For thirteen years, Tim Latte traveled the world as a professional surfer, competing with the best on the tour. In retrospect, Tim reveals that he never really liked to compete. “I did it because I love surfing and saw it as a way to make a living from it”.
Tim was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. For a guy from a country that is not known for its waves, he has had a pretty incredible journey. As a kid, Tim tried several different sports but never really found the right one. Instead, it was through his father, a former lifeguard and elite swimmer, that he discovered surfing.
“When I was twelve, I tried surfing for the first time on Fuerteventura. The rest is history. From that day on, it was all just about surfing. My goal was to become a professional surfer and I scouted around to find ways to make surfing my life.”
A year after Tim surfed for the first time, he participated in his first competition. Two years later, when he was 14, he made his first World Surfing Games. After that, Tim Latte represented the Swedish national team from 2006 to 2018.
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A world of stories
“I came in here as an underdog. A guy from a small country with no waves. But we really went in hard for the surfing and traveled all over the world for many years. It was probably all the traveling that eventually made me start to lose interest. To make a living from surfing you have to compete a lot, or so I thought. You go to all these nice places, but not to discover them and get to know the culture and the people, but to win competitions and move on. I felt like I was missing out on a lot of things. When I look back on it, it was probably never really my thing to compete.”
After the 2018 World Cup, Tim followed his heart and stopped competing. The decision had also to do with the fact that surfing would become an Olympic sport, something that Tim does not sympathize with. It will be too big and commercial, he believes. But during his career as a professional surfer, Tim had started to develop another interest.
“When I was part of the surf circus, there were a lot of collaborations with sponsors and photographers, and it made me interested in media production and marketing. I’m also a history and geography nerd. When I visit places, I want to experience the culture, language and historical places. All the things you miss when you just travel around and compete. I then realized that I can work with storytelling, where I can include both surfing and all the other stuff that I enjoy. I get the opportunity to highlight other people in the stories, it no longer has to be just about myself.”
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Commitment to sustainability
One of the first film projects as a content creator, Tim did together with the Indo pro surfer Marlon Gerber. A good friend that Tim had looked up to early in his career.
“It was a fun project where we flew in Marlon, who had never tried cold water surfing before, directly from Indonesia up to northern Norway. Together we surfed in Arctic waters in the middle of winter. It was interesting to see a surfer that I myself have looked up to, being exposed to a completely foreign environment, where suddenly I was in my natural element and he was out of his. I’m passionate about doing such things. Odd stories and destinations. Preferably cold water. The stranger the places, the better.”
Tim realized that with his background he could make an impact through social media and saw it as an opportunity to convey his lifestyle and his stories. The commitment to sustainability came in naturally.
“The environmental issues have grown on me since 2014 – 2015. For me as a surfer, the environmental problems are something that is visible in nature. Our planet consists of 70 percent water and we have treated our oceans like trash cans for decades. As surfers, we see the changes that are happening in the oceans. I have never understood why we can not take care of our rubbish and have proper waste management. Or that we do not understand that disposable products, plastics, fishing nets and the release of chemicals destroy the oceans so that we can not even eat the fish because of all the microplastics and toxins.”
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“I have also seen with my own eyes how the climate has changed. As winter surfers, we see how the winters in the north have become milder and how more and more southern storms come up over the Baltic Sea. I have talked to meteorologists who say that it has to do with climate change, where more storms with hot air are coming up from the south. Sure, there will be more surfing for us northerners, but it’s really bad for the climate.”
Tim believes that people need to open their eyes and understand why we can not treat nature this way.
“I think we have to work on creating awareness. But it is difficult to change people’s views of nature if they are never out there and get to experience it for themselves. That is why it has been a goal for me to collaborate with brands that both think sustainably and promote an active outdoor lifestyle, and with whom I can share nature experiences that can arouse commitment.”
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Inspire people to be active
Tim chooses collaborations with sustainable and outdoor brands that want to promote outdoor life and inspire people to be active outside.
"That’s how I got in touch with KnowledgeCotton Apparel. I liked their stuff and saw that they were for real, so I made contact. I thought it would be exciting to work with a Scandinavian company, because I’m from there myself. I received a very nice welcome and when I heard about their history, where they started working with sustainability long before everyone else, in fact before it was even an issue, I became very fascinated. Not many companies have the knowledge and innovation in their DNA in the same way that KnowledgeCotton Apparel has.”
Tim believes that the collaboration felt natural right from the start. He not only sees himself as a Friends of Knowledge ambassador but emphasizes that he wants to help the company achieve its goals.
“I like that KnowledgeCotton Apparel takes the lead and shows that it is actually possible to make clothes in a sustainable way through knowledge and innovation. They do the job from the ground up and are completely transparent about the origin of the materials and how they work. I also like Knowledge’s products. Scandinavian design that works in many different settings. It doesn’t have to be performance stuff, but it should work for an active lifestyle. I think the attitude that Knowledge represents feels obvious. That’s how everyone should work."