Join Josh Sirlin, the restless spirit behind the Black Bear Brand, on his latest adventure with his Big Pilot at the coast of Santa Cruz.
Diving head first into a new adventure, I'm off, blaring down the California coast to get my fix.
The Wildest Place on Earth
The ocean: it’s wild, overwhelming, powerful and mysterious. The ocean is the wildest place on earth. It leaves me awestruck, I love it!
As I reach the coastline I go into sensory overload. The wind is kicking, a strong smell of ocean salt is in the air, the blue shades of the wild ocean and the vast sky contrast the muted colors of earthy canyons and endless beach. This is why I’m here; I’m overtaken, alive with inspiration. This is living!
I’ll be at my friend’s surfboard shop in Santa Cruz... soon.
New adventure, new Big Pilot
Taking it all in on his 1948 Panhead
Josh Sirlin wearing the Big Pilot’s Watch IW501015
Some type of freedom
When I see the coast, I realize I have arrived in California. That’s when the smile hits. When you see the wide Pacific Ocean. Everything else until then is anticipation. I try to get to California three times a year. To me, work and pleasure work hand in hand. My work is always pleasurable. It’s this collision that is the story of my current life. Work and life are so intertwined. All of these things that I enjoy, I apply into my work.
California to me has always meant surfing in the Pacific Ocean. A lot of kids growing up in the mid-west have a dream about going to the California coast. Especially the dream of surfing – it’s the unattainable for a young boy in the mid-west. Surf culture was always an adventure, an example of some type of freedom. There’s an affection, an individuality that is associated with it. I have always wanted to surf.
I’m not a good surfer. That’s okay. I do a lot of things I’m not good at. It magnifies the adventure. There’s a lot of wonder around it.
The Steve McQueens of the world
We watch the Steve McQueens of the world. Those individuals that are defiant and non-conformist. That man that one would look up to. He was just f--- cool! It’s as simple as that. And when you think of Cali it’s the same feeling. Hot rods, surfing, that wild cool lifestyle - that was the Californian dream.
This trip was oriented around my friend who custom-made a surfboard for me. I was going to water test and surf with him. I’m not a good surfer. That’s okay. I do a lot of things I’m not good at. It magnifies the adventure. There’s a lot of wonder around it.
Josh Sirlin touching one of the custom-made surfboards
At a friend’s surfboard shop in Santa Cruz
A guest on every level
That surf culture is so neat! You have to go through a process. It’s all about how you act in the environment, about hierarchy. It’s a general practice among surfers. I’m just following their example. I was a guest on every single level. I felt it right here, while seeing the sharks in the distance.
Water is everything to me. There’s no place where I feel calmer. You’re clearly reminded of how small you are. And how magnificent mother nature is. It’s a wonderful place to be. The ocean, the water and the magnitude. I absolutely love it.
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