I asked him about it one day and he said, “Oh this? I saw them on Instagram and I liked the shirt so I bought one.”
A couple of months later I bought one and OH MY GOSH IT IS THE BEST SHIRT EVER. I want to have seventeen of them so I can wear one every day. It is soft and comfortable. The perfect weight and length. It has an awesome graphic and an even awesomer saying. “Go because you can.”
Silver Lining in a Sea of Suck
I was going to just put up some random post about how I liked this t-shirt but then I thought why not call Troy, the owner, and find out the story behind his company.
Their website says:
Go because you are healthy. Go because you are able. Go because you can. Everything we create is dedicated to families arm wrestling with cancer and 10% of every sale goes to help.
I called Troy to get the scoop.
“Why did you start Monster & Sea?” I asked.
“It was an awesome silver lining to a hard story,” he said. “My wife battled two types of cancer. She battled breast cancer and on top of that had lymphoma. It is a weird place to be as a husband. There’s not really much you can do. During this time it was crazy. For me, paddling was an escape.” He said something that I think we can all identify with, “For a lot of people on the water, there’s a lot of peace that happens.”
Monster & Sea, the apparel line started when he was sitting on the lake during one of the hardest parts of the whole thing and trying to figure out how to give back.
That’s right: In the middle of his own personal hell, he was trying to figure out a way to help others.
“I’m a designer by trade and I spend a lot of time building other people’s brands. A lot of it doesn’t have much meaning. I wanted to do what I know how to do and turn that into a way to give back.” He continued “Nobody needs another t-shirt. But if there’s a t-shirt that you like and it does something good when you buy it? That makes all the difference.”
He sources the shirts within the United States and uses a printing company in Nashville, TN. 10% of the profits over costs go to families with cancer. Right now he says that the company is not big enough to generate enough to be a foundation. He says “it’s just me funneling money to families that need help. There are lots of big organizations that do really amazing things and send people on trips and stuff. I thought there might be an opportunity to help people with basic needs: groceries, a babysitter.” He said “Cancer sucks. It is hard on the person going through it and on the family. If there is a way to alleviate it and bring a smile, then Monster and Sea is doing its job.”
Community on the Water
(Troy pictured, left, with our favorite little water girl in the PAC NW, Coli from Village of Stoke!)
Troy and his wife (she’s currently in remission), live in Redmond, WA. He paddles in Lake Washington on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 6:30 am, year round. “There have been some mornings when my feet have been frozen to the board.”
He started paddling three or four years ago on a whim. “A buddy of mine was like ‘You gotta try this, I think you’ll like it.’ I went and tried it and I have a ‘both feet in’ personality. Standup was like that. I thought, ok, I need to do everything you can do in this sport.”
He said “The thing that is magical that I haven’t experienced before, is when you go to a race and those people that cross the line first, they sit on their boards and cheer everyone else coming in. That community is unique.”
The Heart of it All
The first design had a slash. “What is the slash?” I saked. “It’s a surfing move, a cutback. It’s a designer thing. It’s also the paddle moving in front of you when you change hands. The next time you paddle, watch for it. You’ll always see the slash.”
I asked where the tagline came from. “Go because you can.”
He said “When you can’t do the thing you love you don’t think ‘Man, I wish I was winning again, I wish I was on the podium.’ You think about being out again, feeling the motion of the water under your feet. You think about really basic things.”
“Go because you can, because you never know when life is going to drop a bomb on you. Stop being so concerned with ‘I’m gonna win. If you win, awesome. Just get out there and go.’ It is a gift.”
Troy is so right and I love his philosophy. And his shirts. And you will, too.
So check out the Monster & Sea website and DEFINITELY follow him on Instagram, @monsterandsea
GO BECAUSE YOU CAN!