You’re flying westward towards the ocean above Orange County, moments before landing at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, and there you see it. Out the window. Big enough to take in clearly from your seat on American Airlines.
It is Birdie. Wearing his Birdwells. He is the iconic mascot of Birdwell Beach Britches. A manufacturer of California beach culture since 1961.
Birdwell is the longest running advertiser in SURFER Magazine because they’re one of the longest running board short manufacturers on earth.
In fact, they were one of the first companies to sell boardshorts commercially; specifically tailored to the needs of surfers, as still evidenced today by the wax pocket on each pair, designed to hold an entire bar of wax.
It’s design elements like this along with the easy to notice label on Birdwell’s high waisted trims that make these shorts some of the most recognizable articles of surf wear in lineups today, even among surfers who don’t wear them.
After a storied history, Birdwell is today owned by an unexpected group of surfers from Facebook and Instagram.
They grew up surfing and today shepherd the board short maker from a rich past towards a future horizon, at the same address that Birdwell has called home for decades.
C.E.O. Geoff Clawson joins us on today’s episode of The Wire Podcast to discuss what life is like as a surfer at Facebook and Instagram, what made Birdwell Beach Britches seem like such an exciting company to own, and how he carefully balances product innovation with paying homage to Birdwell’s traditions. We also cover much more.
You can find this episode: