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OPEN LETTER


Hey everyone,

My name is Luis and I’ve been a designer for more than 10 years and a surfer for over 20. I've always tried to mix both my passions and use my skills to improve my surf addiction, but this time I decided to make a switch from digital prototyping tools to the sewing machine.I’ve created Tails and Whales, a performance brand that develops products focused on helping surfers and travellers organize and transport their gear.

I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunities to be involved in several projects, some of them as a co-founder, others a founder and many as a freelancer, but I really like to think that this path is crafted by a mindset of going deeper than a pretty UI or awesome UX. All the barriers and obstacles I’ve run into and fought with in the process of taking on new venues has taught me to go further and take my chances when I believed in something. And that is why we are here!

I'm always looking at my surroundings to figure out what I can improve: What problems do I have that could be solved? Ultimately, this is where great ideas come from, and when you begin working on something, you’ll be amazed by the amount of people you’ll find with the same problem you are trying to solve. But for this to happen you need to take the plunge, and that means a lot of self-reflection at the beginning. Looking deep into your own experiences, routines and lifestyle. It’s tough to find the time, to start alone, and you can always make excuses…I have a good list of them if you want.

As I mentioned before, I’ve taken on a few projects — most of them tech related — co-founding a couple of startups through Canvaz, my design company, but I have always focused on finding time to explore new things that came to my mind. As a designer, I have greatly benefited from the ability to be able to mock these things up and test them out before even going through with it.

As a professional designer and life-long surfer I’ve always looked for a way to optimize my routine so I can focus on surfing at every possible moment, even if it means waking up at 6 am or going in without daylight. What happened most of the times was that there wasn’t any fast and simple forecast app that facilitated the decision making on a short notice, so I designed one a couple of years ago, posted on behance and imagine what I found? A lot of people had the same issue, and I connected with a developer who had seen the project on Behance — and awesome guy named Walig, who stepped in to take on the adventure with me to develop Breeze — surf forecast made simple. I was humbled and flattered by the success of that project — having received over 27K views on Behance and featured on BlessthisStuff, CreativeBloq among others. A couple of months later, I received an e-mail from someone who had seen the project and was looking for design help for sport-specific fitness apps that would feature professional athletes. This was an exciting opportunity that turned into a fun and successful joint venture — we ended up creating apps for Dwyane Wade, Adrian Peterson, Ernie Els, and finally STACK , who bought the startup. This opportunity and journey had been all a result of my longing for a simple surf forecast app that I believed I could create myself, and taking the time to execute on that vision…so you can see there are no such things as coincidences!

Wanting again to try something new and different, and fulfill a need of my own, again, I decided to make a switch from digital prototyping tools to the sewing machine. The issue I was trying to solve this time was that my car trunk was constantly flooded with surf gear, Ikea bag with the recently used wetsuit, other wetsuits all over the place, wax, fins, towels… well you get the picture(fortunately not the smell). I was longing for a way to improve the way I transported and kept this gear organized, so i started drawing out the general specifications and attempted to sew a prototype together.

This is a multi-function backpack that provides lots of space for me me to  keep everything stored and organized, separate wet/dry content, waterproof and zippers can’t go sour on me (like most do). After the initial prototype, I managed to find a manufacturer to help with the next version. With each iteration, the bag became more and more functional; true to the picture that I had in my head — a multifunctional bag that I could attach to the backseat of my car keep my gear organized, and separate the clean from the dirty, the dry from the wet.

After three prototyped versions, lots of testing — luckily for me that means a lot of travel and surf — I am excited to finally release and share you the result of a lot of time, testing and sweat. In the process, I have discovered it not only solves my surf gear issue, but also is very useful for my traveling, biking, snowboarding and beach days, and if you have kids..well you'll see the use for the extra amount of space.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to say a very big THANK YOU to everyone that made this project possible, with the chance of making it sound corny but only with great people you create great projects. My wife, Mariana, who has supported me on every crazy thing I come up with and brings the concept of teamwork to a whole new level, João who has been working with me for the past year on the brand and all the other projects on the Canvaz Design Studio, Filipe the awesome developer and friend responsible for making this happen and putting up with me (which is not easy...just ask my wife too:) and last but not least Jake with whom I've been working with for the past two years on all the tech projects mentioned above and adds in a new level of expertise to this with is awesome abilities of project management. So to all of you I say again, Thank you, It's ON :)

 

Luis,

Founder of Tails and Whales