How Two Beach Bums Started a Successful Lifestyle Company

How Two Beach Bums Started a Successful Lifestyle Company

It all began with a few kayaks and an old pickup truck. See how two sandy, unemployed guys started a booming lifestyle business right here in San Diego.

By Trey Leslie I Everyday California Head Writer & Resident DJ

La Jolla is a place with a lot of history. It’s been connected to San Diego via railway for nearly a century and a half, and before that, the Kumeyaay inhabited the area for thousands of years. But even over countless changes spanning millennia, one thing has remained the same for all of human history: people here love the ocean.

Vintage photo of old-school beach bums in 1905. Is that kid swimming in a jacket and hat? They definitely needed an apparel store.

In recent years, two people sought to revolutionize the beach scene here at La Jolla Shores. It all began with a few kayaks and an old pickup truck.

When the recession struck in 2008, Michael Samer and Christopher Lynch quickly discovered that they didn’t have a ton of career options, especially for graduates fresh out of college. What they did have was the beach, an unemployed status, a lot of time and nothing to lose.

The original beach bums, Michael Samer (left) and Chris Lynch (right)

These humble beginnings are the origins of Everyday California. It was a little adventure company run out of a storage shed in La Jolla by a couple of beach bums with a big idea: share the California lifestyle with the world.

Success for the salty crew

Compared to today, the image is comical—the first iteration was made up of a few people organizing and leading tours, cleaning gear and scheduling more tours on a cell phone whenever they had a free moment. At times it was brutal; they worked hard from morning until night, doing more work than you would ever think a small crew was capable of. In those days, relaxing was a beer-fueled, extreme endeavor to release their pent-up energy:

But they soon realized that they had tapped into something special that resonated with the community. They quickly learned that Everyday California was destined for more than a tiny kayak tour company.

The business grew so rapidly that it seemed bigger and better every time you blinked. The storage unit was replaced by a shop, a few more people joined the crew, they got some more gear, and they started looking like a real business. “This was the big-leagues,” they thought. This was success.

In time, they outgrew the first shop and found a bigger space. And then they outgrew the second shop. And the third. Now the location is bigger and better than it’s ever been.

All the while, something else was in development. There was another unique opportunity—visitors from all over the world were visiting the shop and getting a taste of the California people know and love. Mike and Chris wanted to leave them with something tangible, more than just a great memory.

They hired a graphic designer and launched an apparel brand. Now Brutus, the bear in our logo, can be found on shirts, hats, and water bottles around the world, from Panama to Kuwait to Japan.

But they never forgot that the experiences people have here are the soul of the business, so while they launched and expanded the Everyday California apparel and accessory line, they also ensured that every visitor to La Jolla had opportunities for unforgettable days on the beach. They made sure that every kayak tour had the best equipment, and more importantly, the best guides in La Jolla. Then they kept expanding.

La Jolla has some of the best beaches for surfing in the whole country, but for a lot of surfing’s history, the sport suffered from extreme localism. This was true of the Windansea Beach, a popular La Jolla surfing spot made famous by Andy Warhol’s film “San Diego Surf”. Back in the day, Windansea was a locals-only spot.

Vintage surfing photo of the Windansea Beach

This break wasn’t filled with the happy, carefree type of surfing bum that you’ll find on friendlier beaches. These guys would fiercely defend the best spots from outsiders, and confrontations often turned violent. Windansea is much better today, but the reputation has stuck around.

Mike and Chris don’t feel that way about surfing. They would bring the entire world surfing if they could, so they launched surf and standup paddleboard lessons in La Jolla Shores. They wanted people to see the best side of surf culture—not localism and fighting, but inclusiveness and positivity. Now, Everyday California is a place where anyone can learn to surf, regardless of age, experience, or address.

The type of surfing pics we like to see. No harsh vibes in sight, just a welcoming, fun beach day.

This was the full realization of Everyday California’s growth. It’s transformed from an adventure company into a full-blown lifestyle brand, making waves in the community and spreading good vibes across the globe through an awesome selection of California designed apparel. “This is the big leagues,” we think. This is success (until we once again grow and find a new definition of success).

The current Everyday California shop in La Jolla, CA

This is Everyday California today. It stands for all things CA: from North to South, from massive forests full of towering Sequoias to rocky beaches with walking access only, from the tech giants in Silicon valley to mom-and-pop stores selling overstuffed sandwiches down the street from our shop.

We hope you’ll join us in our mission to share California with the rest of the world.