Lone Star Edition Paddle Board
Book jacket design for Tomas Cizek's The Ruse
"Before I started No. 4 St. James, I drafted a short list of products I thought would really distinguish a premium Texas product brand. One of the products I envisioned was a wooden stand up paddle board, with an inlay of the Texas flag. Here in Austin, paddle boarding is a regular part of lakeside life, so it fit from the standpoint of communicating a Texas lifestyle. But It was always a "someday, eventually" product in my mind; I knew I wanted it, I just figured it would come much later on.
But a short 12 months after founding No. 4 St. James, I reached out to Tony Smith, founder of Austin-based Jarvis Boards, to see if he was up for a collaboration. At that time, Tony was still working his day job in financial services, and hand-building his paddle boards at night. We met at Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin, and together with my Creative Director, Caleb, we asked him: Are you in? He said yes, and we got to work.
Caleb drafted several different Texas-themed designs, including one with the shape of Texas on the bow set against a maritime compass rose. Any one of the design concepts would have been marketable, really. But it was the flag design—the one closest to my original vision—that I couldn’t let go of. Caleb made the flag subtle enough to earn appeal beyond Texas, but obvious enough to still pass as a our flag. We decorated the bottom side with a graphic Caleb had come up with in his spare time, showing the major waterways across Texas. This graphic later became the basis for our best-selling shirt, the Texas Waterways Tee.
The paddle board has been a phenomenal success. It’s (in part) helped Tony quit his day job and pursue board shaping full-time. It earned us international media attention, including spots in Vanity Fair, Outdoor Magazine, and a place on Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Top 10 Gifts for Celebrity Dads’. And, it won Sup Connect Magazine’s Gear of the Year Award for design in 2016.” - vf