Chandler Sieverts (21) has always been engaged in the exciting world of surfing. Now, he’s shaping the marketing future of one of the world’s leading surf brands.

As the global digital marketing specialist for Billabong, Sieverts manages the brand’s global Instagram account — which has garnered 2.5 million followers worldwide — as well as the daily execution of Billabong USA’s social media platforms. 

While there are many regional Billabong accounts, Sieverts helps the other regions follow along with the surf company’s global marketing plan. Outside of managing Billabong’s organic social media, he also works with the company’s paid social media, digital advertising, and execution of campaigns. 

“I’d say 75 percent of my role is in social media, so I do all of our planning, strategy, analyzing, and production on all different things around it,” Sieverts said. “That’s been really fun. I’ve been able to build my skill set on photo and video editing, copywriting, community engagement, and building community. It’s a great opportunity for me to be creative.”

Beginning with Billabong

Sieverts’ familiarity with the brand started at an early age. Even before he started surfing, he recalled his dad often wearing Billabong board shorts, as well as the late professional surfer Andy Irons — another Kauai native — having been sponsored by them.

“[Irons] really made an imprint on my life because he was from Kauai. Growing up on the island and knowing he was from there, he was just a hero of mine,” Sieverts said. “I’ve always loved Billabong, and they’ve done so much for the industry of surfing and the culture by making surf movies and sponsoring some of the greatest surfers of all time … and really making innovating products.”

“I’ve always loved Billabong, and they’ve done so much for the industry of surfing and the culture by making surf movies and sponsoring some of the greatest surfers of all time … and really making innovating products.”

While Sieverts was born in Laguna Beach, California, his family moved to Kauai when he was five years old. He grew up in Puhi, a neighborhood nestled between Lihue and the Haupu Mountain range, lush with vast fields, farmland, and only a 20-minute drive to some of the island’s best surf.

“I surfed the southside every day,” Sieverts said. “When I was young, I wanted to be a pro surfer.”

When he was 14 years old, Sieverts’ family returned to the relaxed coastal scene of Orange County, this time in Dana Point. 

Getting in touch with his creative side, the southern Californian also enjoyed making surf and skate videos in his free time. From playing around on iMovie as a kid to a multimedia course he took at Dana Hills High School (DHHS), Sieverts attributes his foundational knowledge of editing to a variety of creative outlets.

Sieverts working remotely while he visits O’ahu.

Sieverts was on DHHS’s surf team for all four years. Although they won the South Coast League Competition during his senior year, his favorite memory was meeting at the lineup for practices before class.

“That’s what surfing is about to me,” Sieverts said. “Not really competitive; surfing is exciting. There’s nothing better than surfing with your friends.”

At this point he realized that he wasn’t bound to go pro; however, his love for the sport persisted.

“The next thing I wanted to do was work for a surf company. I met a couple of people who were on marketing teams for surf companies and their lifestyles were very intriguing to me,” Sieverts said. “The fact that they got to work with what they’re passionate about seemed like the best way to go, and I always knew that you should love what you work for.”

One of these people, in particular, was his neighbor, who was the marketing director for the outdoor apparel company, Roark.

“When I met him, it really clicked that working in marketing would be a good path for me,” Sieverts said. “I really enjoyed hearing what he did. I dedicated my studies, networking, applications, and all of my efforts to getting a job for a surfing company.” 

While in high school, Sieverts was sponsored by Oddyss, a small surfing brand out of Dana Point. Similarly to his interest in marketing, his relationship with the company grew as he continued to catch waves. This eventually landed him a social media marketing internship with them when he was at PLNU.

Party Wave to Point Loma

When Sieverts was looking at colleges, he felt called to land in San Diego, especially near the good surf in Ocean Beach and Point Loma. This is when his high school youth pastor, who was a PLNU alum, introduced him to the university.

While being able to surf three times a day and the successful surf team were a lure, so was the intimate learning environment.

“I really liked the idea of having a small classroom style,” Sieverts said. “Not having more than 30 kids in your class, you could really get to know your classmates and your teacher, which helps tremendously with networking.”

Although Sieverts wasn’t certain if attending PLNU was financially feasible, he was left elated when his acceptance letter came with a scholarship.

“My surf team coach was really happy when I was gonna go to Point Loma because the surf team was great,” Sieverts said. “And he was a Christian as well, so I felt like we had some good connections there.”

In 2017, Sieverts traded his blue and silver DHHS merch for PLNU’s green and gold. Promptly joining the university’s surf team, he clicked with the members instantly, thanks to their amiable and easy-going nature.

Since students essentially surfed every day, structured practices weren’t necessary. Before contests, they’d do mock heats, make the roster, and then travel caravan-style up the California coast to stay at teammates’ houses, hotels, or to camp. 

“It was cool to be able to meet older kids on the team and get to make a bunch of friends that liked the team,” Sieverts said. “It wasn’t anything like a weekly commitment, but it was on your own time because we already knew we were all surfing as much as we could.”

In his stints outside of the water, Sieverts pursued a bachelor’s in marketing. Although he was infatuated with the realms of marketing and surfing, he wasn’t certain how he wanted to integrate them. This all changed when he took one of Assistant Professor of Marketing Christina Kalberg’s digital marketing courses when he realized that the future of marketing is digital. 

“Growing up in a digital world where technology was at our fingertips, we’re at such an advantage of understanding it,” Sieverts said. “That’s when I realized that I need to get into digital marketing because there’s going to be so much opportunity as it continues to grow and develop into the next generation.”

Cultivating Creativity

After taking Kalberg’s course, Sieverts started to practice social media marketing and content production in his internship at Oddyss by teaching himself Premiere and Photoshop.

He also dove deeper into his love for video editing. During his senior year at PLNU, Sieverts took a surf history course with Ben Cater, PhD, which inspired him and four friends to make a short film while on a surf trip in mainland Mexico.

Sieverts and his fiancé, Giselle Hart (22) at his PLNU graduation in 2021.

“We didn’t really have a storyline. Looking back, I would go back and add a couple of more developing moments in the story, but we got some really good waves,” Sieverts said. “But by watching the film, you get to experience the journey as well. That’s what we were going for. That class honestly did a lot for me because I learned so much about cinematography and the art of video and surfing.”

Their film, Deep in Mexico, ended up winning the PLNU Driftwood award for best short film in 2021.

After graduating from PLNU in 2021, Sieverts began to run social media and events for Roark’s Del Mar location. The following year, he achieved his vocational dream by starting his current role as Billabong’s global digital marketing specialist.

“Growing up with surfing has definitely added so much value to my perspective on the way we market for Billabong, just understanding our communications, knowing the athletes, the trends,” Sieverts said. “Advice that I give to anybody who is not too sure exactly what they want to do is to understand what you’re passionate about, what you are knowledgeable about, and working toward that industry adds a lot of value to your career.”

“Advice that I give to anybody who is not too sure exactly what they want to do is to understand what you’re passionate about, what you are knowledgeable about, and working toward that industry adds a lot of value to your career.”

While Sieverts’ current goal is to continue learning as much as he can about digital marketing, including email marketing and mastering social media, he hopes to eventually grow into the role of a digital marketing director outside of organic social media.

“My entire life, everything I did really revolved around it. It’s my favorite thing to do, and I hope it always will be,” Sieverts said. “I’m super happy and grateful that I get to work for a surf company and have that be a part of my life now, too.”

Katie Morris is a student at PLNU studying psychology and journalism. She’s currently the copy editor at The Point, PLNU’s student-run newspaper and is an intern at PLNU's Marketing and Creative Services.