Cameron & Sanna
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Sanna and I met when we were both in very different stages of our lives. Sanna knew the direction she wanted her life to go and had goals and ambitions. I was a little lost, set in my ways of just continuing with what I was doing. Not yet knowing what more I wanted to do. Neither of us were looking for a relationship when we met, but you know how it goes whenever you are not looking for something it always falls into your lap. We both taught surfing for different surf schools in Portugal. The first time we meet was in a bar I was just trying to impress her on a night out she did not bite at all! However, not long after something sparked on a boat party during the summer neither of our memories is very clear of what was said or done but something obviously clicked! Fast forward a few months later and we were living together in Lagos.
BUILDING OUR HOME
Sanna had already lived the van life a few years before in Hawaii and Australia before that, where I hadn’t tried it yet. We soon hatched a plan to travel to the North Shore of Oahu the epicentre of surfing. We planned to buy a cheap van, convert the van into our home for the winter and surf as much as possible. Seems simple right? We fly into paradise, sunshine, waves and lovely people. We were lucky enough to stay in one of Sanna's friend's homes Scotty and Marian for a while to get everything sorted. We gave ourselves four days to 1st surf 2nd buy a van 3rd buy surfboards. On the 4th day, we found a 1995 Ford Econoline van with some shelving units in the back for $1000. It was too good of a deal to go past! After buying the van we went and treated ourselves to a surfboard to share and one for myself. Sanna had left some boards in Hawaii from last time, and we had been borrowing some boards from our friends Matt and Britt. But now we had a quiver for the winter. We had a deadline of 2 weeks to finish our van while we were staying in Sanna’s Hawaiian mum Debbie’s little cottage looking after her two dogs. The hard part was getting power tools, thanks to some help from Scotty and Marian they let us borrow their power tools while they were not using them. A plan was devised for the interior of our new home. It included a large bed spreading across most of the back that also converted into a table where we could eat or hang out, with a kitchen in the middle with storage all around. We tried to make it as simple but also making it feel like our home. Sanna has a very design focused and aesthetic mind and she had an idea in her head that she wanted to execute. Whereas I was more focused on practicality. Obviously, we clashed over some design and construction ideas but after some time and discussions (maybe arguments/tantrums) we both came to an agreement of how it would turn out. Surprisingly we came pretty close to making the van into what we had imagined and so there was Paddy (our vans name) version 1.0. The name Paddy comes from the van having two personalities number 1 Patrick the nasty one whenever the van was misbehaving and causing us issues it was called Patrick, unfortunately, we dealt with plenty of Patrick in the first month and a half. Personality number 2 was Patricia which was when everything was sunshine and rainbows. Patricia was in control we got to know Patricia at the end of our journey very well thankfully. To fill our van with living equipment we shopped in secondhand stores such as Savers and Goodwill, we found some absolute gems including a sweet brand new dual gas cooker perfect for the van life. Now we had everything including a livable van, minus one less surfboard I had already snapped on its first surf...
WORST WINTER FOR WAVES
Since we had arrived on Oahu the weather had got worse and worse including a crazy tropic thunderstorm which caused huge waves in Waimea bay on the left side which was very unusual and had only been seen a few times. But luckily up until this point, we had been house sitting and not living in our little van yet. Unfortunately, the weather did not improve once we moved into the van with it raining a minimum of four hours a day for nearly five weeks after our arrival. We had taken on two dogs, one was a Jack Russel mix with plenty of attitude and the other was a mixed breed Poncho and Kea. Both amazing dogs who loved the van life. Living in the van with two people when it is raining is pretty bad but when you add two little furry things in the mix things very quickly become quite messy. Now obviously when it is raining, it gives you quite a lot of time doing nothing, especially when living in a van... So I/we soon went a little crazy. Both of us are active and outdoor people, we need something to distract us from ourselves and the fact there was no surf which was what we had come to do!
THE STORY OF BANGERS AND STACHE
We started thinking about making a blog or a vlog but we rapidly discovered that neither of us was very comfortable in front of a camera so that idea went out the window pretty quickly! Next, we got the idea of making a clothing company using second-hand clothing. We thought of this after filling our van with everything we needed from places like Savers and Goodwill, we had also noticed some very groovy clothing that was still top quality. So we made a little plan to purchase secondhand clothing then screen-print a logo onto them and sell them on as a sustainable eco-friendly company. Thankfully our good friend Cody, who does screen printing for a living said he would help us out by turning our logo into a screen for printing. He also gave us some of his old water-based ink. So all that was left for us to do was design a logo and a name and we were away. Ideas started coming in with plenty of silly names going around like The Ginger Mou And The White Fringe, but eventually, we settled on Bangers and Stache. Bangers come from the hairstyle bangs much like the fringe, because Sanna was Currently rocking bangs. Stache comes from that I struggle to grow facial hair, but have been trying to grow my moustache out for almost 3 years with it still being barely visible in most light! So Bangers and Stache it is. Now do not be fooled into thinking its bangers and mash although it was planned. For the logo we used this little play on words to our advantage, we put the bangs and stache on a plate with a knife and fork. Bringing equality to the plate quite literally. Now we just needed something funky as a catchphrase. This one took some thinking, a lot of food talk was going around but we didn't want to be mistaken for a food company. So we tried to think of another play on words! Sanna came up with don't forget the groovy. I'm not going to explain it I hope you get it! The logo was finished next we just needed some clothes and a set up for screen-printing. Shopping time, we went thrift shopping to Goodwill and Savers hunting for the best plain t-shirts around. Once we had a collection of different colored shirts we needed somewhere to print and store all the clothing because it would not all fit in our little van with us, the two dogs and five surfboards. We asked our friends Britt (@muddybusco) and Jamie (@jamieswimart) if we could use space at their art studio. It was also a perfect location right in the heart of the North Shore in the old sugar mill in Wailua, where a lot of surfboard factories live. Making a set up for screen printing is pretty basic we were using two jiffy hinges and a sheet of off-cut plywood from our van. Simple ghetto and almost not effective... but we did our best. Screen printing was all new to me, Sanna had done it a few years back in school. The process seemed straight forward, ink goes onto the screen you squeegee it across flooding the screen, place a shirt underneath the screen then press down and pull the ink across the screen pushing ink through your screen and onto the shirt. Very simple until you realize that the logo has to be in certain spots and at certain angles. So naturally, our first few shirts were all over the place. But we liked this as it gave them a certain character and style, after some time we found the spots where it should be and how the logo should sit. After the shirt is printed you let the ink dry, when it is dry you must iron the shirt to finish it setting the ink into the fabric. We printed a dozen or so shirts of different colors and styles, which we passed around to our friends in Hawaii. My dad was with us at the time for a 50th birthday vacation, also he was helping out by ironing the dry shirts. When he left for New Zealand he took half a dozen shirts for my family and some friends to get the name into New Zealand. Whenever there weren't waves we would be either shopping for new clothes of printing shirts, we had been experimenting with some new styles such as jackets, dresses, shorts, and hoodies. Now that we had some different styles and variety we thought to build a website. Which needed some modeling and website building. Modeling was neither of our strongest points so we went for the no smile serious style for all the photos. The modeling shoot for the website was done in thirty minutes right before dark, as usual, leaving everything to the last minute. Building the website was a blast for me because Sanna designed and built all of it thankfully because my designs look like a young child's drawings from primary school. All the shirts we put onto the website had a name depending on how the shirt looked it ranged from "The low boob" to "The Hulk" and "Large and in charge". Within the first week of the release of our website, we sold shirts to five different countries and more than ten shirt sales. Both of us were completely blown away by this response, which made all those long nights printing worth it.
We had planned a little trip to my home in New Zealand so the week before the trip, there was some frantic printing sessions long into the night. Surprisingly we printed over sixty shirts to bring with us to Christchurch. The New Zealand trip was a great success with all of our expenses being paid for by money from selling shirts, we also scored some epic waves on the west coast with the Fleiming family sending our love.
LAST MONTH IN HAWAII
Sanna flew back to Hawaii and our little home while I stayed for another two weeks to work and save some money. While I was in New Zealand Sanna needed to shape two boards for her friends back in Sweden. She was shaping in the Seaside glassing factory which is run by some old legends of surfing, Larry and Rob with Dano ding repairs opposite them. These legends were always drinking beers and telling stories of old times in Mexico and making the best tacos in town (possibly the world) every Wednesday. Sanna had shaped some boards in the past with the help of Rob but this time in Hawaii she had gone all in and shaped a little fish for herself by herself. This little fish was named Penelope slightly asymmetrical but an impressive job! Three of Sannas best friends put in an order of three old school fishes hand-shaped by her. When I arrived back to Hawaii we were greeted with some fun waves which was surprising because of how late in the season it was. We planned to stay in Hawaii for another month before leaving for the European trip. First to Sweden then to Portugal for the summer. So over the next month, we would be enjoying the late-season waves and good weather. We would also be cramming in as much shopping and screen printing as possible. The website got some new items and new models thanks to some friends helping us out with the modeling.
A DAY IN THE VAN
How does a day in a van living in Hawaii look? A year before Sanna had parked her old van on a farm with another couple also living there in a large converted van. So we parked our van on the same property, knowing the owner and that is was safe. The farm was right in between Wailua and Haleiwa the gateway to the North Shore. Our mornings would usually consist of us waking up to a little red bird singing to us from our passenger wing mirror followed by a quick dash to the nearest bathroom (one of the downsides of van life!), unlike the dogs they just went wherever they wanted. Followed by checking the waves which was usually Haliewa first because there was a bathroom there. We would surf either Haliewa or Lanis mostly maybe if we were feeling adventures we would go further into the north shore but the crowds always were a big turn off. After surfing would come the much needed bowl of porridge mixed with turmeric, honey and coconut oil. If you haven't tried it you should. After the porridge, there would hopefully be another surf or some shopping for bangers and stache. Some days we got lucky and got 3 surfs in before the days were over. Most nights were spent at the art studio printing shirts with Britt doing her ceramics. Then we would drive our little home back to its park and wait for the next day to begin.
Traveling and working in Portugal we also had planned some clothing pop up stores for bangers and stache. Our friends @thehangout___ and @olbastards kindly letting us take over for a night. We have been shocked at the success of bangers and stache so we plan to go back to Hawaii for some more printing. Paddy our Hawaiian home was sold to Sanna's friend but she will be leaving Hawaii when we return so we will be moving back into our little house. But before all this fun stuff happens first we will have an adventure in Japan. Sanna was selected for the Swedish national surfing team chosen to compete in the 2019 world championships in Miyazaki. I will also be traveling as the Swedish team coach for the world championships. We will travel there for the competition, afterward, we have hired a campervan for 2 weeks and travel the south of Japan with some friends. Follow along with us and our journey by clicking the links below and say hi!