it in the near future, then the whole ‘why not now’ thought hit like a ton of bricks and we went to work!

Who do draw inspiration from in your surfing? Shaping? Life in general?

Over different periods of the past 10 years lots of different people. George Greenough would be high on that list for the sheer amount of projects he undertakes, and how doggedly he pursues what he wants in any given task. Gerry Lopez for the way he treats those around him; he pays attention and is legitimately mindful. He’s like my grandmother in the way that when you spend time with someone like that, you legitimately feel like it was ‘your’ time with them. I think that’s something that we can all practice on a daily basis with the people we are around. My friend Gregg Tally has been huge in teaching me what we’re capable of when we set our hearts to it. I’ve seen him go from near death to firing on all cylinders and have learned first hand what the human body and spirit is capable of when we truly set our intentions.

What are your favorite parts about Santa Barbara and the area in which you live?

I love that the community is tight. It’s hard to crack into, but it ends up sucking you in. It’s a place I thought I wouldn’t be able to stay for financial reasons, but I set a goal for myself and said I’d stay as long as I was being responsible and it looked like the future of eventually raising a family here felt real. So far so good!

Any parting thoughts, words of wisdom, sage advice?

If you want to start something: a project, a job, an adventure, don’t wait and don’t listen to your doubts. Just make your best decisions on any given day and keep moving forward. Be courteous to people and places along the way and give the benefit of the doubt. That is to say, while you give yourself the chance to succeed in what you’re doing, also give others that same chance. Learn from every minute of every day and put your best effort into everything you do. If things fall apart and you learned a hard lesson, at the very least –  you learned! Bitchin!

Will Adler

Discover more creative surfers’ homes in our book, “Surf Shacks®”


Matt Titone

A goofy-footed graphic designer who hails from the first state, Delaware. After attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, FL then graduating from SCAD in Savannah, GA with a BFA in Graphic Design and Illustration, Matt moved to NYC and found work as a freelance designer and art director. In 2006 he moved west to Venice, CA where he co-founded ITAL/C Studio and now resides a bit further north in Oxnard.

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