The surf shops of yesteryear are beginning to slowly slip away. Say goodbye to mounds of printed tee’s, sticker studded cash registers and the “buy buy buy” vibe. That was the surf shop of my youth; primitive, dry and monotonous. Let me introduce you to Daydream Surf Shop, a new breed of surf culture’s inner circle and they are taking over. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the visionaries behind SoCal’s newest surf venture, a concept envisioned by the talented Becca Mantei and Kyle Kennelly. These two long time sweethearts have put their heart and soul into creating something magical and the alchemy is undeniable. With hand shaped surfboards, unique goods, and vintage duds that make us swoon, Daydream offers something more than we could ever want from a surf shop. Located in Costa Mesa, California, there’s this devotion to the 60s and 70s that can be found in every little detail and the details are what makes this place count folks. Rad records, lush green plants, and bohemian textiles are just a few things that make this spot so mystical. Oh and let’s not forget that they have a beautifully designed coffee bar nestled right in the store so you can relax there all day if you like.
Walking into Daydream was some kind of aesthetic participation. The energy in there alone is full of positive rays of metaphorical sunshine. Then you look around, take it all in and waves of comfort and inspiration take over. There is this living room vibe that makes you feel right at home and never want to leave. Plus, it helps that their shop pup Penny is flippin adorable and oh so chill. They prove to us that a surf shop no longer needs to cater to the major action sports brands of our formative years. We are grateful that these brands showed us the way as young groms, but as we grew older we knew we wanted something else, something more, and Daydream gives us exactly that. What Becca and Kyle have created is what we all crave, an experience. We’re not just going there to consume, we’re going there to enjoy. Take a look at the little interview I did with the minds behind Daydream, we’re stoked for these two and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for them.
What was the inspiration behind opening Daydream Surf Shop? What led you two down this path?
K- There are so many micro and macro factors that inspired us to open Daydream. On a local level, when we were growing up in the area, the Westside of Costa Mesa always had rad stuff going on, RVCA was a blossoming brand along with Hurley and Volcom and everyone would put on a ton of fun events, art shows, film screenings, music events, you name it. We wanted to create a space that was a little more open to the public where folks from the Westside community could come to congregate over quality coffee and garner inspiration. In terms of the macro factors that led us down this path, we really felt like opening a business together was the best way to feel good about what we’re doing everyday. As Millennials, we feel that our work is an extension of who we are and represents our ideals and it’s really hard for us to stand behind another company and represent what they stand for in its entirety. Granted, my last job was totally incredible and inspiring, I worked for Mollusk, who was a major inspiration and we’ve remained closely connected to them. The only thing better than working for Mollusk was to start our own adventure.
What experiences did you having opening the shop? What were some challenges? Did any parts of the process seem effortless?
B- Oh man! Building out the shop was a mission! We got the space in August and worked on it day and night, everyday, until we opened a couple weeks ago. Kyle and I did the majority of the construction ourselves with the help of Kyle’s uncle, Jon, who is a contractor. Everything from the materials, layout, and design, Kyle and I thought of ourselves, and had to piece together how we would build everything. It was super challenging to do everything ourselves, but totally worth it. We put a piece of ourselves into every square inch of our shop. Although it was a ton of hard work, it was so rewarding and fun to build out the shop.
You both lived in San Francisco for several years, what was behind the decision to open a surf shop in Costa Mesa and not the Bay Area?
B – Kyle and I are both from Costa Mesa, it’s our home! We knew that we would always move back home at some point. San Francisco is the greatest city in the world and will always hold a special place in my heart, but you can’t beat the beaches of Southern California. Also Costa Mesa is way more affordable to have a shop in. It would have been impossible to do what we wanted to do with our minimal budget in San Francisco.
Daydream as a surf shop alone is incredible, then you went ahead and added a beautiful coffee bar making it even more amazing. Why did you want to have a coffee bar in your shop? How do you take your coffee?
B – People don’t necessarily buy surfboards everyday, but everyone can get a cup of coffee every morning. Having coffee in our shop gives people a reason to stop by the shop and hang out for a while. It’s something that brings people together. It’s been really cool to see people from all walks of life come to the shop and enjoy a cup of coffee together. Iced pour overs are my go to, with a small splash of milk.
Creating and working with a significant other has always been a dream of mine. What’s it like working creatively with each other? Are there any challenges? What’s the best part?
B – It’s the best! We get along so well, it’s really like working with your best friend. Also, I think we can pick up on little things than another person might not be able to notice. I can tell when Kyle is hungry and needs a break, and he knows when I’m feeling overwhelmed and need to have a 10 minute nap in our shop hammock. I think we are both really intuitive with knowing what the other person needs. It’s so rad to share your day with your partner.
K – As lame as this sounds, I try to impress Becca all the time… It seriously gives me a boost of energy just thinking about how excited she will be when I’ve gone the extra mile on something. Lovers are much more motivating than some frumpy cubicle boss.
You both have a very unique and specific style and that aesthetic shows through out the shop, who has had a big impact on your life and perspective?
B – My mom had always fostered my creativity and uniqueness. She has always been my biggest cheerleader and always reminds me to be myself, even if that means not fitting in with what everyone else is doing. Throughout my life, I’ve felt like I didn’t really fit in with the status quo and she has had my back from day one when I wanted to be different from everyone else. Thanks mom!
It’s almost as if the best ideas come in forms of quantum leaps of realization, all of a sudden you’ll be in the shower and think of something so incredible that you have to hop out immediately and run through your house soaking wet to write it down before you forget it.
K – I draw a lot of my inspiration from surfing’s evolution era of the late 60’s and early 70’s, but I’d say my history in academia and research jobs has really helped frame the way I study surf history and analyze the performance art of surfing.
Nowadays, it feels like inspiration is always easily available, what inspires you as creatives? What do you do when you have a creative block?
B – I think surrounding yourself with other creative people will always inspire you. Getting stoked on my friends creative projects always lights a fire for me to do something creative too. To work through creative blocks I think being in the car and just driving anywhere really helps me to mentally sort things out. Kyle and I have spent a lot of time driving up and down California when we were living in San Francisco. While driving for hours on end, we would hash out a bunch of different ideas we had for ourselves, for Daydream, and for whatever creative project we were working on.
K – If I’m having a creative block I’ll usually just switch gears, there’s no use in trying really hard to turn a dud of an idea into grandeur. It’s almost as if the best ideas come in forms of quantum leaps of realization, all of a sudden you’ll be in the shower and think of something so incredible that you have to hop out immediately and run through your house soaking wet to write it down before you forget it.
What get’s you out of bed each morning?
B – Kyle making me a coffee…
K- Haha, I love making Becca coffee, I’ve been doing it for years and now I get to do it in the most beautiful location of all!
What’s the best meal you grandma cooks?
B – Hmmm, that’s a hard one. My Nana just sent Kyle and I a recipe for her red beans and rice. Kyle is a fan of southern cooking so I’m sure this will be super tasty.
With this year coming to an end, any big plans for 2017? What’s a major goal you would like to accomplish for Daydream Surf Shop?
K – This next year is going to be so incredible! We already have so many awesome events in the works and have been coming up with more and more all the time. I’d say I’m most excited to keep innovating and coming up with ideas that we can act on while leveraging the shop space as a platform for community development and cultural shifting of the surfing world on an individual level.
Daydream Surf Shop’s website