From the archives: This is from our original site, MyCityLife, posted back on 12 December 2014
Being the master of your own destiny is what Claudio Kirac lives by. The Gold Coast creative director has fused his passion for art with his love for the beach, creating a brand that embodies the Australian lifestyle. And two years since its inception, SURF/BRAND is going global.
While CK’s career spans twenty years and includes a portfolio more expansive than the cosmos, his passion for art started as a kid and flourished as he left school. “I got a Diploma in Design working with computers – that’s how I became a graphic designer.” CK says. “Then I got into fashion and became involved with some well- known brands for about thirteen years. Right now I’m into photography and design, as well as The Art-Work Agency and SURF/BRAND.”
It’s taken a great deal for the artist to develop into a graphic designer and make a living as an all-around master of creativity, photographer, painter, illustrator, branding expert and public speaker. “It takes really hard work,” CK points out. “I’ve got a strong support group of family, friends and my partner behind me, and it’s special because they support me through work that isn’t a normal job. I’ve been building my dream for a long time and I believe you have to be the master of your own destiny. You’ve got to live and die for your passion.”
With business partner and craftsman Paul Bow by his side, CK has taken SURF/BRAND from a hobby of making hand planes for body surfing, to a quality goods and lifestyle brand that epitomises everything they represent. SURF/BRAND is about craftsmanship, hard work, travel and lifestyle, and it’s wholly Australian – and made with love.
Since SURF/BRAND’s launch in November 2012, its popularity exploded, extending from hand planes to soft goods, accessories and their limited edition and quality hand- crafted recycled luggage collections. However, they didn’t want to initially start as a surf brand. “We were more about the art, culture and the traditional era of surfing,” CK explains. “We were creating quality surf items. That ended up being the irony of SURF/BRAND so the name really just stuck. It’s easy to see how the international market has latched onto SURF/BRAND hand planes, with demand outweighing supply as they export stock to Japan and Paris,” CK recalls. “That’s because the planes are made by surfing veterans who have done everything from sweep the factory floors to creating blanks, shaping boards and making the big decisions for some of the world’s most recognised surfing brands.
“We produce everything in the planes,” CK said. “We came from humble beginnings, and it was Paul’s idea to polish it. But now we have purpose-built straps and deck pads made especially for the boards. The Australian Paulowina wood comes from trees from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne,” CK reveals. “We’re keeping the aesthetic of the brand – it really is genuinely Australian made,” he affirms. “This is the Rolls Royce of hand planes.”
Photo Credit: Corey Lovell