Surf Shacks 012 – Strider Wasilewski
/ Matt 11.17.2014
Strider Wasilewski could be the most interesting man in the world. The guy epitomizes the stoked surfing lifestyle we all aspire to lead, riding the wave wherever it takes him. Like any great surfer, positioning himself in the right place at the right time has led him to some truly great things.
From being a poster boy for Quiksilver and Lost, to later becoming Team Captain, Team Manager and Marketing Manager at Quiksilver (where he also discovered and signed some kid named Dane Reynolds, and also created the Quik Pipe House), to now owning his own sunscreen company Shade – AND being a commentator for the new ASP World Tour. Needless to say, the Rasberry is a busy guy. We caught up with the man himself recently on a fall afternoon in Malibu (before he skipped town again for the Hawaiian leg of the tour) and he gave us a glimpse into Strider’s World.
Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Strider Rasberry Wasilewski. I’m a Dad, Husband, and stoked to have good friends. I live to surf and this lifestyle is how I stay present and Happy! Life is a state of mind created by energy, you just have to get on the right energy wave.
What do you do for a living?
My living comes from sharing the stoke of surfing and protecting people’s skin from the sun! I share the stoke via being a host for the live broadcasts for the ASP World Tour. I also have a new brand called Shade Sunscreen, performance, health and environment at it’s finest from a mineral based sunscreen that is reef safe, oil free, alcohol free, fragrance free.
Where are you from?
I’m from Santa Monica and live in Malibu now. LA boy 4L.
Where and when did you learn to surf?
I learned to surf in Santa Monica when I was 6. My brother and I would wait for people to lose there boards and ride them till they figured out we were on them! Hahaha, in 1978 leashes were just getting popular!
How long have you lived in your Malibu home?
I have lived in Malibu for about 14 years now. But we just finished building this new house, it’s the first house my wife Lily and I have built from the ground up. Something we always wanted to do, it’s so rewarding to finish it and live there and look at your vision come to fruition.
Who all lives here? It looks like you are home to a grom army.
Hahaha, I have an epic family with one more on the way! My wife Lily Harfouche is an amazing woman who works hard as a realtor. She is the mother of our two sons Coast 7 and Country 5. Also we have a little doggie named Bear 13! We are due to have another boy in January! Family is everything to us and the love we share you can’t replace or get from anything else.
Tell us about the mural on the gate here. Who painted it and what is the story behind it?
It’s kind of a long story, so here’s a short version. Quiksilver was opening a store in Venice and wanted to make sure they included the community. So I asked them to commission Kevin Ancell to paint the mural. He created a master piece, it turned out to embody my youth growing up in Santa Monica and Venice! Which I had no idea about until it was up at my house… Turns out the store closed down and I asked for the mural, they said take it! It’s my most praised material possession. It’s so special to me, it’s hard to explain. Everyday I come home and stare at it like it’s brand new and I’m seeing it for the first time.
As a born and bred Angeleno, what are your favorite things about the area / city?
My favorite things about LA – there are too many to list. Diversity, anything and everything always right there! The madness of the city or the tranquility of the sea or mountains. Los Angeles thru and thru!
In what ways have you seen LA change over the years?
Change is inevitable, so to see LA evolving through different stages doesn’t surprise me. I guess the biggest change has been Venice and all the people moving in. Venice is still an amazing place, but the true grit has been scrubbed and pushed out, which kinda sucks. But as I said things change, maybe it will go back to gangsters and drug dealers and localized surf breaks! Hahaha, yea right! At least a lot of good friends still live there and hold it down.
What is your favorite part of your home and why?
My favorite part of my home? Hard one, cuz I always wanted to have grass – a lawn! My close friends will laugh at this… Now I do, hahaha. The living space feels amazing as well. But the library is magical, I find my kids in there reading or playing bones (dominos). It’s like a novelty room that grew into a creative outlet for our family. Thanks to my wifey for pushing the issue on that room!
How much time do you spend here vs. on the road travelling?
I’ve always traveled a lot. I’d say I’m home at least 60% of the year.
You have a lot of boards around here. What is your magic board these days?
My magic board when we did this shoot was my Lost Round Nose Fish! 5’8″ set up as a quad, but today I surfed big Pipeline after working all day at the Reef Pro at Haleiwa. I rode my 8’2″ Eric Arakawa, wasabi green. Great board for big Pipeline!
Where is your favorite place to surf?
I don’t have a favorite. I just love to surf…
What has been your favorite travel destination and why?
The destinations have not yet all been seen. So until I have traveled the world I can not have a favorite.
I grew up in awe of pictures and videos of you charging at Pipe and Teahupoo, are you still into big waves or have you toned it down at all in recent years?
I love Pipeline and Chopes still. I’m trying to stay in shape and mentally in the game so I can continue my love affair with these waves. Nothing like either of them…
What was it like being on the Lost team in the late 90s / early 00s?
It was fun, it was like being on the pirate ships in Never Never Land, hahaha! It was like we were never going to grow up, we didn’t think about the future, nothing else mattered but the moments we were living. Some of it was caught on tape….. The rest was history!
Tell us about your sunscreen company, Shade.
It’s the best Sunscreen you can buy for performance, environment and health all together. I’ve been looking for this my whole life and it walked up to me at a coffee shop in Malibu. Now I just let people use it and they are blown away and become loyal customers. It’s amazing to have. Product that works amazingly and helps protect your skin. A friend turned his friend onto Shade Sunscreen about a year ago and he went to the dermatologist and for the first time in his life he was free of suspect spots and didn’t have to get anything cut off! This is why we make Shade, to help protect while keeping the reefs and ocean clean.
How did you land your gig with the ASP?
I called them and asked! Hahaha, seriously!
That’s gotta be a dream job, what are some personal highlights from this year on tour.
Highlights: Tahiti for sure. Working with Occy and Ronny Blakey on the desk calling the most amazing surf contest I’ve ever seen was one for sure also! I guess another one was when I was sitting with Peter Mel on the desk in Portugal and I said, “Well it looks like Mother Nature is John John’s girlfriend and she is not giving it up to Kelly Slater!”
What’s being a sports commentator like? Was it awkward at first or have you always been comfortable in front of the camera?
I love the camera, haha. It was a little weird at first but that was the cool part. Being a kook and having to learn something is awesome, growing and getting better.
We are at the end of a tight world title race. Who do you think is going to win it this year? (Lemme re-phrase that: who are you pulling for?)
I’m partial to my buddy Kelly Slater, such a slim chance, but he has a chance. I think the most dangerous on paper is Mick Fanning though. Wow, if Gabriel Medina loses this title race after the lead he has it’s going to be heavy… Both Gabriel and Slater have not capitalized on their opportunities letting Fanning right into the party! What a party it’s going to be…
What’s next for the Rasberry?
What tomorrow will bring, who knows. I’m going to work passionately on my new Brand Shades Sunscreen, I’m going to try and get better at my commentating, but try and keep my style! Stay fit and surf my brains out while I still can and most importantly raise/hang with my family and friends around the world! Hope to see you out there somewhere…
For more info on Strider’s sunscreen company, Shade check out their site:
/ Photography & Interview by Matt Titone