Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Book Notes - Pipe Dreams by Kelly Slater

Fear of Big Waves
  • As a kid, he thought anything over the 2 footers his Dad was catching was a pipe dream
  • Watched the Pipeline Pro as a kid and was glad he wasn't in the water
    • Pipeline = greatest 10 seconds on earth
      • Prior to the 1960s, it was considered too dangerous to be ridden
      • Two story waves breaking over a few feet of water
  • He ran from big waves early in his career, but a big one at Pipe (during the quarterfinals of the Pipeline Masters, no less) gave him the confidence to take them on
  • Couldn't fathom that he would learn to thrive on waves that scared him senseless
  • He spent thousands of hours on tiny waves in Florida and found it easy to apply the same moves he learned on bigger waves.
  • When he started as a kid, any wave bigger than the board was too big
  • His first time surfing big waves, he got scared and went in.  He was already beating pros by that time, but had never ridden bigger waves.  He was desperate to get to shore even though he already ripped on small waves.
  • He got smashed once by Pipeline the first time he was there and stayed away from it for the rest of the trip.
  • Ease your way into bigger waves at your own pace
    • He was already an accomplished competitor when he started moving on to big waves.  He was already winning contests left and right when he realized it was time to step it up in bigger surf.  He had already reached the top of the competitive ladder (by 15 years old), but was still scared of big waves.
  • Eventually, he got taken out by a big wave and it wasn't bad at all.  This gave him the confidence to surf big waves.
  • Won the world's most important big wave contest: Eddie Aikau Invitational
    • 3 groups of 10 surfers
    • Each group gets one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening
    • Each competitor's top 4 rides are tallied
    • Highest point total = winner ($50K prize.  No final heat.)
  • Waves that once scared the hell out of him are now his backyard

Competition + Technical Surfing Tips
  • Paddle faster by pulling your arms under your board (not out to the side)
  • Keep your eyes open in the tube
  • Beach breaks - waves pop up randomly and you have to hunt for them
  • Dedication + determination are what won him contests
  • Caribbean = great stepping stone to bigger waves (Puerto Rico + Barbados)
  • He possesses extraordinary spinal flexibility and is very limber.  Mobility and cardio are the keys in surfing.
    • Surfing training = mobility + cardio
  • It took 8 years before he beat Tom Curren in a heat
  • Competition brings the best out of you
  • Commitment is how you earn your stripes in surfing
  • Consistency is a trait shown by all world champions
  • Once took him 13 minutes to paddle out in the final of a competition, with everyone waiting
  • He studied the ASP rule book from cover to cover
  • ''Everybody on tour has the ability to win at any time, so it comes down to understanding the conditions and getting the best waves.''
  • Keep bodysurfing
    • All serious bodysurfers wear fins
  • Golf
    • Like surfing, the guys with best technique are the most consistent
    • Video is a great tool for improving both golf and surfing
    • Focus on your technique whenever you surf, just like you do with golf
      • Surfing: if you have to recover from a technique, then you performed it slightly wrong
    • ''I may want to be a pro golfer on the Senior Tour when I am 50."
  • ''If I lost all the heats I won in the final minute, I might only have 1 or 2 world titles."
    • He does whatever it takes to pull it out at the end, and never gives up until the final bell.
  • Good bottom turns form the foundation of good surfing.

    Lifestyle
    • Once he started surfing, he couldn't stop
    • Golfs, plays guitar, practices martial arts
    • Mom occasionally let him skip school to go surfing
    • Learned 360s while surfing on a bodyboard as a kid
    • The ocean was his refuge and surfing was always there for him
    • He doesn't do drugs and feels a sense of obligation to keep a clean image
      • ''I'm a two beer guy.  All the fun happens in the first two.''
    • Advice for parents: if the kid is good enough, he'll win the right contests and get the right sponsorships.  Back off.
    • His parents always supported him emotionally for surfing
    • Mom told him not to brag or act cocky
    • He did well in school and in his sport (he finished 7th out of 130 students in high school)
    • Surfing was his savior and competition the ultimate escape
      • Audacious goals kept him focused.  He needed to set high goals to stay focused.
    • Once signed a record contract with Sony, along with Rob Machado and other surfers
      • The band actually toured for 3 years and opened for Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder apparently loves to surf)
    • From the time he was 11 years old, nothing came before surfing
    • Got so focused on winning that he shut everyone out at various times
    • Being a parent himself made him realize how difficult of a job it could be
    Surf Culture
    • 20K people at pro events in Huntington Beach
    • No surfer is fully respected until he performs in Hawaii
    • Brock Little to Interview Magazine: "People ask what I do for a living, and I do nothing.  I pick up a check in the mail and go surfing.  And when the waves aren't good in Hawaii, somebody pays me to surf somewhere else.''
    • Getting spit out of the barrel is the ultimate in surfing
    • Anyone can become a pro surfer by simply entering a pro contest
    • Maybe 1 in 100 surfers actually compete
    • Pro surfer = spends more than half the year travelling
    • Always get to know the locals in every location you go.  Don't spend time in generic hotels.
    • He regards tow in surfing as its own sport + believes tow in surfers may eclipse 100 foot waves
    • Sometimes guys get pounded by waves for 15 minutes straight, even in the middle of pro heats.  Train to be able to handle that.


    Friday, February 5, 2021

    Book Notes - Liferider by Laird Hamilton

    • One absolute rule: raw honesty.  Applies it fiercely.  Sometimes too fiercely for some.
    Death
    • ''You are an organism.  You are in competition with death.''
    • Death and your relationship with the ocean are one.
    • Survival is about adaptation
      • Every wave is different, so you must be able to adapt quickly
    • You can kill yourself stone dead by overreaching your limitations (especially in the ocean)
    • Denying one's feelings is a bad strategy for survival
    • Brilliance and compassion are what makes us human.  The challenge is to survive without losing these.
    Fear
    • Feeling fear and being scared are two different things
      • Fear is about respect.  Fear leads to informed action.
    • "Your imagination is always greater than reality.  You imagine things to be much worse than they really are.'' 
      • This is why the longer you wait at the top of a cliff, the harder it is to jump
    • The majority of society is usually living vicariously through the risk takers - people who face fears.
    • Hang on to the feeling of fear.  Don't try to avoid it.  Complacency from success is dangerous.  Losing respect for dangerous activities can lead to instant death.
    • Fear the unknown, but don't be scared of it
    • Beware if you can't answer the question, ''Why am I here?''
      • If it's your core - your essence - then keep going
        • ''I don't know if I am ready for this ass whipping I am about to get, but I am here and I know why I am here.''
      • If it's anything else - ego or material driven - then get out of there
    • In the early days of the car, people thought we would die if we went over 20 mph
    Humility
    • If you want respect in Hawaii, you have to be humble.  Arrogance, showiness and hubris are frowned upon.
      • Western society doesn't even recognize humility as a guiding principle.  This is the problem.
    • Be humble and honest about your own failings and hubris.  This is how you keep it real.
      • ''Keeping it real'' = having the humility to admit you were wrong and commit to correcting it.
      • We typically wrong people in the absolute belief that what we are doing is right
    • Humility fuels compassion

    Risk

    • If you aren't ready to take the biggest wave of the day on your head, then you probably shouldn't be out there
      • The same goes for business.  If you aren't ready to lose your entire stake, then you probably shouldn't get involved.
    • The risks you take in business aren't life or death.  In surfing, they can be.
      • Business risks aren't real risks.  Surfing giant waves and base jumping are real risks.  Business people who crave risks seek out the real thing - the desire isn't satisfied by business risk.  This is why entrepreneurs take on extreme sports.
      • If you aren't willing to take risks in business, then you won't have the opportunity for maximum success
    Success and Failure
    • Believe in the possibility of success more than the probability of failure
    • Don't be defined by the success or failure of any of your businesses
      • If your business is your whole identity, you're setting yourself up for problems.  This puts added pressure on you that only inhibits success.
      • No one business should make or break you.  The failure of any one business should never break you, but they should all be able to make you (or at least contribute to your continued success)
    • The business always plateaus when you get conservative
    • Owning multiple businesses: consistent message across businesses is key
      • Authenticity is the spine that runs through multiple businesses
    • Things don't always work, but you at least have to try
    • To avoid losing money, cut the line quick when things aren't going right.  Don't keep pouring money into it.
    • Entrepreneurship takes a long time.  
      • You need stamina and belief.  These are what will carry you through.  It takes years and years.  Longer than you think.
    • Be responsible to the people you do business with
      • Always stand by your decisions and be accountable for your part`
    • When you've failed enough times, it has less of an impact on you.
    • The tipping point between success and failure in business is WHY you're doing it
      • Clarity of purpose is the key
      • Purpose is the North Star for everyone to follow
    • All businesses Laird is involved in reflect needs of his - boards, foods, training tools, clothes - he uses all of them personally.  He creates things he needs and shares them with others.
      • Nothing is strictly financial.  Not interested in pursuing things just for money.
      • Even in business, health is the top priority
    • Focus on your strengths.  Bring in experts EARLY in the areas you don't know or are weak in.
    • Surround yourself with high quality people, because you will have to delegate no matter what
    • Small business has to be super tuned.  You don't have the luxury of mediocrity that big businesses have.
    • Business should use culture to create a sense of family and belonging
    • The key isn't inspiration.  It's work rate.  It's commitment to the idea.

      Surfing and Training

      • Don't train until you throw up.  Animals in nature don't do that.
      • Training for surfing
        • Deep sand running
        • Nose breathing
        • Cold water training (ice bath)
      • Your heart rate is lower (10-15 beats per minute) in water than if you put forth the same effort on land.  Being in water while training helps keep your heart rate down.
        • Hydrostatic training (training in water) is the best way to train
      • For surfing, you must train to be able to hold your breath at a high heart rate because you have a heart rate while paddling into and riding big waves.  So train by jacking your heart rate all the way up, and then holding your breath.  This is very different from holding your breath with a resting heart rate.
        • Go from a full sprint (100% heart rate) to complete stillness
          • This is how you mimic a hold under
        • Training cannot substitute getting pounded by surf.  It can only supplement.
          • You must get used to getting pounded by surf.  There is no substitute for that environment.
          • You have a different gear when you are under true threat - way more than you have in a controlled environment.
        • You can use breathing techniques to lower your heart rate in the water
          • Nose breathing brings your heart rate down
          • Slow your breath down and the heart rate will slow down
      • Two things need to happen when you wipe out:
        • Instantly go into calmness
          • Relax everything.  Go into stillness.
        • Get your heart rate down as quickly as you can
          • Use your legs as little as possible
          • Don't fight when the wave has you
          • Stay as calm as you can to get the longest use of the oxygen you have
      • Surfing and training are a lifestyle.  They are not just about fitness.
      • Train outdoors in the elements as much as possible.  It's more invigorating than a gym or indoor space could ever be.
      • Do headstands and handstands
      • Train to be USEFUL.  Not pumped or ripped.
      • Do headstands and handstands
      • Technique to mimic wipeout: sprint, hold your breathe, roll a few times, then come up and breathe
      • You must be properly hydrated to get more flexible
      • Do vision exercises
      • Wake up before or with the sun
      • You can't bully the ocean.  You can't "win'' the ocean.  You coexist peacefully or she will hurt you.
      Heart
      • Everything is in service to the heart (eating, sleeping, loving).  The heart is the primary piece of the organism.
        • Cardio is at the heart of the exercise regime.
      • The heart connects the science to the spirit.  It's the essence of our being.
        • Consciousness and intuition are not in the brain.  They aren't brain computations.  They are on a different level.  They are matters of the spirit.  The heart is what connects you to them.
        • Intuition sits between the conscious and unconscious self.  The heart is what connects you to intuition.  Trust your heart and your intuition.
          • The unconscious mind moves 32x faster than the conscious mind (this is how people are able to hit 95 mph fastball)
      • Always listen to your heart in the water.  It's wiser than the mind.
        • If your heart is in it, then go.  If it's not, then don't.  It's that simple.
        • Never betray your heart.
      • The heart can make it's own decisions about cardiac control independent of the brain and central nervous system
        • In essence, the heart has it's own brain (40,000 neurons)
        • ''Neurocardiology'' = the study of the relationship between the heart and the brain
      • The heart creates an electromagnetic field that can be measured from several feet away from the body.
        • The magnetic signals radiated by a person's heart can influence the brain rhythms of other people
      • ''Heart'' = someone's ability to go the distance = the spirit to persevere and prevail
      • The heart is the ruler.  The lungs are the healer.
      Leadership and Heroism
      • Compassion is at the heart - the very center - of every hero's journey.  Anyone who lacks compassion is no hero.  Leadership and heroism are powered by compassion.
      • If nobody embraces you as one of their own and shares in your victories, then you don't have shit.  No matter how big of a dog you are.
      • High performing individuals who are compassionate and caring in nature rule in Hawaiian culture
      • Real leadership is all about caring
        • Compassion isn't weakness.  It's true power.
      • The one key emotion is compassion.  You can't be truly heroic without compassion, period.
      • Your integrity must be rock solid to the core
      • There's a lot of fake leadership in business.  All posturing - no care or compassion.
      Self Development
      • "Make sure your dreams are bigger than your memories''
      • Never stop trying new things and improving processes
        • Doing the same routine over and over gets you less and less every time.  Keep introducing new stresses and new variables.
      • Make sure that you're always a novice at something
        • Be willing to subject yourself to being a beginner
        • You will humiliate yourself.  Period.  Do it anyway and don't worry about what people think.
      • We evolve when we try new things.  Try something new - something you suck at.
      • Tap into both physical strength and intelligence
        • Leonardo Da Vinci understood the importance of both.  He possessed legendary physical strength.  This is how he got so much energy.
      • Take your shoes off and connect directly with the earth
      • Getting things wrong is the fastest way to learn
      • Don't try to be multiple things.  Allow them to reveal themselves to you.
      • Getting things wrong is the fastest way to learn.  If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
      • Curiosity and innovation are the breath of life to an entrepreneur
        • Curiosity is the one of the fountains of youth
        • Innovation is just the evolutionary principle commercialized
      • Don't ever use other people as a reference for where you're at.  It's a mistake.
      • Keep the ideas flowing.  You'll have a hundred ideas and two of them will work.
      • Negativity lies in the way you react.  Not in what happened.
      • People love to disguise imperfection with complexity
        • It's not that complex.  The simplest answer is most likely to be right.
      • When you get to the top of a mountain, take a minute to enjoy it.  You deserve it.  Don't immediately run for the next one.
      • Balance is one of the most basic requirements of survival
      • Do everything you can do and feel everything you can.  That's a life.
      Community
      • Community is rooted in physical proximity and emotional understanding
      • You must:
        • Trust in the integrity of the people around you, AND
        • Understand that the exchange will be fair and balanced on both sides
        • If either of these are missing, the system will fall apart under stress
          • Listen for trust and reciprocity in every relationship
      • Representing something that is important to your tribe is how you gain meaning from life
      • Not getting along with your friends or your family or your kids can block you from what you need to do
      • Call people back.  Even if it's a no.
      Breathing
      • The breath and the spirit are connected.  They are one.
        • The breath is the doorway between life and death.  The spirit enters with your first breath and leaves with your last breath.
      • The lung is supposedly flexible enough to stretch over a football field
      • Types of breath training
        • Pranayama
        • Free diving
        • Holotropic breathing techniques
        • Tummo
        • Wim Hof
        • Oxygen Advantage
      • You can do the most stressful breathing techniques lying down on the ground, anywhere
      • Drive the breath into the groin to create lung expansion
      • Breath awareness can be done anywhere, any time
        • Ways to play with breathing: slow it down, speed it up, go deeper, take bigger gaps between breaths
      • If you're not nose breathing, you're running half empty
      • Anyone that does breath work will bring it back to meditation
      • Learn how to become more CO2 tolerant through breathing techniques
      • Do breath work on an empty stomach
      • Oxygen = energy
        • Every process in the body is connected to oxygen.  It's the top priority.
      • Singing is closely tied to breath.  Singing is breath.
      • Conscious breathing = breathing you can listen to
        • Listen to nothing but your own breathing, and focus on it.  Any time, any where.  This is meditation and can be quite addictive.
      Nature and the Ocean
      • Hawaiian ancients believed that all time is now
        • The present is not in opposition to the past or the future.  The present is the whole time.  The present is the complete, whole fullness of time.
      • With nature, you don't have to decide between science and spirituality.  Nature is both.
      • Green = signifies nature = calming color
      • In nature, sweet means safe to eat
      • Only 2-3% of the ocean has been surveyed.
      • Half of the people in the world don't go in the ocean
      • Evolution is smarter than humans and it's not exclusive to humans, so the Earth will evolve to purge itself of humans if we don't rightfully care for it.
      • Technology must be in service to the human, not the other way around.
      • The ocean provides the material of adventure, heroism, darkness and fear
      • The ocean needs it's own country, with a flag and a military
        • Militarized ocean protection is the only way to prevent abuses
      • NGOs aren't the answer to the climate crisis.  It's the government.  It's political.
      • Get people in the ocean.  It's the only way to get people to care.  If you don't care, you won't act.
      • We've killed over 90% of the fish in the ocean
      • Survival of individual interests vs. survival of the ocean.  These are the two forces at odds with each other.
        • Survival of the species depends on survival of the ocean


      Saturday, January 9, 2021

      Book Notes - Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

      I enjoyed this book and I think it was a good time to read it.  Reading anthropology gave me some perspective on otherwise crazy recent world events.  Below are some of my favorite pieces of information from the book.  I have not independently verified these facts, but I believe them to be accurate enough that I am willing to share them.  I will update this blog if any of the facts presented are conclusively disproven by trustworthy authority.
      • Buddhism is older than Islam.   Buddhism started 2,500 years ago.  Islam 1,400. (Timeline of History)
      • Chimpanzees are the closest human relative. (p. 5)
      • Chimps spend 5 hours per day chewing food.  Humans spend only 1 hour per day (thanks to cooking).  (p. 12)
      • The Indonesian island of Flores once had a species of dwarf people who got no bigger than 3.5 feet tall and 50 pounds. (p. 7)
      • From about 2 million years ago until about 10,000 years ago, there were several different human species living on earth at the same time. (p. 8)
      • The brain accounts for 2-3% of your total body weight, but consumes 25% of the body's energy when the body is at rest. (p. 9)
      • Eagles identify thermal columns rising from the ground and allow the air to lift them upwards. (p. 13)
      • Humans are the only animal that engage in trade.  (p. 35-36)
      • The first humans in America encountered rodents the size of bears, oversized lions, giant ground sloths 20 feet tall and weighing 8 tons, mammoths and mastodons.  Within 2,000 years humans killed most of them. (p. 70-72)
      • On Madascar, elephant birds and giant lemurs both went extinct about the same time humans arrived on the island.  Elephant birds were flightless, 10 feet tall and weighed almost 1/2 ton.  (p. 72-73)
      • In the early 19th century imperial Britain outlawed slavery and stopped the Atlantic slave trade.  Slavery was gradually outlawed throughout the Americas in the following decades.  This is was the first and only time in history a large number of slaveholding societies voluntarily abolished slavery. (p. 141-142)
      • Tomatoes, chili peppers and cocoa are all from Mexico.  They reached Europe and Asia only after the Spaniards reached Mexico.  (p. 170)
      • There were no horses in America in 1492.  Horses were brought to America by Europeans. (p. 170)
      • More than 90% of all money exists only on computer servers. (p. 178)
      • The Aztec Empire was smaller than today's Mexico. (p. 190-191)
      • ''A person who does not crave cannot suffer." (p. 226)
      • Memes are cultural information units. (p. 242)
      • Admitting ignorance made science more dynamic, supple and inquisitive.  (p. 253)  I believe that admitting ignorance makes a person more dynamic, supple and inquisitive as well.  
      • "The real test of knowledge is not whether it is true, but whether it empowers us.'' (p. 259)
      • Average life expectancy is around 80 in the developed world. (p. 269)
      • Genetic engineers have successfully doubled the life expectancy of certain worms. (p. 270)
      • A few serious scholars suggest that by 2050, some humans will become a-mortal (meaning they won't die unless killed by an accident). (p. 271)
      • The native population dropped by up to 90% upon European arrival to Australia and New Zealand. (p. 277)
      • In 1775, Asia accounted for 80% of the world economy.  India and China together accounted for 2/3 of the world's total production.  By 1950, Western Europe and the U.S. together accounted for 1/2 of the world's economy and China's share was reduced to 5%.  (p. 280)
      • Admitting ignorance is the beginning of learning. (see p. 284)
      • Local Aztec enemies helped Cortez siege the Aztec Empire because they didn't know they would fall under control of the greedy and racist Spanish regime which was far worse than the Aztecs.  (p. 295)
      • British imperial policies in Bangladesh caused a famine which killed 1/3 of the Bengali population (10 million people) in about 5 years.  (p. 301-302)
      • Culturalism is the new racism.  You know longer say, ''it's in their blood.''  You say, ''it's in their culture.'' (p. 303)
      • Capital flows into states which uphold the rule of law and private property.  (p. 318-319)
      • Indonesia was ruled by a private Dutch company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) for close to 200 years (around 1603 to around 1800).  (p. 321-322).  
      • India was ruled by a private British company (British East India Company) for about 100 years until 1858.  (p. 325)
      • Hong Kong remained in British control until 1997. (p. 326)
      • 70% of the African slaves imported to America worked on sugar plantations. (p. 330)
      • Shares of slave trading companies were sold publicly on Dutch, English and French stock exchanges.  (p. 331) 
      • The problem with free market capitalism is it cannot ensure that profits are made in a fair way or distributed fairly.  (p. 331)
      • Monkeys separated from their mothers were emotionally disturbed and suffered from high levels of anxiety and aggression.  (p. 344-345)
      • England was the first country to adapt a national timetable in 1847. (p. 354)
      • In Medieval European cities there was typically a single, giant clock mounted on a high tower in the town square.  (p. 354)
      • 3rd world discontent is fomented by exposure to 1st world standards.  (p. 384)
      • People are only made happy by pleasant sensations in their bodies.  Nothing else. (p. 386)
      • "From a purely scientific standpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning.'' (p. 391) 




      Monday, December 28, 2020

      The Surfing Machine: 10 Reasons To Surf

      2020 has been a banner year for me.  I kicked 2020 square in the nuts.  I'm realizing my dream of living in Mexico and learning Spanish.  I live right, smack on the Pacific Ocean.  I hear the waves crashing when I fall asleep at night, then I wake up and ride them.  I finally learned how to surf here, and I have been surfing twice per day.  Surfing is at the center of my long term plans.  I have big goals for 2021 and beyond.  Bigger goals than ever.  But I'm not telling anybody what they are.  Not even my Mom or my best friends.  Nobody. 

      I do the same things every day.  I surf in the morning, work at the coffee shop in the afternoon, then surf again in the evenings.  It's been cold in the mornings and I have been the only person on the water.  I've been doing dawn patrol by myself each morning since I stopped working with my instructor.  We went out together every morning until I learned the basics, but now I am on my own.  I keep going out alone every day, even though I miss my coach.  Surfing with friends is always more fun, but if I want to be a surfer then I will be surfing mostly alone for the time being.  

      There have been no other surfers out in the mornings and nobody on the beach except for a few local fisherman.  The fishermen are the only ones out there to see my good rides and my good wipeouts.  I've been surfing at such a feverish pace that I have given a myself a new nickname: The Surfing Machine.  Surfing took hold of me so quickly and so mightily that I have already asked myself many times why I'm doing it.  There is no single answer.  There are many.  This list is not exhaustive, but here are 10 reasons I surf:

      1) Surfing makes me a happier and therefore better person.  
      • I am kinder and more generous to people on land because I am energized by surfing.  Surfing  improves my attitude and energy level for the whole day.  Surfing relieves stress and elevates my whole sense of being.
      2) Surfing is great exercise.  
      • I know of nothing - and I mean nothing - that burns more calories than surfing.  Surfing will help you lose weight.  It will also improve your cardio, even if you are a already high-level professional athlete.
      3) Surfing is a great way to make new friends.  
      • The surfing world is full of interesting people.  I've already gotten to take surf trips with my local friends here in Mexico.  Of course, being able to speak and understand the local language is key.
      4) Surfing connects me with nature.  
      • It makes me completely present.  I'm focused purely on what I am doing.  I'm not thinking about anything else.  All distractions cease to exist while I am out there on the waves.  It's an escape from "land problems" - the bullshit government and the bullshit people in my life mean nothing on the water.  Civilization could crash and burn and I wouldn't even notice, let alone care.
      5) Surfing is fun for it's own sake.
      • The sensation of dropping down the face of a wave and riding along the surface of the water is priceless.  The feeling could never be described adequately.  It can't be captured by words.  It's something that must be experienced.  It must be felt.  There's a saying: ''only a surfer knows the feeling."  This is the feeling I speak of.
      6) Surfing provides schedule structure.
      • My day follows the surf schedule.  I surf in the mornings because that is when the surfing conditions are best, and before the sun is too high.  I surf again in the evenings for the same reasons: good surf and low sun.  I do my research and writing during the day because that is when I'm not surfing.  I eat and sleep in order to fuel up for surf sessions - there's almost no other reason.  I live to surf.
      7) Surfing demands endless learning.
      • Surfing is an art.  Like any art, it takes a lifetime to master.  A real artist never stops learning about his art.  There are endless dimensions to surfing.  Every surfer is also an amateur naturalist, oceanographer, weatherman, medic, handyman, geographer, cook, nutritionist, linguist and travel agent.  You keep learning for life.  
      8) Surfing demands self-sufficiency.
      • Surfing engraves a self-sufficient ethic deep into your core, through fear.  Being out there in big surf, all alone, on a small piece of fiberglass is humbling.  You realize that you and you alone are responsible for your well being.  Whether you have a great experience, or a near death experience, depends purely on your skills and the decisions you make.  Show me a great surfer and I'll show you someone who is remarkably self-sufficient.  They had to be self-sufficient in order to become a great surfer.  Surfing, by nature, targets and weeds out excuses for not surfing.
      9) Surfing is a reason to travel.
      • I can't think of a better way to see the world than through an endless string of surf trips.  This idea is so appealing that they made two movies out of it: Endless Summer I and II.  These movies are classic hits, and they continue to be the beginning of the surfing journey for thousands of people.  People absolutely lust over the idea of travelling the world surfing.  I'm living that fantasy as we speak, and I plan to keep it up as long as possible.  
      10) Surfing is a reason to care about the environment.
      • The first time you get diarrhea or a skin infection from polluted water, you will know what I'm talking about.  The first time you arrive at an isolated beach to find it covered in trash, you will know what I am talking about. 
      After my morning surf, I walk about a half mile to the coffee shop to do my deskwork.  I arrive at roughly the same time and sit at roughly the same spot every day.   I know everyone who works here by their first name, and they know me.  I greet them every time I come in.  They must laugh at me because I am so predictable.  They joke with me that the coffee shop is my office - and it is.  I show up every day, like clockwork.  Except on Wednesdays because they are closed.  If they were open on Wednesdays, I'd show up on Wednesdays, too.  I do research and writing at the coffee shop every day until it's time to surf again.

      Nobody makes me do any of this. Nobody checks my time card to see if I showed up.  Nobody cares.  That's what I like about it.  I don't have a boss.  I show up because I want to.  I show up because surfing means living the dream I've had since I was a kid.   Living my childhood dreams gives me a great sense of pleasure, satisfaction and accomplishment.   Learning to surf wasn't easy.  It took dedication, drive and commitment - but living out my childhood dreams is incredibly gratifying.  It's so gratifying that I've decided to keep doing it forever.  I plan to perpetually follow the desires of my inner child: the one who wants to do nothing but have fun all the time.

      The success of my life and my career will be measured in only one currency: how much fun I have.  Not by how much money I make.  Not by how many girls like me.  Not by how many people read my blog.  Not by any position or rank I hold.  Only by how much fun I have.  I am going to live this lifestyle as long as I can, and I am going to share updates.  So stay tuned.  The coming years are going to be humdingers.  2020 was just a warm up.  I have only begun to surf.

      Living this lifestyle is serious business, though.  It's not for everybody.  Freedom must be balanced by responsibility, or it will turn into chaos.  It takes a strong backbone and a strong moral compass to live this free.  You have to remain focused on your goals, or you will fall off track.  There are plenty of ex-pats who leave their country claiming to be on some righteous mission, but don't have anywhere near the discipline or dedication to actually follow through on their commitments.

      There are plenty of guys down here in Mexico who claim that they are "learning Spanish.''  Some of them have lived here for more than a year and still can't even ask for a menu in Spanish, let alone order from it.  I stay away from these guys.  

      There are also plenty of guys who are "learning to surf.''  They have a board and speak surfing lingo well enough to fool non-surfers into thinking they know what they are doing.  This ruse ends the moment they hit the water.  Whether you have been surfing or not, your skills will show it.  When it comes time to paddle out, you will not fool anybody - least of all, yourself.

      The only reason I even mention these guys is because I am tired of being mistaken for them.  I've been putting in the work every day.  It takes time to develop real skills like Spanish and surfing, and only time will tell who has been putting in the work and who hasn't.  

      But make no mistake about it: time will tell the truth.  The bums will remain bums, and those who've been putting the work will graduate to new levels.  I've never been more excited about things to come.

      Saturday, November 14, 2020

      Thank You

      Thank you
      For doing the right thing
      Even though no one saw
      And probably never will

      Thank you
      For being kind to others
      Even on the hard days
      Especially on the hard days

      Thank you
      For picking up trash
      At the beach
      And protecting the environment

      Thank you
      For tipping your food servers
      Each time you get a coffee or snack
      That money goes farther than you know

      Thank you
      For paying good deeds forward
      The only responsibility of a lucky person
      Is to make sure others get lucky too

      Saturday, November 7, 2020

      A Triumphant Victory For Democracy: Let The Trump Roasting Begin

      Let the Trump roasting begin.  Boy, have I waited a long time to say that.  It feels like decades.  The only question now is what's going to hit Trump's desk first: Melania's divorce papers or the sealed indictment from New York for tax fraud.  I hope he's served both at the same time in one giant shit sandwich.  I hope he chokes on it and pukes.  Fuck him.

      Now, what to do with Trump supporters.  I'm not surprised to learn that America is just less than 50% assholes.  That part doesn't surprise me.  What does surprise me is the number of non-white people who voted for Trump.  I realize "non-white'' is a vague category, but Donald Trump is a racist.  So if I were even close to anything other than white, I would vote against Trump at all costs.  I realize people have their reasons, but I don't find any of them persuasive.  If you can hate one type of people, then you can hate all types of people.  If you aren't white then Donald Trump and the people like him hate you.  

      I've always wished the assholes of the world would just wear asshole hats so I could tell them apart from the people with good sense and decency.  Now they do.  "Make America Great Again."  It might as well be a dunce cap.  Now it's easy to tell who they are.  Some of them were scared enough to stay in closet.  But a lot of them came out.  There's no revenge to be taken.  None is necessary.  Just knowledge that this person is an ignoramus and lacks either decency, good sense or both.

      On the bright side, this is a triumphant victory for democracy and for the entire free world.  It's the first time I'm aware of that a dictator has tried to take control of the United States from the inside with almost enough pieces in place to pull it off.  There's no telling what kind of horrors would have ensued if Trump had won a second term.  We can only thank God.  And roast the shit out of Trump.  That's what we should do.  We should roast the shit out of Trump.  That motherfucker deserves to be roasted, divorced and taken to prison on tax fraud charges.  I wish all of that on him.

      Democrats still need to take control of the Senate for the United States to have a functional government, but this was an existential victory.  The United States could not have survived four more years of Trump without a war.  We were a razor's edge from unmitigated disaster.  I would not have fought or died in that war.  I would have gone somewhere else to surf.  Which is exactly what I did.  I went to Mexico - pretty much the only country on earth right now that will let Americans like me visit.  It's ironic because one of Trump's major campaign promises was to shit all over Mexico.  "Build that wall and make Mexico pay for it.''  Nonetheless, Mexico has still been kind enough to let me live here for the past seven months.  I love Mexico.  Fuck Donald Trump.

      "But not everyone who voted for Donald Trump is racist."  

      The hell they aren't.  Condoning racism is being racist.  Voting for a racist is condoning racism.  Thus, voting for a racist is being racist by condoning it.  No Trump voter can deny that.  They knew he was a racist and they decided it wasn't a dealbreaker.  Some of them have been victims of racism themselves, and they still voted for him.  This is horrific.

      Biden won the election, but America still has a lot of maturing to do.  It never should have come to this.  Some Republican should have taken Donald Trump behind the woodshed and slapped the living shit out of him for making all Republicans look bad.  But none of them did.  None of those cowards had the guts to stand up to Trump.  They all supported him.  Phony, spineless bastards.  They knew exactly what Trump was doing and they supported him, anyway.  Fuck every one of them.  I've been an independent my whole life until this election cycle.  Trump made a Democrat out of me.  Thanks to Trump, I got a good look at the swamp - and it's full of Republicans.  The closer they got to Trump, the dirtier of a bastard they are.  Trump is a magnet for dirty bastards.  They hover around him like flies on a fresh turd.  

      Trump is the perfect litmus test.  Indecent people approve of Trump.  Decent people don't.  It really is that simple.  How do you know who's decent and who's not?  By how they responded to having a racist President.  Did they condemn it and vote for Joe Biden, or did they justify it and vote for Donald Trump?  Ignorance is no excuse.  They had four years to figure it out.  If you voted for Trump, that is a red flag indicator that you are either: 1) an asshole who knew he was a racist and voted for him anyway, or 2) you are a dope who didn't recognize that he is a racist after four years of racist behavior.  Either way, I don't trust your judgement and I'll find other people to get along with.

      If this election proved one thing, it's that there are still a lot of racists and people who condone racism.  Just less than 50%.  Racists and enablers are a minority, but just barely.  Yikes.  How is that possible?Through denial.  The devil's greatest trick is convincing the world he didn't exist.  The simplest and most effective form of racism is denying that it exists.  Trump voters all became masters of denying racism.  Some of them can intellectualize it for hours.  The better they are at intellectualizing it, the more sinister of a bastard they are.  Articulate racists are the worst kind.  I wouldn't put Trump in that category.  He was just a racist.  Not a smart one.  The smart ones are worse.

      And there are smart racists.  Racism is a character flaw.  It's not measured in IQ.  There is a strong correlation between being stupid and being a racist, but they are not the same.  Being racist is a choice.  It's a learned behavior.  It's learned mostly by stupid people, but sometimes by smart ones too.  I loathe the day that a more intelligent and self-aware version of Donald Trump comes along, but I don't think this is possible.  Donald Trump's two defining characteristics are his stupidity and his lack of self-awareness: so a person with even of an ounce of intelligence or self-awareness would, by definition, be nothing like Trump.  So I guess we've got that going for us.

      In closing, I'll say that I've never been more proud to be an American and I've never been more relieved.  Our system worked despite an all out war against it from the inside.  This is borderline miraculous and took a nation full of heroes to endure.  To all the Biden voters out there, I thank you.  To all the Trump voters, go thank a Biden voter for pulling your weight you racist asshole.

      Tuesday, October 27, 2020

      You Don't Have Mail: A Gut Punch From God

      My voting ballot is stuck in the mail in Mexican customs.  I have until Nov. 3rd to mail it in.  The chances of me receiving it before then are slim to none.  It might take weeks to get here.  It might never get here.  To say that I am hurt, angry and disappointed is an understatement.  It's more accurate to say that I am devastated, livid and completely disgusted.  

      My mail disappeared in Mexico City on October 14th, and since then my life has been full of anxiety and rage.  My Mom mailed my ballot to me from my permanent residence in San Diego.  She mailed the ballot to me as soon as she received it on October 6th.  The post office told her that it would arrive to me in Mexico within two weeks.  Here we are three weeks later, and I still don't have my ballot.  We launched an inquiry with the post office and it turns that my mail was held up at customs - which is where it still sits at the moment.

      Had I known this would happen, I would have told my Mom to overnight my mail to me.  It would have cost her $50, but I would have told her to pay it.  I've been waiting four years to vote in this election.  I hated Trump in 2016 and I've hated him more every day since.  I couldn't wait to vote in this year's election.  I considered it not only my duty as an American, but my duty as a citizen of the world.  I saw photos of people standing in line for hours to vote early and felt an immense sense of pride that these people cared enough to show up and go through that in order to vote.

      I sent my Mom my Mexican address in plenty of time to get my ballot.  My Mom wasted no time sending the ballot to me.  She sent it as soon as she received it, and she trusted the post office at their word that I would get it within two weeks.  But I didn't get it within two weeks, and now I am not going to be able to vote at all unless my ballot miraculously arrives within the next few days - which is highly unlikely.

      I am in Mexico spending my days surfing, swimming and doing yoga.  I should arguably be the happiest person in the world.  But I'm not.  Far from it.  I am deeply distraught.  I am furious that my mail isn't here.  Furious at the post office for giving my Mom a false timetable.  Furious at Mexican customs for holding my mail for no good reason.  Furious at my Mom for choosing snail mail out of all the available options.  But most of all, I am furious at myself for allowing this to happen.  I thought I had done everything I needed to do to get my ballot on time, but I didn't.

      I feel like I have literally failed the entire world.  I had one job, and I failed to do it.  I feel like a complete piece of shit.  On top of that, my paycheck was also in the same envelope as my ballot.  So now I have no paycheck and no voting ballot until Mexican customs feels like forwarding my mail to me - which could be never.

      The anxiety and uncertainty has really taken a toll on me.  I have not enjoyed the last several days and have spent most of the time distraught.  Even when I'm out on the water, I'm thinking about this colossal fuck-up and how it could have and should have been avoided.  This has taken all the wind out of my sails and I don't feel motivated to do much of anything.  I feel like the entire universe has conspired against me and the things I work for can be taken from me at any second by forces outside of my control.  In short, I've never felt so weak and powerless in my entire life.  My paycheck and my voting ballot are both being held hostage right now - against my will and for no apparent reason.  

      Living the dream in Mexico?  My asshole.

      Book Notes - Pipe Dreams by Kelly Slater

      Fear of Big Waves As a kid, he thought anything over the 2 footers his Dad was catching was a pipe dream Watched the Pipeline Pro as a kid a...