Billy got dropped off of a Greyhound Bus at the end of the road in 2002 with nothing more than a rucksack on his back and an old skateboard at his bare feet. Having just finished up his schooling back in his hometown of Boston, he was ready to do… well, nothing that dealt with any of those studies.
He did, however, find a boat to sail, a couple of good buds to hang with, and a new place to call home.
More than 10 years, countless hand-built boards, thousands of sails, a five year stint in Copenhagen, one wife, two kids, more than few decent beards, and plenty of good times later, he still feels lucky to live the endless summer.
The idea for COAST came as a result of Billy wanting to live a life where the line between work and play was blurred to the point where they became one and the same.
Nowadays, he has his hands in most all of the daily doings at COAST but specializes in creative design projects, brand building, and keeping the vision focused.
He’s also the house board shaper – hand building skateboards and surfboards when he manages to set aside a few spare hours.
Growing up in Clio, Michigan, Ryan dreamed of big, American-made cars with V8 engines and lots of chrome. But, after finishing up school in 2001 in his home state, he hitched a ride south with a friend and ultimately traded those dreams for a banana-seat bicycle and boat called Bones.
Since that fateful trip, he’s learned a thing or two about catching some decent tail and now spends most of his days helping others do the same on his charter boat, Piscivorous.
When he’s back on land, you can easily spot him driving his ’68 VW double cab to the bowling alley where, on more than a few occasions, he’s rolled a perfect game.
At COAST, Ryan is in charge of operations – making things efficient and easy so that everyone’s days are a little more enjoyable.
And, along those lines, when the waves roll in to town, he’s the first to let us know where and when to expect them…
Chris is corn-fed Kansas boy who wound up in Key West on a wing and a prayer more than a decade ago. At the time he was harvesting a nice crop of dreads and was aptly known as DLC (Dread Lock Chris) – a moniker that still lives on when he hosts the DLC Radio Show on one of the local stations.
When he’s not developing sick websites, you can catch him riding his rusty-ass cruiser that has, quite miraculously never been stolen, to the local surf breaks praying for the semi-annual swell to roll into town. The fact that he hasn’t gone mad due to the elusiveness of said swell, says a lot about his demeanor.
To keep balanced, Chris road trips it up the coast more often than anyone down here to catch any swell bigger than knee-high north of Miami.
He’s dreaming of a teardrop trailer with sufficient headroom and if he can buy a spare minute, he might just become one of the projectoros out behind the shop and build the damn thing himself.
Dorthe (pronounced Dorta) grew up in Copenhagen and studied textile and graphic design at Kolding — Denmark’s premier design school. While traveling during an off-semester in 2007, she met Billy (Kearins) and after a quick succession of events lured him back to Copenhagen where they started a family and Dorthe finished her schooling. After a couple of kids, they packed up their things and made their way back to the sun.
Dorthe has the final say in most of the graphic works that come out of COAST and has miraculously managed to translate her clean and contemporary aesthetic — a Scandinavian staple — to COAST’s raw and often chaotic existence.
In addition to print and web-based graphic work, Dorthe has a brilliant eye for interior design and oversees the merchandising and displays in the showroom.
When she can manage a spare hour away from work and kids, she loves to relax at the beach, paddleboard the flats, and practice headstands and sun salutations at the Yoga Sanctuary.
Our boy Austin is the COAST journeyman—doing pretty much whatever it takes to keep us moving in the right direction including leading our little campers on the greatest adventures of their summer.
He lives simply, taking care of a local boat in exchange for a place to lay his head, bikes around with a fruit picker to score snacks in between meals that come mostly from fish he’s speared or fruits and veggies he’s harvested.
He truly embodies the “live by it” spirit and does it with a smile—every damn day.
So here’s to Austin! Make sure to say hi when you see him around town. It’s hard to miss him, and we hope we never have to…
Nolan, aka Dean Youngblood, hails from Tampa and is a student at FKCC where he studies Marine Management. He rolled up to one of our first events and immediately made an impression. The following day, he was back—asking if we needed a hand with anything. Fresh-faced and obviously a bit younger than most of us, we took him up on the offer and it’s been all good from that point onwards.
Nolan does everything from event prep and promotion to hands-on building projects. But recently, he’s shown tremendous proficiency and interest in board shaping, so we’re setting him up with a workspace so that he can fine-tune his skills. He’s already shaped an 8’4” egg from start to finish, has foiled a fin or two, and is currently starting up the COAST ding and fiberglass repair operation out back.
When you meet him, you’ll understand why we like having him around.