Over the past six weeks, we've hosted the inaugural Vissla + Surfrider Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest - challenging the public to take something that might be considered waste and create something that can be used in the ocean. We had the pleasure of gathering the community to celebrate the results of this contest and the finalists' projects on Saturday night at Interval Gallery in San Clemente, CA. A packed house included the Orange County surf community, Creators & Innovators Jay Nelson and Donald Brink, and almost all of the contest finalists including some Internationals who made the trek from Japan, Australia, Cayman Islands and Washington. Since Vissla's inception, the concept of Upcycling has meant a great deal, so the opportunity to involve the public in participating has made it even more special. The response was overwhelming and the projects submitted over the course of the six weeks exceeded our expectations, making it so tough for us to narrow down our finalists.
Alas, after much debate, 2 Under 16 and 8 Open Division finalists were chosen and showcased at our event on Saturday night. Our judges for the night included Creator & Innovator Jay Nelson who made the trek from San Francisco, San Clemente local Creator & Innovator Donald Brink, and a representative from Surfrider Foundation.
Congratulations to winners Ian Irish (Under 16 | Agave Handplane | Los Angeles) and Dane Whiteside (Open | Alaia Constructed from Hollow Door | Australia) who were presented with a one-off Donald Brink asymmetrical surfboard. A close second place went to Danny Link (Under 16 | Handplane from Wine Box | Cayman Islands) and George Kodama (Open | Surfboard from Styrofoam Boxes | Japan) who both received a $500 Vissla shopping spree. Third place and a brand new Vissla 7 Seas Wetsuit was awarded to Connor Brock from Washington, who built an insane amphibious Paipo / Skateboard, all constructed from a wood pallet, including the wheels. And a huge thank you and congratulations to the rest of the finalists who helped inspire all of us. We can't wait to host this contest even bigger and better next year.
Special thanks to Interval Gallery, Surfline, The Dudes Brew Co. and D'Blanc for all the support. You can still view the exhibition until Saturday at Interval, so make sure to stop by if you're in the area.