Life and Surfing Are Easy, Why Did I Make Them so Hard?

S_1351“If it was easy everyone would be doing it.” This idea that life is hard and needs to be overcome is how I lived the first 20 or 30 years of my life, no pain no gain was my motto. The idea of an easy and peaceful life was for wusses and viewed as undesirable or even impossible. I applied this way of thinking when I learned to surf, believing that I couldn’t afford lessons and I was afraid to ask for help, to do so would be a sign of weakness and make me a target for ridicule and rejection.

I remember like it was yesterday the excitement and beauty of the first time I caught a wave and went down the line riding the clear blue face and seeing the ocean floor race by underneath my board. It was a taste of a world I had only imagined, and this two week summer family vacation in Maui had whet my appetite…

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Learning How to Help Others and the Benefits of Giving

FP-PeakBridge_2840Since I was about five I worked in my grandfather’s small meat business. He was a genius at finding creative affordable solutions to everyday problems and did well financially, sadly it was often at the expense of his relationship with everyone around him. A lot of people who new him use harsh words to describe him. I was fortunate to go on a trip to Europe with him and see his hometown in Germany and I was able to see a warmer side to him that most people never saw. I also recognized part of myself in him, I have the same ability to see what’s not right and to see the solution. I also have his potential to come off cold and rigid, I have seen how much trouble that caused my grandfather and so I do my best to hear, acknowledge, and have compassion for the feelings and opinions of others.

At the meat shop my grandfather often told me not to smarten up the other guy…

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Ocean Lovers and Ambassadors

P1000857Imagine this: I arrive at a a popular surf spot and everyone makes welcome eye contact with me and they greet me or introduce themselves. As I paddle out everyone who recognizes me is happy to see me and those who don’t are curious and excited to meet me. I’m welcomed into a place in the lineup and while I wait my turn those around me engage with me in authentic conversation and they are genuinely pleased that I am there. They believe I have something to offer and they are stoked to help me practice my abilities for the benefit of the group. When it’s my turn to catch a wave they all hoot me into the wave and cheer and celebrate my ride. I have heard stories from parts of the south pacific that this is real and the local villagers greet and welcome outsiders in this way. I saw in Fiji…

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The mind makes it real?

Tahoe-MS-DixieI saw a video of surfing this wake on Lake Tahoe about a week ago and I’ve been envisioning surfing it every day since.

My amazing wife, our baby, and I were leaving Tahoe when she said she felt like we only did part of all the activities we planned. I agreed and said I really wanted to surf that sternwheeler boat wave. She replied let’s do it, so we impulsively turned the truck around and drove to South Lake Tahoe…

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A Localism Cure

DCIM102GOPROG0044829.My experience at popular surf spots is that most of the surfers’ have a deeply held belief in scarcity: there are not enough waves, and they need to fight for waves if they want to have a good time. This perception leads to bad vibes, and all kinds of shenanigans and debauchery in an attempt keep others away and get more waves. For me this behavior, commonly known as localism, sours the whole surfing experience, and has lead me on a search for surf with people who are putting out positive and welcoming vibes.

Downwind SUP surfing feels like…

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