Paco and Valerio are two passionate surfers, musicians and entrepreneurs in their early twenties, who soon grasped what life is really all about, and refuse to live it in any other way.
While completing their Marketing bachelors in Lisbon, they created a clothing brand called Nothend, screen printing the items in their basement and sharing their lifestyle with the community involved.
The dynamic duo naturally bonded when they met at a surf competition in Sardegna, Italy, five years ago. But it was their versatile cultural background and similar mindset that elevated the friendship to a different level.
The team sat with them at their current home, in Charneca da Caparica, Portugal, close to Fonte da Telha beach. Surrounded by an intimate environment, soaking up the house’s vintage personality.
We asked them a few key-questions and created space to share their thoughts with us.
Tune in by listening to the Spotify Playlist they have curated, which reflects their cultural alternative background.
Keep reading to get to know them a little bit better!
"AAA: Valerio, how would you describe Paco?
Valerio: That’s a big question… The best way to describe Paco is, I think, by describing his background. Paco has multiple nationalities and life experiences that are very different, in my opinion. He was born in Costa Rica, his father is from the North of Italy, and his mother is French. It’s a mix of personalities.
What defines him better is the way he connects with people - that’s the most important thing to me. He manages to meet new people, and always stay in contact with them for the rest of his life. Once you meet Paco, you will never get free of him (they both laugh).
AAA: What is Paco most passionate about? Is it surfing, is it music?
V: I would say surfing is a very big part of him. It’s definitely the biggest drive Paco has. And I think what can actually define him best is the way he approaches surfing. Improving in surfing is always the biggest challenge - you need to be patient. Being in the water, wait for waves, go out there, try your best always, and have fun at the same time.
And this applies to all he does, whenever he is up to something new, whether it's work, studies, or ideas, he will put the same spirit he puts in surfing, and that’s very unique. When you’re surfing, you get very good at certain things, indirectly, without even thinking about it. And if you manage to apply the same spirit and the same mindset, you end up doing very creative things.
He likes to find inspiration in the old school surfing, that’s a big part of his approach to surfing for sure. But at the same time, he’s inspired by the new wave, he tries to mix all of this. And I think it also connects to music. Music has always been in Paco’s life, mainly because his mother has been working in the States as a band manager and helping in the backstage. His mother is from 1961, but she lived the 80’s at its full, so that’s the kind of music that would represent Paco the best, but at the same time he is open to listen to any kind of music.
(Playing punk/rock music in the background, on their old records player)
P: I think it’s important to say that the way we met and live together is: what I lack he gives it to me, what he lacks I give it to him. It’s like a yin and yang kind of thing. The drive behind everything is curiosity. And there’s some details that we have different, you know? For example, I can reach what I call near perfection, and I will reach it. But where we differ and where we actually learn from each other is trying to reach always more: I will start something, and reach a satisfying point and be alright with it. He will double check it and keep going with it further, take that line just a little bit further. In the beginning, it was really throwing ideas in the air, and Valerio, similar to a goal keeper, would try to catch the good ones and letting the other weird and not so relevant ones go. This is how I would describe Valerio's approach to things and his work ethics.
AAA: Valerio, how would you describe Paco’s surfing?
V: That’s a nice question. The biggest drive is power, but when he does something, he wants to immerse style with a nice line, which usually he takes inspiration from the old school surfing (90’s). Paco definitely wants to merge something that is visually nice to see in terms of style, but at the same time he wants to add power, and he can because he has the muscles and the structure to do it. You could see him drawing a very nice line, being a little light on the wave, and then he just does a big huge turn at the section. But now we’re getting more into different boards, different shapes, he’s enjoying a lot longboarding, so he wants to improve in that as well, which is the opposite in a way.
P: This is a way of building a style that’s yours. And nowadays, when surfing is so common, it’s a shame that we all look the same surfing, when surfing is not only a sport, it’s always a way of expressing yourself. You can shape a board and express yourself through the board, like one of our dearest friends is doing. Diogo comes from contests and he explored the poetic side of surfing. It worked out, he’s working with a surf brand, and now he’s going to shape. He built himself a shape room. That’s self-expression. I think when you have something special, it’s not even talent, it’s just love for something, you should explore everything. (…)
AAA: And how would you (Paco) describe Valerio’s surfing?
P: That’s pretty interesting. The thing is that we all mix, we’re not entirely something, and that’s interesting, but I’d say that Valerio has a really flexible way of surfing. So, he merges the flow that we all generally seek, the understanding of the wave, and at the same time he’s completely weird. If you would compare him to music, I’d think about the first guy who’s doing industrial punk with weird noises. But the most interesting thing I see in him is the way his body recovers from complicated positions and the fact that he’s amazing flowing with the wave. Another thing he is good is with positioning, he always takes the first wave. When it’s barreling, he would be the guy getting the first barrel almost every time. And he’s starting to do aerials! The last one, for his birthday, it was bad conditions, and he did it in small waves.
I’d say he has a healthy and a more patient way of looking at the sport. He’s able to slow down, “okay, that’s it, that’s the waves we have”; he’s easy going when he’s surfing, which is super difficult. It’s a frustrating sport, when you want to improve, and the weather conditions are hard, you just can’t.
V: I think that’s something we try to acquire all together. Surfing is a very fucked up sport, it’s horrible. You’re surfing good for a couple days and then for a week you will feel like complete shit (sorry for the bad word). It’s just up and downs, and we need to deal with that. When I first got here, Paco would be very impatient, but now he’s managing to slow down and understand that whatever the condition, just go out and chill, and that would make it probably better. And sometimes you can also be mad and that could bring you something new for sure, I don’t know, just surfing more aggressively because you’re angrier and have more power. The most common we use word is escape, it’s an escape. Whatever you do, you’re in the water, you don’t need to think about anything else, and it’s an opportunity to just release all the stress and be in your bubble kind of. I think all of us are quite different in the water and outside the water, but that’s also the beauty of it, you have to slowly find yourself in the water, which is fun to do, it’s a fun process.
(Valerio is playing the guitar)
AAA: Valerio, does Paco play music as well as he surfs?
V: (laughs before answering) No, he surfs way better than he plays music. He is getting a little bit more into playing bass this year, which he likes a lot. He has always tried, but this year he started learning songs, and I gave him a couple of advises to slowly build up a system to learn how to play. And he’s doing it in a very nice and natural way, with no need of taking classes. Just listening to songs that we like, try to play them, paying attention to the little details, but he definitely surfs very well. It’s hard to reach his level of surfing in music, I would say. Music takes a lot of time as surfing does, and he’s definitely a little late for music. I mean he has all of the time to do it, but he started surfing a few years ago, it’s not the same with music. It's different. But he will get there, I’m quite sure he will get there.
But Paco is the one that pushes me more into organizing surfing. I’m the kind of guy that goes in the water and never thinks about doing improvements. But when I see Paco and what he has been doing these past years and improving so much, it gives me the will to do it as well. So Paco is the motivation, Diogo has the right words because he’s a goofy as me, so it’s easier to give me the same feelings. Sometimes Paco manages to put me in the right direction and that will always work. If I follow the instructions, it will work for sure.
AAA: where did the Nothend idea came from? Why the name?
V: The very first glimpse behind the brand mainly came from a product I had in mind 4 years ago, and I’ve always had the idea of creating a clothing brand, but I’ve never had a, let’s say, specific idea. I was just trying to create some stuff. And I remember the summer before I started university, I began concretizing the project a little bit. When school started, I met two German guys, who are now very dear friends of ours - Moritz and Leonard - and they also wanted to start a small business, and have the experience of creating something from zero, from scratch. And I told them “Hey guys if you want, I have this idea and maybe we can reshape it from the beginning, and create a clothing brand”. So, they were down to do it, brainstorming and getting into a creative process, trying to develop an identity, a name, the kind of vibe that we wanted to give. But then I would say things changed a lot because, in the beginning, we defined our identity, but then we discovered our identity later on. So Nothend, which is literally Not The End, taking out the double letters, the name just popped into my mind when I was brainstorming while developing the project. I remember just thinking about these three words together, and I figured it out on a whiteboard.
I was already living with Paco but he was not in the project. He jumped in a little later. But it was meant to be, of course. Everything from Nothend comes from this house, this relationship, and all the people we met throughout our life.
It is definitely inspired by nature, street art, and urban art at the same time. Which is cool because it represents us quite a lot. We have the surfing side and the skateboarding side. Actually, most of our friends are skateboarders.
At the same time, we are committed to developing a more responsible business model, or the most natural and organic possible. It doesn’t need to be a sustainable revolution but there are minimal requirements, like using recycled cotton. Our goal is to produce with hemp, which right now is very difficult to gather.
Now, a new idea to manage this situation is getting second-hand clothes, and doing screen printing at home, which is the best way so far we have developed. It’s the most natural way. You just go out in Lisbon, gather some second-handed pieces, brand them at home, and sell it. The clothing brand is not even the main thing.
P: Putting all of our friends together was unconscious and somehow, we managed to have a good solid group of people from all the different things that we’ve been doing. Surfing, school friends, university friends. And each of them has a thing for themselves. They have a passion and a drive, and putting all of this together was all unconscious, even before the brand. We stuck together in a unique way, and maybe that is what is more important for our group to always grow and inspire each other. Losing your whole day to yourself, to express, to create, to satisfy yourself through creation and creativity. And that is the main thing that we always cared about.
V: The clothing brand it’s more of a vehicle to reach more people and get more people involved in this community. We are definitely not the classic brand that would have a various meticulous Instagram page. If you look at our material, it’s quite random. It is just what we do naturally, nothing planned. What we do is more in the streets, being actually out there and living the lifestyle we want to promote instead of pretending.
If you have a drive, if you have a passion, just keep doing that, until the last day of your life. And that’s where you get a very nice connection with things and with people. That is our purpose in life, for sure. Connecting to whatever you manage to get deep into things, having the chance to travel and create, that’s the beauty of living. That’s the kind of vibe we try to bring across. "
Despite their different backgrounds, Paco and Valerio revealed an inspiring will of pursuing their passions, by any means.
They found a way to “attract their tribe”, and are now surrounded by a supporting community of people who believe in their projects.
The complicity and connection between them were heart-warming and, as they stated, they complement each other and mutually evolve in all areas, whether it’s surfing, playing music or in business.
Inspired by all things natural, they keep fighting for creation. Creation of a better world, focused on what already exists, instead of a fast-paced production.
All of this while catching some waves and shredding their skateboards, wherever, whenever.
Stay tuned for the next featured profile on the "By Any Means" series!