Who I Am.
Sean Smith, husband and father who loves the Lord. Everything else is icing on the cake. I’ve been married to my high school sweetheart and one true love for 25 years this December. We have two boys who everyday simultaneously amaze me, frustrate me and do things that make me love them deeper. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I love music (heavy and loud is best, but I’ll never turn off a band with a great horn section), tattoos (collecting them, the history, the artists), traveling (big cities, camping, tropical, mountains), sports, and my English Bulldog, Franklin. I have always been super active and hyper – not one to sit still for very long. My main outlet is cycling – both mountain and road, but mostly mountain. I’ve been riding for 20 years and mountain bike racing (cross country) for 10. It feeds my Peter Pan complex. I love the competition and get to meet so many cool people.
Basically, I really enjoy being around people and I’m known for being a bit of a clown. I love to laugh and make others laugh. Life is all about experiencing as many things as you can and getting to know as many people as possible. New cultures, new ways of seeing things, and realizing people who aren’t just like you can be super fun to be with. My goal is to do as much as I can, see as many places as I can and get to know as many people as I can before I leave this earth
What I Do.
I’m the executive director for the surf industry’s non-profit trade association, the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA). I’ve been there for 14 years and still love it. We’re a small team of four people who serve the industry and our members (all the major and up-and-coming surf apparel brands, accessory companies and surfboard shapers) through promotion (the sport and the business side), education (putting on conferences and seminars for members and working with non-surf media to get the outside world to better understand our world) and philanthropy (we bring the industry together to raise money for ocean environmental groups and humanitarian groups that use surfing to help those in need). The best parts of my job are that we actually make a difference each day, and being so small, we all get to wear a lot of different hats and get our hands dirty. And going to Cabo for our annual industry conference. I like that part a lot too.
The people who work in the surf industry are the main reason I’ve been at this job for so long. They’re like family, and like me, they’re all about experiences and getting the most out of every day. There’s something about the ocean and surfing that changes people and gets in their blood. I started surfing in high school and it just becomes part of who you are.
Where I Live.
It shouldn’t be a big surprise that I live in Orange County in Southern California. Most of the surf brands are headquartered here. My family and I live in a pretty quiet residential area called Laguna Niguel that is just 10 minutes from the beach and minutes from some great mountain biking. Of all the places I’ve lived in my life (born and raised in NJ, lived in Florida for 14 years and spent one year in Alabama), this is the place where I feel most at home. I’ll always love NJ and NYC, but Southern California has amazing weather, mountains, deserts and the ocean. You can literally do it all here.
As someone who has always been a bit of a non-conformist in how I dress and look (first guy in high school with an earring, countless wacky hairdos, outfits that were open invitations for school bullies), I feel like California is the perfect place for simply being who you are. It’s probably one of the few places where you can be tattooed and bearded and still be a Little League coach without freaking people out.
Why I Beard.
I’ve often messed around with different facial hair looks because I get bored, and as I mentioned earlier, I like to shake things up and not be like everyone else. But growing out a long beard and epic mustache has been a whole new ballgame. I’ve got a bit of a baby face so I love how the beard makes me look a bit more mature, and it’s definitely edgy – especially with the tattoos. But the main reason I beard, and have to assume is the reason for anyone with a beard, is because a beard is as manly as it gets. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to look and feel manly every single day just by waking up?! The beard makes me feel a little bolder and confident. I also love the look I get from TSA when I travel and hand them my driver’s license with an old pre-beard photo.
Gotta give a huge shout-out to Beardbrand and Urban Beardsman Magazine for all the tips, advice and grooming products. There’s no way I would have lasted this long without them!