Well Worn Life: Q&A with Kenny Arimoto

We are excited to unveil our new series, Well Worn Life, which highlights individuals who embody our brand's mission of owning less but doing more.

Our first entry is Kenny Arimoto from Santa Cruz, California. His passion for sustainability and surfing inspiring us, and we hope you find his words and way of life uplifting as well.

QuestionCan you explain how you came up with the idea of cutting up and reusing wetsuits? 

Answer - Well there's a lot of surfers an a lot of old wet suits out there. My buddy and I were just sitting around one day and decided to cut them a few wetsuits up, pair them up with some astroturf from Home Depot, and make some pedals for our bikes.

QWhat were they going to do with the wetsuits if you weren't making pedals?

A - Well a lot of wetsuits get worn for a few seasons, then they get some holes in them. Some get repaired and some don't. They just kind of sit around and get crusty, usually in the back of a closet or garage. Then they end up getting thrown away, which is a lot of neoprene out there, and there's a lot of old wet suits out there. It was really easy find the wetsuits, we just asked buddies or used some of my own. 
QSo you got the idea to take those wetsuits that otherwise would end up in a landfill, polluting the ocean, and give them a second chance. How'd you end up using them for pedals though?

A - Yeah you know I came up with the idea to make a grass pedal for my bicycle because it's really cold on my ride home during the winter. Your feet hurt when they are on the pedals, the ground and wind hurts, everything hurts around that time. So I strapped some astroturf onto the bike pedals, and evolved from there to taking some old neoprene that we had lying around. We sewed them up on one them, make it like a beer koozie, and slipped it back on the bike. 

And it's been a nice life ever since.

Q - How much would say surfing influences what you do on a daily basis?

A - Growing up as a second generation surfer, it's been a way for me to really connect with my family, my dad especially. Sharing an activity together that we both enjoy means everything to me.

The best surf sessions are when I'm with my dad, it's glassy and fun, and we are just out there trading off on waves. It's nice to rip around with your dad. He's in his 60s and still shreds.

My whole family lives around the water, so I spend time with my nieces and nephew teaching them how to surf and just creating joy in the water.

Q - So we saw you fixing your board today, what was going on? 

A - 
Well you know I grew up a blue collar surfer. My dad was a pipeliner and very handy. He always taught me to work on my dirtbikes and fix anything on them myself.

Ding repair is the first thing any surfer should know, and it started from working on my own board. I got really excited to be creative, you know putting this piece of foam and glassing it, but it all started with taking some old boards, stripping them down, making some hand planes.

 - I saw some interesting patterns on the board you put together. Where'd you get that inspiration and how'd you make that happen?

A - I've been really fortunate in Santa Cruz that there's still a lot of original board builders, a lot of masters of the craft. I started in a little garage but I eventually received some professional shop experience. Started hot coating, then got into laminations, then sanding and polishing. I love the whole construction of it in the traditional board building sense.

One of my favorite things is the glassing portion and doing the really high pigmented resin acid splashes and a lot of color. 

 - And you're able to incorporate some old fabric to be repurposed?

A - You know sometimes I'll get creative, go down to the thrift store and I'll find like an old silk dress. It looks funny me checking out, buying a silk dress, but yeah I'll take that cut it up then lay it into a lamination.

Q - Can you tell me about your wax bag?

A - It's this really rad like deep cut Reeses pieces candy bag. It worked so well for me so I held onto it. Now it's going on like six years strong, just this like random candy bag I've taken all the way to Bali and Hawaii, all the way around the world.

Q - So where are you off to next?

A - Like today? I’m not really sure, probably try to squeeze some surfing in. Any time surfing is better than not surfing.

Written by Brian O'Dea

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