Episode 10: Meet Simon Day, Co-founder of North Sea Brand, Fitzroy

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Show Notes

Today’s conversation is with Simon Day, the co-founder of a burgeoning surf brand in the UK called Fitzroy. Today we’re off to the North Sea!

To understand Simon’s story, you have to go back a generation. Simon grew up with the North Sea as his playground, getting dizzy in the garden shed watching his Dad make kayaks and repair surfboards.

Simon started out as an ice hockey player and worked his way up the corporate ladder of winter sports companies working in retail and then in design. But surfing had always been part of his life: the beach was across the road from home. When one of his Dad’s friends retired and gave him a set of shaping tools, he was finally equipped to become a shaper. It only took a nudge from his best mate David Haigh to start the ball rolling and to create Fitzroy, one of the rare North Sea surfing brands.

Most of the photos you’ll see of British surfing come from the shores of Cornwall or Devon but Fitzroy’s capital city is Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Newcastle is in the North East of England. It is the first big city South of Scotland, and if you drew a straight line on a map, from Newcastle to the East, you’d hit Denmark. This part of the North Sea catches the groundswells from Norway, so we’re talking rugged, dark, cold water surfing. It’s the kind of place where the waves are almost black on a sunny day. Just the thought of the water temperature gives me the chills.

“It’s cold, dark, raw it can be freezing but it’s beautiful. It’s got the most beautiful coastline you can imagine with castles and sand dunes.” — Simon Day, co-founder Fitzroy.

In our conversation, Simon shares his story, and explains how he’s overcome the challenges of launching and running a surf and clothing brand. Today, Fitzroy produces a selection of tried and tested boards and a stylish selection of apparel. In fact, clothing is one of Simon’s quirks.

“I’ve been so lucky because I’ve been exposed to that for a good number of years now. And I absolutely love it. It’s something that really clicks with me. I get excited to see what’s coming around the corner, what’s developing in 12 to 18 months time. For some people it’s cars, some people it’s hockey skates , for me it’s clothing. I want to know what the next eco friendly wool is, or where the sheep are going to be kept over in New Zealand to get the better fineness of Merino or something like that. It’s something that’s really cool to me. Going from that, I’ve been very lucky with that and it’s opened a few ideas and doors and communications on how to get things started.” — Simon Day, Co-Founder of Fitzroy

But the Fitzroy story is also a story of heritage. I felt that The Fitzroy story is also about passing down family passions and values from one generation of surfers to the next. In fact, the unconditional way Fitzroy is supporting their team members is a living proof of this transmission culture.

We talk about this heritage, we talk about what it takes to go surfing in the North Sea, how Simon’s professional background is helping him create a sustainable clothing brand and we talk about the awesome team members and ambassadors Fitzroy is supporting.

To get hold of Simon, you can connect on Facebook, on Instagram and on www.fitzroysurfboards.com. Don’t hesitate to send an email to hello@fitzroysurfboards.com too, Simon and his team are really reactive and always super friendly. All Fitzroy products are shipped worldwide, so I encourage you to take a look at their amazing boards and lovely apparel line. Their ambassadors are amazing too, check out Hannah Bristow aka “Kelly Says Surf” on Youtube and you can even download my conversation with Si Short, author of The Average Surfer’s Guide or better still, buy his book « The Average Surfer’s Guide».

Harry Fitzgerald, one of the Fitzroy team members produced this beautiful film called « Darker Waters » when he was at school, you can watch the film here (Simon Day’s in it too).

Documentary Academy 2017: Darker Waters from Northern Stars on Vimeo.

I would like to give a massive thank you to Simon for helping me make this episode happen.

I would like to thank YOU ever so much for being more and more listeners every week. I’m so stoked to see the stats rising ! If you enjoy listening, please subscribe, rate or review the podcast on iTunes. The more you do this for me, the closer I am to getting into the « new and noteworthy » section of Apple Podcasts.

If you want to get in touch with me there are loads of ways: just connect to my Linktree page or check out the article on Medium.com
You can also find with me and other listeners on my Facebook group called The Oceanriders Community. I post surf-related job offers so if you’re looking for a job near a surf spot, or for a surf brand, you may find your dream job there. Likewise, if you’re hiring, please feel free to share your post on the group too. The more the merrier!

I’ll be back next week with a new episode.

In the meantime, take care, have fun and enjoy the waves!




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