The Coasties Jun01


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The Coasties


Photo via Rob Cruickshank Creative Commons 2012

From Fangirls to JK Poppers, the US is home to a range of teen subcultures. In the first of a series exploring American Gen Y and Z tribes, Andrea Graham – founder of Youth Tribes – delves into the sun-bleached world of Coasties. How is this group redefining the beach and action sports enthusiast?







Key facts:

  • Coasties are located around coastal regions and beach, lake and river communities of the US
  • Coasties have a reputation for being relaxed, carefree and inclusive of all individuals
  • Paddleboarding and longboarding are seen as more inclusive sports as they do not focus on proving ability or performing tricks
  • Coasties’ preferred brands are Herschel Supply Co., Vans, Raybans, Toms, and Rainbows
  • GoPro cameras allow users to record first person videos of their adventures, and help to introduce young people to new action sports
  • The US surf industry is expected to be worth $13 billion by 2017 Longboard sales increased 50% between 2010 and 2011, and are predicted to outgrow traditional skateboards
  • Paddleboard sales accounted for 22% of all surfboard sales in the US in 2012, with sales of the variant board increasing 41% in 2013
  • There are nearly 18 million GoPro videos on YouTube
  • GoPro’s share of the US camcorder market grew from 11% in 2012 to more than 45% by 2014, with revenues up 87% in 2013


via Reno Tahoe Territory Creative Commons 2013

You don’t need an ocean to ride. Via Reno Tahoe Territory Creative Commons 2013

California dreaming has long held a powerful grasp over the psyche of American youth. From beach music and neon surfwear to sun-bleached hair and teeny bikinis, the surfer and skater lifestyle has been synonymous with endless summers and trendsetting cool. Surf culture alone is worth an estimated $6.3 billion in the US, and the global surf industry – including surfing gear and lifestyle clothing – could generate more than $13 billion by 2017. [1]

But today’s surfer girls and skater boys, or ‘Coasties’, are quite different from the archetypes developed by brands like Rip Curl and Quiksilver. As a more inclusive and geographically diverse group than in years past, this new generation of youth is redefining what it means to be a beach and action sports enthusiast. New expectations and changes in behaviour among these coastal bohemians have opened up exciting opportunities for brands looking to reach a passionate group with a Golden State of mind.


Who are they?
It’s an 82 degree day in late June in beautiful Orange County. Travis, a sandy blonde 17-year-old, is decked out in his usual uniform of knee length chino shorts, faded blue Vans sneakers and a striped tank top. He stands with his longboard at the top of a hill and stares down to its depths. He pushes his board forward and begins his descent, swerving back and forth as if he was riding a long paved wave. The wind blows in his hair and a huge smile covers his face. He could do this forever – spend every day hanging out with his bros, cruising around and enjoying the sun. Surprisingly, Travis is not from Orange County, California, but the OC way out east in New York, about 70 miles from the ocean. To Travis and his friends, you don’t need a beach to embrace the mellow life of a soul surfer; there are many other sports and terrains to take on.  Read more at Canvas8