Is there any reason surf leashes have to look generic? Hazel Chapman is challenging us to rethink the leash with her limited edition drop, available now to grab on Kickstarter.
Like plenty of surf brands, Salt x Gravel was born from a love of the sea. But what sets it apart is how it was also born from disaster. Hazel was involved in a brutal motorbike accident and forced into a little bit of downtime which resulted in this reimagining of the humble surf leash.
Cornwall-based Hazel was raised on the coast in Devon, is a film industry creative on your favourite blockbusters and TV shows, and a motorcycle and surf obsessive. Her brand, launched in summer 2023, brings all of these narratives together through a range of surf leashes, bandanas, and more.
Hazel’s illustrations have been gaining popularity behind the scenes, and she regularly takes on private commissions which makes this all the more special. Each design is a limited edition piece of art that brings creativity to surf, and Batch 001’s design is inspired by the song “Seabird” (Alessi Brothers). Educated at Central St Martins & Falmouth University, her talents have transferred beautifully to these functional items.
Both reflect a love for the ocean and the essence of freedom and simplicity found when returning home and residing in the water. Using a natural yet playful palette, the design is both traditional and modern, with natural leaves juxtaposed against geometric swallows and florals.
THE STORY OF SALT X GRAVEL
Salt x Gravel is a moto-surf community built to empower surfers and riders to get out there, connect to the ocean more sustainably, and ultimately, find joy through surfing and creative conversation. This is a message that Salt x Gravel amplifies beyond the existing saltwater and throttle-slamming communities: Hazel is personally invested in opening up the benefits of her passions to all, and donates 10% of all profits to organisations that use surfing as a tool to better mental health.
No stranger to jumping into a huge project at full speed, Salt x Gravel emerged after a life-changing road accident took Hazel off her feet, and out of her saddle and waves. With her own mental health starting to fray at the edges post trauma, Hazel invested her insatiable energy into exploring new creative avenues. Joining forces with fellow maker, Jon, the pair set about bringing to life a collection of stand-out surf leashes, each a canvas for individual and unique designs. And for the gasoline-powered explorer? Colourful and out-there bandanas that have featured in promo material for major watch and motorbike brands and earned fans in female-led moto cultures such as The Throttle Dolls.
Salt x Gravel’s products, which also include tees, are made to bring a new energy to the line-up and road, and spark conversations between those who find – or need to find – solace in the salt. Each collection is produced in limited numbers and released throughout the year. No matter what themes, colours, images, and styles the products hold, a common thread of better sustainability ties them all together.
Surfing has been slow to adopt more environment-focused manufacture processes for its functional products. On top of the resources and materials it uses, Salt x Gravel’s progressive on-demand pre-order system is a conscious step towards reducing the traditional impacts of over-consumerism and emissions into the atmosphere. Hazel and her team are also currently exploring and researching the ways old leashes can be recycled, reused, and entered into a repair process.
Hazel says: “I hope Salt x Gravel can encourage anyone who is suffering with their mental health to join a community and seek the adventure that fills their sails.
“I want people who choose to exercise alone to find a place of belonging. My goal is to help people find activities that combat depression and help to fight loneliness. Biking and surfing started the change for me.”
If you are sold then it’s time to jump in and support the project HERE