Meet Daydream Surf Shop

The Ecology Center’s Evan Marks interviewed Kyle and Becca, owners of Daydream in Newport Beach, about the nexus of surfing, regenerative farming, good coffee and profound social change.

Can you introduce yourselves? (Kyle and Becca)

My name is Kyle, together with my girlfriend and business partner Becca Mantei, we own Daydream Surf Shop and Semi Tropic Wines. Our mission is to create spaces that can inspire people to harmonize with nature.

Can you describe Daydream for our community?

On the surface Daydream is a specialty coffee shop and surf shop with a selection of home goods, vintage, clothing, and groovy little everyday items that are transformed into art by the intentionality of the makers. Underneath this surface, Daydream is a cosmic, creative portal that has an uncanny quality of attraction… somehow you’ll randomly see a friend you haven’t seen in years, meet a stranger you end up falling in love with, or randomly strike up a conversation with someone the universe knew you needed to chat with. It’s a community space that works to humanize elements of life that have been commodified.

What inspired you to open Daydream?

Becca and I both moved to the Bay Area to go to school, she studied Fine Art and Design at the University of San Francisco and I studied Economics at UC Berkeley. Afterwards we both acquired what would be considered “great jobs” in the fields we wanted to go into; Becca worked as an interior designer and myself as an investment banker… it didn’t take much time at all for us to realize that these career paths were tricking us into wasting our time as servants of wealthy elites and completely out of synchronicity with our philosophy. We wanted to create something that represented our values, something we could work hard together on and have fun doing it. We also love all the product categories in our shop and noticed a gap in the market here in Orange County as well as the need for a communal space for like minded people. 

Tell us about your commitment to craft? Both coffee and surf. 

Coffee was born in Ethiopia and has been exploited since the beginning of time. The “fair trade” price for coffee is so low that it keeps coffee farmers all around the world encapsulated in a cycle of poverty. This cycle can easily be broken, all that needs to happen is the support of roasters who are buying coffee at rates that actually represent the support of the cost of a decent livelihood for the producers and workers they employ. The price of a thing has so much behind it, it’s crazy. We need to be vigilant about what we are voting for when we make a purchase, it has global impacts. Luckily, most specialty coffee roasters pay multiples higher than the fair trade price for coffee and are actively working to build equality within this industry internationally. 

Surfing is a great way to get our culture tapped into nature. However, there’s a large proportion of surf culture that misses the whole significance of this subtlety and are played by the massive corporations that own the industry to idolize surfers and the brands behind them. We hope to remind people that surfing is so much more than the mass production and consumption that they’ve been sold. There’s a connection that can be developed with the world and with yourself, surfing can be the best tool for purifying yourself back to the state of a human animal, an enjoyment of nothing but nature’s most pure fruits.

How does the Research Center work? 

We have a membership based demo quiver that allows folks to sign up and test out a revolving set of boards from some of the best shapers on Earth. There’s an infinite spectrum of designs out there and it can be really expensive to learn about all these designs by purchasing them. We try to break down that price barrier by allowing people to learn about what works for them without having to purchase all the various options that exist. We also inject little lessons on board design and surf history to build a more informed community. 

What keeps you optimistic and hopeful? 

I’d think that gratitude keeps me feeling pretty optimistic and hopeful. We’re dying everyday and we waste a lot of time doing stuff that doesn’t align with our values. If I’m feeling like I’ve lost hope I’ll play a thought experiment out, I’ll tell myself when I go to bed that I’m going to die in my sleep so when I wake up alive it’s like I have a whole new lease on life. Not sure if that’s crazy or not but it helps put things into perspective for me and always makes me feel grateful for both the good and bad things. 

What are important skills for humans on planet Earth?  

The ability to establish one’s values and learn from other humans who have been working on analyzing the concept of values. I feel like that’s how people can learn to be happy. I think also the differentiation of what is up to us and what is not up to us. Don’t waste time with the stuff that’s not up to us, detach and notice how both good and bad things can contribute to shaping your values.

What does community mean to you?  

Community is so important, it seems like a high priority of our species to be with others. It’s how ideas are shared, love is transfered, and lessons are learned. Our community is incredible and it consists of everyone that physically comes through our shop’s doors as well as all the people we connect with digitally all over the world. We have such a diverse group of people that come into contact with the shop, we’re so lucky to have the opportunity to meet so many people and connect with rad cats that you somehow haven’t met in your own neighborhood as well as people you would’ve never met that live across the globe. It’s definitely our goal to make some sort of small, positive impact through our communication with this community whether it’s getting a customer to smile when they grab their morning coffee or having a conversation with someone in Korea who just had their mind blown by a surfboard we shipped out to them.

Where’s your oasis?

I think my oasis would be to achieve the ability to realize that your oasis is just the judgement of being in an oasis and thus can be anything, anywhere… but I also really love San O.

Why does a partnership with The Ecology Center resonate?

The Ecology center has a lot of overlapping values with us and our businesses. While in many ways we are symbolically driven to impact people to harmonize with nature, The Ecology Center is literally working with nature in it’s most relevant form in that they’re peeling back all the layers of organic farming and its impact on our community from individuals to the global scale of humanity as a whole and its impact on the planet. 

Sign up for your Harvest Box pickup at Daydream Surf Shop starting Friday January 8th.

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