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Follow prAna Ambassador Nole Cossart as he defines his own definition of work. From a wanderlust professional surfer to an anchored Renaissance man and father, his career path is anything but ordinary.
Started in a garage in Carlsbad, CA 1992, we have always been proud of our California heritage. This season we celebrate this tradition by profiling some of our ambassadors who share in that “Born In California” heritage. Nole Cossart is a second generation Californian with deep roots on the Central Coast. This is part one of Nole’s story.
Starting a business was not what I had always imagined doing as a career. In fact I really didn’t want to get a job ever. I had set my sights on the least job-like job that I could imaging since I was a kid and first learned about it. I spent most of my young years dreaming of being a professional surfer. My younger self would be shocked to learn that I dedicate nearly all my time to work these days, if you could call making booze “work.”

In fact, making fermented alcoholic drinks from apples and honey is only a small part of all the cool stuff I get to do at The Apiary Ciderworks & Meadery. I get to do everything. And for the creative dreaming, recipe planning and hyper social tasting room hosting my sweetheart/coconspirator Rachna works with me. Although we dream big, it’s quintessentially a Mom and Pop Shop.
At The Apiary every direction I turn there is a creative nut to crack. It engages every sense and corner of the brain from flavors to finances. There’s always something to improve, tinker with or examine, and all of it is relevant to the improvement of our business. At this point it’s all incredibly fun and not too serious. I make mistakes constantly, but when the business operation is only as large as our 15 gallon batches of booze can sustain, the repercussions of those mistakes don’t ripple very far.

I didn’t always think of work as so much fun, and when I was growing up professional surfing seemed like the best solution for a kid who wanted nothing more than to be free from the responsibilities of adulthood. For me, real work was to be avoided at all costs. Amazingly I actually got to taste the coveted lifestyle of professional surfing that I had dreamt of for so many years. I traveled to unfamiliar and far-off destinations to be filmed and photographed doing what I enjoyed most in the ocean.
Surfing is an act of fleeting and momentary freedom. It’s a therapeutic and thrilling dance, but a life dedicated to this activity alone was seriously lacking in substance and security. There’s nothing more than stoke you can take with you home from the beach after a day of surfing, and It’s hard to take care of a family with such ephemeral nourishment. The birth of my daughter in 2010 snapped my attention to the financial bottom line of this life, a subject I had fiercely avoided up to this point

Almost as if a switch was flipped I abandoned my attachment to professional surfing and the concept of freedom that I had always associated with it. What had been a satisfying dream was actually an unsatisfying reality, and I craved more substance and security, which was now essential for the support of my daughter. With the flip of that switch I gave up my fear of the 40-hour workweek and dove into it head first, searching for satisfaction through labor.
Every job or gig I worked came with it’s own blend of security, flexibility and longevity. Some paid well but were fleeting. Others I could have worked every day of my life if I wanted, but didn’t pay well and had narrow opportunities for growth. Neither career job nor random gigs had the Goldilocks “just right” blend of what I craved. Meanwhile my daughter kept growing, and the need for financial stability with a promising future grew with her.

I had a hunch that I would never find exactly what I was looking for out in the world and I would have to create it myself. This hunch became an understanding that simmered for a few years until by chance and by circumstance, the vision and the opportunity to create The Apiary slowly emerged.
For me, The Apiary Ciderworks and Meadery checks all the boxes. It’s endlessly creative and every day new. It will grow and morph over the years. In time I’m sure it will provide for my family and it can grow in whatever direction I want it to. Whatever happens with The Apiary I happily take responsibility for, and I can assume any roll I most enjoy within the business, which changes many times daily.
My daughter is 5 now and starting kindergarten. Together with my sweetheart Rachna we go as a family to visit our local beekeeper to buy honey, and go to our friend’s farm for an occasional afternoon to pick the apples we make into cider and to feed the pigs. She loves the pigs and the “daddy bees” (male bees have no stinger so she likes to hold them).

Whenever the weather is nice, the conditions are just right and a swell is running, we have a beach day. I enjoy the freedom and fleeting joy of riding waves now more than ever before.
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