Surf stoke = Life stoke. Receive the gifts.

On my way to San Diego for a good friend’s wedding, I started watching Chasing Mavericks on the plane. The surf film is about Jay Moriarity, a rising surf star (surfing big wave Mavericks in Nor Cal at age 16) and all around waterman, until he died at age 22. I finished the movie on the flight back to HNL, on January 1st.

Jay’s video clip at the end of the movie was incredibly moving, and perfectly aligned with a “realization” I had on December 31st. He said,

You just got to appreciate everything. Um, I think that’s one of the most important things in life, is just really appreciating it. Because you know, we only get to do this once. And it’s not for a long time, so enjoy it.

It completely resonated with what I was telling my friend Anita, the night before on New Year’s Eve. She commented on how I seem high on life and super positive and chill. Her husband attributed it to surf culture. But it’s not really surf culture.. which to me, drums up images of Surfer magazine, surf competitions, shaka signs and slippas. Instead, I realized, it’s surf STOKE. To be stoked from surfing, and about surfing, to me, is to be stoked from life and about life. Surfing is life – its lessons, unpredictability, beauty, and gifts. Every wave that I ride (or attempt to ride), unique to every other, is a gift. Just like every moment in life, unique to every other, is a gift. This is linked to my Coachella epiphany from last March – because no moment of life is the same, and because we can only live life once, every moment is singular and special… it’s never going to happen again. So how can we not appreciate all the singular, special moments which will never happen again? And because we don’t know what future gifts are coming our way, life is just so damn amazing… we keep on getting these surprise gifts!

The Universe grants a lot of gifts. We just have to be ready and willing to receive them. Like the sunrise.. before surfing (so before age 30), I probably saw only a handful of sunrises in my life (and half of them was from staying up too late). I wasn't awake to receive the gifts. But now, I wake up before the sun rises the majority of the week. I’m awake, and often in the water, so I am able to receive what the Universe is offering every morning. Each and every single sunrise is different, some more memorable than others, but each one a gift. If you’ve never surfed during sunrise, I’d highly recommend it. To be in the big body of the ocean as the sky changes colors around you (go 30 minutes before sunrise to witness the color transitions) and then the color of the water changes as well from the reflection, is one of the most incredible experiences of this world. WAKE UP. RECEIVE THE GIFTS. How many gifts can we receive in this lifetime? Countless.

For 2018, I’m going to kindly ask for (well, more importantly, work towards) two gifts: a) Finally properly duck dive; and b) make turns consistently and carve. Thanks so much, Universe! In 2018 and beyond.. may the swell be with us <3