Sun Dot Marine Flags was established in 1964 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii by local artist and seamstress Dorsey Miller. She originally supplied her Kona Sport Fishermen friends with unique, hand-sewn appliqued flags.
Dorsey raised her family in Kailua-Kona, and continued to make marine capture flags for her friends. Word spread about her unique “Fish Flags” and her original flags are now collectors items and keepsakes of fishermen the world over.
Dorsey’s son Bob Russel took over the business in 1984. He was born in Long Beach, California. Bob was a real estate agent for MacArthur Sotheby’s International Realty, a Charter Boat Captain and Fisherman, while running Sun Dot Marine Flags for years.
Through the years, Bob continued to make improvements to the flags, while still maintaining our tradition of high quality and superior workmanship. The grommets were eliminated and replaced by hook & loop velcro headers for easy attachment, and our designs became silk screened on marine-grade fabric, for long-lasting wear.
Bob was responsible for getting our flags to comply with the official standards of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) and ensuring a precedent would be established by our flags. Bob was well known and respected in Honokohau Harbor and throughout the islands. His passing away in 2016 still continues to bring tears to the eyes of many of those who were lucky enough to know him.
Our Sun Dot Fish Flags were sewn in Kailua-Kona under the personal attention and expert touch of our seamstress, Jeri Macres, an old family friend. She was the reason our flags were sewn and packaged perfectly for over 20 years.
Vivian Varney took over the business in 1997 when she was 8 months pregnant with her first son. Her husband, Mike Varney is Bob’s half brother and Dorsey (our founder) is Viv’s Mother-In-Law. Viv was born in Sydney, Australia and grew up traveling and adventuring all over the world. She spent years sailing and diving on Maui before choosing Waimea on the Big Island to raise her family. She successfully managed Sun Dot, helping to grow the business into what it is today.
In January 2017 Sun Dot changed ownership and was passed down to Viv’s niece, Christina Henline. Tina was born in Kailua, O’ahu and raised in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawai’i. After high school, she moved to Noosa Heads, Australia to attend college and ended up staying in Australia for 13 years, focusing on building her knowledge in business, tourism and teaching. She recently returned to Hawaii and began substitute teaching at schools across the island.
Tina has expanded the business to include a range of Kids and Men’s T-shirts, Hats, Pouches and other ocean-related accessories. She enjoys collaborating with other local businesses and in April 2018 launched the first line of Sundot Swimwear with Veronica Hill, owner of Cherry Blossom Bottoms.
What originally began as a hobby for Dorsey has now become a world-renowned and recognized business in the fishing industry. We are proud of our roots and foundation in Hawaii and aim to perpetuate our culture through our high-quality products, friendly service and support of local non-profit businesses and events.
Our family is still deeply rooted in a variety of ocean-related sports and activities and regularly enjoy sunsets together.