I sat down with Ryan Buell at his house to discuss Buell Wetsuits and what’s been going on in the surf industry. We were surrounded by skate ramps and new logo designs for his high performance wetsuits. After our interview, I purchased a 4/3 Buell wetsuit as a birthday present to myself. The interview went as follows.
Buell: We are pretty serious about making high performance wetsuits, we focus on making wetsuits for intermediate to experienced surfers. We are also all about having fun. The surf industry has gotten too stuffy, the lines are too straight and the logos are too corporate. Our color ways and designs are fun and we are not afraid to put eyeballs on our booties.
SCW: What is the Buell lifestyle?
Buell: That can be seen in our mascot Static B. He is somewhat of an ocean going bigfoot creature that supposedly lives in a cave near the ocean. He can usually be seen on a south swell, full moon. He has also be seen somewhere around Mitchell’s Cove, no one has ever gotten photographic evidence. We hope to get photographic evidence but for now we have artistic depictions. We use it as a monster theme. He migrates from Santa Cruz to Brazil.
SCW: Talking about Brazil, how did you get connected with Adriano De Souza? And what are your thought’s on this years Rip Curl Bells Beach Pro?
Buell: Well, I’ve been surfing with Nat Young since he was 7. I’ve been following him and I’ve known him forever and his mom Rosie. It’s exciting for everyone here in town to see how well Nat has been doing, especially in his rookie year. I really thought I wanted Nat to win. I really like both of them. As it happened, I realized the ramifications of what really went down being the wetsuit sponsor for Adriano who won it. Seeing him online hoisting the bell was great, and I made that logo placement directly on his left arm in hopes that he would be on that podium. Once I saw that, I knew what it meant for Buell wetsuits as a company. I’m still buzzing.
SCW: Nice. Could you tell us a bit about the specialty brands that you have been developing?
Buell: I sell the Buell wetsuit brand at retail, that means we have a team and team riders who wear them. However, anyone can order the Buell wetsuit brand online and we make wetsuits for other brands, mostly clothing companies. Surf industry brands that have surf teams, and want to provide wetsuits for their surf teams, but don’t have the foggiest idea of where to begin. My brand and my factory are set up for that so I can guide people to what kind of wetsuits they should get.
SCW: Can you tell us a little about The Hunger Game 2 movie custom wetsuits that you worked on?
Buell: I worked closely with Western Costume Supply Company who is the biggest costume suppler for Hollywood movies. They don’t specialize in wetsuits and that is where I come in. Somebody told them that I was the guy to do it and they got a hold of me. The design and materials were really nice. Ultimately I was a consultant on the project and was involved deeply in the design. I’ve seen the actual wetsuits and will have a sense of pride when I see the movie come out. They look great.
SCW: If you had 48 hours to live, what would you do?
Buell: I can tell you the answer to that question would be different if you had asked me 10 years ago. I’ve pretty much done everything that I’ve wanted to do. I’d spend the time with my family because I have two beautiful daughters and a beautiful wife.
SCW: Right on. Do you have any shout outs you would like to give?
Buell: Shout out to Adriano De Souza, as well as Raoni Monteiro. Good luck to both of those guys on the World Surfing Tour. Shout out to Nat Young and his chase for a world title or a top 5 finish, rookie of the year. To all of my supporters, and everyone who has helped me out sense the beginning. A lot of people say you should follow your dreams and risk everything to do that. But it’s scary, and when I did that, there were so many people hoping for my success. So thank you to everyone in the industry and everyone who is stoked on my wetsuits.
SCW: Thank you for taking the time to answer out questions.
Buell: Thank you.
You can buy Buell wetsuits online at: Buell Wetsuits
or call Buell Wetsuits at 831-600-8063
Photo by: Yvonne Falk
Article by Jack Neenan