This article was produced in partnership with Polo Ralph Lauren
The notion of the California surfer conjures up a very distinctive image—and it usually looks something like Sam Mellows. He’s a native of San Clemente, CA (home to many iconic breaks), and it’s not just his calm, cool persona that gives him a surfer’s vibe. He’s an avid waterman and a surfboard shaper, too. Mellows describes his passion for surfing as a “spiritual, almost romantic relationship.”
That’s no surprise; he’s been riding waves for years. Mellows began surfing as a kid, when he’d head to Laguna Beach after school each day. He started off on a bodyboard but quickly graduated to surfing. Since then, he’s lived his life close to the ocean, catching waves whenever he can.
Over the years, Mellows’ love for surfing transformed from an after-class hobby into a passion, especially once he became curious about the boards he was riding on. That led him to dabble in surfboard shaping and, while working out of a friends’ shed, he realized he found his calling. Soon, he started working alongside friends and acquaintances to hone his skills, and now you can find him shaping boards in pro workshops in Costa Mesa alongside some of the most well-known shapers around
For Mellows, crafting a good surfboard is all about feel. When asked about what makes a quality board, he describes how each one is unique and elicits a different feeling as it glides along a wave. It’s not about having the longest ride or scoring points in a competition; it’s about how the rider experiences the water. With a good board underneath you, that experience transforms into something more than a hobby or a way to blow off steam. It becomes a ritual.
“Surfing isn’t about competing or even about the community,” says Mellows. “It’s about a calm you can find on your own—a grounding calm that reminds you of what’s really important in life.”
Shop the Sport Shop Collection available at Macys.com.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!