We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Heigel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I think the most important factor behind the success of the Higher Tides brand can be attributed to being passionate about both art & surfing. These passions continually lead me to explore new concepts and ideas as an artist and keep me curious of how I can push the brand (and my art) in new directions. Sometimes ideas can spark in the simplest of places – from conversations with others or from things I think about or see in the water. Continued success of our brand relies on the people who appreciate the art since we are only online (for now). We are fully grassroots amongst the South Florida surf community, and it’s them who continue to push the brand to new heights every day.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
If you were to ask my professional title I’d say I work as a Senior Web Manager, but just saying that would probably be a little bit dishonest. My responsibilities can can vary from anything to logo work, package design, trade show design, SEO, or web development, so it might be a little more suffice to say I’ve become a jack of all trades in the digital world. What’s funny is that my initial path through college was intended to lead into cinema and cartoons with 3d animation. After years of training I decided that the industry was going to be too cut-throat for my laid back approach and the whole idea of only having a job on a film to film basis was a little too unstable for my taste. From that decision I ended up continuing with an animation degree while adding in a Graphic design degree, and working at a local surf shop to help support the costs. Through networking and newly created friendships in the surf community, I was able to land a job in the action sports industry as a designer, and from there transitioned into web development and design which I still do today. All of the experiences that have led into my professional work have gotten the brand to where it is today. Higher Tides has been a slow burn and culmination of all of my past experience put into one single project. I have continually learned from mistakes and applied all of the knowledge I’ve gained along the way.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My idea of the perfect best time ever would include something that goes like this. Ideally we’d start each morning with a trip to the ocean – either for snorkeling at Boca Inlet Reef with turtles or a surf anywhere between Deerfield Beach and Satellite beach (have to love that Bahamas swell shadow blocking South Florida surf!) We’d probably link up with my friend Janet (@jr9lives) for some pro surf pics to commemorate the experience. After some vitamin sea we’d have to get an after surf snack at Sequella Cafe, Surf Shack Subs, or Food Shack, depending on which county we’re in. Post meal we’d then have some time to fill at somewhere like Gumbo Limbo or Sandoway to check out local wildlife and walk off our calories. We’d follow that up with some pool time or a nice cookout to end the day as we kick back with a little victory refreshment as the sun hits the horizon.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This shoutout is dedicated to anyone along the years who has offered words of encouragement or believed in or supported the brand. Any person who has purchased any art at festivals or apparel along the way to help keep the dream alive.
surf shot Janet Rozo @jr9lives model: Missy Turco @_missea