Posted on August 12, 2022 by Reed Naliboff
A quick internet search for the definition of ISLE will lead you to find that ISLE means “a small island.” And on that small island, you can find a strong sense of calm, loads of adventure, space to breathe, the grace to fall, and the opportunity to laugh as loud as you’d like. All the things that hasten us to go, go, go in a world that tends to hurry the moments that matter most, all of a sudden slow down to a pace that feels not only good, but in balance.
For 19 years, we’ve seen each and every one of you create an ISLE out of your own boards. On each and every board, sits every person’s victories, disappointments, memories, and dreams for the future. Paddling out into the water, is not just another customer, but a person, with stories, and a heartbeat that elevates when they’re about to fall, when they catch waves, when they realize just how small they feel in the middle of the ocean, or just how big they feel after mastering balance on their board. All this to say: this is our heartbeat. To inspire and equip people to live better in balance, through endless adventure on the water.
Our history is wrapped in details that remind us: a love for the water started this company, and that’s what keeps it going. In 2004, this company started out as ISLE Surf: a direct to consumer surfboard business started by childhood friends from San Diego, Doug Pate and Marc Miller. One $1 surfboard sold on eBay, turned into dreaming up board shapes and designs in a garage with oil-stained floors. As the cherry on top to our history, the first big order received by ISLE Surf had no way of being shipped, so Doug and Marc wrapped them up, and sent them off via a Greyhound bus.
Pan forward to 2008, and we introduced paddle boards to the lineup, opening up another world of exploration to consumers everywhere. As the sport grew, so did people’s love for the water. In the past 18 years we’ve seen people paddle with whale sharks in Mexico, get married on their SUPs, surf record-sized waves, and seen people of all ages and backgrounds come to discover how much more their minds and bodies are capable of.
Legacies aren’t built on redesigning boards and producing them, although that does help—they’re built on the hearts of people who come to see the products they purchase as more than just that. For us, our legacy was built beneath the feet of those who crave balance, and find more than they ever bargained for while out on the water.
As far as legacies go though, we can’t forget our anchor through it all: the ocean. It is at the core of what we do, and why people trust us to create products that will help them explore the waters all around them with ease. Day in and day out, we remember that as much as the ocean gives to us, we must give back.
As a company focused on giving back to the ocean, we have had the privilege of partnering with SeaTrees by non-profit Sustainable Surf. As an ocean-focused platform, SeaTrees works with communities around the world to plant and protect ‘blue-carbon’ coastal ecosystems such as: mangrove and kelp forests, seagrass, ridge-to-reef watersheds, and coral reefs. For every board purchased, one sea tree gets planted, and it is our commitment to keep that partnership going as a representative of our core value to give back to the seas we paddle and surf on.
Passing on this love for the water to the next generation is also important to us, which is why we partner with Outdoor Outreach, a non-profit that connects youth to the outdoors as a space to explore their world, and discover what they’re capable of. With a generation that learns to love the water, comes the responsibility to support causes that empower youth to find themselves and their strengths on the water as well.
After almost two decades of surf and SUP, we’ve continued to see just how impactful these boards are in the lives of so many. Whether it’s hiking in a national park with your inflatable packed into your travel bag, or you’re paddling into a bay on European waters, you can find our boards on every corner of the world. We’ve redesigned our boards, introduced kayak hybrids, elevated our boards’ construction, and as a plus, have never had to ship a board order via Greyhound bus ever again—although we think it still sounds like a fun idea.
As we look to the past to redefine our future, we think of everyone who has chosen an ISLE board to pursue a balanced life on the water. This is for the van-lifer, the single mom, the corporate 9-5er, the college student, retiree, and everyone in between. It’s been 19 years of making memories on the water, and we know the next 19 will be even better. And as a plus, we’ll soon be going back to our roots: of surf and SUP.
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