Daniel Colt Collins has an interesting claim to fame. He was a leprechaun. That is, for a few years, he was the Notre Dame Leprechaun as in the Fighting Irish mascot. In fact, he even wrote a book about it, “Life as the Notre Dame Leprechaun.” These days, he’s known more in these parts as a Surf City entrepreneur. He is the creative director of Mackr Clothing and just recently started his own clothing line, Wise Fool.
How long have you lived in Huntington Beach?
I’ve lived in Surf City for just over a year. After growing up in one of the snowiest cities in the world (Buffalo, NY) then going to college and law school in yet another (Notre Dame, IN), I found Huntington Beach to be a breath of fresh air when I began taking internships in the area during summers between all three years of law school. My jobs were in Newport and Irvine, but I always found myself drawn to HB for its great mix of daytime and nighttime festivities. I spent many a perfect day holding down a sand volleyball court under the sun, followed by happy hour and after hours at some of my favorite watering holes during those summers. That and the people here really got me. Nowhere else in Orange County, and frankly nowhere else that I’ve been to in the world captures the same vibe as Huntington Beach. We’re an eclectic bunch, and I love every bit of our big happy kooky kinky weird and wonderful extended family of babes, bros, beach combers, and board riders.
What do you like best about living here?
What’s not to love about living at the beach? I try to visit our Mother Ocean every day, and while I was living a bit closer (3 blocks to be exact) on 6th and Orange I made sure to step into her healing waters as often as I could. I really need to get back into that habit (I’m only a short skate away now). Really, though, it all stems from Mother Ocean. This whole city lives, breathes, and thrives on the natural rhythms of her waves, and when you take a step back to notice her influence in everything from the sway of the trees to the character of the chalkboard messages lining hotels and restaurants downtown, that’s when you begin to realize that life in HB is such a wonderful thing.
Name your favorite place to get breakfast?
Obligatory Sugar Shack shout out! Can’t go wrong with a Full Keppler, although I’ll give props to their neighbors No-Ka-Oi for serving up some Portuguese sausage that doesn’t mess around. Honestly, though, I’m not much of a breakfast person, so I would have to recommend a delicious Banzai Bowl as the best way to fuel your day, or the banana flavored roast at Primo’s if you’re looking to keep yourself sufficiently caffeinated. I’m a night owl, though (I’m sending you this at 3am) so my breakfast usually consists of lunch. For that I most definitely have to shout out Longboards for the always lively yet chill atmosphere, or Sit N Stay Cafe for the bombest sammiches in the whole bunch!
Best place for dining out on a special occasion?
You mean Taco Tuesday? Every Tuesday is a Holiday in Surf City with the weekly street fair and taco specials. My faves include the $1.50 calamari tacos at Aloha and the variety of funky taco flavorings at Fred’s that all seem so easily washed down with one of their Big Coronas on special.
Favorite park/beach and why?
Under the pier! I consider myself an amateur iPhone-ographer (follow me @theleprecon on Instagram!), and there’s no better subject matter to shoot than the nightly breathtaking sunsets juxtaposed against the full array of humanity you can find on display on and around our lovely pier. You locals may think it too touristy, but that’s what you get from someone who has only lived here one year! My advice to any jaded locals reading this: never stop acting like a tourist. Go find something in your own backyard that people travel from far and wide to see, even if you’ve done it a million times, and do it again with bright eyes and a sense of wonder. You’ll be surprised. I grew up near Niagara Falls (one of the official natural wonders of the world) in Buffalo, NY, and I can count on 1 hand the number of times I visited. When I moved to Huntington Beach, where tourists flock every summer (there’s a reason for that, you know) I vowed not to let such opportunities pass me by. Every day spent in this paradise is worth becoming a tourist, whether you’ve been in town for 9 years or 9 minutes. Soak it all up, and enjoy the ride!
Do you have a secret/tip to give anyone who wants to visit/live in Huntington Beach? What is it?
See above 🙂
Danny Colt Collins, Founder, Owner, Creator and Director of WiseFool. WiseFool is about getting wise. It’s about staying foolish. It’s about living the life of a seasoned yet still-starry-eyed Surf City local no matter where you are in this crazy world, from the farthest flung outbacks to the back alleys of Huntington Beach herself. Learn more by visiting getwisefool.com
Watch this really cool video – a collaboration of Surf City locals led by Danny (WiseFool),filmed by jake hilger in association with hero longboards, with contributions from paul shaubeck in association with special blend .
**Featured photo of Danny Collins by Doltyn Snedden.**