X-Wear Blog: News, Tips, and Tricks for What Inspires You

We're Not In Kansas Anymore ...

20 February, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

Lauren and Henry Costa paragliding in Switzerland

We all settle into routines and embrace the familiar. But doing so can be dangerous, leading us into complacency and a life where procrastination becomes the norm.

We’re not sure whether any of those thoughts crept into Lauren and Henry Costa’s minds last year, but if they did, they were used as motivation for the pair to throw their Los Angeles routines on their head as they spent five months embracing the unfamiliar.

In early August, the couple left their comfortable confines on the West Coast and embarked on a 25-country tour that started in Oslo, Norway and ended in Seoul, South Korea. Their travels took them to much of Europe and some of Asia, with a short layover in Dubai. It was chronicled in Lauren’s blog, Wanderfull Explorer, which includes traveling tips on where to stay and what to do in the cities and towns they visited.

While the couple is filled with wanderlust, Lauren is admittedly the free spirit of the two. “I always mentioned wouldn’t it be awesome if we did a really wild adventure that people do where they take a sabbatical or move somewhere abroad,” she told X-Wear.

Henry, who is more of a pragmatist, had long dismissed the idea of traveling the globe until his wife finished her school year – she was a special education teacher in Watts – in June. “He told me, ‘Now is the time for us to do this crazy idea,’” Lauren said, explaining that Henry was in between jobs at the time. “The impetus was we don’t have these huge responsibilities, in terms of kids or owning a home. We thought to ourselves, the next time we’ll be able to do this is probably when we’re in our 60s or 70s.”

They spent the next two months planning for an adventure that opened up their eyes to new cultures, their hearts to new possibilities, all while deepening their insights into themselves as individuals and strengthening their bond as husband and wife.

Favorite Experiences

The Costa’s trip was one spent chasing the sun and warm climates, “because we hate any form of weather that is not spring or summer,” Lauren explained to us. They started in Scandinavia, traveling from Eastern Europe from the north and proceeding south before creeping west towards England and Ireland. They then headed east visiting India, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bali and South Korea.

Of course, we had to ask, their favorite places to visit. In Europe, Lauren listed Lake Bled and Ljubljana in Slovenia; the Bernese Alps in Switzerland; and Portugal’s beaches. In Asia, Laos and the Philippines topped her list.

While sightseeing was a part of their itinerary, so too was recreation. The pair went paragliding off a mountain in Interlaken, Switzerland; set out on an early morning hike in Indonesia ; went on a safari boat tour of Norway’s fjords; rode motorbikes in Vietnam; and explored the Mekong River in Laos while perched atop elephants. “We are going through this famous river in the middle of Asia on these gigantic animals,” Lauren said of the elephant tour. “It was one of those moments when you stop and think, ‘This is what life is all about.’”

Tips for Travelers

For those looking to follow in Lauren and Henry’s footsteps, they had some practical advice to get the most out of your overseas adventures. First, Lauren suggested, to set aside enough time for planning. “We met so many people who would arrive in a city and didn’t have a place to stay,” she said, explaining that their time was then spent trying to find accommodations instead of exploring. “We planned our train travel and flights… And make sure you are educated and look at all of the routes you’re going to take and see how fast they book  up because maybe you want to go to a festival in a city and the train there is booked for that week.”

The Costas planned their trip by starting big – first the route and what countries they wanted to visit – before focusing on the smaller, day-to-day activities.

An additional tip that some may overlook: “Make sure you add an extra day in each place to relax,” Lauren said. “You need a day to just walk around or sit in a café or watch people passing by drinking a cup of European coffee or sleep in on a weekend. Factor in a lazy Sunday at least once a week.”

Of course, capturing your memories is important. Lauren brought her Canon DSLR, but wishes, “I had a GoPro when we went rafting, were on elephants, on crazy hikes, paragliding, motorcycling in Vietnam or cliff jumping in the Philippines. These are definitely experiences I’ll cherish in my mind, but I do wish I got video of it.”

She also recommended traveling lightly, asking the ever-important question of, “do I really need this?” while packing. “If you have to ask that question, then you don’t need it and you’re going to be mad it’s taking up space in a travel bag.”

Embracing the Travel Bug

What’s next for the Costas? Currently, they’re taking a slight break as they squeeze in weddings on the East Coast and Midwest over the next few months. In December, they may cross Israel off their list. If so, this would add to the 42 countries Lauren has already visited that includes Iceland (one of her favorites), Tanzania (she taught there for half a year) and Thailand and Maldives (the couple honeymooned there in 2014).

As to why people should embrace the travel bug, Lauren put it this way: “Travel helps you collect moments that will help you find yourself, learn more about yourself and open up your mind to the world which just makes you a fuller person, makes you understand people on a deeper level, no matter who they are.”

That’s definitely a philosophy X-Wear can embrace. If you want to learn more about the Costa’s travels, visit Lauren’s website www.wanderfullexplorer.com, like her page on Facebook here and follow Lauren on Instagram (LLCExplores) and on Twitter (@laurenlevy).

You can also read some of our staff’s favorite places to travel here. And if you’re unsure of what you should pack for your trip, besides the GoPro which you can find here, don’t hesitate to contact us by clicking this link. We can recommend an assortment of clothing and gear ideal for your next vacation.

How to Win Against All Odds: DO YOUR JOB

06 February, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

Patriots win Superbowl 51 in typical exciting fashion

Brady or Belichick? It’s the NFL’s chicken or egg scenario, causing an endless debate that obfuscates the other necessary pieces that go into creating a Super Bowl champion.

Yes, last night’s performance by Tom Brady was brilliant. Yes, Bill Belichick somehow convinced his team they were still in it, even when they were down 28-3 midway through the third quarter.

Together, they have a 183-52 regular season record (.778 win percentage) and a 25-9 postseason record (.735 win percentage). The pair have been to the Super Bowl 7 times, winning 5 of them, all in dramatic fashion.

Perhaps none of those Super Bowl wins was more dramatic than last night’s heart-stopping 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

But one thing all these numbers can’t compute is the heart of a champion.

While Brady and Belichick played a pivotal role in that victory, to throw it all on them overlooks the other contributions that made it possible for those two to be lifting a record 5th Lombardi Trophy.

  • There was linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s sack of Falcons QB Matt Ryan, forcing a fumble that his teammate Alan Branch recovered in the middle of the 4th
  • There was wide receiver Danny Amendola hauling in a 17-yard reception on a 4th down in the 3rd
  • And then there was Julian Edelman’s miracle catch, drawing comparisons to David Tyree’s helmet catch in the 2008 Super Bowl which the Pats lost, before the two-minute warning in the 4th

Look down the Patriots 53-man roster and you found players – Chris Long, James White, Chris Hogan, Ryan Allen and Trey Flowers – contributing in big ways and small. The game was indicative of a system better known as the Patriots Way that emphasizes team first.

It’s a grade school approach to sports that doesn’t always work in the pros, but it does with the Patriots. They have players who buy into the philosophy, starting with Brady. He has done so since 2001 and his teammates have followed suit; the result has been a sustained level of excellence rarely seen in professional sports.

In any collaborative effort, success starts at the top and funnels its way down. This is why Belichick refused to glom onto any praise that came his way after Sunday’s victory vaulted him past Chuck Noll for most Super Bowl wins by a head coach. “The most important thing tonight is the team win,” he said. “I am happy for our team, our players and our organization. Everybody worked so hard for this. The only reason I am here is because of what our players did, what our assistant coaches and coordinators did, but Chuck Noll is a tremendous coach, a tremendous legacy. I coached against Chuck in his final game. I always admired Chuck and his style. The way his teams played. It is an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence with Chuck Noll. Tonight is really about our team. It is not about some record or something like that. It is about what our team accomplished. They deserve to be champions. They earned it tonight.”

If you’re wondering how and why the Patriots won on Sunday, and how they’ve been so good for so long, look at that quote again. It’s not about Brady. Or Belichick. It’s about the entire team.

Babiators: Not Just For The Cuteness Factor!

30 January, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

Babiators on X-Wear

Babiators (n.) – Amalgamation of the two words baby and aviators; sunglasses for children

Ted Fienning remembers the moment when the small sunglass company he had formed with his wife, Molly, and their two friends, Matthew and Carolyn Guard, was on the verge of something special. His wife had just given birth to their first son, Harry, in the fall of 2011. “My wife was in the hospital bed recovering and reading US Weekly and she saw Babiators on Mariah Carey’s baby,” Ted said, laughing. “Molly started jumping up and down, yelling that these are going to be a hit. She was so excited. And she was right.”

About a year prior, it was Molly who had conceived of the idea while on a military base in Beaufort, South Carolina, as planes made their descent onto the runway. “She was seeing all the kids waiting for their parents to come in with all the wives wearing aviators and all the husbands wearing aviators while the kids were looking directly into the sun,” Ted, a former Marine Corps fighter pilot, told American Sunglass. “She realized they needed some eye protection. She said to me, ‘We should make baby aviators’ and we came up with the name Babiators.”

The couple brought the idea to their college friends, the Guards, and a company was formed. It was a simple concept – sunglasses aimed at kids; they were durable, colorful, stylish and, most importantly, they protected children’s eyes. That last part, Ted said, should not be understated. “Research shows that up to 50 percent of one’s lifetime UV sun damage occurs before children reach the age of 18,” he said. “Even today, we don’t talk a lot about sunscreen for the eyes. When you’re at the beach, moms slather their kids in sunscreen, on their arms, feet, legs, every part of the body… But the eyes have so many health issues as well.”

With 100% UV protection, Babiators ensure your child’s eyes are properly shielded from the sun’s harmful rays.

Education has been a key component to the Atlanta-based company’s marketing efforts which have seen it featured in such media outlets as Bloomberg, Fox Business, People Magazine and Newsweek. A slew of celebrities – Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner and Sarah Jessica Parker, to name a few – have embraced the brand for their own children.

Roughly a year into the venture, Ted said the company received a huge push when Nick Cannon appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and spoke about how his kids loved the sunglasses. “And then our servers crashed,” Ted laughed.

Today, the company is entering its sixth year, having sold more than one million pairs of sunglasses for children all the way up to teens. They even offer a one-year lost or broken guarantee.

For Ted, he derives satisfaction in “building a company that supports the families that work with us. That is part of the American dream as a business owner.”

As for the future of Babiators, he said, it is to continue “growing into a brand that parents trust… We don’t ever want to lose focus on protecting kids’ eyes. I feel like we’ve created a category here and we’re making it known eye health for youth is an important thing to promote. And we think our sunglasses look great on kids and so do moms and kids.”

To view our lineup of Babiators, click this link. And to learn more about the importance of protecting your eyes, regardless of your age, read our blog on the topic.

The Tuck: The Legacy of Jean Vaurnet

19 January, 2017 0 comments Leave a comment

The tuck, it’s one of the most famous and simplest moves in all of skiing. And earlier this month, the man responsible for inventing it, Jean Vuarnet, passed away at the age of 83.

The Frenchman introduced it to the sport in 1960 during the Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. The New York Times noted in their article announcing his death that Vuarnet was not even his country’s favorite when he entered that competition.

But thanks to his interest in the aerodynamics of skiing, he realized that the tuck – bending one’s knees while keeping the back parallel to the slope with the rear end elevated – would increase his speed. The tuck soon became known by another moniker, l’ouef, the French word for egg.

Using this technique catapulted Vuarnet to the gold medal in downhill skiing. Vuarnet’s 1960 win also helped propel two additional changes to the sport. The first was metal skis which Vuarnet became the first to adopt. The second was anti-glare sunglasses which Vuarnet and his teammates used during the winter games.

Vuarnet’s other contributions to skiing included developing the Avoriaz ski resort in his hometown of Morzine, France. There a glass statue of the French skier was unveiled in 2010 – on the 50th anniversary of his Olympic victory – featuring Vuarnet in his famous tuck position.

While it may be easy to overlook the tuck, Steve Porino, a former downhill racer for the U.S. team, spoke to its importance upon Vuarnet’s passing: “The tuck seems so obvious and self-evident that we forget someone had to invent it. You cannot survive without the tuck in ski racing.”

Honor Vuarnet’s Legacy

This winter, we have one simple request for all our avid skiers: take some time to honor Vuarnet this winter by getting into the tuck position. Bend your knees and your back, and keep your rear end elevated. Vuarnet may be gone, but each of us can proudly carry on his legacy.

For those looking for the best in ski gear, check out our line of winter jackets which includes such name brands as Salty Crew, Volcom, Billabong and Reef. And throw in a pair of durable, rugged sunglasses, all featuring the best in polarized technology. Finally, consider a GoPro camera and accessories to capture those special downhill moments this winter.

2017: The Year of Seeking New Adventures

29 December, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Mick Fanning and X-Wear

Being attacked by a great white shark and living to tell about it, would top most people’s list of accomplishments. But surfer Mick Fanning is not most people.

While the attack, which occurred on live television in July 2015 during the final heat of the J-Bay Open, represented a heart-pounding moment for the talented surfer, it was the least of the hurdles he has had to overcome in his 35-year life. 

The first occurred in 1998 when his brother Sean died in a car accident.  At the time, Mick was 17 and Sean was 20. Like most younger brothers do, Mick looked up to Sean. And so his older brother’s sudden death was heart-wrenching, difficult enough that Mick contemplated giving up the sport of surfing.  

Instead, he used his grief as motivation to honor his brother; the pair talked often about competing on the world surfing tour together. While that eluded Sean, he was never far from his brother’s heart. His name is tattooed on Mick’s arm.

And so an older brother who died far too young has been the impetus for what Mick has achieved as an adult: three world championships that have helped him lay claim to being one of the best surfers on the planet.

Then 2015 happened. First it was the shark attack. And then last December as Mick was competing for a fourth World Surf League title at the Billabong Pipe Masters, his 43-year-old brother Peter was found dead at his home due to heart complications. In the midst of that tragedy, Mick defeated 11-time world champion Kelly Slater to make it to the semifinals where he would eventually lose to second place finisher Gabriel Medina.

In the final days of that competition, Fanning posted on Instagram about the difficulty of that event. “Today was one of the most challenging days of my life but I knew I could find the strength to take part in the final event of the season because that’s what Pete would want,” he wrote.

This year, Mick has taken a much different tack, opting to choose where and when he would surf as opposed to competing on the professional circuit full-time. “The point of 2016 was to put myself in places that I wouldn’t normally see myself,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald, shortly after he had traveled to Norway for a photo shoot to capture him surfing under the northern lights. “This year… I could actually just stop and smell the roses.”

Following Mick Fanning’s Lead

As we say farewell to 2016 and venture into a new year, we hope you take a page from Mick Fanning’s book. For him 2016, was a year of seeking new adventures.

At X-Wear, we urge you to venture into places you normally wouldn’t find yourself in. We urge you to stop and smell the roses. And we urge you to seek new adventures.

If you need some tips on where to start, check out this blog we wrote in advance of the holiday season which features a list of products perfect for those looking to follow Mick Fanning’s lead.

The Blind Rider

22 December, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Marcelo Lusardi on X-Wear.com

In its purest form, skateboarding combines the best of art and athletics. But, for a few, the sport is more than that. It is a way of life.

And in some rare instances, it has the ability to heal.

At the end of the famous pilgrimage, Way of St. James, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, one 19-year-old has found comfort in skating in the midst of personal tragedy. His name is Marcelo Lusardi.

Since the age of 11, Marcelo has been riding. That is until last November when he lost his sight due to a genetic disorder. It was a traumatic event for one so young. He was not only depressed. He was lost.

His story could have ended there. But with the encouragement of friends, he started to skate again. And it is through skateboarding that he rediscovered who he is. Marcelo’s incredible tale was told in a short movie that premiered at the end of last month. It was produced by the Spanish production company Runastudio and directed by 32-year-old Carlos Junquera.

X-Wear caught up with Carlos to talk about his touching film which has led to newfound fame from Marcelo who has been featured on GrindTV, The Guardian, Kingpin Skateboarding, VICE Sports, Thrasher Magazine and has even caught the attention of skate legend Tony Hawk.

X-Wear: Why was it important for you to tell Marcelo’s story?

Carlos Junquera: I am a skateboarder too and when I heard about him and met him, I thought his story needed to be told. I knew it would probably help him, give him support and hope. Skaters are family and I connected with Marcelo from the beginning. He was just so awesome. Ironically, he was the one who gave me hope.

X-Wear: Perhaps the most powerful moment in your film occurs a little more than 2 minutes in when Marcelo talks about the first time he skated after losing his vision. He’s unable to finish his statement and breaks down in tears. It shows just how important skateboarding is to him. Why do you think he has such a passion for the sport?

CJ: I think it’s because skateboarding is a form of expression, of art and allows us to disconnect from our everyday troubles. And that becomes very important in a skateboarder’s life. For Marcelo, it’s his passion and it’s what makes him happy.

Skateboarding gives you hope and motivation every time you land a trick. No matter how good or bad you are, you can feel that when you skate.

X-Wear: What do you hope audiences get out of your film?

CJ: I hope people realize that no matter what problems you may encounter in life, you can always push harder and move on.

There are two audiences for this film: skateboarders, or extreme athletes, and those who aren’t extreme athletes. For skateboarders, I believe they will be proud of the skateboarding and remember the iconic phrase, “skateboarding saved my life,” that a lot of us reference.

Non-skateboarders will feel the awesomeness around what Marcel is doing, and also feel hopeful.

I hope everybody realizes after watching this film that we are capable of anything, and that Marcelo is the most courageous person in the world.  

X-Wear: What are Marcelo’s thoughts about “The Blind Rider”?

CJ: He is very, very happy about the feedback he is receiving. He knows this is an important point in his life and this film is giving him opportunities and hope.

X-Wear: What’s next for you? And what do you think is next for Marcelo?

CJ: I am very interested in telling more stories that have social themes. I will continue skateboarding with Marcelo so we can share our passion together. I believe Marcelo opened the door just a bit and this is the beginning for him. Now he is strong and he has decided to keep living and make his dreams come true, so the opportunities for him are infinite.

Keep Shredding

At X-Wear, we believe Marcelo’s story should inspire us all to keep riding and to keep shredding. You can start by clicking this link to a section of our online store dedicated to all things skateboarding. If you’re in Falmouth or Provincetown, make sure to visit our Board Stiff stores where you’ll find an assortment of skate gear to meet the needs of the most passionate riders.

And to turn your own rides into a story, check out our GoPro cameras and accessories which will help you capture your best tricks from unique perspectives.

Finally, if you want more blogs like this one, check out these ones on Kilian Martin, Ben Jaeger-Thomas and Barbara Odanaka, three skaters who are taking the sport to new heights.

Vermonter Mikaela Shiffrin Wins World Cup in Vermont!

05 December, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Mikaela Shiffren wins World Cup in Vermont

During life’s good moments, we want our family members there to help celebrate. That’s exactly what happened at the end of last month when 21-year-old Mikaela Shiffrin won her 22nd World Cup race in Killington, Vermont.

Joining the skiing phenom were dozens of family and friends, including her 95-year-old grandmother, Pauline Condron, who had never seen Mikaela ski in a World Cup race before. The event also served another important purpose: it marked a return to the East Coast for the World Cup series which was last in the region in 1991.

Clearly, grandma picked a great time to watch Mikaela’s first race. Those familiar with the sport know she is a budding superstar who arrived on the scene three years ago, becoming the youngest slalom champion in Olympic history, garnering a gold medal in Sochi, Russia, just three weeks shy of her 19th birthday.

Born in Colorado, Mikaela’s youth was split between that Rocky Mountain State and New Hampshire. She also spent several years in Vermont where she honed her talents as a skier. She made her World Cup debut in the spring of 2011, becoming the youngest American ski racer to win the U.S. National Championship at the age of 16.

She has garnered two world championships and 22 wins on the World Cup circuit, dominating the sport at a young age. Despite her success, she remains humble, all while maintaining an exuberant passion that has endeared her to fans.

In a recent Denver Post story, former World Cup star Alexandra Meissnitzer had high praise for Mikaela: “What I especially like is the way she skis. The technique is totally perfect. It’s so precise. And now, it’s cool that she is doing the speed events, too. You in the U.S., you have Lindsey [Vonn] and now you get Mika, who can also break record after record.”

At X-Wear, we view Mikaela as the perfect ambassador for skiing, serving as the heir apparent for Lindsey Vonn. We are excited to see what the future has in store for her, not only this season, but in 2018 at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

As we celebrate Mikaela’s accomplishments, we urge you to follow her lead. The Killington race signaled the essential start to the skiing season. While our stores in Cape Cod, Boston and Newport have been spared of snow, the nearby mountains in New Hampshire, Vermont and Central and Western Massachusetts have not. And they are calling you.

Ski and Snowboard New England and Beyond

Whether you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or in between, we have all your ski and snowboard needs covered. Click here to find our snow gear which includes the top brands in ski goggles, including this pair from Wiley X and this more colorful pair from Smith.

Add to the fun with a GoPro camera. Click here for our full lineup of GoPro gear which includes a variety of accessories including head and chest mounts that allow you to get one-of-a-kind perspectives of your downhill rides. Before you make your purchase, make sure to read our two GoPro blogs, one on the best settings for your GoPro and the other detailing the best accessories for your camera.

SHOP The Adventure

28 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Shop the Adventure on X-Wear.com

This holiday season, we at X-Wear hope you choose adventure.

Not the kind of adventure in trying to find a parking spot at your local mall. But the kind of adventure that encourages your husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew to get outdoors and connect with nature. The kind of adventure that tests the limits of what your body and mind can do (see New Hampshire’s Andrew Drummond). And the kind of adventure that provides you with once-in-a-lifetime experiences that leave you invigorated, inspiring you to tackle the next challenge that comes your way.

At X-Wear, we can help you and your loved ones embark on these types of adventures with a checklist of items that will ensure your holiday season is a gratifying one, not just for 2016, but for years to come.

Winter Adventures

Colder temperatures means one thing: snow can’t be far behind. And with snow, comes skiing, snowboarding and skating. At X-Wear, we can help you get the most out of those winter adventures with our snow gear that includes this pair of heavy duty Wiley X goggles as well as this slightly more stylish pair from Smith; whatever brand you choose, you can ensure that your eyes will be protected and your vision will not be compromised as you hit the slopes this winter.

Our line of winter jackets include such popular brands as Volcom, Billabong, Reef and Salty Crew that will turn heads, all while keeping you warm when the temps dip below freezing. #stoked

Summer Adventures

Technically, summer isn’t for another seven months, but we know many of you have tropical adventures planned. Whether it’s to Florida, the Caribbean or the West Coast, having the best gear will allow you to get the most out of your vacation. And it will allow you to get a head start on next summer. #superstoked

Where to start? How about sunglasses which are vital for shielding your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, all while providing a little boost of confidence with a new look for your warm weather travels. We offer shades for golfers, runners and those (boaters, fishermen and beachgoers) who spend a lot of time on or near the water. Some of the most popular brands we sell are Maui Jim and Costa (fishermen), Oakleys (runners) and Ray-Ban and Quay (beachgoers). If you’re traveling with little ones, make sure to check out our Babiators because sunglasses are more important for your kid’s health than anyone else.

Next, you’ll want to check out our surf gear which includes O’Neill wetsuits and Quiksilver paddle jackets as well as Zap skimboards and a Softech surfboard, perfect for those wanting to learn how to ride the waves.

If you want to add some fun to your beach adventures, bring along one of these Bluetooth waterproof speakers so the music (Daft Punk, twenty one pilots, X Ambassadors, Drake and Timberlake) sets the stage for you to dominate in paddle ball and Frisbee.

Finally, make sure to maximize your vacation (and summer) comfortability with a pair of new beach sandals from X-Wear. With a lineup that includes Olukai, Reef, O’Neill, Oofos, Sanuk and Rainbow, we’ll make sure you and your loved ones put your best foot forward this holiday season.

Chronicle Your Adventures

Whether it’s skiing New England’s majestic mountains or snorkeling Bermuda’s breathtaking waters, your friends and family will want to capture those adventures so you can remember them for years to come. With the GoPro camera, you can do just that, all under the most extreme weather conditions.

Our GoPro accessories (mounts, batteries, wall chargers and more) will only add to those memories. Earlier this year, we connected with Matt Rissell, a videographer on Cape Cod whose work can be seen on the Outdoor Channel. He provided us with some tips on the best settings and the best accessories that will help you get the most out of your GoPro.

Here’s to a holiday season filled with adventure!

Capturing the Xtreme

14 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Dan Brown Kapitol Photography

When it comes to sports, there are athletes and there are fans. And then there are those like Dan Brown, a hybrid of the two. Yes, he’s an athlete, but he’s also a fan. And as a professional photographer, he has served as a bridge between the two sides helping connect fans with extreme athletes by capturing images of the top skiers in the world doing what they do best.

In the process, he has provided inspiration for those who want to conquer their own mountains.

We recently caught up with Brown, who is the creative genius behind Kapitol Photography, as his passion for the outdoors aligns with the spirit of X-Wear. And that is to not only encourage, but embrace physical activity, whether it be golfing, bicycling, surfing or Stand Up Paddleboarding in the summer or skiing, snowboarding or hiking in the winter.

“Well, for one, you’re not staring at a screen,” Brown told us as to why he loves skiing, adding that, “For as much as a group sport it can be, no matter what you’re still out there alone on a hill… Ultimately, you’re in control, outside of gravity. You’re skiing on pieces of wood. It’s such a simple form of fun.”

It would not be until the 32-year-old Brown was an adult that he started capturing that fun in digital form.

A 2006 graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Burlington, VT, Brown had always toyed with cameras, but an Intro to Dark Room course his senior year led to him pursuing it as a career. “In college, I really enjoyed poetry and the way people are able to capture a scene in short, concise sentences in such a beautiful way,” Brown told us. “That is kind of how I approach photography.”

Brown’s “graduate schooling” occurred on Cape Cod (home of X-Wear), as a paid photographer for The Enterprise Newspapers in Falmouth. It was his first job out of college, learning under then-editor Janice Walford as well as colleagues and fellow photographers Teri Stanley and Don Parkinson. “I think that really refined my skill set where I was able to quickly assess what was going on around me and be able to get in and document an ongoing story and bring to life some of the words that were going to accompany the photograph,” Brown said.

A few years into his stint at The Enterprise, Brown felt a longing for Vermont. So he returned, initially settling for a job as a copy editor for a publishing company before moving onto Vermont Teddy Bear where he was a studio assistant, helping with photo shoots for the company’s catalogs and web campaigns.

Branching Out on His Own

With his longtime girlfriend living in Boston, Brown had a choice to make. She won out and Brown moved to the Massachusetts capital where he found his own niche. “I wanted to strike out on my own so, at that point, I was passionate about photography I thought I might as well make a go of it professionally,” Brown said.

On the commercial side, Brown’s clients included Bose, Gordini and Kombi. He balanced that with shooting editorial for Ski Magazine and Newschoolers.com. “The ski industry doesn’t pay photographers as much as they should, but it’s still a bunch of fun and provided a lot of great opportunities to get outside, work with a bunch of talented skiers and document the sport as I saw it and as it was unfolding in the Northeast,” he said.

The highlights of his freelance work included a trip to Le Massif for a shoot with former Olympian Jean-Luc Brassard, Jeff Curry and Erik Olson. That led to Brown’s first published photo in Ski Magazine in January 2009.

“I still have my first cover image for The Enterprise framed as that was my first published photo,” Brown said. “But there’s something uniquely different about getting published in a national ski magazine. They have the same kind of pages I would tear out each winter and hang on my bedroom wall as a kid. To think what you might be able to provide images that grace the wall of young skiers who are kind of just as passionate about skiing as you were is awesome.”

His favorite image during that time is one that Brown said “is uniquely Vermont.” It shows LJ Strenio in mid-flight completing a double cork 1080 over two granite statues of whale’s tails that can be seen off I-89. The photo found its way onto the cover of Ski Magazine in Germany.

Brown’s first trip to Europe was courtesy of Newschoolers.com to cover the Jon Olsson Super Sessions where the media and the pro athletes “were given a key that symbolizes you literally have the key to the city, the right to go into every bar, get a bunch of free drinks. You’re literally a rock star,” he laughed.

These days, Brown is living a more subdued life as the father of a 10-month-old with his wife Jessica in New Jersey where he is the content marketing manager for Full Tilt and a consultant for Line Skis. The opportunity arose directly as the result of his work as a respected and accomplished action sports photographer. 

Photography for Brown, who purchased a Hasselblad film camera when he turned 30, has reverted back to where he started: “I’m trying to show that one moment, that one unique image in as little words as possible.” 

As for his advice to those who want to follow in his footsteps, he suggested working on your craft and developing your own style. “I think one of the great things about photographers in the industry is they are now all bringing their own unique look and their take about how passionate they are about skiing and snowboarding,” he said.

FishingRods ✔ Bait ✔ Boat ✔...Sunglasses??

07 November, 2016 0 comments Leave a comment

Tyler McAllister on X-Wear.com

When it comes to nature, there may be no setting more relaxing than the ocean. It is there that Mattapoiset’s Tyler Macallister is most comfortable. “It is peaceful, in general,” he told X-Wear recently. “When you’re tuna fishing you see a lot of whales and different kinds of life. The other day there was a very friendly harbor seal that decided it wanted to hang around the boat and show off. It literally spent two hours hanging around us.”

Since he “could barely walk,” Macallister said he has had a connection to the water thanks to his grandfather who lived on a pond off Wequaquet Lake in Barnstable. It is there that Macallister would fish for perch and bass. “There isn’t much I don’t like about fishing,” he said. “There’s obviously the thrill of catching my own fish, tying my own flies and building my own rods.”

He has maintained a passion for fishing ever since, though these days he is reeling in much bigger fish. Macallister is an occasional charter boat fishing captain and a full-time commercial fisherman, based out of Sandwich. You can often find him and his crew aboard the F/V Cynthia C, a 35’ Duffy that is used as a harpoon boat to catch bluefin tuna. He also operates the F/V Cynthia C2, a 38’ boat that snags tuna using rod and reel.

This season, the biggest tuna he caught was 115 inches and just under 900 pounds. On a good day, he may bring back as many as five bluefins.

He goes, he said, “where the fish go” which means as close as three miles off the East end of the Cape Cod Canal to as far away as 30 miles out into Georges Bank. “Tuna is a very mobile fishery,” he said. “They’re always moving.”

Macallister’s year typically begins in May, when he will start fishing for black sea bass with his daughter Alexandra and run charters until the second week of June. That’s when his focus shifts to tuna; the season is close to winding down.

Need for Sunglasses

Harpooning, he said, requires the use of a spotter pilot who is responsible for locating the fish that Macallister is chasing. “The number one item you need is sunglasses,” Macallister said. “I started harpooning in 1985 so this is my 31st season fishing for giant bluefin and I’ve used different lenses, different shades.”

He and his crew rely on sunglasses both for comfort – “we get a lot of eye strain over the course of the day,” he said – and for clarity. “You’re trying to see into the water and differentiate colors,” Macallister explained. “Sunglasses are the most important thing, especially when you’re working with an airplane spotter pilot. My pilot Dan will tell you the same thing when he’s in the air.”

You can find X-Wear’s line of fishing and boating sunglasses here. They include such top, outdoor brands as Costa, Maui Jim and Smith, all of which are durable, rugged and employ the best in polarized technology that give fishermen like Macallister a competitive advantage when searching for fish in the open sea.

Benefits of GoPros

With training as a marine biologist – he holds a degree in marine biology and biology from UMass Dartmouth – Macallister is not only trying to catch bluefin tuna, but interested in their health as well. Along the Northeast, he is finding the species has made a rebound after nearly being listed as endangered. “I can tell you that tuna has not only recovered, but is flourishing,” he said. “We have seen more fish, starting about 2009.”

His boats are equipped with a high-end video camera as well as multiple GoPros. He uses them to chronicle his trips that are mix of both work and pleasure. Not only have his cameras captured his bluefin exploits, they have also recorded the many other animals he has encountered over the years, including great white sharks. In 2014 he taped a great white for 14 minutes as it cruised around his boat. The animal was later named by shark researchers after Macallister’s daughter.

“You never know, every day, you just don’t know what kind of experience you’re going to have out there,” he said, summing up the thrill of being on the water.

X-Wear sells GoPros (click here) as well as a number of accessories (click here), from mounts to extra batteries to chargers that will ensure you get the most out of your camera.  

You can learn more about Tyler Macallister by visiting his website www.fvcynthiac.com and liking his company’s Facebook page here.

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