Interview with Ryan Kell: Creator of Sea & Summit Sunscreen

Interview with Ryan Kell: Creator of Sea & Summit Sunscreen

This week, we’re going to highlight and learn more about Sea & Summit! Sea & Summit is a certified-organic and natural sun protection brand. You may remember the name from our recent blog post on sustainable beach trips! Sea & Summit was one of the truly reef-safe sunscreens I emphasized. Not only is it a part of the Safe Sunscreen Council, but it’s a product that is based on eco-responsibility and sustainability for the planet’s oceans. This past week, Shira, founder of Respect the Fin, and I had the unique opportunity to have a virtual interview with Ryan Kell and learn more about his story.  Click here to watch the interview on YouTube! With all of that in mind, let’s lather up and dive in!

Sea & Summit Background

As stated on the Sea & Summit website, “We want to help Mother Nature revitalize herself by raising awareness about environmental and social causes we all are concerned with but don’t have the time while we juggle our daily needs and obligations.” That is exactly what Ryan Kell has done!

Ryan is an avid outdoor and ocean aficionado. Through his experiences hiking, protecting others as a lifeguard, guiding kayak tours, and exploring the ocean in every way possible—he developed a need for an effective yet sustainable sunscreen. With this idea in mind, he learned how to create his own sunscreens... free from harmful chemicals and packaging. He sold this product to local kayak guides and friends on Catalina Island where he worked. Quickly, it became popular and he eventually initiated Sea & Summit. 

Photo Source: Sea & Summit Instagram

His passion for environmental awareness and staying true to a lifestyle protecting our planet drove him to pursue starting his own business selling this reef-safe sunscreen he had created. He worked multiple jobs, pursued self-taught business, worked with scientists to further develop the product, and built his business five years ago. His team is now based in Ventura, California, and works hard to market their product, create environmental awareness, and educate consumers. 


Inspiration and Values

Ryan lives and breathes an honest lifestyle lessened by material items and wasteful practices. He scrutinizes labels of what he puts into his body and what feeds his spirit. Throughout Ryan’s journey starting Sea & Summit; he has found various sources of inspiration. The ability to create an idea and see the tangible product on shelves was a huge “win” for him. Furthermore, the capability to cultivate a product reducing plastic consumption and help coral reefs thrive is what inspired him. The packaging of Sea & Summit sunscreen products are made from 100% recycled milk carton bottles. Their team is always continuing the search for plastic-free solutions and their face sticks are completely plastic-free. 

Fun Facts and Orcas?!

Photo Source: Trip Advisor

Some fun facts about Ryan are that he originally went to school to become a doctor and ended up becoming a firefighter for the forest service. He grew up in Los Angeles, southern California. Throughout his experiences guiding kayak tours on Catalina island, he has had the opportunity to see many different marine and terrestrial creatures. A marine animal of considerable importance to him is the orca. He describes his encounters with them as “captivating” and discusses his life-long love for orcas and their intelligent, beautiful, and elusive nature. 

What “fuels Ryan’s fire” are perseverance and environmental wins of any magnitude. Whether it’s changing public perception on sustainability, or making a notable difference in the types of products sold near marine reserves; he values creating awareness for the environment in every way he can. 

A Lesson from One Ocean-Enthusiast to Another

One thing Ryan would want to tell fellow ocean-enthusiasts is, “It’s important to recognize that we all need to take responsibility for the playground we love so much. Whether we visit it on a holiday-weekend basis or live by the ocean and are in it, it goes so far beyond what we’re doing right there on the beach. From reading the ingredients in our products, considering what we’re using at home.” 

Ryan explains, “From inactive ingredients in shampoos or soaps, the clothes we’re wearing to how we’re washing them in tons of microplastics which are going out into the environment. Also looking at chemical sunscreens.  I would ask people to take the initiative to consider those things when they’re away from the ocean. So many things we do away from the ocean affect everything that’s going on in the ocean.”

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn about another incredible company based on the values of protecting marine life. And thank you for your continuous support of Respect the Fin throughout its own journey. It is wonderful to know that the ocean has so many supporters and minds willing to come together for its benefit.

Learn more about Ryan Kell, Sea & Summit, and their products here. I hope you’re staying safe and having a wonderful week! I will leave you with Ryan’s mantra which is, “Live simply, love generously, never settle, & the rest will come. Perseverance is key.”

Written By: Bailey Higa


Ryan Kell, founder of Sea & Summit

Shira Margulies, founder of Respect the Fin


Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published