Kanvas by Katin usa

Kanvas By katin usa

In the late 1950s, Nancy and Walter Katin were in the business of making canvas boat covers. One day a young Corky Carroll came into the Katin’s shop complaining of the difficulty in finding a pair of swim shorts durable enough to stand up to the then-new pastime of surfboard riding.  Walter used his sewing machine and some of the sturdy boat canvas previously used for boat covers and created the first pair of Kanvas by Katin surf trunks.

The Katins kept making their surf trunks, selling them from the Surfside store and through a hemisphere-wide network of surf shop dealers. From the 1960s through the 1970s, many top surfers were loyal customers  and appeared in surf magazine ads wearing them. Walter Katin died in 1967, and Nancy continued to run the shop and the business in the same manner as before.

In 1977, just as professional surfing was starting to take off, Nancy Katin initiated an annual Pro/Am Team Challenge at the Huntington Beach Pier. With many of the world’s best surfers coming to compete, winning the Katin Team Challenge became a prestigious accomplishment in the surfing world. By the late 1970s, the surf industry had begun a decade of explosive growth, but Katin continued to run the business as before. Her health began to decline in the early 1980s, just as surf wear was gaining mass popularity, and other manufacturers began take advantage of the trend, aggressively marketing their products with slick advertising and worldwide promotional blitzes. Katin, however, continued to sew surf trunks in the back room of the Surfside store, selling them up front and through the same loyal network of surf shops.

In 1986 Nancy Katin died. The Katins had no children, and Nancy left the business to her friend and seamstress, Sato Hughes, who had begun sewing trunks for the couple in 1961. Along with her son Glenn, Sato continued to run the Katin operation in the same low-key manner. They focused on the retail store and on maintaining the quality of Katin surf trunks.

By the early 1990s, the big surf wear market had “shaken out” and hardcore surfers were again looking for a pair of functional, durable trunks. Glenn and Sato held down the retail end, while two Newport Beach surfers, Bill and Rick, who had experience in marketingsales and production, took over the wholesale side of the business. They started by updating the classic canvas designs with nylon material and adjusting the lengths and fit for a modern clientele. They added shorts, shirts, pants and jackets to the product line, and with the new samples in hand, set off on a tour of surf shops in coastal cities in the United States. They were met by an enthusiastic response from shop proprietors, who found that sales were strong

Glenn and Sato now focused their efforts on the Katin shop. They filled it with clothingwetsuitsskateboardssurfboardsbody boards and accessories, while surf shop walls were adorned with photostrophies and other memorabilia spanning decades of surfing history.

In 1998 Bill and Rick sold the wholesale side of the business to K2 Sports, and inaugurated the merger with Bill’s brainchild, the “K2 Big Wave Challenge” (later known as the “Swell XXL”, and now as the “Billabong XXL”). The K2 buyout soon led to the principals migrating to other ventures and finally the demise of the Katin wholesale business. Glenn Hughes fought to reacquire the name for many years. In 2000 Nancy Katin was inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach as Woman of the Year. In 2005, Glenn Hughes, with partner Robert Schmidt, regained the right from K2 to once again sell wholesale under the Katin name. On July 4 of the same year, Glenn Hughes with online partner Rod Kelsey launched a new website, KatinSurf.com, replacing prior URLs Katin-Surf.com (2006) Katin.com (1998) and KanvasByKatin.com (2000).

Bear Surfboarding History

Bear Surfboarding History

This is the first of three parts concerning the past and present of surfing: from its origins to the latest happenings, the articles will explore the art of riding waves from an historical point of view.

Surfing is a way of living, not only a sport: it has created cultural beliefs and changed lifestyles for good. But, when has all of this started?

The origins of surfing

Although there is no actual written record about the first surfers, historians agree that they must have lived on the Pacific coast. Peruvians claim their primate, stating that the first surfers were indeed Peruvian anglers, who used wooden boards during their expeditions in search of fishes.
Nobody knows when the first stand-ups precisely happened. Nevertheless, it is known that the wealthy people of the Sandwich Islands, the “ali’i”, were keen on the sport of “he’enalu”, meaning “wave sliding” in old Hawaiian: “he’e” stands for a solid-liquid transformation and “nalu” refers to the wave movement. The ruling system in Hawaii was the Kapu and it held royalty above the common people: they used to surf in competitions, in order to show their strength and their superiority to the commoners.

The Kapu also determined the size and materials of the boards:

  • The paipo, or kioe: a short board, usually used by children
  • The alai or omo: intended for commoners and made with a heavy wood, koa.
  • The kiko’o: larger than the omo but not as big as the olo.
  • The olo: the longest board, made from the wiliwili tree and reserved to the ali’i. It could weight up to 175 pounds.

Before cutting the tree, the craftsmen placed a fish, kumu, in a hole near the tree, as an offering to the gods.
After they had chosen the wood, the artisans shaped it with a bone or a stone adze.
When they had achieved the shape they wanted, they used to apply a kukui oil to make the surface glossier.

Surfing first records: Captain Cook’s journals

The first actual written records date back to the 18th century. James Cook was the Royal Navy captain and he had already travelled three times around the Hawaiian chain, in the fruitless search of a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Tired and frustrated, in 1778, he decided to make his ships, Discovery and Resolutions, stop at the Big Islands of Hawai’i. Unlucky, that was not a very fortunate decision: at Kealakekua bay, Captain Cook was killed by Hawaiians when he attempted to kidnap their high chief in return of one of his stolen boats.
Captain Cook had begun taking notes about the Hawaiian cultural believes in his journal: it was lieutenant James King who revised and completed them.

The following paragraph is an extract taken from one of Cook’s journal entries.

The Western eye, unused to the Hawaiian sport, is skeptical, amused and quizzical:
“The surf, which breaks on the coast round the bay, extends to the distance of about one hundred fifty yards from the shore, within which space, the surges of the sea, accumulating from the shallowness of the water, are dashed against the beach with prodigious violence. Whenever, from stormy weather, or any extraordinary swell at sea, the impetuosity of the surf is increased to its utmost heights, they choose that time for this amusement: twenty or thirty of the natives, taking each a long narrow board, rounded at the ends, set out together from the shore. The first wave they meet, they plunge under, and suffering it to roll over them, rise again beyond it, and make the best of their way, by swimming, out into the sea. The second wave is encountered in the same manner with the first; the great difficulty consisting in seizing the proper moment of diving under it, which, if missed, the person is caught by the surf, and driven back again with great violence; and all his dexterity is then required to prevent himself from being dashed against the rocks. As soon as they have gained, by these repeated efforts, the smooth water beyond the surf, they lay themselves at length on their board, and prepare for their return. […]

Those who succeed in their object of reaching the shore, have still the greatest danger to encounter. The coast being guarded by a chain of rocks, with, here and there, a small opening between them, they are obliged to steer their board through one of these, or, in case of failure, to quit it, before they reach the rocks, and, plunging under the wave, make the best of their way back again.

This is reckoned very disgraceful, and is also attended with the loss of the board, which I have often seen, with great terror, dashed to pieces, at the very moment the islander quitted it.

The boldness and address, with which we saw them perform these difficult and dangerous maneuvers, was altogether astonishing, and is scarcely to be credited.”

Big Wednesday is a 1978 American coming of age film directed by John Milius. Written by Milius and Dennis Aaberg, it is loosely based on their own experiences at Malibu. The picture stars Jan-Michael Vincent, William Katt, and Gary Busey as California surfers facing life and the Vietnam War against the backdrop of their love of surfing.

Raised in Southern California, Milius made Big Wednesday as an homage to the time he spent in Malibu during his youth. Milius and his friends George Lucas and Steven Spielberg famously agreed to exchange a percentage point of Big Wednesday, Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind prior to the release of the three films throughout 1977-1978. Spielberg in particular was certain that Big Wednesday was going to be a box office hit, opining it was like “American Graffiti meets Jaws“, two of the decade’s most successful films.[2]

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