Hidden in the back pages of apparel company Volcom's website is a section with a subtle tag: "Company Info." After a click on this tab, you will be greeted with a three-and-a-half-minute video piece titled, "Brandifesto." This video serves as an audiovisual outline of what the Volcom brand is about, a message to the world explaining Volcom's intentions—and these intentions are good. Launched in 1991 by Richard "Wooly" Woolcott and Tucker Hall, Volcom set out to liberate and innovate in the realm of the surfing, skating, and snowboarding.
"Since the very beginning, the brand's DNA was built on the foundation of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding," says Ryan Immegart, who was tapped by Woolcott to be the brand's first snowboard team rider back in 1991. Since his days as snow-team-grommet, Immegart has worked his way up to his current position as senior vice president of global marketing. "When I first heard about Volcom, it was just a sticker and an idea," recalls Immegart. "Over time, it became a sticker, an idea, and a T-shirt—that's when Wooly asked me to be a team rider, and I jumped at the chance. I knew right away that Volcom was going to be something special—there was an energy behind the brand that I just wanted to be a part of."
Immegart and the rest of the early Volcom team riders became the foundation for a company based on unifying surfers, skaters, and snowboarders. Early Volcom ads addressed the ethos of board sport unity, but what really galvanized the brand's ideals was the 1993 tri-sport classic “Alive We Ride"—a film that introduced and explained the DNA of the brand down to the last molecule. While not the first movie to show surfing, skating, and snowboarding all in one package, “Alive We Ride” defined a new generation of board riders, and blended these three elements in an effortless and stylized format—a high action art project that oozed with hardcore integrity for the sports and athletes it featured.
"It wasn't like Volcom set out to be the all-inclusive action sports brand," says Immegart. "We just did what felt natural. We all surfed, we all skated, and we all snowboarded—it wasn't like we thought we were breaking rules by showing all these things we loved in a movie. But looking back, the effect and influence 'Alive We Ride' had on the culture was profound."
As the film's 20th anniversary neared, the powers that be at Volcom felt it was time to dig in and create a new testament to the bible of Volcom—and this is where the new film “True to This" comes into play. "The ‘True to This' project started as sort of a tribute to ‘Alive We Ride,'" says Immegart. "As things progressed, and we started to see footage come in, we realized pretty quickly that this was something much bigger, and as a brand we felt like we had an obligation to plant our flag in the ground."
Initially, “True to This” was set to release in 2013, but Immegart and the crew gave themselves more time, and now instead of releasing one film, they're dropping two—a full-length film featuring new footage of the current crop of Volcom team riders, as well as a documentary that celebrates the legacy of the Volcom film library—and the surf/skate/snow movement that the brand helped create.
Getting footage of such a talented and diverse team of surfer, skaters, and snowboarders was fairly easy—it’s blending the three with due respect and adulation that has proven to be the tricky part. "When you're dealing with athletes and creators of this kind of content who have so much passion for what they do, it can become really difficult to make sure each sport gets its proper representation in the film," says Immegart. "But, again, it goes back to the mutual respect that these guys have for one another. I'll show one of our skate team riders what our snow guys are doing on the streets and get the same respect over and over, and that is sheer respect and love for what the other athlete is doing—collaborating, sharing, and getting that positive response is a motivating force that's helping to get this movie right. At the end of the day, it's all about the life and the overall appreciation for riding. This isn't a trend. This is real—this is Volcom's way of paying tribute to these three sports that are the foundation of this whole industry."
The world premiere of “True to This” is on March 1 at Volcom headquarters in Costa Mesa, California. The "Making of ‘True to This’" documentary will be included with the “True to This” box set, available in April. For more information and a complete listing of premieres in your area, go to volcom.com/truetothis.