Kassia Meadow is a person that embodies the quintessential carefree, laid-back California girl. Beyond her chill demeanor, Kassia is very driven as a professional athlete, an artist, and most recently, an entrepreneur.
As a lifelong pro-surfer, Kassia has been the face of several global brands, which is experience that came in handy when launching her own brand: KASSIA+SURF. The considered and thoughtful manner in which Kassia creates her products is evident when examining the details of each of her products. Read our interview to learn more about this amazingly multi-hyphenate soul, and what she's doing to make the world a better place.
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 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, you think of the people that migrated here, who had big dreams and wanted to create something.
I also love the fact that I can go surfing, skiing on the mountain tops, or explore the desert by getting in my car. We have so much access to beautiful places within 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 a mutual friend, an amazing guy in the Venice community. We met in Malibu, and hit it off right away. They are such epic guys, and I couldn’t wait to see the space they created. When I went to their shop, I was blown away by their creativity and how much they embrace the community by giving back. They give back in so many ways with their dog beds, the blankets, and scarves they donate to shelters.
You create very intentional-based products for your line. Can you talk to us about that, and how you make those decisions on a day-to-day?
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, as of last year, my newest collection of wetsuits are created with a limestone-based neoprene opposed to petroleum. The limestone is mined sustainably, so it’s exciting to work with a new type of 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 we swim in that as surfers. When people find out about our wetsuit recycling program, they get so excited because they don’t want to throw their wetsuits away. It 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 was already been making wetsuits through one of my big sponsors, so I was already familiar with design. I started thinking about everything I learned, and wanted to create something focused on solutions for cleaner oceans, rather than contributing to the problem.
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. So when I was creating my 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 what I 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.
I recently saw a video of you going to Standing Rock and talking to a chief about clean water. What did that experience teach you?
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. 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.
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.