Surfing’s a really tricky thing to talk about with any real substance. It can be so personal to every individual that the words we use to express how it really makes us feel can easily come out as a series of tired cliches and lame Miki Dora quotes.
Life’s best storytellers have one thing in common, though. Rather than trying to pack every single sentiment, emotion, moment, experience, and anecdote into a story, they’ll give you one amazing nugget of truth. There’s no press to cover a mile’s worth of elements and only touch the surface of each. They cover an inch and dig a mile deep. And it’s that depth in exploring one simple element that makes a story profound.
These seven people did just that, finding something in their lives of surfing and loving the ocean to uncover one awesome nugget of truth and more importantly, turning around and sharing it with the world.
1. Chris Burkard and the joy of surfing in ice cold water
This single talk sums up much of what Burkard’s work stands for and why we all love it so much. Moving off the beaten path and working for something is much, much more gratifying than taking the low hanging fruit.
2. Hamish Jolly’s quest to create a shark-deterring wetsuit
The idea of shark deterrents becoming an “industry” is somewhat odd if you give it real thought. It’s an entire movement that feeds on and fuels the peculiar relationship we have with sharks. But understanding the science behind innovation is still fascinating and valuable, and in this case Hamish Jolly found a way to help us understand sharks just a little bit better.
3. Guillaume Néry: The exhilarating peace of freediving
Ever give thought to what’s happening to you on a physiological level, mentally, and emotionally when you dive under the surface of the water? Guillaume Néry breaks it down to two breaths; the one he takes before diving underwater, and the one he takes at the end of a 125 meter dive. It’s not about surfing, but drawing the connections to your own time in the ocean shouldn’t be too challenging.
4. Kyle Thiermann and surfing for change
As far as I know, still the only dude to give a TED Talk (TEDx) wearing just a wetsuit. Also, probably the only guy you could expect to go on a surf trip to Chile and instead of simply getting amazing waves, somehow spark moving $340 million of lending power out of Bank of America, one of the largest funders of coal power.
5. What’s it like to do the things only Keala Kennelly can do?
She’s one of the best humans alive so it’s only fitting Keala Kennelly should share her story. KK digs into how she once traded her passion for a paycheck, how she found herself with a gift she wasn’t using, and how riding waves that can take your life doesn’t require some magical absence of fear.
6. Bob Hurley and why inclusion, not exclusion, is cool
Exclusivity is all the rage in surfing. At least that’s what you’d think from the outside looking in on a community of people who gripe about growing crowd sizes they actively contribute to and are so quick to call each other kooks instead of embracing a little bit of humility.
Bob Hurley isn’t about that. He’s about enabling and empowering people through doing what they love. And that’s cool.
7. Dave Kalama’s heaviest wipeout, as told by Dave Kalama
We all have that one crazy wipeout story. The wave that made us rethink everything in all the best ways. Dave Kalama’s was probably just a little bigger than yours.