“Do you fish at all?” Kam was paddling back toward me at the top of the point on his knees. He’d just gotten a sick wave and was making small talk.
“I’ve actually been thinking a lot recently about getting into fly fishing. It looks super fun,” I said. Kam looked at me and smiled.
“I know a guy who’s really into fly fishing,” he said.
Kameron Brown is into a lot of things, but calling it that falls short of capturing the passion with which the guy dives into them. Beyond surfing and fishing, Kam tends to a garden of fruits and veggies around his home in San Juan Capistrano, hunts in the hills of Orange County, brews his own kombucha, keeps bees, has built a tiny home on his dad’s property off of Ortega Highway, and works full time as a roofing contractor. Oh, and he’s also shaped a few of his own surfboards.
In the short day we spent with Kam, it became clear that when he finds something new that he enjoys, he goes all in – learning as much as he can about the process, watching Youtube videos, and reading books. He’s also quick to share his love for things with others. Probably because he knows how much enjoyment he gets out of what he does, and just wants others to experience that joy, too.
And what’s amazing about Kam is that surfing, fishing, and hunting have all transformed the way in which he interacts with and sees his landscape. In the water, for example, we got to talking more about fly fishing, how one gets started, etc. “My buddies and I can’t wait to fly fish for carp in the L.A. River,” he said.
“Wait, you can fish in the L.A. River?” I had no idea.
“Yeah! You don’t eat the fish, obviously. But fishing for carp on the fly is super fun.”
That blew my mind. A body of water I drive over nearly every day without thinking twice suddenly had new meaning.
The guy also hunts locally, which was totally surprising even though I grew up in Orange County.
Since meeting Kam, I’ve started to look around at my environment differently – of course, not with any sort of expertise. But I’ll look at a river and wonder “Do people fish there?” or some rolling hills and wonder, “What kind of animals roam here?”
Literally and metaphorically, Kameron Brown sees things people around him don’t see precisely because he does things people around him don’t do. That doesn’t deter him though. The best part is, he’d be psyched to teach you everything he knows. All you have to do is ask.
Updated Editor’s Note (March 29, 2018): This feature was made possible by our friends at Howler Brothers in anticipation of last year’s Shaper Studios’ Self Shape Festival. This year’s event is happening this May at Seaside Reef in Encinitas, California! Follow Shaper Studios on Instagram for details.