Cabin Fever is Spreading on Ponsonby Road

It’s been quite some time since Ponsonby Road has had a core surf shop, but that has recently changed, with the arrival of environmentally responsible, Canadian made clothing and surf brand Sitka.

 


Click image above for photo gallery

Sitka partnered up with The Fit Out Company to transform 125 Ponsonby Road in to an upcycled log cabin where people walk off the street and in to a world of wonderment, filled with responsibly made clothing, environmental education, and of course a hub for surf enthusiasts.

This is New Zealand’s new home for the Canadian originated and made label, crafted from natural fibres including recycled wools, organic cotton, and waxed cotton outerwear. Among their own Sitka label you can also find a myriad of locally made and produced items and brands which are closely aligned with Sitka’s ethos and attention to quality and longevity including The Loyal Workshop, Boards By Blank, NOE Surfboards, Southern Anchor leather goods, and Offcut Caps.

Sitka clothes are made to last, created with the conscious consumer in mind. As a bonus – the brand offers free clothing repairs on all Sitka products nationwide through their flagship and stockists. As a member of 1% For The Planet, the business donates 1% of all sales to local not for profit Sustainable Coastlines.

As well as Sitka’s own brand of surf inspired and hardwearing adventure wear, the Sitka Cabin is also home to New Zealand’s widest range of Patagonia Yulex wetsuits, a world first, plant based alternative to neoprene. The Sitka store also is the flagship for philanthropic footwear and eyewear brand Toms, which has so far donated more than 50 million pairs of shoes as part of its One For One programme, and has restored sight to more than 360,000 people through its eyewear sales. With no compromise on good looks.

Sitka opened its first New Zealand store in 2009, in Newmarket – using almost entirely repurposed shop fittings, including existing joinery, demolition fixtures and rough-milled woods destined for the mulcher. The welcoming new Ponsonby space takes upcycling and repurposing to heart too, with its entire store fit out being reused from previous projects.

Managing Director Andrew Howson thinks Ponsonby Road is the perfect place for the Cabin’s newest incarnation. “Ponsonby is a hub of people from all walks of life but more importantly the level of knowledge people have on their clothing choices is really encouraging. People seem to be really enthused by a company who is hands on from start to finish in the manufacturing of it’s products which is right up our alley.”

Surf, Eat, Repeat: Haida Gwaii Through The Lens Of Arran Jackson

Nature! Photo provided by Arran Jackson.

Arran Jackson and his brother Reid are long time Sitka activists living in tandem with the natural world. They recently spent three weeks riding waves and playing in the forests of Canada’s most remote archipelago: Haida Gwaii. The Jacksons field test Sitka goods, capture surreal analogue and digital footage, ride Sitka boards, and travel around living the Canadian surfer’s dream. These brothers embody Sitka’s essence: they celebrate an authentic appreciation for the wild, and they seek to share its beauty and fortify our connection to the environment. Sitka caught up with Arran Jackson to get the gritty and majestic details of their trip.

Sitka acknowledges Haida Gwaii as traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Haida people. Being unceded means that a treaty between the Crown and Haida was never signed. In 2009, the Council of the Haida Nation successfully moved the B.C. government to change the name from Queen Charlotte Islands to Haida Gwaii as part of a reconciliation agreement to increase acknowledgement of the Haida Nation and its land claim efforts.

Haida Gwaii is located along the Queen Charlotte Fault and is separated from the B.C. mainland by the Hecate Strait. The islands have been situated there for around 20 million years, yet they contain materials dating back 250 million. Jackson says the landscape includes lava formations and a seemingly tropical coastline that is mixed with coniferous trees. He explains that Haida Gwaii is teaming with a variety of natural foods like dungeness crab, fish, mushrooms, mussels and deer; foraging and hunting after surfing all day was not uncommon for the Jackson’s during their visit.

“Art, play and education: Life is an art, play is a must and educating yourself is continuous.”

 

A clean ride. Photo provided by Arran Jackson.

Sitka: What was the purpose of the trip? Describe a typical day.

Jackson: “Wake up in your bivy sac  [a waterproof sock-like cover for a sleeping bag] under the tarp and try to get your pants on while staying dry. Get the coffee going and look at the ocean. Usually wait till the tide is good or if it’s really raining, just put on your suit and surf basically to keep your clothes dry. Surf, eat, repeat until the tide is wrong and then go look for food. Deer, fish, mushrooms and beer are the staples.” 

Jackson describes notable surf spots including areas along the Hecate Strait, which is exposed to swells this time of year. He describes ideal offshore winds and perfect groomers every day. He also mentions Rose Spit, a mystical low lying peninsula that sticks out toward Alaska that features amazing waves, but is difficult to get to.

Sitka: What makes Haida Gwaii so spectacular?

Jackson: “Everything! But mostly the people. The Haida spirit is strong! Culture is alive and well, for settlers and Haida alike. Like most places, the Islands have a “give respect and get respect” thing going on. As long as you give it, the people return it with amplitude. The surf community is young by today’s standards, meaning people have space and are willing to share. Crowds and assholes haven’t made grumps! It’s not uncommon to meet someone on the beach, have a conversation, and be invited over for a meal! People share everything.”

 

Humble and happy. Photo provided.

Sitka: What is the general attitude toward environmentalism in Haida Gwaii?

Jackson: “Resource extraction and management has been going on a long time in Haida Gwaii. The landscape has been permanently altered by heavy industrial logging and the introduction of deer. Because of this, the understory has been completely destroyed by the deer who have overpopulated with no predators, which makes for a unique forest. You can walk for miles uninterrupted in what was once impenetrable.”

“Although the land has gone through a dramatic change, it seems the people are not stuck in the past and are optimistic about the future. They take the environment for what it is. The deer are a staple food source. Time moves at a slower pace on the islands, almost a crawling immortal pace. The understanding of acting on behalf of future generations has not been lost like in most of Canada by the rise of the individual agenda, selfishness and ego. I think people are more connected to the environment here because so many people still depend on it for all the essentials. I got the impression that [local] understanding of sustainability is more immediate and deeply rooted.”

 

Space is big. Photo by Arran Jackson.

Sitka: In what ways do you work to honour Indigenous culture while you were there?

Jackson: “I think one way we can honour Indigenous culture is to be aware that you are a visitor and to acknowledge the traditional territories you visit or live on. This is a very small act, but it all starts with awareness and respect for the people, the land, and the connections between them. Be observant, ask questions and take nothing for granted. These are not our lands and not our culture. I think the best mindset is to think of ourselves as allies. A shit ton of damage has been done throughout Canadian history to culture, but the Indigenous spirit is strong. I was once told that all the necessary components for healing exist within the people.”

“As long as we keep this in mind, we can learn a lot about forming connections to our environment and learning to become present in our current space and time. As awareness of the connection to our space increases, our inherent need to protect the environment increases with it. The more people we can get off the couch and detached from the consumerism and self centred realities and into a connection with the natural world, the healthier our population and environment will be! It’s a symbiotic relationship. Environmental stewardship needs to be passed on to the next generation. I try and educate others and share this understanding.” 

Hiking is to surfing as wetsuit is to skin. Photo provided by Arran Jackson.

Sitka: In what ways did you feel connected to the land while you were there?

Jackson: “In every way! Following weather and tide cycles and playing in the ocean daily as well as eating directly from the land creates a sort of synchronicity. Sleeping outside amplifies that. You learn to find a rhythm.”

 

If you want to see more Jackson brothers’ adventures, check out the 2013 Sitka film, the Fortune Wild, that they created from another trip to Haida Gwaii. You can watch it on iTunes here: itunes.apple.com/CA/movie/id928738685

Sitka Staff’s Favourite Adventure Spots

Surf

Tofino and Ucluelet

The beaches between Tofino and Ucluelet are major Vancouver Island surf destinations. There’s around 35km of surf-able coastline surrounding these communities. Some of the most accessible breaks include Chesterman Beach, Wickaninnish Beach, Florencia Bay, Cox Bay, and Long Beach. There are alternative breaks along the South Coast, however half the fun is locating them—yes, that’s a challenge.

Cox Bay, photo by Kimm Blotto


Explore

 Mt. Ozzard

When you’re not surfing around Ucluelet, check out this roughly 860m elevation hike up to the local radar tower. The summit overlooks Tofino’s coastline and even the Broken Group Islands on a clear day. It’s a must-see vantage point along the West Coast Trail.

Top of Mt. Ozzard through the lens of Kimm Blotto

 

Creyke Point, East Sooke Park

The massive massive park offers near surreal views of a chiseled coastline. Welcome avid hikers, beach loungers, and free spirits. For a feature on Instagram, snap a photo at this Creyke Point and tag us ~ @sitka_

Photo of tiny Kevin Blotto, taken by Kimm Blotto

 

Avatar Grove

This ancient forest near Port Renfrew features expansive biodiversity and is home to the “Gnarliest Tree in Canada,” as named by the Ancient Forest Alliance who worked to protect Avatar Grove from logging in 2012. The AFA along with Sitka’s help, recently built a boardwalk through the grove to encourage preservation of the environment and safety for visitors.

Kimm Blotto photo

 

Century Sam Lake

When all conditions permit, your experience here in Strathcona Park could include standing inside a massive ice wave. After getting to the trailhead, you’ll conduct a muddy hike aiming right at the fork in the road. The best time to visit is the end of summer since the ice waves are near impossible to get to in winter. Think of this as a teaser.

Taken by Sitka’s number one adventurer, Kimm Blotto

 

Make sure to check out our “Outdoor Gear Checklist” before heading out!

Why Sitka’s getting behind Sustainable Coastline’s Flagship Education Centre

Sitka’s been a long time supporter of Sustainable Coastlines ever since it’s inception. In fact, Sitka and Sustainable Coastlines began in New Zealand only months apart, and it was a chance meeting between Sitka’s Andy Howson and Sustainable Coastlines Sam Judd that sparked a long term friendship and partnership. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one charity that delivers on its mission and has a very clear plan to enable the longevity of that mission.

Sustainable Coastlines have taken on a massive project which will enable them to further their reach for their educational services in driving people to cleanup New Zealand’s beaches and coastlines and also rehabilitate our rivers and waterways. Not only have they decided to build a world class education centre in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter, but they’re doing out of waste material, and using the entire project as an educational too in intself, by retraining offenders and prisoners with new building skills, and young upcoming apprentices. When the project is complete it will have been built to the Living Building Challenge standards and will be net zero water and energy rated. An exceptional achievement by any building standards.

An enormous amount of volunteer time, donated money, products and services have gone in to this multi year project, and they’re so close to completion, they’ve launched a KickStarter campaign to crowdfund the final last legs. Now is your time to show them some love, and you can be rest assured your investment will be helping further the Sustainable Coastlines vision and mission for generations to come.

We’re Hiring!

SITKA AUCKLAND STORE MANAGER

Well hello there Sitka lover! Are you interested in disruptive business and passionate about protecting the environment that we all call home? Then Sitka would love to hear from you!

We are on the hunt for someone who can lead our Auckland store, and make it a place we’re all happy to call home. There’s a number of great challenges and responsibilities on offer, and if you think you’re the one to take us to the next level, please send through an email to [email protected] with the subject AUCKLAND STORE MANAGER with your CV and a bit about yourself so we can start getting excited!

Preferred candidates will have training and experience in either hospitality or retail, be passionate about the outdoors, surfing, wilderness protection, have a great energy for critical performance and a love for people. If you tick these boxes we’d love to chat!

Applications CLOSE Friday March 3.

Love,
Sitka

Store Manager Job Description

The store manager position is for Sitka’s Auckland store at 125 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby in Auckland. It’s a full time gig including weekend work and you’ll be the go to person for the running of the place.

The manager will be looking after staffing, product ordering, event planning, inventory management and the general all round wellbeing of the location.

Store Manager Responsibilities

Staff Management – hiring, training, performance and rostering.

Cash Management

Inventory Management – ensuring stock levels are correct in store at all times. Ensuring stock management between locations and ordering is up to date.

Sales – Sales growth for the location.

IT Knowledge – Preferred understanding of Shopify, Vend, Sitchlabs and Xero – but not essential.

Events – Instore event planning and running.

Product Knowledge – Will be taught and must be extensive to the lines of product available.

Co-ordinating with online sales

Custom New Zealand Made Surfboards

We are proud of the people that make our Sitka products. All of the craftsmen and craftswomen share our values for looking after our planet and have a keen understanding of what it means to create long lasting products that are fit for purpose and stand the test of time. In our second instalment of the Sitka Makers Series, we would like to introduce you to Hayden Chamberlain, the maker of our Sitka Surfboards.

Sitka Makers Series – Hayden Chamberlain – Shaper from Sitka on Vimeo.

With having such a skilled surfboard shaper on our team, we can produce custom surfboards for any level of surfer riding in any conditions, all made right here in Auckland, New Zealand. We only use the highest quality components and materials, and when these are combined with the knowledge of Hayden Chamberlain, only a quality product can be created.


Our Products

Sitka creates uniforms for enjoying the outdoors. We make goods for those who bike, walk, and skateboard the city; for those who sleep in dewy tents to catch early morning waves or hike mountains and strip naked at the summit; for those who visit sea life in cold oceans; and for those who don’t mind getting dirty and bruised, whether trying a new artistic avenue or crawling across a rock face. Sitka loves your individuality and making versatile clothing you can rely on. That’s why we create ideal uniforms to suit your specific life and style. Your uniform will gain character from experience and age as gracefully as your sense of adventure.
Sitka canoe and surfboard Vancouver Island BC
Sitka goods are made to endure, and they’re made with the earth in mind. Partnering with Sitka means supporting wilderness conservation and favouring natural, less invasive products. We make clothes that last because we’re willing to slow down and show respect for the wild, to enact what we believe in, and to conserve precious resources. Sitka exists to cultivate our relationships with nature by reducing harm in the process.
Here’s how our production aligns with our values:
 Purpose
Sitka Opinel Filet Knife Vancouver Island BC
Sitka creates clothing to nourish an appreciation for the wild. When you think about it, the most sustainable garment is the one you continue to wear. That’s why we focus on uniform performance, longevity, and stylistic versatility. Because when you need less material goods, you find more of everything else. We understand that our belovedly salty, sun-bleached, campfire-infused lives rely on the health of the natural world. Sitka is reaching out to the community of people who share our values, and we’re offering a mindful option when choosing an attractive and functional daily uniform.
Quality
Sitka Faribault Blanket Vancouver Island BC
Doing more with less is Sitka’s philosophy. Often, the secret to achieving this goal is to look at valued garments of the past. Sitka researches and adapts practical advantages of traditional manufacturing techniques to fit into our modern lives. We strive to make garments that earn the type of respect given to the old wool sweater you’ve recently inherited. Just like an old woolie, Sitka clothing breaks in instead of wearing out.
 Although Sitka employs meticulous design strategies, we recognize that an element of quality just comes down to feel. You’ll want to wear Sitka not just for our detailed classic aesthetic, but for the way our garments comfortably complement your life.
 Future generations will find our adaptable goods in vintage shops thirty years from now. And in making clothes that last, we seek to lead the industry toward sustainable manufacturing. Sitka is challenging the current wasteful cycle.
Sustainability
Sitka Leave it Better than you found it T-shirt Organic Cotton Vancouver Island
You may be surprised to learn that textile pollution threatens the planet. In fact, creating any type of fabric, whether natural or synthetic, causes harm to the Earth. Turning fibres into fabric involves harmful chemicals and large amounts of energy and water. So when it comes to new fabric, Sitka’s about making responsible choices.
 We’re committed to choosing ethical materials and makers. Sitka favours natural, recycled, and organic fabrics that are 100 percent renewable and biodegradable. This is one of the ways we tackle the growing problem of chemical pollution and microfibre waste. This is why Sitka loves GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton, ethically harvested wool, and recycled cashmere. We employ eco-conscious clothing makers who respect our responsible fabric choices and who follow strict North American environmental regulations.
 Sitka also recognizes that the largest clothing carbon footprint comes from the way we as individuals care for our clothing. For this reason, we design clothing that can be washed less frequently due to their rugged material make-up. We also encourage people to care for their garments in a responsible way. Learn more.
 Ultimately, we create clothing with longevity in mind. We want to make recycling easier, which is why we favour unblended material that is easily sorted and repurposed. Eventually, Sitka plans to offer textile recycling for your used clothing in order to make new items from old fabric. Sitka’s goal to close the loop of clothing creation and disposal; we continue to keep the goal of absolute sustainability in the forefront.
 Domestic
Sitka Wool Hat Made in Canada
In addition to sourcing responsibly, Sitka supports the local economy by manufacturing in Canada and occasionally in the USA. By upholding domestic production, we’re able to take advantage of the strict ecological and sociological rules of North American factories. We also reduce the transportation pollution involved in sending and receiving large quantities of material overseas. Sitka actually visit the sites where our goods are made. All but one Sitka product is made in North America. When we do source elsewhere, it’s because we believe in cutting-edge function, and sometimes there are no makers on the continent who create what we seek. In most cases, and every case possible, we source locally.
Sitka Surfboard Vancouver Island BC
 In the end, Sitka wants to make your experiences more lucid, conscious, and sublimely wild. When you need less, you have more time. And when you have quality goods, you can confidently play.

About us

What Is Sitka


SITKA EXISTS TO LEAVE IT BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT.

Responsibility can coexist with production.
Our goal is to inspire an accountability to nature and move towards a balance
between conservation and consumerism.
The strategy is simple: leave it (the Earth, the industry, and our community)
better than we found it.

Imagine a production system that replenishes nature.

THE EARTH

Sitka enacts systems of giving back when we utilize the Earth’s resources.
The Sitka Society for Conservation is our non-profit organization that enables us to directly fund preservation projects devoted to protecting water, land, creatures, and the wild air we breath.

We create with the intent of doing less — better.
The most sustainable garment is the one you want to wear.

THE INDUSTRY

Choosing local and organic food makes sense.
What’s different about our quest for anything else? Sitka offers a conscious choice, and we invite all creators to adopt ethical and quality-based production.

The movement exceeds us.

OUR COMMUNITY

Sitka nourishes a social movement.
From Sitka staff, to local makers and wilderness activists, we foster support systems for creativity, education, and change.

IN A NUTSHELL

Sitka creates outdoor essentials that supplement (y)our connection to the wild.
That means high quality goods and an overall need for less, support for local economy and culture, reduced environmental impact and funding for preservation projects.


For creatures of the wild: those who ride, grow, protect, challenge, forage and create.
For anyone inspired by owning as little as possible. And for anyone who’s touched ocean floor or mountain air and liked it.

We deliver outdoor essentials that supplement your connection to the wild, educational stories, and a hell of a lot more to your inbox every week.

LEAVING IT BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT