Made of sunshine, earth, and hard work. We’re proud to say that Native Eyewear sunglasses are built in the USA using global materials. Our sunglasses are examined by no fewer than eight pairs of eyes before they ever shield yours. It’s how we keep the high standards we need to confidently back every pair of shades we make with our Lifetime Limited Warranty.

Not only are Native’s products made in the USA, but many of our ambassadors also run businesses which make their products in the USA. Chad Otterstrom’s Academy Snowboards, Shea Lopez’s LopezBoards, and Aaron Lebowitz’s Elevated SurfCraft are examples of some ambassadors and their companies we’re proud to support. We asked them a few questions about why they do what they do and how it makes a difference.

Shea Lopez and LopezBoards
Shea Lopez and LopezBoards

How was LopezBoards founded?

Shea: LopezBoards began during a Hurricane swell when I realized there was a need for my daughter, Lina, to ride smaller, sleeker equipment. I spent a day helping her, Zoe, and Ava get into beautiful 3-foot hollow shorebreak behind my house in Ponce Inlet, Florida. The girls were just little things but already ripping. Ava attacking lips, Zoe slashing sections, and my little Lina lining up a few tubes. Lina had one wave in particular where I watched her board get caught by the lip even though she was perfectly dry inside this micro tube. At only 40 lbs then, even grom boards were the size of a longboard to her. From there all the fun we had with those first shed-built boards has snowballed rapidly. Fast forward to today as I prepare Zoe with a few ideas to think about when surfing Kelly Slater’s wavepool in a few hours as she looks to continue progressing towards her unlimited potential.

What does “Made in the USA” mean to you and LopezBoards?

Shea: I am incredibly proud of my heritage and grateful we have been blessed to grow up in Florida. I was able to become a professional surfer that travelled the world chasing my dreams. Freedom is everything. Lopez Boards are all Made in America right here at a 30-year-old factory run by a group of hardcore surfers that barely make any money while saving every penny to go on a surf trip to wherever their next fantasy island awaits. That’s a surfer’s dream—and a taste of freedom.

Shea Lopez and LopezBoards

Why does it matter that your products are made in the US?

Shea: It matters to me because I believe in building locally. Strengthening community. Providing the best service possible to the people I am closest with. All my surfboards have names on the bottom of them. Those names are my friends, fellow surfers, my family. I want the best for my family. “Made in America” means I am giving them my best every day with every surfboard.

What benefits do your boards have over others, particularly those made overseas?

Shea: We are an experienced and knowledgeable team that has made surfing our life, pouring heart and soul into every custom one-of-a-kind build that produces time and time again superior results to overseas soulless pop-outs that are good but not great, and definitely never magic. Custom surfboards are highly-tailored and specific to the customer’s needs, all while supporting and strengthening the community with really good boards. Having a magic surfboard under your arm or under feet is one of the best feelings on earth to a surfer in the know.

Shea's NATIVE ELDO


Chad Otterstrom and Academy Snowboards

When was Academy Snowboards founded?

Chad: Academy Snowboards was started in 2002 in Tahoe, California.

Chad Otterstrom Academy Snowboards

What does “Made in the USA” mean to you and Academy Snowboards?

Chad: Made in the USA/Denver means I personally know who builds my snowboard. I know most everyone who works at the factory snowboards, which means I also know they care about the snowboards they are putting out. We are also supporting the country we live in by making our boards here.

Chad Otterstrom Academy Snowboards

What benefits do your boards have over others, particularly those made overseas?

Chad: The difference between our boards and boards made overseas or anywhere else is their quality and performance. Less than 1% of all snowboards that come out of the factory have warranty issues. When you buy an Academy board you know you are getting the best quality in the world. Also, the way that the factory builds them with p-tex sidewalls and how they use rubber dampening on the edges gives the board a performance comfort feel like no other board in the world.

Chad's NATIVE FOUR CORNERS

Aaron Lebowitz and Elevated Surfcraft
Aaron Lebowitz is el capitan of Elevated Surfcraft, a company focused on creating and innovating surfing craft here in the US. Shaping is an exploration of form and function and can be applied to everything we make as humans and artists.

Aaron channels his creativity on surfboards and snowboards, yoga mats, buslife, and community building. He can be found around the Rocky Mountains when snow is falling, downstream with spring runoff, or the Pacific coast surfing every break from Seaside to San Diego.

Aaron Lebowitz and Elevated Surfcraft

When was Elevated SurfCraft founded?

Aaron: I shaped my first board after a trip to Japan in 2014. We launched Elevated Surfcraft purveying shapes for high altitude surfing in 2016.

Aaron Lebowitz and Elevated Surfcraft

What does “Made in the USA” mean to you and Elevated SurfCraft?

Aaron: I shape each concept board by hand in the Tetons through 2-3 prototypes to be intimately involved in the process and set an intention into each layup. I shape for where I live/ride, and that connection to my environment affects the design of the boards directly through the creativity of active participation with my local environment.

Aaron Lebowitz and Elevated Surfcraft

Why does it matter that your products are made in the US?

Aaron: We are a community of artisans pursuing creativity. The US is an entrepreneurs’ paradise.

A note, though: while our custom boards, apparel, and yoga surfmats are made in the US, I actually do my small batch production overseas in an American-owned factory. This is by best solution for making quality product beyond me shaping by hand. My decision to produce overseas connects me with a global community, as well as allowing me to focus more on the experience of the ride rather than merely the physical shaping. Most of my effort is focused on creating, innovating, riding, and building a global community of snowsurfers based here in the US. So while not all of my product is actually made in the US, my heart is here with our local communities—and I have my eye on the global snowboarding community as well.

Aaron Lebowitz and Elevated Surfcraft

What benefits do your custom boards have over others, particularly those made overseas?

Aaron: I can be hands-on in every step of the process, customizing and innovating designs. In about 4 days I can dream up a shape, create it, and be riding it by the next storm cycle. This involvement process is what holds the uniqueness.

Aaron's NATIVE EL JEFE

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