Pro Surfer / Entrepreneur
Surfer. Athlete. Artist. Entrepreneur. These are some of the many words one might employ when describing Kassia Meador, the quintessential emblem of a carefree and conscientious California girl.
As a lifelong pro-surfer, Kassia has been the face of several global brands, experiences that came in handy when she decided to launch her own brand (KASSIA+SURF). The considered and thoughtful manner in which Kassia creates shows through in the details of her products, and it's what makes her the perfect Late Sunday Afternoon ambassador.
You embody the image and energy that so many people have about California, especially Los Angeles. What keeps you here on the West Coast?
I love the lifestyle here, and how open people are here in California. When you have an idea, the community rallies and supports it — it has the free spirit of the West. When you think about our history and the Wild West, the people that migrated here had big dreams and wanted to create something.
Also, I love the fact that I can go surfing, skiing on the mountain tops, or go to the desert by getting in my car. I have so much access to beautiful places by a two-hour car ride, and that is a really beautiful aspect of this place.
How did you meet the Late Sunday Afternoon gang?
I met Matthew and Thomas through our mutual friend David Levy, an amazing guy in the Venice community. He told me I needed to meet the guys and see what they’re all about. We all met in Malibu, and hit it off right away. They are such epic guys, and I couldn’t wait to see the space they had created. So I went to the shop, and was blown away by their creativity, by how much they embrace the community by giving back—the dog beds, the blankets, and scarves they give to shelters—they give back in every way.
Is that also the day you got your first ascot?
Yeah, I got my first Late Sunday Afternoon ascot the first time I went to the shop. I love the whole idea of tying the last knot with intention. I love the mystery, the adventure, the radness and the prayer that goes into each scarf.
Where do you wear your ascot?
I wear my ascot around the side of my neck. It makes me feel very summery—it’s a little extra something, you know? As a surfer, I’m always going to the beach, and chilling in shorts and a t-shirt, so putting this on makes me feel like I can go out and do anything that day.
One of the main intentions Matthew has for each scarf is that by blessing each one, the wearer learns to bless themselves. Do you have an intention you set when you wear your ascot?
My intention always changes when I tie my ascot, because I am constantly changing. It’s why I love the ocean so much, because no two days are ever the same, no two waves are ever the same, so my intention is constantly changing just like life is. It’s so beautiful to wear something that’s so charged. My intention always changes because I embrace the moment I’m in.
As a designer, what are some of your intentions behind your products?
My intention has always been to create the best quality products I possibly can while exploring conscientious ways to work with low-impact materials for the environment. One of the ways I do that is through our wetsuit recycling program—we take recycled wetsuits and turn them into yoga mats. Also, in the last year, my newest collection of wetsuits are created with a limestone-based neoprene opposed to petroleum. The limestone is mined sustainably, so that’s exciting to have an opportunity to work with a new fabric.
When I was a little kid, I remember seeing “All drains lead to the ocean” spray painted on the sewers, and I always think about that. Whatever happens on land ends up in the ocean, and with so many of these drains all over the place, we swim in that as surfers. When people find out about our wetsuit recycling, they get so excited because they don’t want to throw their wetsuits away. It’s a program that excites people, so they tell their friends, and it starts a different kind of conversation.
Wetsuits are like superhero outfits—my intention is to give people, especially women, something to wear that feels empowering. When you put on an outfit that makes you feel good, keeps you warm and looks dope, you’re ready to tackle the waves in a different way.
What was it like transitioning from being a surfer into a designer?
I’ve been a pro-surfer my entire life, so starting my own company has been both slow and fast in many ways. I had already been making wetsuits through one of my big sponsors for eight years, so I already was familiar with design. I started thinking about everything I learned, and I wanted to create something focused on solutions rather than contributing to the issues.
70% of the earth’s landfills are filled with clothing. In the traditional way of manufacturing, it can take up to 50 gallons of water to make one pair of socks. With my own wetsuits, I had the opportunity to work differently.
But the transition, it was trippy, you know? I surfed my whole life. I didn’t go to school for design. I was creating things that worked for me, understanding what didn’t work or wanted to improve, and that was a really cool place to be in. I was bummed because I didn’t go to school because I could have learned a lot about business, but I think in other ways, not knowing something and starting from a place of intention, gave me an opportunity to experience things differently and focus on the possibilities of what can be done.
What part of your personality are you most grateful for?
I’m grateful for my excitement and my tenacity. I just won’t stop, and that’s how I got good at surfing. I wanted to keep doing it and loved it.
What do you envision being part of your next stage of evolution and growth?
I mean, that’s the thing about evolution and growth, you never know what the next stage is going to be. You might walk down the street, have a conversation that takes you down a new path, so it’s about being open and learning. Keep on flowing with what feels right.
I recently saw a video of you going to Standing Rock and talking to a chief about clean water. Can you tell us about that experience?
As a surfer, the water is everything. As people, water is everything. I’m so close to water all the time, and it’s something that inspires me and gives me and everyone life. So, when the Standing Rock protests were happening, I was immediately passionate about the movement and wanted to show my support in every way possible. Being there physically was fantastic, and I wanted to help out. We brought food from the local Venice community, and even raised a fund to donate to the tribe’s legal fees. I also realized that I wanted to get the story out there because the news was misconstruing what was really happening.
I got together with a friend, Alek Parker, and we filmed one of the chiefs that was originally out there when they started the camp. His name is Frank Sanchez Iron Eagle, and he is an awesome guy. It was great to hear his message and get it out to the community of surfers and other people who follow me. It was picked up by a lot of news channels, so it was great to give people that information because it gives people a choice to understand what’s happening and take a stand for it. Because water is an essential part of our lives—no matter where you come from, no matter what you’re into, we all need water to live. And that’s a fact.