There’s a timelessness to Chris Schierholtz. Maybe it’s his effortless smile. Maybe it’s the VW camper he drives. Or that he’s the kind of guy that would plan a road trip with his parents around Europe in the camper. Whatever it is, when you step into his world, it’s like slipping between the wave curls—just you, the water, and Chris.
EQ: Who is Chris Schierholtz?
Walking this question back a little because my identity stems back to my family roots. My grandfather was a Swiss Mountain Guide (until his untimely death while climbing the Matterhorn) and my other Grandfather was a professional photographer (the creative). My mother and father are adventurers as I have memories of camping under the wing of my dad's airplane and in vans during my childhood.
Fast forward to now: I identify who I am through my life goal, which is to get more people active outside. I’ve been building a livelihood around this concept as far back as I can remember.
EQ: How did you come to own this incredible VW Westfalia?
My parents picked it up brand new from the Westfalia factory in Germany when I was 12. We camped our way through Europe for 3 months and then shipped it back. As my senior gift for graduating high school, my Dad let me borrow it and paid for gas for a road trip to Colorado.
EQ: What do you do for work?
My life goal is to get more people active outside, and from day one it’s influenced my career. Starting with my first job at REI, then at a surf shop, then for Specialized Bicycles, WTB, GoPro, Mountain Hardwear, Mission Workshop, and now on my own endeavor, California Radness (more on that later). You can find me here.
EQ: What’s your “work” process? What do you look for in a mobile work spot?
My work process involves being an active participant in all my athletic pursuits that are often the catalyst for work opportunities.
A good mobile work spot for me is defined by phone reception, a view, shade if it's hot, sun if it's cold. Usually there’s a nearby surf break I can check in on throughout the day—when it’s good, it’s time for a break.
I love taking a lunch run to process my ideas. I often use audio dictation to take notes while running so that I don't forget.
EQ: Running your own business can be all-consuming, yet you seem to live an incredibly balanced life. How do you approach balancing work and play?
Balance is key and the dial continues to fluctuate. At the moment I am moving the needle into a heavier workload as we are coming out of the COVID hibernation. I have also made a major pivot in my business which will call for more work but super stoked on it. I also live relatively simple, which affords me a lower overhead.
EQ: What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts when I plant my two feet on the floor and take a quick second for a deep breath and moment of gratitude. This is quickly followed by getting the water going for my Equator coffee followed by cereal or oatmeal with fruit. Then most days go something like this:
- 15-minute yoga session
- Check weather and surf conditions
- Make a list of what I want to accomplish
- Work at home / van / The Hivery / or Equator
- Evenings are usually a surf, ride, or run, or yoga followed by a healthy dinner
- I close the eve out with Sleepy Time Tea Immunity, and some magnesium, and another 15 minutes of stretching.
EQ: How have the outdoors impacted your life? What role do surfing, skating, running, and biking play in your life?
My life began to revolve around the outdoors hiking, skiing, and surfing as a kid. I was really into snowboarding and mountain biking in high school and realized then how important all of my athletic pursuits were and that I needed to take good care of my mind and body so I could progress forever.
I wrote my master's thesis in college on the subculture of snowboarding which led to a research project with the American Medical Association to collect data (while riding up chair lifts) at resorts all over the US for a winter. That's when I realized you can combine your passion with your livelihood. Fast forward to now. I work with a lot of brands that I use and believe in, both from a product standpoint and the environmental and social ethics of the business. This allows for solid authenticity and keeps me stoked.
My passion for the outdoors and the way I share it landed me an amazing opportunity to get selected as a Lululemon ambassador which has been life changing in the best of ways. I've met so many amazing humans that I most likely would never have met from around the world. They have played a huge part in supporting California Radness as well.
EQ: What role does coffee play in your lifestyle? What’s your brewing setup and how does it work?
Coffee is such a great way to start any day and it feels extra rad to know that the coffee I drink is so much more than coffee. I am so honored to be a part of the Tiger Collective and the Equator community. Each time I drink coffee I’m reminded how special Equator is and how I align with all that it stands for as a company.
EQ: What causes are you most passionate about and why?
Any organization that gets people outside, especially underserved communities, or that uses the outdoors for therapeutic purposes. I have been volunteering with the Send it Foundation (inspiring positivity, courage, and gratitude in young adult cancer survivors through the gift of outdoor adventure and community) for five years and more recently with Play Marin.
EQ: Tell us about California Radness?
California Radness is a lifelong dream that is becoming a reality and I am beyond stoked! Launching 7/20/21 Follow our journey on IG at @californiaradness.
On the apparel side, my goal is to create a brand that resonates with people to the point when people see someone wearing one of our shirts or hats they will want to hi-five them or wave.
California Radness is a brand and creative/experiential agency that specializes in connecting people to the great outdoors through epic events and inspirational content. We celebrate all of the positive things about outdoor California culture and strive for inclusion, diversity, and positivity. We give our time and money to people in need of knowledge, gear, and instruction. We are also partnering with The Hivery (a co-working space in Mill Valley and Fort Mason SF) to reinvent what the daily work day looks like by integrating yoga, running, cycling, surfing and happy hours into a fulfilling work day. Launching July 20th, 2021.
EQ: Where do you go for inspiration?
The city, the mountain, the ocean, books, podcasts, and the internet.
EQ: How do you relax?
Yoga and watching sunsets, especially with my partner Emily.
EQ: How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who stayed true to themself. On a personal level, as someone who inspired others to get active outside, and lived with an open heart, and saw the light in the world. On a professional level, creating a brand / experiential marketing agency that revolutionized what the work life balance looks like and motivated people to get active outside.