Welcome to Duct Tape Theory

An audible, visual and written atlas of adventure that explores places, people, stories and culture through the lens of action sports

Me, roaming somewhere in Catalonia

Wow. I’m beyond stoked to be talking to you here. You the reader. The listener. I’m Sunny Fassler, the host, creator, editor, writer, publisher, marketer, (insert your own hyperbole here) of Duct Tape Theory.

It’s really a one man show at the moment, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Duct Tape Theory has been my north star - this unattainable passion project and muse, ever since I broke into the beautiful world of action sports and lifestyle media almost 14 years ago.

After many iterations, excuses, ONE failed attempt, and way too many hours going down the biggest rabbit hole I could find to turn - as cliche as it sounds - a dream of running a site for independent action sports media that explores the world of action sports, lifestyle, people and culture through written, visual and spoken words into a viable product.

Duct Tape Theory is my creative outlet to document my travels and assignments as a journalist and writer, and to reflect on the incredible people I meet and the stories that are told along the way.

It took me a while to wrap my head around what I would like Duct Tape Theory to be. The result; a treasure map of stories hidden in plain sight, a chronicle of untold words, unexplored perspectives, and unparalleled experiences that thrill, enlighten, and engage.

I’m so glad you made it here.

Whether you are just passing through or here to stay, I appreciate the support and I can’t wait to get to know you all a little better.

Welcome to Duct Tape Theory


So what exactly is Duct Tape Theory then?

This has changed, evolved, and grown since my first few sketchbook notes, and I have come to realize that it’s one thing, and many more at the same time.

I would like to think Duct Tape Theory is a site for independent action sports media that combines words, visuals and audio, revealing the rugged trails of action sports. It's a journey through conversations, threading the needle between uncharted places and unheard stories, relentlessly seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary.

My focus is persistent; to uncover tales that ignite curiosity, experiences that school the mind, and opinions that entertain and provoke thought.

But what does that mean?

An audio Show

The podcast chapters are the heartbeat of Duct Tape Theory. They are the primary source of original material and conversations, and serve as the catalyst for every piece of content that follows. All chapters are free to access, and paid subscribers get access to ad-free chapters, bonus content, exclusive interviews and additional raw files.

Make India Skate again | Captured while passing through India’s capital city

The format

Duct Tape Theory is an audio show that uses storytelling, interviews, and music to create a unique experience that allows listeners to explore people and destinations - both physical places and abstract concepts - that hold a special place in action sports.

Each chapter focuses on a different location and how it can be understood through stories told by those who call it home or passing through - revealing the profound connections between the cornerstones of each chapter:

People, Places, Stories, and Culture.

Every story is a pillar, every voice a thread, together building the vivid picture of the chapter. Featuring four guests per chapter, I ensure that the canvas is dotted with both local hues and international shades.

This format allows me to explore the many aspects of culture, from surfers and skaters to athletes, creatives, locals and entrepreneurs, as I aim to reveal the nuances that define each place and culture. Soundscapes and music embellish these stories, adding depth and richness to the listening experience, inviting the audience into the scene, freezing a moment in time they can visit with each listen.

This structure is the bridge across cultures, a link to the world beyond our immediate reach. It gifts the listeners the opportunity to understand the unfamiliar. To connect with different souls and soils, all the while learning something valuable.

Each chapter is a bite-sized 60-75 minutes journey that promises adventure and understanding in equal measure.

The purpose is clear. I aim to stir the adventurous spirit that lies dormant within, kindling a deeper reverence for the world and the myriad of cultures it holds, all anchored by our shared passion for the expansive domain of action sports.

Words & Visuals

Each chapter is also paired with a beautiful written feature that allows the audience to “deep dive” into the locations and people I get to explore in each chapter. These features are only accessible to paid subscribers, as they contain a ton of visuals and multimedia content, as well as extended interviews and behind-the-scenes stories.

Perhaps this is the most creative part of the Duct Tape Theory, as I get up and personal with some heavy industry hitters. From hanging out with Rizal Tanjung chatting about his favorite secret spots in Bali, to getting technical with the folks at Yulex to chatting with Roark about the imperfections of sustainability, the written stories are really where the rubber meets the road.

Community

Me on a writing assignment with the LUEX crew in the Maldives | 2020

At the core of my mission is to build an engaged community around the topics discussed on the show. This means I have an active presence online, especially on Instagram and here on Substack.

One of the main reasons why I decided to take Duct Tape Theory over here is that Substack has a community feature built into the platform in the form of a chat function. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a better way to grow Duct Tape Theory beyond my own four walls, start meaningful conversations & debates, or create a genuine dialogue between friends of the show.

Failing to build (and engage) a community in its storytelling is where conventional action sports media and publications fall so incredible short. their inability to provide a “two-way-street” communication vehicle to the community it serves has left the door wide open for someone like me. Something like Duct Tape Theory.

If you have been reading from the beginning, then you are already aware that turning Duct Tape Theory - the idea, into Duct Tape Theory - the product wasn’t straightforward. Honestly, I didn’t see how I could ever create a brand that could live beyond my immediate social circle, but once I stumbled upon Substack, it became so incredibly clear.

Why?

As it turns out, Substack feels like a true game changer for businesses focused on community. Free from advertisements and algorithms where intricacy, concepts, and creative expression are respected. Moreover, it appears to offer an elegant solution to the complexities of monetization. But I’ll get to that later.

“Between the lines of an old map, beyond the ink-stained pages of a well-worn journal, a world thrives. It's here we meet - at the crossroads of curiosity and exploration."

How Duct Tape Theory works

Remember me talking about a rabbit hole a few paragraphs back? Well, figuring out how Duct Tape Theory works and how it will be monetized has been the rabbit hole within the rabbit hole. No doubt, I spent weeks diving into the depths of the platform to A, unearth a strategy that would best serve my objectives, and B, is fair and provides value for my subscribers.

In the simplest terms, Duct Tape Theory is built on two pillars — content and community.

Content is what everyone should be familiar with: podcasts, articles, videos, Q&A, lives - you name it. The Duct Tape Theory podcast chapters are free and available for all subscribers. Every other form of content that comes from the main chapter will be behind a paywall.

Now community is where things get interesting. Paid subscribers have access to the Duct Tape community, where they can pitch topics and angles, leave comments, interact, chat with me and the rest of the community.

This is something I wrestled with for a while, but ultimately the decision to switch on paid Substack subscriptions came down to two things;

  1. I spend an incredible amount of hours and resources to make sure I’ll be able to provide you with stories, destinations and topics that are worth listening to. It’s important for me to sustain and justify the time, energy and money I invest into each chapter. I could go the easy route and host a solo podcast, instead, I want to make sure I’ll get the best guests possible on the show to make each and every chapter a memorable one. Sourcing, acquiring and negotiating with relevant industry names is much more time consuming and complex than getting old mate from the bar behind the mic.

    And we haven’t even talked about all the other content pieces accessible with every chapter. I write, edit, publish and manage all by myself at the moment. I hope to build a team around Duct Tape Theory in the future, helping me make this experience even better, but that’s just not the reality at the moment.

  2. I also want to ensure Duct Tape Theory is supported and maintained, not just by sponsorships, but also directly from you. I think every user backed business is better off in the long run, because it provides instant feedback and accountability when things go downhill. It ensures the quality and longevity of the project. Ultimately, I intend to produce a show relevant, interesting and entertaining for my subscribers - no one else.

Now with that out of the way, here’s a run-down of how things are going to work:

Free Subscribers

All Duct Tape Theory chapters are free. Given the time and effort that goes into each of them, I’m aiming to produce one chapter a month. Hopefully, in the not too-distant future, I can increase the output to two shows a month.

New chapters will drop here on Substack first. I intend to use Substack as the g-to-source for Duct Tape Theory. Therefore, all subscribers call dibs at chapters before they are published elsewhere 24 hours later.

Free subscribers also have access to everything else for free for a full year. After that, we might (or might not) put things behind a paywall. We’ll see.

Paid Subscribers

Paid subscribers obviously get every content piece published on the site for free as well as access to the Duct Tape Theory community portal and deals on merch and products from my sponsors and partners. Founding members will get executive producer credits to each chapter as a thank you too.

I have been extremely careful in what I promise here. I do not want to over-promise and under-deliver. So, the benefits you get as a paid subscriber will constantly evolve. I’d really like to end up doing exclusive lives and physical shows in the future, but for now I want to be realistic and transparent about what I can offer without compromising quality.


How much is it, and why should I sign up?

Hard at work | Six Senses Laamu

Monthly subscriptions go for about 8 euros. In comparison, that’s two tall lattes at Starbucks in Europe. Just shy of two pints in the UK. An imported schooner in OZ - give or take, or almost 1.5 seconds of surf time at Kelly’s wave pool in California.

While we have established that most of us spend 8 euros on sillier things, we haven’t really talked about why you should sign on as a paid subscriber.

Good question.

To tell you the truth. I felt stuck at this conundrum for a while. There isn’t anything special about me. I wish I could tell you that your money will go towards a great cause somewhere, but it doesn’t.

You are basically just ending up paying a guy (me!) to fix the shortcomings of action sports media and the publications by providing an independent, action sports-focused, user-centric media site to a grossly under-served market who, like me, see the beauty in storytelling and think of action sports as a way of life, not an active pursuit.

It basically comes down to this;

Paid subscriptions are a way for the site to keep the lights on, pay the bills, and most importantly, tell stories that resonate with people.

It's a way to ensure that content quality matters, that Duct Tape Theory continues to provide up-to-date, relevant and interesting stories for the action sports community, and that the site has the resources to continue providing a platform for independent storytelling.

So if you value what Duct Tape Theory stands for, please consider subscribing to support its future and ensure it continues to be an invaluable resource in our collective pursuit of adventure. Thanks!

If you are still with me, here’s a 10% discount code to say thanks and encourage you to swap those Starbucks lattes to support Duct Tape Theory and its purpose.

Get 10% off for 1 year


Hi, my name is. What? My name is. Who?

Me, somewhere in the Basque Country

I'm a journalist, writer and creator who has worked the better part of the last 12 years in the action sports and outdoor media industry.

But it almost didn't happen.

While I always wanted to be a journalist, or writer of some sort, the lines blurred when it came to what type of journalist I wanted to be. Armed with a degree in mass communications and heavily inflated baggage in the form of student loans, I got a gig at a newspaper. I lasted three weeks.

Turns out reporting on pumpkin competitions in Temecula and Sunday swap meets wasn’t the kind of coverage I had in mind.

My happy place | Maldives 2021

So I did what every young kid in my shoes would do next; research universities in Australia strategically located close to waves with a marketing program. That was back in 2010 and I haven’t looked back since.

Over the last 12 years, I have carved out a niche for myself by combining my passion for words & stories with marketing and action sports.

I worked for some of the biggest, brightest and boldest brands in the industry - first at Firewire and Billabong, before joining Volcom's retail marketing team and later Surfstitch to head up their content division.

Fast forward to today, I run my own 9-5, helping brands in the industry to find their voice and communicate, engage and inform through the power of stories.

So there's that - the last 16 years, packed in less than 250 words.

Passing through | Sri Lanka 2019

Subscribe to Duct Tape Theory

Presented by Sunny Fassler, Duct Tape Theory is a show that blends the allure of documentaries with the intimate storytelling of podcasts and the power of written words through the lens of action sports.

People

I am a writer, journalist, author, podcaster, creator, surfer and extreme sports fanatic, working with some of the biggest, brightest and boldest brands in the action sports industry. Creator & Host of Duct Tape Theory