Bullitos was born from Bill's dream to produce the ideal shorts to suit the good times and lifestyle he enjoyed. He worked with designs and fabrics on a shoestring budget to develop the original Bullitos board short. Choosing a name was easy – Bullitos. From there he developed additional styles that would be the foundation of the current lineup of Bullitos shorts.
Bullitos Founder Bill Thomas was nicknamed “Bullet” as a child. While Bill was working as a deckhand on a private yacht along the Mediterranean coast in his early twenties, his nickname morphed into “Bullito”. The change to “Bullito” was symbolic of a carefree life filled with adventure and good times. The new nickname would follow him to destinations across the globe and home to the Gulf Coast of Florida where he grew up and still lives today.
I am blessed to be a fourth-generation Floridian. Growing up in the Florida panhandle, my childhood was spent playing on the beach or rocking on the front porch of my great grandparents’ house on St. Teresa. On a clear day, I could see the Eastern tip of Dog Island to the southwest.
Spring and summer days were filled with sailing Hobie Cats, fishing and enjoying family and friends on the beach. In the evening, not far from the rocking chairs, was my bed on the porch. With a fan and the breeze blowing, I would fall asleep staring at the lights of the shrimp boats between the Dog Island reef and me. I would listen to the waves wash ashore, and the sound of clanking sailboat sheet lines blowing in the breeze. In the morning, if I could see that distant island tree line glowing on the horizon, I knew it was going to be a good day.
While spending days on the water and the beaches surrounding the many coastal areas of the northern Gulf of Mexico, the idea of Bullitos was inspired. After returning from working as a deckhand on a private yacht in the Mediterranean in 1989, the first Bullitos short was made. The concept was and is simple: a high quality product with a clean and timeless style and a sense of place in mind.
During college summers I found another panhandle paradise along 30A, working beach jobs and living in a shack in Blue Mountain Beach. In the mid-1990s, I was living on Western Lake in Grayton Beach and dreamed of bringing Bullitos back. In the late 90’s, my brother and I bought a flats skiff. We became obsessed with chasing tarpon with a fly rod.
Today, activities are about the same as they were in my early days with the addition of paddle boarding and kayaking in the waters off the forgotten coast. Now, days and nights are more special because I enjoy them with my wife, and two fifth-generation Floridian sons.
Fall and winter days and evenings are more subdued but equally appreciated; the mullet runs turn to a panhandle favorite of smoked mullet accompanied by a bag of Apalachicola or Cedar Key oysters on the half shell. It’s a mysterious place, a state of mind, unique on its own, and real. If I close my eyes I can see the glowing tree line on the horizon. BULLITOS IS BACK!