The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

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    My Best Surf Session

    By Laurel Winterbourne

    Cheering friends on

    Head-high peaks stacked in perfect rows, warm clear water, and glassy surface conditions were not the reasons for the best surf session of my life. Sometimes it’s about more than that. If you were asked to describe your most memorable surf session, what would you say? Would you scroll through your memories of surf trips to the South Pacific, or an epic day at your home break with no one out except you and the dolphins? That’s what would have come to mind before my experience with the athletes from the High Fives Foundation.

    While surfing with this crew of hilarious, inspiring, adventurous folks, I found new meaning to surfing and, more importantly, the contagious element of positivity. The High Fives Foundation is a non-profit group, based in Truckee, California, that supports the recovery of severely injured athletes and helps get them into adaptive sports. I was lucky enough to join the group on a surf trip to San Onofre, California. This is where the adventure began and my life changed. It’s a beautiful thing when something that you love and are passionate about opens your eyes a little wider and forces you to reevaluate your perspective.

    [Above: Cheering on friends. All photos: Trevor Clark]

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    Lockwood Animal Rescue Center visits Patagonia Reno

    By Laurel Winterbourne

    Andrew and Danny Boy_1

    Danny sleeps peacefully curled up in the corner while Matt, in his boisterous voice, tells the story of Danny’s heroic rescue and horrific existence in captivity in Alaska. On the other side of the room his counterpart Willow sways with sleepiness, falling over every few seconds. She is new to the group and a little more timid with the fifty or so strangers staring at her. She doesn’t want to let her guard down, but exhaustion overwhelms her. It was a long trip from the Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC) in Ventura County to Patagonia’s Service Center in Reno, Nevada.

    It’s hard to imagine that Danny Boy was treated so cruelly when he walks up and licks the faces of the crowd. He was held in captivity as part of a roadside attraction where 29 wolves and wolfdogs were chained up with no more than a few feet to walk around while people paid $5 to toss them a treat. The wolves, only fed every few days, were chained just far enough away from each other that they never touched, surviving thirty below temperatures surrounded by twelve feet of snow. There was no water for them in the winter; they were dependent on the snow and ice for hydration. It was a cruel existence.

    [Above: Andrew and Danny Boy address the crowd. All photos by Glenda Dudley]

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    Don’t Wait for Good, Go Find It – Full Circle

    by Laurel Winterbourne


    The world needs GOOD stories. Fortunately there are people like Trevor Clark who put it all on the line, travel thousands of miles and spend countless hours, days and months to get these stories out there. Trevor is an outdoor adventure photographer and friend of Patagonia who decided that he wanted to tell stories that mattered to him.

    After meeting Jessie Stone and hearing her story, there was no question in Trevor’s mind that this story needed to be told. Jessie is a professional whitewater kayaker and medical doctor who went to Uganda to paddle the Nile, but what she saw, changed the course of her life and the lives of many others.

    [Above: Dr. Jessie Stone is a member of the US Freestyle Kayak Team and a Medical Doctor. In 2004, she founded Soft Power Health to provide malaria education, prevention and control for the people of Uganda. Video frame: Trevor Clark]

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    Dealer Service VS. Invasive Weeds, Mono y Mono

    by Laurel Winterbourne

    [The Dealer Service team conquered the invasive species. Photo: Arya Degenhardt]

    When you spend most of your days sitting at a desk and staring at a computer, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day work of managing orders, inventory and deadlines. We often forget to think about the bigger picture of what brought us to this company, but when it comes down to it, we all work for Patagonia for a reason. It’s not just a job, but an opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger and more important than a pay check. We share passion for nature’s fragile open spaces where we can sit in quiet reflection or pursue self-powered sports, either way these beautiful places are what fill our souls.

    Our work group, which services our Patagonia dealers, took a day to give back to the open spaces that we love and to get back in touch with why we are here. We drove from the Reno, Nevada distribution center, two and a half hours south to a lake that is as bizarre as its name, Mono Lake. Few of us had spent much time here, but we all had driven by on the 395 and admired its beauty from afar.

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    Product Testing - Rafting the South Fork of the American River

    We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our Athletes & Ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear. This June, they headed off to California's South Fork of the American River to raft, camp and well...have some fun. Mail Order Customer Service Representative Laurel Winterbourne files this report:

    Gg raft grp Patagonia Mail Order's first overnight group field day was a success. No broken limbs, just good times with good friends. Thanks to W.E.T. River Trips and our amazing Pro Team member and raft guide Maggie Mroczkowski we were able to take our crew on a rafting trip down the South Fork of the American River and test some Patagonia gear. Major props to Gary Ghiggeri (“GG”) our team leader, for planning the best field day ever!

    We rolled into Camp Lotus, outside the tiny town of Coloma on the western side of the Sierra, at about 6:30. After some unpleasant haggling with a neighboring camper about who got which site, we set up camp. Who knew we could bring so much stuff for an overnight camping trip? But we do work at Patagonia and own multiple tents, sleeping bags, jackets, baselayers, fleece and other random stuff. We’ve learned to always be prepared for snow in the Sierra, even in June. Better to be safe than sorry. The beer was located and the tents went up. 

    [Team GG checks into Hospital Bar, South Fork American River. Photos: W.E.T. River Trips]

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