Howler Blog

Mexi Log Fest 2022 : Days of Joy in Sayulita

Posted on May 5, 2022

A huge pack of us just got back from Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico where we spent 10 sun and wave filled days and many foggy nights taking in the spectacle that is Mexi Log Fest.  This event holds a massively large place in our hearts. There is just so much to love.  It was conceived by Howler Ambassador Izzy Preciado as a way to bring longboarding at its highest level to Mexico to showcase the country and its waves and give Mexican surfers the opportunity to compete against the best right in their home waters.  Yes, it’s a competition. But it seems more like a celebration.  People from all over the world gather to surf, dance, drink margies (say it “mar-geeys”) and take in some of the finest longboarding you will see anywhere ever.

This year delivered in a big way.  We had 4 Howler Ambassadors surfing in the competition (Tegan Gainan, Nate Floyd, Izzy Preciado & Nacho Pignataro). Somehow, Howler Ambassador Kai Welch managed to become the official starter of all heats on finals day with the blow of his trumpet.  The finals themselves had to be one of the most joy filled events we have ever witnessed as Sayulita’s own Jonathan “Gordo” Melendres took home the crown with some absolutely amazing surfing and big smiles.  He was the first Mexican surfer to make the final and take home the crown.  The entire town was behind him and the vibe was infectious.  Clearly, Izzy has accomplished his goal of elevating Mexican surfing. It was a sight to behold.

Our very own Nacho Pignataro made the final once again and finished in third.  His surfing is so elegant and amazing and we are proud that he, Tegan, Nate & Izzy ride for Team Howler.

Until next year, take in these awesome photos by our dearest friend Jonathan Nimerfroh.

The Mariachi Collection For Izzy Preciado

Posted on April 28, 2022

We love mariachi music. It’s always fun and, if you’re hearing it, chances are good you are having a good time in a good place with good people. We also love Howler Ambassador Izzy Preciado. He defines “good people.” And he’s always a good time.

When we started talking about creating a special collection for Izzy, we both loved the idea of trying to incorporate a twist on the traditional dress of mariachi bands.  The flourishes. The motifs. We couldn’t resist giving it a try. The results are totally unique and certainly like nothing you will find on another set of boardshorts anywhere else. This is the kind of thing we love doing at Howler Brothers. Izzy approves and says it’s all “super bueno.”

See For Yourself : The Origin of Howler Brothers World Premiere party

Posted on April 14, 2022

What do you do when you make a movie? You have a premiere of course. That’s just what we did for the launch of our little biopic See For Yourself : The Origin of Howler Brothers. We rented out a theatre in Austin, threw down and orange carpet, hired some paparazzi and dressed up in our finest threads for the occasion. It was an absolute blast. And it was an incredible honor to have a full theatre of Ambassadors and friends to help celebrate. The “movie” is only about 12 minutes long so there was plenty of time to hang before and after. Here’s a look behind the curtain…Haven’t seen it yet? We need you to watch. It’s a true story. Maybe.

Aquarium Drunkard x Gold Diggers x HB Austin Party

Posted on March 24, 2022

Last week was a big week in Austin. The big music conference fiesta made its big comeback and so too did the many parties that come with it - day parties, night parties, morning parties, showcases and more parties. Working is hardly an option.

We were glad to dip our toe into the fray by supporting a number of events and, yes, throwing a few of our own parties. We even got to team up with our friends at Aquarium Drunkard and Gold Diggers LA for a big throw down at Lucille which featured some of our favorite bands. Many of us at Howler HQ have waited years for the chance to see Zambian rock demigods W.I.T.C.H. who have only recently started touring again. On top of that, British world music heroes Cymande also made an appearance along with Steve Gunn, Ada Lea, Marina Allen & Kiwi Jr. It was a packed house and a blast. Here’s a little video we put together to capture the essence of the whole thing and a whole bunch of great still shots taken by our very own Josh Abel.

SXSW 2022

Posted on March 11, 2022

South by Southwest. SXSW. When you live in Austin, the mention of this multi-week event can elicit a wide range of emotional reactions. Utter Joy. Dread. Nostalgia. Complaints about traffic. Panic. No matter what, SXSW is an undeniably good time and we are glad it is back after a multi-year, COVID induced hiatus.

We decided to go pretty big with our involvement this year. We are hosting and sponsoring a variety of events around town and excited to see some bands that are part of the Howler Family - Dmitri and Leon III - play showcases. We want you to come see us! So look below and find a time to cross paths with us at one of our events. At minimum, we want you to come have a michelada with us on Saturday at our South Congress Outpost store.

Probably our biggest thing, and sort of a bucket list happening for us, is our involvement with our friends Aquarium Drunkard and Gold Diggers official showcase on 3/18. If you are not familiar with Aquarium Drunkard, well, it’s time you were. They are the purveyors of some of the finest musical taste making around. If you don’t happen to know what to listen to at any point in your life, we suggest just swinging by aquariumdrunkard.com and spending a few minutes soaking it all in. And their partner venue, Gold Diggers, just so happens to be one of the coolest venues in all of LA. For the showcase, they served up a sick lineup which is highlighted by two of our absolute favorites - Zamrock pioneers, W.I.T.C.H., and 70’s British funk band Cymande. If you know, you know. Howler Brothers will be on the ground at the showcase capturing video and an inside look at the festivities. Stay tuned to all of our channels to see behind the curtain.

Unfortunately, the official showcases DO require a SXSW wristband. But all this other stuff is free and open to the public.

We can’t wait to see you. When in doubt, swing by one of our shops - the Outpost on South Congress or the Hacienda in Clarksville - and we will give you a cold drink and point you in the right direction.

 

Meet Jesse Colten: Howler Ambassador

Posted on February 8, 2022



Our newest Howler Ambassador Jesse Colten is just the type of cat we love here at HB. He's a lodge owner and operator, fisherman, musician, snowmobile aficionado and all around cool fellow. And, he can do it all in both English and Spanish. We've had the privilege of hanging with Jesse in Wyoming last fall and, most recently, in his adopted home turf in the village of Xcalax on Mexico's Caribbean coast. We fired a few questions at him so you can learn the ins and outs of this fine fellow. Here it goes.

So, how in the hell did you come to own a lodge in Mexico?

Essentially by not being particularly qualified to do anything else. I dropped out of college to be a fly fishing guide and chase snow storms around the Rockies. A lot of luck, love and support from family and friends lead me to a life on the Caribbean and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Tell us one of your best guest stories. No need to name names.

My favorite client of all time:

Booked a week at the lodge. He had amazing weather the first day and caught a grand slam on the fly.

He then got hammered.

He left the lodge the following morning 5 days early, shook my hand and said “I got my money's worth.” 

Pretty sure he was Jesus.

You're originally from Colorado. What do you miss most about the west when you're away?

I miss the mountains, I miss cheeseburgers, and I miss Diana my snowmobile.

Have you ever been mistaken for Kameron Brown?

I want to be Kameron Brown when I grow up so I hope to get mistaken for him more.

What's your go-to beverage when you're in Mexico? At home?

Mexico: The Boat Drink - Mezcal, soda, lime juice, splash Oj, orange wedge, habanero tajin salt rim. Dark Michelada the following morning.

Colorado: Rum Russian.

Karate or thumb wrestling?

I’m better at karate, but I enjoy the rush from thumb wrestling.

Billy Gibbons, Billy Strings, Billy Squier, Billy Joel, Billie Eilish, Billy Ray Cyrus, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy. Pick two.

If I’m picking famous billies it’s Billie Holiday and Billy Idol for me, with Billy Madison as an alternate, or maybe even Billy Clinton.

If you could compete in any Olympic event, what would it be?

Easy, bobsled with my best friends. One of the guys in the middle so I can have a few cocktails before the race.

Texas Tanker Surfing : Finding the Serpiente by Nate Floyd

Posted on February 4, 2022

I can’t remember when I first heard about tanker surfing. It must have been around 2003 when the movie “Step Into Liquid” came out; when James Fulbright introduced the act of riding tanker waves to the (surfing) world. We were already surfing behind fishing boats, well before the wake surfing scene was established and wakeboard boats were mastered. Tanker surfing became a natural extension of trying to find a rideable wave in the often flat and excruciatingly hot Texas summers. I don’t tanker surf all the time, but I do find the time to chase a few several times a year.

Tanker waves are completely different than ocean waves - yet you can still get that feeling you are after. It can be much more of an ordeal trying to get a tanker wave than just paddling out into the ocean. Sometimes the ships don’t work out and don’t produce anything at all. So many conditions must align for a tanker wave to work out. Winds, tides, ship speeds, ship draft, hull shape, incoming/outgoing, etc…  And even when it all seems perfect, there is always the chance that no wave is produced. You can spend a lot of time, effort, gas, and money chasing tankers for sometimes no reward. I enjoy the chase and the luck of the draw, however. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. 

This trip was special, because I had told Nacho repeatedly while we were traveling in Mexico that he needed to visit Texas. It was a far fetched dream with how busy his schedule is but he ended up being in the United States a couple of months later. He rerouted his trip for a few days, and we pulled the trigger and decided to make it happen. We kind of got screwed with two days of strong winds and extremely bumpy conditions. We had a few ships day 1 put off a wave, but nothing along the lines I had imprinted in his mind. On the second morning of chasing tankers, we got a huge ship on the books. We followed it all the way across the ship channel, bouncing through the chop hoping to find a moment. Right at the last section, we found some glassy conditions tucked up behind an island.  Everything came together. We ended up scoring the most picture-perfect wave; the kind you dream of and draw on your notebook in class. I looked at Nacho and told him that’s what I wanted you to come experience. This is tanker surfing. 

The coolest part of tanker surfing is the chance of riding a wave for miles. Yes, miles. And if you don’t get a wave that connects that far, it is almost always longer than anything you can catch locally in Texas. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of risk involved in chasing tanker ships and riding the waves they put out. Sudden tidal changes from the boat can put boaters/swimmers/surfers in immediate risk. Waves can pop up out of nowhere as they interact with the changing bathymetry of the ship channel. There are also the unknown factors of what lies below the surface: oyster reefs, rebar, driftwood, industrial pipes, wrecked boats, and any number of unseen and unmarked obstructions. I highly recommend anyone interested in tanker surfing to check out the professionals (James Fulbright). Things can go wrong very fast, and people have been injured riding the waves these tankers produce. The thrill of riding a tanker wave however usually lasts with someone for a lifetime. There is something so surreal about riding a wave for that far and seeing the tanker off in the distance in front of you. You can feel the energy emitted from these ships, and truly get a taste for the power of water.

Taking some of the Howler squad to chase tankers and give them a glimpse of what is possible out there was thrilling. Even though we had 2 days of bad weather and I ended up getting beat up bad on some rocks; I was happy that Nacho and I shared a good wave and that everyone got to experience the hunt.  Catching it on film was just a bonus.

 

A Decade of Howler Brothers Book

Posted on November 16, 2021

It is a dream come true to launch our first book - A Decade of Howler Brothers. It is a celebration of our creative output in our first 10 years and all of the blood, sweat and tears we put into creating Howler Brothers. We have an endless list of people to thank and bear hug for their help, guidance and friendship along the way.

Here is a sneak peek inside the book and a look at the introduction written by Howler Founders Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian. This thing is going to look good on your coffee table.

Putting this book together has been a fun ride for both of us. We spent a lot of time digging through old photos, blog posts, emails and catalogs looking back on the last decade. The process evoked huge smiles, a few humbling “what were we thinking?” moments and a mountain of gratitude for the incredible community which has grown around our tiny dream. In these first ten years, we made countless new friends and worked with amazing and dedicated employees, Ambassadors, retailers, designers, photographers, filmmakers and creatives of all sorts who helped us build Howler Brothers.

To be honest, when the idea for Howler Brothers first came to us, we had absolutely no idea where the path would lead. We started the whole thing out of Chase’s garage in Austin without any real road map. We had zero experience in the apparel business and no formal clothing design experience. On the day we “launched” the brand, we had two years worth of clothes stuffed into the garage with little notion of how to sell them. At first, our parents and a few benevolent friends were our only customers. We packed every order ourselves and Chase’s wife, Helen, dutifully wrote ‘thank you’ notes to go in every package.

So how did we make it beyond those shaky early days and actually thrive in our first ten years? The answer is multi-faceted. What we lacked in practical experience we made up for with a conviction for endless creativity and a dedication to a very particular design ethos. In other words, we knew what we wanted to make and how we wanted everything coming from Howler Brothers to look. If we told you, or tried to tell you, what this mythical ethos was in an elevator speech you would would have left scratching your head. The ingredients are all over the map. Classic surf culture mixed with vintage western wear mixed with streetwear mixed with tiki gods mixed with fly fishing all set to the soundtrack of a dub reggae mariachi country band. In fact, the recipe is so unique and hard to articulate we often just use the expression “Howlery” to describe it. “Make it more Howlery!” is a common comment in our design meetings. We all know what it means.

This book is the articulation of that ethos - a visual statement of what “Howlery” means, what Howler Brothers is and what Heed the Call conveys. The truth is, it cannot be contained in an elevator speech or snappy mission statement. It’s a living, breathing thing the celebrates good people, friendship, music, adventure, food, heritage, geography and, above all, creativity.

We cannot express our gratitude enough to anyone reading this for being a part of the first Decade of Howler. We hope you enjoy the book as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Heed the Call.

Chase & Andy 
Austin, Texas - May 2021


















 

Back Down Home : Tony Kamel

Posted on November 12, 2021

 

Our friend Tony Kamel’s new album, Back Down Home, is the musical embodiment of the melting pot that is Gulf Coast Texas. It mashes up the best elements of bluegrass, swampy country, zydeco, back porch gospel and rock to produce something Kamel calls Third Coast roots music. The results are genuine, comforting and easy to sing along to.

 

 

Tony has been a part of the Howler family for a long time and we are super proud of his effort so we wanted to spread the word. Dig in to Back Down Home by clicking below or by picking up a vinyl here. And, if you want to hear the ingredients in Tony’s music, give a listen to the Gulf Coast Boogie - our newest Howler Music Playlist that he curated.

 

Same Same But Different

Posted on October 22, 2021

Sometimes the oldest thing you have is the best. Maybe it’s that worn out flannel you’ve had since 8th grade. Or your old beater guitar. No matter how many new ones you come across, they will not quite have the same feel or special magic.  Such is the case with Howler Ambassador Israel (Izzy) Preciado’s old Lance Carson longboard. Although Izzy has lots of surfboards - 83 to be exact - there is just something about this old beat up 8’9” Carson from the 90’s that Israel loves.   

One day, after a particularly good session riding this board, Izzy had an idea. He would get a few of his shaper friends to create replicas of it and then share the joy by letting some competitors in his annual MexiLogFest competition take them for a test ride. He asked Alex Patrick from Higher Latitude Films to come along for the voyage to document these boards all the way from their creation to their spots in the lineup with some of the best longboarders in the game.

Howler Brothers is proud to present these short films because they celebrate the magnificent and diverse international longboard community Izzy has curated through surfing and MexiLogFest. He is a true ambassador to the sport and to the country of Mexico. Only Izzy could bring all these people together to celebrate one beat up old orphaned surfboard!