A Brand is Born

The story of Instinct dates back to 1972 when I was in high school. A photographer, Mike Duff, swam out at Dairy Beach in Durban and captured an image of me surfing.

The local paper the Daily News published my first shot ever taken from the water. At 15 I was stoked!

Surfboards back then had not become branding billboards – generally each board had a single, small logo identifying the manufacturer which in my town were Safari, Holmes and Wetteland.

Derek Berry, an artist friend of my Dad’s, created a graphic from the photo and my Dad thought it would look great as a logo on my next board. I was a shy kid. “Oh no Dad, it’s too big,” I told him.

“This is the deal son,” he said to me. “If you are not having the logo, I am not buying the board.” It was a little bit of tough love but my Dad intrinsically understood the value of a simple, powerful and – most of all – authentic logo.

That logo went on to appear on every one of my boards throughout my career. I used it when I founded Instinct and ultimately millions of units were sold bearing the image. The logo became a part of my DNA and I have to thank my Dad for his vision. Every time I see the Instinct logo, I see my Dad.

The Original Experiental Advertising Campaign

Back in the early 80s, surf brand advertising was pretty one dimensional in its approach. Most ads followed the same formula: a famous surfer wearing a pair of boardshorts, surfing an exotic location.

When Instinct partnered with the Rod Dyer Group, an award-winning advertising agency, the game changed overnight. The agency produced a series of ads that boldly captured the essence of what surfing was about – in and out the water. Everybody, no matter if they’d ever set foot in the ocean or not, wanted to be a part of it. These iconic ads are still instantly recognisable, with tag lines that are still quoted to this day.

Surfing is Life... The rest is details.
Surfing is Life... The rest is details.
Surfing is Life... The rest is details.
Surfing is Life... The rest is details.
Surfing is Life... The rest is details.
Instinct Genuine

World Champion Heritage

By the mid-80s Instinct had arguably the world’s best surf team, including multiple World Champs Barton Lynch and Tom Carrol, backed by company founder Shaun Tomson. But the Instinct crew were more than a team; they oozed effortless cool and were the vanguard of modern surfing, blazing a trail around the world as professional surfing took hold in earnest.

Originators of Surf Bleached Clothing

We believe that life should be lived immersed in the sun, sea and salt as much as possible. Our garments tell that story.

Back in the 80s, Instinct were the originators of surf bleached clothing, a look that took the surf world by storm.

Today that proud tradition continues, using the most advanced wash and dye techniques combined with the softest, most comfortable fabrics. But the real magic of our surf bleached clothing is unlocked by exposing our garments regularly to the elements along with a healthy dose of adventure – just like they should be.