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Why Bajio's "12 South" Sunglasses Are Perfect For Surfing, Fishing, and Beach Hangs This Summer

Updated: 3 days ago

Photo courtesy Bajio

I’ve needed a new pair of sunglasses for a while. Like, over a year.

My pair of rusted out, cracked, and stretched out Ray Bans weren’t doing the job anymore. 

I just didn’t want to take the time to look — there’s so many brands today, right? — and didn’t want to spend money on something that could break and wind up leaving me in the same position. 

Then, as if it was fate, I lost my sunglasses somewhere on the sands of New Smyrna Beach. A summer storm swept the beach faster than anticipated, and in the chaos to get our belongings back to the car and back home, my sunglasses disappeared.

By the time I started searching for them at home, I knew they were already gone.

There’s no doubt that someone is wearing them right now, and because of their used condition, I’m not upset about it. 

So I was on the hunt for a new pair of sunglasses.

My checklist probably looks similar to yours: first, they have to be stylish. I’ve got to not only like the look, but love it.

Second, affordable. I’ve got to be able to pay for them all at once, not put them on a credit card and draw interest on the purchase.

Third, they have to work with my outdoors style: I need them to work when I’m checking the waves from the beach, I need them to work when I’m fishing. And I need them to work when I’m on my next summer adventure.

Last, instead of supporting big chain brands, this time around I wanted to support a more local brand. A brand who's ethos matched mine.

A friend told me about Bajio, a local company for surfers and fishermen founded in Florida that has footprints all over the USA and worldwide. 

That was enough to get me to check them out. Then I read their mission statement, and thought there was something to this company: "Building a company that’s better for the planet and gives back to the sport we love. Every company should be this way."

“I guess you could say we’re a bunch of idealistic misfits who believe that fishing can change the world…And for some crazy reason, we put everything on the line to do it.” — Al Perkinson, Bajío Founder

I couldn’t agree more! That’s exactly what big brands had lost over the years, in my opinion. The ethos of giving back to the community and giving back to the lifestyle the brand represents. 

I started to dig through Bajio’s styles — not only did they have some pretty rad shades, they also have a ton of other gear suited for all things outdoors — and landed on a pair that looked the best to me: 12 South, with the tagline:

“A large frame named after a dangerous stretch.”

Photo courtesy Bajio

The sunglasses, which retail at $259, had a ton of features that made this price point worth it, including:

  • Bio-based nylon frames

  • Polarized lens

  • Narrow temples

  • Ergo rubber nose pads

  • Ergo rubber temple tips

  • Pin hinges

I was just about sold on the pair. Then, when I heard the story behind them, I was completely sold. 

12 South is a 148-mile long historic state highway that links the peninsulas and islands of the northern Outer Banks. It’s the key artery — I should say the only artery — in and out of the Outer Banks.

But it’s not just a road or a strip of land. It’s a key area in East Coast history. 

Before the Outer Banks became a go to spot for surfers and families alike, this area was “unsuitable for those unfit.”

Photo courtesy Bajio

It was where Black Beard set his roots, blockading the Ocracoke Inlet and extorting money for passage.

It was where he sank ships, buried treasure, and ultimately died, battling the Royal Navy in 1718. 

But that’s not all.

200 years later, it was the same stretch of the Atlantic that earned the nickname “Torpedo Junction” after 397 ships had been sunk or damaged by German U-boats. 

Crazy, right?

Bajio puts it this way: “This large fit, medium wrap is for that waterman ready to back down a bluefin amidst a fleet of German submarines; the surfer getting barreled beneath Cat 3 skies; the modern-day pirates of the Pamlico Sound looting only bait balls, and burying only circle hooks.”

When I unpacked my pair of Bajio’s 12 South, it notched every box in my checklist.

Stylish? Absolutely.

Affordable? They were pricey, no doubt, but worth the investment, because in truth, I’d spend more buying another pair every year than investing in something high quality like 12 South.

It works with my outdoor lifestyle, no doubt, perfect for checking the waves and fishing with it’s polarized, color-enhancing, high definition lenses.

Oh, and the cherry on top? It has patent pending blue light blocking LAPIS™ technology.

Last, I'm thrilled to support a local brand who's workers I can chill with on the beach with a surfboard and fishing pole.

Photo courtesy Bajio

12 South represents the raw and rugged coast life where speckled trout, striped bass and redfish thrive—the bajíos of the Outer Banks — and it’s the perfect pair of sunglasses whether you’re near or on the water this summer. 

Get your pair of Bajio's 12 South right here


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