Unsound Surf

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Behind the Scenes

Surfing in the Northeastern United States does have its downsides (best waves are usually found during hurricane season -typically during the fall and dead of winter-) but also plenty of perks including 3 very different and enjoyable NY surf locations where the waves are almost always up for some fun (also plenty of other spots in nearby New Jersey) but as far as NYC is concerned, 2 of the finest of these surf spots are within or near the city limits (Far Rockaway, Long Beach) and one is further out on the easternmost end of Long Island (Montauk).

All 3 of these spots might not have Pacific Ocean like waves but believe it or not New York has some of the best waves on the entire East Coast plus a mellow surf crowd, luckily attitude-free that is out there out of a mutual love for the ocean and looking to enjoy any ride they can get. The interesting thing about the New York surf scene is that it openly embraces all ages and skill levels and includes everything from traditional surfing to body boarding (though the city did ridiculously ban that for a while), paddle boarding and kite surfing so we had to reach out to locals and visitors alike to see not only who their customers were but who their potential future customers could be. As the store also caters to skaters, snow boarders and general any outdoor adventure/sport/thrill seeker our audience was limitless but we decided to stick to surfing for the first phase as that seemed to be the majority of their focus, clientele and products.

Long Beach (about an hour's drive or train ride from NYC) with its southeast best swell direction and northwest best wind direction offers fun surf for all ages and skill levels (except on the aforementioned hurricane swells) and a true beach town vibe with plenty of wonderful and hip restaurants, bars, cafes, stores and year-round events and activities that we wanted to showcase along with the store's products.

Even though the physical store is visible when driving into Long Beach, it isn't if you arrive via train, being a couple of blocks away from the LIRR station. That meant we had to raise awareness by boosting its web presence, e-commerce business via social media, weekly email blasts with sales and featured products, getting involved with local surf competitions and surf related business. We wanted a nice, clean, fun theme, an "endless summer" almost retro vibe, even though the store caters to all seasons and all seasonal sports/activities and lots of interaction. We focused on the locals as they would be the lifeline of the store thru all seasons. We conducted interviews with several of the neighborhood's surfers/skaters and came up with various user personas of people at various stages of their lives that shared a similar passion. As we designed the user architecture, our focus was how to best showcase the many products but also how to get people involved. A playful interface and year around events, including an annual surfing competition, obviously received the lion's share of attention from us. Another top priority for us was to highlight the online store and reinforce on its e-commerce possibilities without losing our focus on tha main star of the game: the brick and mortar store and its special connection with the community.

Tools used: Adobe XD, Photoshop. InVision, Sketch, HTML.CSS/SASS. JS/Jquery, Bootstrap.

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