Leading up to the launch of the new Zelti style that we created with Mikey, we had a chance to sit down with him and catch a glimpse of life through his eyes.

From his experience of growing up and beginning his surfing career in South Africa, to life on the road as a surfer and a father, to inspiration and style, we dig deep and get to know the man behind the Zafrique Ensemble.

Photography by Aaron Regan and Wesley Lewis
What are some of your earliest memories around the ocean?
I started surfing when I was really young and yeah, it was just the best feeling. It was pure enjoyment and I became obsessed with it. When I started surfing, I was learning new things all the time and just had lots and lots of fun with it all.

I made a lot of close friends through surfing and that became everything that we wanted to do pretty much every day. When I started getting more into it, we moved to a place called Kommetjie and that's basically the main surfing hub in Cape Town. That was cool because I had so many different friends and I looked up to all of the older guys that would hold it down there. It was a fun, non-stop learning experience. It was intimidating when I was young and around new breaks... some of them were a bit scary, but after some time I started to feel more comfortable and started to be able to progress in my surfing.
I feel like that was one of the most enjoyable times in my surfing; right in the beginning where you get to progress so much, whereas now it’s more about fine tuning and looking for good conditions.

Kommetjie has a wide variety of different breaks, from point breaks to beach breaks to slabs. The ocean there has a lot of energy—a lot of water moving and it's kind of a tricky place to surf. But I think growing up in that allows you to get used to that. We have like pretty harsh conditions... a lot of water moving, it’s cold, and it helps because it makes pretty much everywhere else you go in the world more manageable.
How has the culture and community that you grew up in influenced who you are today?
I feel like the culture and community that I grew up in has definitely played a big part in shaping who I am today. Growing up in a place like South Africa, it’s a melting pot of different cultures and people. Having that sort of background where you're used to experiencing different types of people, you learn to embrace all the different cultures, different flavors, and different sounds.
“... you learn to embrace all the different cultures, different flavors, and different sounds.”
You are constantly on the run with traveling, surfing, JUJU, family, and so much more. What brings you the most joy in all of that?
The thing I love the most is being able to connect all those things and being able to share the traveling and range of experiences with my family. A lot of that happens through surfing which is really special. Constantly being able to be in the ocean through it all is also one of the things I feel most fortunate to have.

Tell us about JUJU and why that work feels important to you and your wife, Zelti.
JUJU is so important to myself and Zelti. Growing up in South Africa, you are always surrounded by people who need help. There's something that's ingrained in us from growing up here that makes you feel like you really need to put effort into being able to help others. We’ve been so fortunate here and we've always wanted to do something where we can give back and use what we do and what we love to give similar opportunities to other people.
How has becoming a father changed how you view your path in surfing moving forward?
Becoming a father has completely changed my life and with surfing, being away is really hard. I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do. With not working a normal job, I go away for a week or two and then when I come back, I am able to spend every single hour of the day just hanging out with my son. I also get to bring him along with me sometimes and through that, he can experience what I get to experience which is pretty special too. I'm excited to share all of that with the little one.
Why has art and music from previous decades been particularly inspiring to you? And how has it influenced your style in and out the water?
Art and music from previous decades has definitely been a huge inspiration for me. I don't know what it is about those artists from back then. I think that, naturally, everyone nowadays has so many influences and I think back then there were fewer influences, so their natural expression was just slightly more pure. Back then, I also feel like everyone really mastered their craft and there's something really inspiring about that. Guys like Miles Davis come to mind; someone who's changed with the times, but has also kept true to himself, which is a really hard thing to do. We all have so much outside influence and it plays with how you think you should be, rather than just being who you are.
Style is such a big thing when it comes to surfing, music, and art or really anything in or out of the water. Obviously it's such a subjective thing and it's really just someone's pure expression of who they are and what they do. It's such a hard thing to pinpoint, but it's really valuable. For me personally, when I look at some of the people that I'm inspired by, it's just their natural expression, truly being themselves. I feel like everyone is meant to do things the way that they were meant to do it and when it comes to style, that's the only way I can think about it. Everyone is different and unique in their own way; their approach to the lines that they draw, the music that they play... it's all just truly them.
“I feel like everyone is meant to do things the way that they were meant to do it and when it comes to style, that's the only way I can think about it.”
How do you resonate with RAEN’s modern classic design ethos?
I really enjoy it. I think it's a good thing to take inspiration from the past but also to take the good things from the present and blend that into something that is a reflection of both.

When I first saw RAEN before I actually joined the team, I admired the brand and what they did and the frames that they would create. For me personally, I saw a really good balance of classic styles with unique intricacies that made it just different. And I enjoyed that because there was something about the frames that made it RAEN and you could tell the difference between other brands. It’s exciting when you have the opportunity to work with a brand like that because then you know that they value having their own personal stamp on things.
Why partner with RAEN to create your signature collection?
It's the first time that I've been able to work on something like sunglasses and I feel that for most people, sunglasses are a big part of your style and identity. It was a special experience to be able to create something of my own and go through the process of drawing inspiration from everything that I'm inspired by. The end result and the continuation of the Zafrique Ensemble with the new Zelti frame is something that I am really proud of.
What is an ideal day through the eyes of Mikey February?
An ideal day through my eyes would have to be waking up nice and early and getting to see Miles wake up. That’s always rad. But after that, ideally I’d start with a surf, that's always the best way to start the day. But I feel like after that, I'm happy with just seeing how the day goes.
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