Portrait taken with Canon 50mm 1.8.
I first came across Wet Sand seven years ago when I was working for a surf inspired jewelry company called Strictly Boarding here in Encinitas. I was their inside sales person. My job was to make sure that the surf stores we sold to were stocked with our stuff. Long story short, I called Wet Sand in Ventura (my hometown, more about Ventura here), not making the connection at all. I spoke with Candy, the owner, still not making the connection. She asked is this Kate Bello? I said yeah. From Ventura? Uh-huh. She said this is Candy Menzel, Shannon Menzel's mom. No way! Shannon and I were friends in elementary and middle school. Shannon has some serious dirt on me when I used to perform The Little Mermaid song at girl scout camp on the reg. I remember sleeping over at her house watching Inner Space and Top Gun and listening to The Beach Boys 80s hit, Kokomo, which always seemed to be on at the time.
I stopped by the store shortly after that to see Shannon, now the creative director and Candy (the store was started by Shannon's dad and Candy's husband, Chuck). I was blown away at how beautiful the store was. I wanted everything in it. Even the guy stuff. It's so perfectly merchandised and designed, and from what I know, it's Shannon's eye (you can see her art in the photos above).
For those of you that don't know about Wet Sand, they started out as an online surf forecasting site, grew into an online store and opened their brick and mortar on Main St in Ventura in 2007. It's an apparel/surf shop with plenty of lovely items for the ladies too. I love their aesthetic.
Just to show you what a small world this is, I come to later find out that my former roommate and one of my besties, Lauren who owns the swimwear showroom Sel De Mer, sells her itty bitty bikinis to Wet Sand and knows Shannon. Aye, good people come together.
If you ever make it my hometown (and you should), make your way down to Main St. and into Wet Sand, float around and take it all in.
Our windy hike around Lake Convict in Mammoth. Good crew, whiskey and ginger ales, and it finally snowed the last night we were there. Photos taken with Canon 50mm 1.8.
It was 1978, or at least that’s what it felt like, the vibe, the people surrounding me. I was by myself at the time, I can’t remember the sequence of events, but there was a huge spanning space next to the ocean where they were digging something. A massive hole in the ground with benches carved out and we couldn’t go down there yet. It wouldn’t be ready until now. But then it was 1978, and it just felt right and it felt like what I was waiting for all my life that I hadn’t experienced because I wasn’t around then. I had missed it by a year. But last night I was there, wondering around, my insides high on the vibe (how I wish I could recreate that now, but it’s impossible...or is it?) and I met people, grungy skater boys who were waiting to walk down into that gigantic open space in the ground, and the sky was pink and orange next to the teal ocean and that’s when I saw him. A much younger version of him, younger than what I remember when I was a little girl in ‘83 or ‘84 when his music was constantly playing on the radio and mtv, and he looked tan and his eyes were like steel ice, and his hair almost too blonde and he made me nervous. Somehow I meandered over to him with butterflies in my stomach and when he looked at me and began to talk, I swore I fell in love with him and never wanted to leave 1978. He protected me, looking around like he didn’t trust anyone else and I was so naive, so willing, that I let him put his arm around me and lead me away from the massive hole in the ground towards the sunlight and the street, where the people were and I noticed there were planets floating in the pink sky and I swear I trusted him with all my heart as took me away. We became best friends in an instant and he gave me that funny feeling and the way he looked at me, I think I did the same for him and his stoic young face was all business when he led me to a parked brown van. I trusted him and myself, and he spoke with his soft throaty voice, with his English accent and how could I say no, then nothing, blackness.