When we came across Kristina Young's gorgeous surf-inspired art, we immediately felt compelled to share her work with you. Lucky for us, she, too, was stoked to work with DRIFT on a selection of tees, tanks and sweatshirts adorned with her designs that celebrate the carefree surf lifestyle and especially women surfers. At DRIFT we feel it's important to know the human story behind our art, whether we wear it, ride it, or hang it on the wall- so read on!
Kristina and her husband Marshall own a shop, Peace of Wood, in Ocean City, New Jersey, where their art is on display through various mediums (wood, textiles, canvas), and is showcased alongside the works of various other local creatives. Her original designs adorn pieces of woodwork co-created by Marshall. She reproduces variations of some of those designs in clothing and prints. For Kristina, both art and surfing entered her life only a few years ago, but both have forever transformed her for the better. Now she's set on sharing the stoke with as many people as possible.
How did you begin making surf art?
The ocean changed my life and my path. I never started painting until I started surfing six years ago. The ocean inspired me in ways I never thought possible. It led me down my path as an artist and as an entrepreneur. I am forever grateful for all the ocean has given me. The ocean is where everything began.
What inspires your designs?
My art has always been a release, a safe place, a sanctuary. A place of peace in my mind as well as my surroundings. It is moved by the ocean, learning how to surf, and my love and respect for this beautiful earth.
Painting grounds me, and brings me back to the core of what truly makes me happy. It is inspired by a life of simplicity and truly following your heart and your passions.
My art has to be, and always will be, about stopping, breathing, and being in the here and now. I also just want people to genuinely smile when they see it! My main goal has always been to spread peace and joy through my creations.
What role does surfing play in your life?
My relationship with the ocean grew so much deeper much later in life. I grew up with a huge fear of the deep ocean. I honestly wouldn’t go in past my knees! Such a huge fear of the unknown, it crippled me.
My husband, growing up on the coast and a surfer, knew that I needed to overcome that fear. He knew there was so much out there for me to conquer. Six years ago, I paddled out for the first time, caught my first wave, and my life was forever changed that day. It truly changes my entire path.
I am incredibly grateful for my relationship with the ocean and how much she has taught me. The ocean forced me to grow, forced me to conquer my fears. And in the long run, the ocean forced me to be in the moment, because that’s what she asks of all of us, when we are consumed by her.
I am definitely still learning (forever learning!), but for me, surfing is about so much more than catching the best wave. Just paddling out, I’ve overcome so much. I’ve shared so many special moments out there with the people I love. There is so much peace out there if you truly tap in. I have so much gratitude for being able to share those moments in the water.
I am completely in love with long boarding. I’d say my style is surfing big boards in small waves! I love the feeling of gliding across the face of the wave and the timeless style. Surfing for me is a time to slow down, reflect, and be in the moment. I think that’s why I’m so drawn to long boarding.
My goal as a surfer is to share as much stoke with as many people in the water as possible, to never lose sight of what it’s really about, to constantly push myself at every level, and to surf to rest of my life with so much gratitude. Sometimes I wish surfing came to me earlier in life, but I’m not sure I’d appreciate every moment as much as I do now.
Shop the DRIFT x Kristina Young Collab
Come into the shop today to check out Kristina's wearable art- we've got a variety of tees for men, women, and girls.
DRIFT wants you to know the story behind your surfboards. Lately we’ve been collaborating with Brother Surf Crafts. Dave and Tom Bracht are a sibling team hailing from Ocean View, Delaware, a small coastal town with a tight-knit surf community. They want to be the go-to shapers for surfers who want a board that is 100% shaped and glassed by hand.
Dave and Tom Bracht of Brother Surf Crafts began making surfboards only a few years ago. But thanks to a combination of expert mentoring, talent, and dedication to the craft, this family team is now shaping and glassing full-time, and have developed nine distinct board shapes to fit a wide range of surf conditions and abilities. Many of their boards are now on the rack at DRIFT.
This October, amidst a solid fall swell, Tom and Dave passed through Rhode Island to drop off a few boards—including a custom Pro-Fish for Rob (similar to this one). After a day’s worth of surfing overhead waves and strong offshore winds at Matunuck, we all made the trek up to Pawtucket for dinner. Over dumplings and noodles at what might be *the best* Chinese spot around, Dave and Tom gave us the story of how they started shaping and glassing boards, who’s influenced their work, and where they want to go next with their craft.
The Origins of Brother Surf Crafts
Dave and Tom are lifelong surfers, but neither intended to actually create surfboards for a living. In fact, it was a cruel twist of fate that initially led Tom down this path, with Dave soon to follow. As Tom tells it:
I fell. I used to skateboard a lot. Like pools and stuff. And I fell and broke my hip. To the point that like, I didn’t know if I’d surf, skate, skim, walk… It was bad. And it happened right before summer. And uh, I needed something to keep me feeling like I was like in the water, even though there’s no chance. And we had a blank on our front porch…
Dave had bought Tom that surfboard blank- a plain white block of foam. He knew that his brother would be out of the water for a while (he was out for more than six months) and would need something to keep his mind occupied. The only problem? Tom didn’t know anything about how to shape a surfboard. But he was intrigued and had time to learn, so he sought out help from someone with experience. As luck would have it, such a person lived right in their small surf community: veteran shaper Brent Clark. In all, he’s got more than 40 years of surfboard shaping under his belt, including years shaping for Gordon & Smith Surfboards, and Innerlight in Florida. Tom explains:
I took the blank, went over and was like Would you teach me?And surprisingly, he said Yes! And Brent, what he would do is, he would tell me a step. I’d do the step, then I’d come ask him again, So, alright, what’s the next thing?And he’d be like, alright do this. And then I’d do it and... I just bugged him every so often. But he was so nice, ‘cuz he had this workshop at his house, and he would just leave it unlocked and you could go over and use his shaping bay, use his tools, like, whenever you wanted. And then after my first board he was like, This is something that you need to keep doing.
It wasn't only Clark who took notice. Dave was actually incredulous that Tom could’ve shaped such a nice board on his first try. Says Dave: “So, Tom shaped it and I was expecting it to be like pretty bad. And he… brought it to [the surf shop] where I was working and I was like Nah... you didn’t shape this.” Tom asserted he shaped the board. Dave recalls, “It was actually good. And I was like, Dude, I actually think you have a talent.”
Glassing was another challenge. Tom took his first board to a nearby glasser, but the wait and the cost were both prohibitive. Meanwhile, both his brother and Clark were encouraging him to keep shaping. With a humble pride in his voice, Tom recalls that Clark in particular was pushing him to develop his talent. “He was telling people…You gotta meet this guy Tom, he’s better than me after three boards.” Tom kept honing his skills. But as Dave explains, “When you make a board, you wanna ride it, to learn.” That is, it’s not just about the fun of surfing your own board, but seeing how the board actually rides, so you can improve the next one. Access to quick and cost-efficient glassing became imperative. The solution? Dave took up glassing, and the two have been working as a team ever since.
Learning to glass like a pro was not easy. “I’d done it once before and the fumes were so bad,” Dave recalls. Rookie mistake—he wasn’t wearing a mask. “I had a headache for like a week.” The first boards Dave ever glassed, he admits, were rough. “We still have one and I wanna burn that thing so I don’t have to look at it. It’s so hideous.” Dave glassed literally hundreds of boards before he felt confident in his skills. Today, he’s developed not only his skillset but also an aesthetic that is classic and refined.
In concert with Tom, Dave created a color palette for each stock board they shape. For their Pro-Fish, for instance, they like to stick to a deep, warm color palette (as seen in the header photo and here, here, and here). For mid-lengths, Dave prefers subdued pastels (see here). The theme running through all Dave’s glasswork is uniform: minimalist and sophisticated. “We try and do stuff that’s just simple, classy, won’t go out of style ten years from now.”