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The Yoki Shop

By Grass Clippings

Laird Hamilton once said, “surfing is one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what’s behind”. For famed clothing designer, Jeff “Yoki” Yokoyama, surfing has served as his compass since a very young age. As he would put it, his life has been a journey of “finding warm water”. 

Jeff “Yoki” Yokoyama 

Yoki is a beloved clothing designer amongst the surfing community on the West Coast. He has founded over 7 clothing brands dating back to 1980 and currently continues to design out of his surf shop, “The Yoki Shop”, in Newport Beach. 

Early Years 

Born in Glendale, California in 1950, Yoki was immediately drawn to the ocean. He tells the story that the American Dream in California at that time was portrayed as a house, a white picket fence, and a dog. For him, his American dream was paddling out into the waves. 

 "I turned 17 when I graduated high school and I had nothing more to do than finding warm water." 

With that in mind, he picked up and moved to Hawaii where he surfed and sailed for 3 years. He made his way back to Newport Beach and found work as a hairdresser. He saw the amount of money his buddy was making cutting hair and told himself “that’s warm water”. While working as a hairdresser, it seemed to him that each of his clients had kids who played sports and surfed at a time when there were only a handful of surfing lifestyle brands. It was the beginning of the 80’s when so much was happening and Yoki knew the surf culture was only going to grow. So he started what we know today as Maui and Sons. Being that the company only consisted of Yoki, he knew he was going to have to be creative when it came to marketing. 

“I would get off work at about five, put on a Maui and Son’s T-shirt, and run from Corona Del Mar all the way to the end where the 5 crowns was. It would be lined with cars and people would be chanting ‘Maui, Maui and Sons’. That was my marketing and advertising.” 

Maui and Sons’ took off when they created elastic waistband shorts which really hadn’t been created yet. He attributes the ability to scale Maui and Sons’ to their ability to tell the story. 

“Nowadays when people tell a story they tell it so fast and it's a swipe. Those days it took us 5 years to build a company. In our fifth year we did 10 million bucks. In our first year, we did $300,000 and in our first 6 months we did $30,000.”

The 80’s was a renaissance to Yoki and he believes it's all happening again today. 

Speaking with Yoki, you quickly pick up that he’s a man of wisdom and a man looking to pass it on. He urges people today to draw on their past, their memories, and even their hardships. Through our memories, we form meaning and meaning is what people are really looking for. 

The Yoki Shop

Five years after starting Maui and Sons’, Yoki had made it. He was on the cover of Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies and his career was as good as written. But success has a funny way of humbling people and it did the same to Yoki. His struggle with success eventually led to him leaving Maui and Sons’, but even without Maui and Sons’ he was the same old Yoki. He went on to start Pirate Surf shortly after which sold to Quicksilver. Then he started Modern Amusement which he went on to sell to Mossimo. As the success continued to pile on, Yoki wasn’t going to make the same mistakes twice. Having initially thought corporate roles and limelight were the benchmark for success, his outlook on life had changed.

“I say be everything everyone else isn’t.”  

Yoki realized early on that corporate companies for the most part fail to grow with their customer base and he was hell bent on staying in tune with his. Just because someone is 60 years old doesn’t mean they gave up surfing. It also doesn’t mean that their memories aren’t as important to them as say a 20 year old. He believes the key to a clothing brand is being able to continue to connect with someone over the arc of their life. This outlook has led Yoki to 2429 West Coast Hwy Newport Beach, California where he runs his small surf shop that houses his brands “Pidgin Orange”, “Yoki’s Garden”, and “Yokishop”. 40 years since “finding warm water” in Hawaii, Yoki still subscribes to the values of surf. 

 The Yoki Legacy

Yoki thinks about the legacy he’ll one day leave behind. In what he calls the second chapter of his life, he has spent a substantial amount of time working on a project to repurpose thrown out athletic garments specifically within college athletics.  He’s made some traction with colleges in his backyard. On yokishop.com, you’ll notice a plethora of USC and UCLA repurposed jerseys. His hope is that not only colleges, but corporate clothing companies will begin repurposing discarded garments. Seems pretty logical right? Well, Yoki can tell you about the endless voicemails he’s left or the times he’s been stood up at scheduled meetings. It just isn’t a priority for corporations (even universities) to tackle sustainability.  Profitability goes over much better with shareholders. It’s poetic really if you think about it. These same companies are the ones asking Yoki how he’s been able to connect with his customers over the long haul. It’s simple. It’s not all about money for Yoki. He actually gives a shit. 

“You need to start thinking about yourself again and how much God gave you. Thinking about how much your Mom and Dad did for you and how important it was for you having Tommy’s burger with your brother, sister and Dad on the side of the road”.

Denzel Washington famously said, “you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse”.  

Mucho Grassy

The Yoki Shop  has had a big impact on us at Grass Clippings, hence why we are so honored to sell Mucho Aloha (& Mucho Grassy) gear in our own retail shop. Yoki has had a defiant stance on what is possible in life which serves as great inspiration. We changed a lot of things at Grass Clippings because of what Yoki has taught us. Much like floating on a surfboard in the middle of a set, he stressed to us to slow down, observe and make conscious decisions. As we’ve talked with Yoki, the word “meaning” continues to reverberate back. We agree that memories create meaning and it's ever important to remember where you came from. Yoki does and that’s why his brands have been so resilient.

In light of everything going on in the world, leaning on people like Yoki has never been more important. When we opened our retail shop, we were met with a lot of negativity. “Retail is a dying business,” they said. But what Yoki has taught us is we have the ability to write our own story and that’s what we intend on doing. 

We look forward to what the future holds with Yoki. In the meantime, life is pretty simple.. Think different, do different. All in your pursuit of “warm water”.  

-Mucho Grassy

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Resorter's Dobson Report

Resorter's Dobson Report

1. Noah Boras - 25/1 “”

I’d

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

2. Andrew Lindberg - 25/1 “Boom or Bust”

Andrew Lindberg has a chance to win the whole golf tournament. There's also a chance he could be shopping for a new pontoon Wednesday morning. It’s the perfect “High Risk, High Reward” bet that gets Billy Dobson out of bed in the morning. Lindberg comes from a long linage of golfers. Hell, there should be a statue of his dad Marc (multiple time winner) at Alexandria Golf Club. Andrew lost in the finals in the 2019 Resorters only to follow up that performance with a missed cut in 2020 (78 & 79) qualifying scores. We’ve already seen the highs and lows and oh boy am I excited. A wise man once said, “life is too short to bet the under.” Man up here and write the check. 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

College: 

 

3. Kyle Cox - 25/1 “”

If you had the pleasure to watch Jesse Venture in his wrestling prime than Kyle Cox will look familiar. He’s a perfect balance of brute force, rough around the edges looks, and a poetic charisma. You’re probably sitting in your chair right now thinking well this guy doesn’t have a shot, but let me remind you Jesse Venture won the 2005 Minnesota Governors race. Cox’s “x-factor” isn’t his ability to drive greens or his uncanny soft hands. No it’s his caddy. A journey man of sorts, Kirkwood typically finishes a pack of Marlboros in one of Cox’s round. That sort of edge and grit is exactly what it takes to walk away a winner at the Resorters. Jesse Ventura once said, “wrestling is ballet with violence.” Folks it ain’t always pretty, but Kyle Cox has a real shot. If I were you, I’d take out an extra credit line here and buckle up for a long week. 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Second hand smoke

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

4. Thomas Gogel - 25/1 “”

Sometimes the student becomes the teacher and in this instance it’s evident. Thomas, 17 years old, is the younger son of active Senior Tour player and former PGA Tour winner Matt Gogel. No disrespect to Matt, but if Billy Dobson had to bet the house on either Thomas or Matt. Billy is undoubtedly picking Thomas and I’m afraid Matt would agree. 

 

Thomas might be just 17 years old, but Mark Twain once said “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” If you intend on laying action, strap in Thomas has a real shot in 2021 

 

Past Finishes: Lost in opening round

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

5. Donald Constable - 25/1 “”

Alright, alright everyone calm down. Donald is no Nick Heinen, but yes he’s very good. Donald played at the University of Minnesota, won the resorters in 2008, played in the 2014 US Open admid his first and only full season on the PGA Tour. With all those accolades, he finds himself back here at the resorters with his amateur status. Hmmm… Billy believes there’s more to this story than what meets the eye and it has me concerned. There will be a lot of buzz at the Calcutta circling the Constable name and I won’t be shocked to see gamblers dip into their savings. If there’s one thing my dad has taught me, “it’s to always drink upstream from the herd.”  ….. There will be a lot of “smart money” spent here, but it’s all smart money until the tournaments over. 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

6. Tristan Nelko - 25/1 “”

Folks this right here is a dude. Tristan hits the ball about 1,000 yards off the tee, made it the semifinals in 2020, has an emotional relationship with his caddy (his dad), and he plays golf for the Nebraska cornhuskers, so you know he’s corn fed. Long story short. Billy is bullish on Tristan. I’m convinced that Tristan’s Dad wants this one as bad as his son. That’s emotional and Billy loves to cry. Folks don’t overthink it. Bust out the checkbook and write the check you were born to write.  

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

7. Lincoln Johnson - 25/1 “”

I’d like to start by saying I’m a Lincoln Johnson fan, so I might be a bit biased. I know I’m not the only one either. Lincoln typically has the largest gallery amongst resorters players. How can you blame us he’s “Mr. Minnesota” and plays on the University of Minnesota golf team. Lincoln’s relationship with the Resorters is nothing short of poetic. He’s been a Resorters phenom since he started playing and was in the Finals in 20?? At the age of 16 only to lose to Resorters great Nic Heinen. If you’ve seen the movie … you can easily draw the comparison. 

 

Folks Herb Brooks once said “great moments are born from great opportunity.” Well folks this could be Lincoln’s moment. I don’t know your financial situation, but I’d advise you to do one thing. Call your bank. If they don’t answer, then call a bigger bank. We need as much liquidity here as possible. Pull the trigger folks. This is our guy.  

 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

 

 

8. Davis Johnson - 25/1 “”

If you’re a Lincoln Johnson fan, well by default you’re a Davis Johnson fan. It’s his younger brother. I’ll be the first to warn you Davis ain’t that young anymore. He’s mostly been overshadowed by his older brother here at the Resorters mainly because he’s younger, but don’t be fooled he’s on a similar trajectory as Lincoln. The kid can flat out play. 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

9. Austin Vukovits - 25/1 “”

I’d

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

10. Brian Choe - 25/1 “”

2018 champ

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

11. Dawson Willis - 25/1 “”

I’d

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

12. Will Harris - 25/1 “”

 

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Bennett Black - 25/1 “”

I’d

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

 

13. Bryant Black - 25/1 “”

I’d

 

Past Finishes: 1st *back to back 

Concerns: Autographs, fan fare

Prediction: 10th - 15th

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The Yoki Shop
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