Forrest Dein: All in a Day’s Work

Redefining High Performance By Letting People Go Surfing

PHOTOS AND VIDEO BY VIVIAN KIM | @viviankimx
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he term “high-performance” isn’t just for superhumans who go heliskiing every other week and Laird Hamilton. But what about all the surfers out for dawn patrol, skaters going ollie to fakie at the park, NYC marathoners struggling to finish in under 4 hours, mountain bikers conquering maybe not the Pyrenees but Poughkeepsie, and, maybe, just maybe making hard kombucha everybody loves? All in a day’s work and play for Forrest Dein, co-founder of JuneShine. Hill City makes technical apparel for all of the above scenarios. And kitted out Forrest for a day spent doing what he loves.

Someone walked by one day and asked if we were making moonshine.

We asked a few high-performance humans we admire to show us their perfect days and talk about redefining high-performance. That’s where Forrest comes in. We asked the Hawaiian-turned-part-time Southern Californian to show us what his ideal day looks like.

In Maui, where Forrest is from, living outdoors, hiking, surfing and being in nature is a way of life, leading him to help co-pilot JuneShine on a sustainable path. He splits his time between his home in Hawaii and San Diego, where the JuneShine Hard Kombucha Brewery is, but he gets out on the road to New York, San Francisco, Chicago and elsewhere spreading the gospel of hard kombucha. If you see him say hello. We caught him on a break in San Diego, where he spent the day skating to the JuneShine Ranch, surfing and skating some more.

Hill City supplied some of the gear and the thought bubble asking what would you do on your perfect day? Looks like Forrest had a pretty good day.

How did you spend the day?

Forrest: For me the perfect day is when I get to surf, skate, and work all in the same day, which isn’t too difficult in San Diego. Encinitas is the closest thing to home for me in California and it’s so rad being able to skate everywhere. We started off the day at Lofty Coffee, the little shop down the street and then hit my favorite bowl at the Alga Norte skate park. Then we did a quick stop in at our JuneShine Ranch Brewery to work for a bit and pick up some product and then squeezed in a little surf before sunset.

Are people always asking you, “which one is June?”

Forrest: Haha, people always ask “what’s the story behind the name JuneShine?” Well, we started out brewing in a sketchy little dusty garage and it had some serious “Breaking Bad” meth lab vibes going on. Someone walked by one day and asked if we were making moonshine. We were brewing jun kombucha and had wanted to play off the word jun in the name and JuneShine was born.

Do you remember your first sip of kombucha? 

Forrest: It was at the Maui Kombucha Bar back home in Haiku on the island of Maui where I grew up. All of us who still weren’t 21 yet would go and fill up growlers of their kombucha and take them to the beach or the waterfall and get buzzed off booch. They claimed everything was 0.5% abv but it was definitely way higher—I guess hard kombucha was kind of unintentionally a trendy thing on Maui before anywhere else.

What were you doing when you started JuneShine?

Forrest: I was working as a freelance cinematographer. I used to shoot a little bit of everything. I have a water housing for my RED camera and was lucky enough to work with Take Shelter Productions and shoot a few projects including one in Fiji with Albee Layer and friends for a short called “Warm & Lovable.” I also went on a 3-month hip hop tour with Isaiah Rashad and put together a little tour video series. I had just put out my first motion reel when I got the call to start JuneShine from Greg and Kevin.

Do you often get a surf break from work?

Forrest: I used to surf every day, but the bigger JuneShine grows it seems like the less I’m in the water. I still find time to surf two to three times a week, and when the waves are really good I’ll find time to get out in the middle of the day.

We give all of our employees a copy of the book “Let My People Go Surfing” by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

How do you encourage a sense of adventure in the culture at JuneShine?

We give all of our employees a copy of the book “Let My People Go Surfing” by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. It’s kind of our HR employee manual. It encourages people to take ownership of their schedules and enjoy our unlimited PTO policy while also getting all of their work done. Everyone from my co-founder and CEO Greg to our boochtenders and admins are regularly going on awesome adventures. Whether it’s surfing in Morocco, camping in Big Sur, or fly fishing in Montana, the team knows how to get their work done and still live adventurously.

One place you’d want to surf that you haven’t yet:

Forrest: Marshall Islands. There aren’t too many tropical surf trips you can go on without a bunch of other people these days but I’ve heard you can still score perfect right-hand barrels in the Marshalls and be the only boat at most of the waves and there are no surf camps.

Three things you consider high-performance:

Forrest: Jocko Willink’s “Prioritize and Execute,” RED cameras, and meetings with clear agendas.