What is a Surfer?
What is a surfer? The answer varies, depending on your perspective. Here’s mine. To some it is an art, a sport, a religion, a profession, an addiction, something you do on vacation. Maybe it;s the biggest thing in your life, maybe it’s your entire life, or just an occasional joy.
Our Environmental Past Can’t Become Our Future…
Forty-eight years ago millions of people in 192 countries across the globe created Earth Day on April 22, 1970. The first celebration took place in 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the US involving over 20 million Americans. That day changed the world. Lately, it seems like we are forgetting what…
Ocean Movies you Love to Hate: Blood Surf (2000)
Combine surfing + sharks + reality TV + pirates + salt-water crocodile and you have Blood Surf, an ocean movie that goes by the taglines of “Where a surfers dream can become reality” and “Chicks dig scars.”
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…
The Biggest Wave Ever Ridden: Greg Noll at Makaha, 1969
When I moved to Pacific Beach in April of 1970 they were still talking about it: the epic swell of winter 1969. To the locals, I had just missed the swell of the century. A swell whereby three separate North Pacific storms merged to create near-hurricane force winds blowing across a broad stretch of the…
Unbounded Courage: the First Surfers to Ride Waimea Bay
When I was a young surfer I read about the first surfers to ride Waimea Bay in 1957. Surfers at that time were too afraid to surf Waimea, and for good reason.From the beach Waimea appeared too big, too fast, too steep and just generally too treacherous to ride. Add to that a raging rip…
SmartFin: Environmental Wave of the Future
As the world’s environmental problems expand the challenge is to keep up with the increasingly larger scale of the issues. Decades ago we worried about individual beaches, now we are focused on whole coastlines, and indeed entire oceans are at risk. To keep pace marine biologists and oceanographers have deployed huge arrays of sensors across the…
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…
How I Became a Marine Biologist: My Transition from Surfing
It all boils down to one emotion: passion. That’s how I became a successful marine biologist. I was passionate as a surfer and I translated my passion for surfing and love for the ocean into marine biology. It wasn’t planned, it was actually quite serendipitous, and I have never regretted it. And it all started while hitchhiking.…
Eight Experiences that Honor the Forces of the Ocean
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. So based on the concept discussed in the film I set out to develop my own eight experiences that would honor the energy and power of the ocean.