Big Wave surfer/Shaper/Maverick's Pioneer
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Jeff Clark hydrofoil surfing at Cowell's in Santa Cruz

“This is one wave in my lifetime of waves, and I ended up in a really bad place and did everything possible to keep the foil away from man and beast.”


The Inertia

When I became aware of the video that was posted on Instagram by @myallsnaps to promote his anti-foil objective, it was really disappointing that the truth was hidden behind sensationalism, social media, and hate for something most people don’t understand. Guerin Myall’s 12-second video of me flopping as I eject my board away from a surf rental visitor is a great video for @kookoftheday and every surf-hate promoting site.

What is actually happening is me riding a wave more than 400 yards before he even starts his video. I see a guy on his board with a dog on the nose, paddling out. I see him and he sees me. I’m thinking, “No problem, I’m going to get right out to the shoulder where he’s paddling over the wave and I’ll be out of the zone that I don’t want to be in.”

But former professional surfer Homer, with the dog on the nose of his board, spins around and takes off in front of, and towards me, completely blocking my ability to get out of the wave.

I own it. I don’t ever want to be foiling around people. If you know anything about me, you know I don’t like to surf around people — never have. Yet, with my escape route blocked, I next had to deal with a bunch of surf school students who may have never been in the ocean before. This is one wave in my lifetime of waves, and I ended up in a really bad place and did everything possible to keep the foil away from man and beast.

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What is really amazing to me is the amount of hate that surfers and keyboard jockeys have pent up. The surfing message boards and media lit up with controversy promoting hate and control.

The video got over 200,000 views, caused by a pro surfer and his dog dropping in on me and captured by his personal photographer as I get stuffed. Did I think a professional surfer would disregard the safety of his dog and everyone in the water to get his video? No.

I was really bummed when it happened. I made sure everyone was ok, the guy on the soft top was all good, and we talked about how stoked he was to be in the ocean for the first time. For me, the incident was extremely disappointing but having no one hurt was the best outcome. For Guerin Myall and Homer, it meant social media views.

As I have discovered foiling over the past few years, I realize its potential and its dangers. Through proper guidance, education, and leadership, foiling can be done safely — and not in a crowded lineup.

If I have personally wronged you, I am sorry. I am grateful for this life we get to live doing what we do. I will continue to care about the well-being of all of you and those around me.

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Here is a thought that I try my best to live by:

The Lord often requires us to do things that we think sound impossible. Forgive seventy times seven times? This does not mean 490 times, but boundless forgiveness; that we travel with forgiveness for those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is not always easy, especially when we have been deeply hurt or wronged, but the Lord’s command to forgive is one that can free and heal our hearts and cultivate boundless love for our neighbors.

Have a happy Easter weekend as we celebrate Jesus Christ who gave his life for us.

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