Category: Life

California Lost: Time Was…

As I have written, moving as a surfer was a bummer, especially when I left California for the east coast in 1974. In this case, we moved near the end of my junior year to northern Virginia where I finished high school.  What I didn’t appreciate was how my mind would respond to the change in scenery. Although…

Surfing Crystal Pier: Life as a Grommet

Crystal Pier, 1966 In the long arc of my surfing life my early years remain indelibly etched on my psyche, as is true of most surfers. Why is simple: we are pulled in by the ocean’s allure, rapidly learn her inner-most secrets, measure our courage against her power, but are ultimately humbled by fear. It is the beginning of…

Skipper: Stories of my Grandfather

Sydney Nelson Patton (1882-1976) was born into the world of another era. During his life he arguably witnessed the greatest change of any generation: when he was young he rode horses, trains and read by candles but during his life he saw the advent of electricity, radio, cars, airplanes, TV and he watched men walk on the moon. During his lifetime the world grew from 1.2 billion (1880) to 4 billion people (1975), he saw the US engage in five major wars, and he lived under 17 US presidents.

A Walk in The Clouds on the Oregon Coast

On our first date we walked the beaches of Oregon. In was Valentine’s Day 1987 and we both instantly knew we had something special. I still remember the feel of the brisk salt air on my face, the sand blowing down the beach, the call of the gulls, and the smell of the sea that day. But most of all I remember her smile. It was like a walk in the clouds.

Eight Experiences that Honor the Forces of the Ocean

  Today is Earth Day, 2016: a moment when we should do something to honor the importance of the earth in our lives. Here is my contribution. While watching the new version of Point Break I was fascinated with the concept of the Ozaki Eight: eight ordeals that honors the forces of nature. According to…

Peril on the Sea: Nautical Nightmares

As a marine biologist and surfer I have spent a lot of time on and in the ocean. And while surveying the shore, riding waves, scuba diving, or being underwater in a submersible, I have developed a great respect for the sea. She is all-powerful, magnificent, unpredictable, inspiring, and terrifying all at once. And there are moments you face the realization that you are helpless, the sea is in control, that you may die; all you can do is surrender to its power. It is a completely sublime, humbling but ultimately a life changing experience.