Born in Laguna Beach, California with an insatiable wanderlust for worthy adventures out in the big wide, Roark Revival is as much about relishing the bumps in the road as what lies at the end of it.
As modern surf travel zigs with a cocooned, noise-cancelling and neck pillow bubble of pampering, Roark zags toward more committed, authentic adventure, brushing up hard against the mess and noise of life and hopefully getting a few scars along the way.
If the Deus and Patagonia ranges had a wild night of unprotected passion, Roark gear might be their beautiful, beguiling progeny. From montane functional fleece and flannel to analog workwear; the spirit of Muir meets the ghost of McQueen.
Textiles aren’t the only means of self-adornment, there are metal trinkets too. As the campfire crackles uneasily, the stranger’s dirty fingernails rummage inner pockets for a concealed, bladed tool. A sigh of relief, when he merely brandishes the Separator Camp Tool to flip the tofu, rather than Harry’s Hatchet to start about hacking off human limbs.
Harry Roach and Parker Coffin, two of the most underrated wave riders around, scour the planet on Roark’s voyages of discovery. Bodily divergent perhaps, one painfully thin, one rather well built, but spiritually on song. Roark, not being an NFL franchise, doesn’t do a ‘roster’ of ‘athletes’, much less workout selfies with those thick rubber bands.
Rather the collected bon vivant surfers, skaters, climbers are the brand, rather than travelling solicitors for it.
In fact, Roark is an alter-ego, an anthropomorphic expression of the brand itself. “He’s the bar-brawling adventurer that disappears into Mexico for six months camping, only to surface in Paris drinking Bordeaux with a diplomat’s daughter” they say.
We know what you’re thinking; that all sounds very nice, but if he was really hard he’d have bottled the diplomat, holed up six months in a migrant camp on the outskirts of Paris then really gotten disappeared down ol’ Mexico way after a misunderstanding one very late night that definitely didn’t involve wine.
Still. You catch Roark’s drift.
Climates, textures and vibes inspire collections of Roark gear, eyes and ears wide open for cultural appreciation. Even the logo itself, managed to emancipate them from any wretched manifestation of a cresting wave.
Roark iconography revisits the destitute and dispossessed, in the form of hobo hieroglyphics. Before the ‘QS, road hardships came in the form of depression era, train jumping nomads who used a system of secret symbols carved with a lump of coal, chalk or nail as a survival code. “A beating awaits you here” “Alcohol in this town” “Good road to follow” and so on, they’d counsel. Kind of like a password protected TripAdvisor review, with a touch more edge.
So wide and frequent are Roark’s modern roamings, they even put out a magazine twice yearly, chronicling their sojourns, inspiring you to ‘discover self through authentic, irreverent, dangerous and purposeful adventure on the road less traveled.’
Which seems like as decent advice as you’ll read on your phone today.