Being a dad is cool. No, seriously. It’s especially cool if you like to play. And if you work it right, you have built-in partners for life. It’s a fine line, though. Push too hard at any given endeavor and your kids are likely to go anti-surf or -snowboard or whatever the hell it is you like to do. But make them hungry for the game and they’ll be better at it than you before their first decade is up. The trick is how to do that? The answer, like art, is that there a million different ways to go about it. In that vein, here’s a few guys who apparently knew what they were doing.
Dino and Kolohe Andino are two of the more high-profile dad-kid duos to grace this list. The elder Andino was a world tour-caliber surfer. His son, arguably, is an even more-gifted, World Championship-caliber surfer–meaning that at number nine in the world, he’s pretty much the mainland’s only chance of bringing a world title trophy back over the next few years. That level of peformance can spawn interesting talk around the dinner table. In this older interview, Dino touches on that relationship. Best advice from his son? Get out in the water more.
Eric Jackson won four freestyle World Championships and raised a couple of kids who absolutely charge in the sport of whitewater. They’ve won freestyle world titles of their own. But the sport has changed since Eric dominated. The competitive side has moved back to downriver racing. And Dane Jackson is bar none, one of the sport’s best. He’s won most every major championship and is one of kayaking’s best expedition paddlers, too. Need proof of his prowess: watch.
Eric is an aggressive dude. But he isn’t pushy: “I struggled with both of my kids in that I really wanted them to WANT to be good kayakers, but they preferred to just putt around in them and not learn to roll,” he told Outside magazine. “Both of them were on my lap in a kayak as young babies and in their own boats at age 2 and 3. We didn’t force them to paddle, just put them there as they enjoyed it. The more time you spend with your kids the more your life is an influence on them. It’s simple math.”
Mason Ho on having his dad Michael in his corner: “It’s like a cheat code on the world.” And no one is more fun to watch freesurf right now than the Pipeline legend’s son, Mason. And Michael’s daughter Coco, currently ranked 12th, isn’t too hard to watch either. Michael has definitely found the magic elixir on getting his kids to truly love a sport he was so influential in. Coco Ho on her relationship with dad: “He never once pressured us to be surfers. He just let us go with the flow.”
Greyson Fletcher was obviously spawned from a legendary surfing family: grandpa Herbie, uncle Nate (charger) and dad Christian–who most people are pretty intimidated by if they were to be totally honest. But it worked out well for Greyson, who’s become a legend in his own right outside of his famous dad’s realm, choosing his own path as a skater (yeah, we know, dad was a skater too and pretty much brought that style to the water first). But damn if Greyson isn’t just as fun to watch on four wheels as his dad was in the ocean. And just as aggressive (see above).
Check this piece for insight from Christian on why his kid didn’t become an accountant. One little nug: “Well, I was doin’ wheelies with him down the street when he was three weeks old. The other parents kind of tripped out. But it’s like the Crocodile Hunter, he had his kid around the crocodile. And bikes and skating and surfing is what I did. So that’s what I know. That’s what I know how to teach the kid. Same like the Crocodile Hunter. People think it’s crazy but it’s not crazy. My dad had me on a surfboard as a tiny baby – that’s just what he did. If your dad’s a mechanic, you’re hanging out in the mechanic shop, you know. It’s just part of the deal. Some people just start their kids younger than others.”
I pretty much love Gerry Lopez’s approach to everything in life. Even parenting. His son Alex definitely ended up being a stylish athlete, but on snow instead of water of course, and Alex is about as fun as anyone in the sport to watch on the mountain (I’ve seen it with my own two eyeballs). “People often ask me, ‘well, why didn’t he grow up a surfer,’” says Lopez about Alex. “He grew up a snowboarder. Honestly the very first time he took off down the hill he had a style that he still has. For any parent the greatest thing in life is to have their child have that passion about anything.” The quick piece above details the relationship a bit, even if it is an advert.