If you’re ever so inclined to serve a slice of humble pie to any accomplished athlete, professional or otherwise, teach them how to ride a wave. Better yet, just get them in the ocean and see how clumsy and uncoordinated they become. We wouldn’t assume this is Austin Keen’s mission in his “Celebrity Surf Series” but it’s still a lesson we can be reminded of nonetheless.
While skimming isn’t exactly surfing in the typical sense, Keen has a unique set of skills that seem to blur the line for us all the time. He once pulled off a no-paddle skim entry on a wave in Lemoore and managed to put on a pretty impressive show at the Surf Ranch. He took $9 and a table he’d found at Goodwill and turned it into a fundraising surf craft, pulling in over $1,000 for a youth mentor program called Water Walkers in the process. The man only needs a breaking, moving wall of water, something that floats (or at least something to stand on), and he’ll find a way to ride it. This also makes him an intriguing candidate for teaching an NFL lineman how to do the same.
Leonard Williams is said NFL lineman. A 2015 first round draft pick (sixth overall) by the New York Jets, Williams spent his college years in Southern California, where he took a day out of his offseason homecoming to get a lesson from Keen. Something to note about Leonard Williams to put his freakish athletic abilities into perspective: he’s 6’4″ and weighed in at just over 300 pounds when he entered the NFL draft at 20-years old just a few years ago. His body wasn’t exactly built for surfing (or skimming). It’s no surprise he’s a better football player than rider of waves. That does make for an entertaining watch, though, and Keen makes a point to go out and show how it’s done when the lesson’s over.