Imaginarium 2012: Behind The Scenes With Sanuk
In an attempt to shed light on the idea of professional surfers “going to work” each time they go surfing, Sanuk built a full-blown “office space” on the sand, complete with water coolers, fully equipped cubicles, and hot-ass secretaries. From there, they sent four of their top athletes out in the ocean decked in head to toe business attire and made them surf all day (with an hour lunch break, of course). We caught up with Alek Parker to hear about his exhausting week as a nine-to-fiver.
TransWorld SURF: Where did this year’s Imaginarium concept stem from?
Alek Parker: Sanuk had this idea of “taking care of business.” They called it a “working man’s wave.” Most working men who are surfers have an office space, and they get off work and go to the beach. But for us, surfing is our job and the ocean is our office. So we brought down everything we needed to set up a legit office space on the sand. We had to find a remote Central California beach to set up, and it worked out insane. We took the Sanuk RV up and camped out for five days. We also brought a jet ski, which saved the day, because without the ski we wouldn’t have been able to get the surf footage that we got.
How hard was it to surf wearing an actual business suit?
That was the hardest thing to overcome—the extra weight of wearing the business attire. From the tie, the slacks, to the button-down shirt, we went all out. But once that gear got wet, it was so baggy. It would’ve been impossible to surf wearing that stuff without using a jet ski. Without it I don’t think the concept would have come full circle. And besides, Sanuk is a fun company and this was a fun idea—it’s certainly not meant to be taken very seriously.
It looked as though the entire idea was very well thought out.
It was, and if you ask me I think it came out incredible. It was insane to see how much detail went into everything. Each one of our desks was completely personalized with nametags and business cards. I had a freaking bobble head they made of me—which is ridiculous—but now it fits nicely in my bathroom.
How long did it take to set everything up on the beach?
It was crazy; they [the crew from Sanuk] would wake up at five in the morning and start setting up so we could shoot by seven. But for the most part we left it sitting out partly put together on the beach for four days. It was funny to see other people around kind of tripping out on our deal and what we were doing, coming up and checking it all out. But people were super respectful; nobody messed with or stole anything.
Overall, it sounds as though you guys accomplished what you set out to.
Yeah, totally. And [Brian] Bielmann was awesome. He really directed everything. Every time a set would come, he’d be like, “Stand there, put your hands up, do a pose,” and that’s what really made the photos happen. It was so cool having all the desks, office furniture, people, girls, and props—watching surfing at our desks, waiting for someone to do a maneuver. It really felt like a legit production and not a little surf trip thrown together. It was one of the coolest projects I’ve been a part of. It was extremely rewarding watching the concept come to life.
Check out Sanuk.com for more info on their team.