When I first heard about San Franpsycho, a self-given name for a group Ocean Beach surfers, I imagined prototypical surfing locals: Rowdy, in-your face and really good in the waves. They had a few surf movies, all subtitled “Wet and Wreckless,” that emphatically drove home this impression.
“Oh yeah. The movies were just that. We were a bunch of degenerate surfers, partying and being crazy,” agreed Andy Olive, one of the stars of the San Franpsycho films.
But things are changing for San Franpsycho. What started as a self-congratulatory nod to local surfing in San Francisco has evolved into a citywide clothing brand that is gaining a quite a following, with shirts sold in boutiques throughout the city and a new storefront in North Beach. The brand is also expanding beyond San Francisco — its shirts are now sold in Williamsburg at Mini Mini Market on Bedford Ave.
The evolution began soon after the release of the first San Franpsycho film in 2005, which was made by Christian Routzen, another member of the crew. The screening turned into a huge success, and people wanted more.
It's at that point, Andy says, that they realized they wanted to do something more with the brand. “Christian and I learned how to silkscreen, and we started throwing parties with our friends at bars where we would silkscreen San Franpsycho logos on people’s clothes, right there at the party. Girls would take their shirts off, we’d screen them, and give them back.”
With that approach, it’s not hard to understand how the brand’s reputation grew.
As they expanded, and came across strangers wearing San Franpscyho shirts, Andy and Christian considered a more encompassing, less insular ethos to the brand, especially after Andy began working as a preschool teacher at the Sunset Co-operative Nursery School in the Outer Sunset.
“When I started working at the preschool, I met dads who surfed, and I began to realize that it’s so much more beneficial to be cool with everyone and not be so hung up on being local.”
The change in the brand’s vision, from “having as much fun as we could, with reckless abandon,” to something that aims to “encompass the community,” meant doing outreach projects like sponsoring beach cleanups, selling shirts to fundraise for the renovation of the Sunset Co-op, and supporting an upcoming Surf For Life project to build a high school in El Salvador.
But they still make time to have fun and throw a good party, and bring their recognizable van with them everywhere they go. The brand that “doesn’t speak no” is a fixed presence at almost all citywide events, from the Outside Lands Music Festival to the Haight Street Fair, and with their own store and active website and blog, all of which are run by Christian, they only seem to be getting bigger.