catch a wave

Ultimate Surfer



The reality television pros over at ABC launched The Ultimate Surfer this summer, a competition show that gathered the world’s most compelling surfers to live and train together while battling it out for a cash prize. We were stoked to be invited in on the ride and set out to design a rad show package to encapsulate the spirit of the great sport of surfing.

Ultimate Surfer
As a creative director with a surfing problem I was super stoked to dive in. There is so much beauty and motion in surfing and it’s all driven by the water, we wanted to draw inspiration from that and in turn inspire the viewers. The natural and athletic experience of surfing needed to come though with energy and optimism so sun and water mixed with kinetic design elements took center stage, making a package that embraced the natural flow of surfing while giving it the attitude of a premium sport event.
Josh NortonExecutive Creative Director & Founder of BGSTR

and we're sittin' on top of the world

Show Package + Toolkit

Show Package + Toolkit

The first element of the show package we tackled was the title sequence because it would set the tone for every other deliverable. The competition and show were shot on location at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, a human-made wave pool designed to deliver the perfect wave every time. With a rad home base flush with sick surfing footage for us to play with, we set about designing 4-5 different directions for the client to explore.

Check out some of the team's styleframes below - Graphic Supreme and Waveform.

The design boards gave a variety of directions for us to move in, some cinematic, some graphic, some retro-- all leaning into various tropes of surfer culture we wanted to showcase. Ultimately, we moved forward with a cinematic concept ideated and designed by Josh Norton, BGSTR’s Founder, Executive Creative Director and resident office surfing ambassador.

Cinematic concept designed by Josh Norton

Once we’d defined our direction, we were off to the races...or waves for this particular project. Our approach was rooted in the cinematic design we’d originated and was built out to have a young and fresh color palette. A repeating and mirrored imagery technique pulls out some of the retro vibes of the sport’s origins.

One question we like to ask ourselves when designing a show package is, “where will this live?” The Ultimate Surfer being a primetime show for ABC stayed front of mind and was the driving element behind the tone of the package: elegant and cinematic, but also a lot of fun so as to play up the spirit of surf culture.

The overlay texture seen throughout the package originated in the show’s title sequence but was delivered as an element that could be used throughout the edit, inserting that vintage vibe whenever the footage called for it.

We focused on the main title, ending on an edit everyone was really stoked about. After the solid response we’d received from the clients, we moved on to deliver all of the toolkit elements including: backplates, overlays, transitions and lower thirds.


A clear perspective on our end and a great relationship with our client made for a beautiful package and a smooth delivery. We love being challenged to set the tone for a project with our design and here we had the perfect storm - footage, expertise and a connection to the sport of surfing to come together for a package that was as off the hook as the competition itself.

Props where props are due


Big ups to the team for this one.

Ultimate Surfer
  • Executive Creative Director
    Josh Norton
  • Executive Producer
    Carson Hood
  • Head of Production
    Virgil Conklin
  • Lead Designer
    Josh Norton
  • Designer
    Doug Chang
  • Animation
    Chang Xu, Casey Drogin