Last year, we showed up to a foggy morning at Ditch, sat down at an storied old picnic table, and ended up having a chat with Taylor Steele for 10 minutes. In that brief span of time, we got to hear a lot about his life as one of surfing’s most prolific filmmakers, as well as what he likes about the New York, the importance of R&R, and a bit about the unique places from which he draws inspiration.
With 12 months in the wind, and our first ever Interview Issue coming together, we decided to get in touch with Taylor and see if he’d like to interview someone he finds inspiring — to be featured in the issue. He obliged, and shortly thereafter, we received his conversation with Kassia Meador in our inbox on yet another foggy morning, along with this note: “I picked Kassia because she’s who I want to be when I grow up. An amazing person, artist and surfer all with style and grace.”
Taylor Steele: So to begin, I want to say for me you’re a huge inspiration in the way you approach life. It’s with such style, grace and positivity. It’s so much easier to be negative. How do you stay positive?
Kassia Meador: Life’s full of ups and downs, that’s part of it. You can’t have the moon without the sun. If I am ever feeling down, I think about all the wonderful things I have to be grateful for. I think it’s a good practice for everyone to try if you’re feeling blue.
TS: What’s your relationship with New York?
KM: I first went out to Montauk to surf when I was 19. Met up with Mikey DeTemple and Joe Termini, and they took me all over the place. Over those next two weeks, we scored some of the best waves I’ve surfed out there since. No one was around, the water was warm, it was beautiful, and I had such an epic time! I’ve been going back every year since — to go surf out at Rockaway, Montauk, over to Jersey, so much fun. I love the waves on the East Coast… they’re not as plentiful as California waves but when they show up, they’re real good.
TS: How important is it to be present with your environment/activity/life?
KM: Being present in all you do is the most important part of doing anything. If you aren’t entirely present when surfing, going on a hike with friends, or working for anything else, what’s the point in the first place? Your body might be there, but your mind and the rest of you won’t be.
A photo posted by KASSIA+SURF (@kassiasurf) on
TS: As a designer where do you look for inspiration?
KM: I guess when it comes to designing my wetsuits and bathing suits, I do love keeping an eye on Cynthia Rowley and what she’s up to because I’ve always really respected her a lot. She’s a radical woman, and I love how she creates… but for the most part, I’m not looking to anyone for inspiration. I’m just thinking about what my friends and I would want to wear, how we want to wear it and doing the best I can to create the most badass/quality surfing suits out there for women!
TS: Do you feel surfing is in a better place today than let’s say ten years ago?
KM: Absolutely! Surfing is always evolving. It’s so crazy to think that it’s only been around a bit over 100 years or so (that we know about). Which is pretty infantile when you think about the scope of humanity and how long things like instruments, music, art, meditation, yoga and all the other forms of creation or active meditation have been around.
Being present in all you do is the most important part of doing anything.
The equipment in the last ten years has changed a lot as well. It has really led to the evolution of surfing and more people are revisiting old designs and giving them new flavor which is fantastic. The entire community is having a bit of a resurgence in popular culture, which is great, because it just brings more awareness to the ocean, the current state of it and my hopes are that it will lead to a cleaner and healthier ocean for all the future generations to enjoy.