What got you into surfing in the first place?
Kyle: Ya, so that’s a cool story. My mom loved the ocean and whenever she took me to the beach I’d always try to stand up on by boogie board but that didn’t really count… My dad wasn’t in the picture, but I knew he surfed. I had an amazing stand in father figure named Mike, I referred to him as my grandfather because that was just easier to tell people, his son Jon surfed and I always thought that Jon was so rad. One day Jon took me and pushed me into some waves at Big Corona in Corona Del Mar, I was so nimble and light that I just popped right up. Haha, I still have photos of me riding what were essentially rolling swells that weren’t even breaking on a 6’0″ BZ soft top that looked like a longboard on me. Fast forward 20 years and guess who helped us build out the shop? My “Uncle” Jon! He was responsible for building the majority of the shop with me and Becca.
Amazing. Tell us more about the Daydream Research Center, it seems like a fun, unique and relevant thing for a surf shop to do in the age of the “shared economy.” How many members are there? How many boards? Shapers? etc.
Kyle: Ya, that’s my baby! So, I started the earliest stage of this back up in San Francisco in the living room of our apartment back in 2015, it was called the Community Board Share. I think the website url expired, but the Instagram is still out there somewhere. It was pretty hard for folks to take seriously, but I loved the concept and wanted to test it out before incorporating it into our future shop. Now the Daydream Research Center is up and thriving! We have 42 different boards right now across tons of different shapers, it would be exhaustive to name them all but I’ll shout out a few: Liddle, Gato Heroi, Andreini, Campbell Brothers, Tanner/Dash, Tyler Warren, Ryan Lovelace, Fineline, Deepest Reaches, Alex Knost, Troy Elmore, Griffin Stepanek. Right now we have three membership levels, we have a day pass that’s $20 and two month memberships, one that’s $50 and one that’s $100, the $50 level allows you to hold boards for 3 days at a time while the $100 level allows you to hold boards for a week at a time. You can reserve anything you’d like and schedule a day to pick it up or just walk in and see what’s available. We’ve had hundreds of sign ups but I’m mostly focused on the metric that counts the reoccurring monthly members which has been hovering around 30 members month over month. We’ve had some really long term members, some folks will sign up for a year at a time, we’ve had members that have been with us for over a year even! We also have member’s nights where we kick back and watch surf films from our media library along with public events that are largely educational, if its a ticketed event then the members get in free. An example of that would be the historical photography slideshow we did, Jeff Divine: Cultural Observations from Surf History, or the Hull Talk Night with Marc Andreini and Kirk Putnam.
What are your plans / goals for Daydream in the future?
Becca: We would love to expand to multiple locations. I would be thrilled to offer a space for people to get together and share thoughts and ideas with one another. 6 months ago, the thought of opening a second location would seem insane. We’ve got our feelers out there for a location south of San Clemente and north of San Francisco.
Kyle: The network effect from scaling our shop will be cool but the growth needs to be methodical and we need to make sure we’re in the right place at the right time. Certain areas aren’t really at a place where the surf culture will be accepting of what we’re doing. While we wait for the perfect moment to branch out to new areas, we’ll be working on some really rad stuff to keep with the academia theme. I don’t want to give too much away, the most I can say is that right now we’re just a research center but I hope to be an institution one day. You can never stop researching and spreading knowledge on surf history and design theory.
Any parting thoughts, words of wisdom, or sage advice?
Becca: Be cool. I took a metal soldering class a long time ago and my teacher would always tell us to “be cool.” When you’re stressing and freaking out about how something is going, that’s when you make the most mistakes. But if you can just calm down, center yourself, and focus, everything works out. It’s a great lesson I tell myself almost everyday. And when I’m getting caught up in the little details I like to remind myself that nothing really matters, we are so small and insignificant in this universe. Over-reacting is seriously such a waste of breath. There are infinite universes, and whatever problem I’m dealing with is so beyond microscopic.
Kyle: Seek peace, seek knowledge, learn to become mentally strong, listen to yourself, tune out the rest.