Kook /kook/ noun:
“Someone who does a lot but is a master of none,” Patrick Cotter said with a laugh.
“Someone who does something for the pure joy of it itself, with no intention of actually perfecting it or being good,” Carter Havey explained.
“A kook is someone who isn’t the best surfer, isn’t too great, doesn’t really know his way in the water,” Cotter said. “That kind of resonated with the rest of us because we’re not too great at surfing.” He laughed.
When you look up the word, there’s a definition about being an amateur,” Havey said. “But to us, it’s a lifestyle, it’s not like an amateur-level status. With the word kook, there’s almost this curiosity to it. Like, you’re a beginner, you don’t really know your way. We really wanna bring that to everything, not just surfing. There’s almost a child-like wonder with every adventure you go on.”
Patrick “Pat” Cotter, a junior at the University of New Hampshire, started Koastal Kooks – the surf-inspired clothing line – with friends Carter Havey, Adil Hamdi, and Christian Lamers. “Christian and I have known each other since, like, preschool. Adil and I have been good friends since middle school. Carter and I, freshman year of high school.”
“To be completely frank, the heart and soul of this is Pat,” Havey admitted.
The Kooks teased the brand with their first Instagram post on July 20, 2020. The clothes dropped just a couple of weeks later, on August 2. “We’ve released t-shirts, sweatshirts, joggers, masks, and we have a lot more coming. We’re finishing our fall drop soon,” Cotter said. At the moment, all Koastal Kooks business is beingconducted through Instagram, though they hope to have a website up and running soon.
The surf-inspired line includes a classic t-shirt, an embroidered hoodie, and a pair of joggers. The tee and sweatshirt are available in a variety of colors, while the Koastal joggers can be purchased in black, gray, camo, or black camo. To tie the whole look together, the brand has also released a black mask with their logo.
“It’s something we’ve been dreaming of and working on for the past two-and-a-half years of our lives, ever since we got to college,” Cotter said. “We’d always get some ideas down, but we never took it to that next level until during Corona.
We had the chance to sit down and we had time at home. We made some stuff really happen: got our designs finalized, found a vendor. We got a great designer in Alyssa Doust.”
A mutual friend connected Cotter and Doust over the summer, when “the pandemic was really rampant,” Doust said. “We started working on the first summer design and we kind of just hit it off,” she said of Cotter. Doust is a junior at the University of New Hampshire, studying studio arts with a concentration in graphic design.
“I think it’s incredible that they’re building this brand from the ground up,” Doust said. “Life is happening, things are shifting, so to be able to make something positive out of a pandemic... that’s how I looked at it.”
The Kooks are looking at the business as a way of learning, while also having some fun.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been in my life,” Cotter said. “We’re all having a great time with this. I get to work with my four best friends in the world and see something succeed a little bit. Even the minor successes we don’t take for granted. Just selling one thing, having one more person support us, it means a lot to us.”
“Even just the learning experience,” Havey added. “The worth of that alone...”
“It’s taught us more than any class ever could,” Cotter said.
For the time being, the Kooks are working on growing their business. “We’re not paying ourselves. Everything we make goes right back into the company,” said Cotter.
“The boys are buzzin’,” a beaming Havey said. Lamers laughed and repeated him: “The boys are buzzin’.”
Photo by Christian McDonald