Zeb Walsh -- prone paddling Bass Straight, winning Molokai 2 Oahu, big wave rescue training
In episode 97, we hear the stories of professional athlete and man of the water, James Casey, who takes us down his path from a young grom taking his beatings in Hawaiian surf to the dominant standup paddle boarder he is today, winning the infamous Molokai 2 Oahu paddle race on his SUP in 2019. James’s stories and perspectives on his love for coaching and foiling, traveling the world, running camps in Thailand and the Maldives, and commitment to family are fun and inspirational. I was lucky enough to have time with James before he took off from his home in Sydney to fly out for the Red Bull Heavy Water event in San Francisco.
Highlights of our conversation:
In episode 95 I speak with Kevin Dunn, founder and operator of BurnOut Suncare, one of the first environmentally-friendly and health conscious sunscreens to hit the market almost 20 years ago. Kevin takes us through his days of living and surfing on Maui, traveling and surfing Indonesia, to his kitchen where he made his first batch of sunscreen. We hear of Kevin’s focus to make a sunscreen that lasted in the water while being healthy for both people and the planet, the challenges he faced early on with bringing this, then niche, product to market, and the amazing reaction to his sunscreen that the market has had since. Kevin shares his knowledge of the chemicals and ingredients used in sunscreens, their effects on people and corals, and gives us a great overview of what ‘reef safe’ really means. We talk global warming, ocean acidification, and the effects that sunscreen chemicals have on corals with mention of some of the responses that places like Palau and Hawaii have taken to help protect their coral reefs from these chemicals. Kevin also shares his philosophy of Burnout Suncare and his drive to minimize every aspect of their environmental impact.
To get 50% off your order of Burnout Suncare products, go to their website at www.burnoutsun.com and enter the code ‘ThisOceanLife50’. My family and I use Burnout exclusively and absolutely love it — check it out!
In episode 93 we check in with Brian and Robyn Cooper, a family from Santa Cruz, CA who, with their 2 daughters, left it all behind 9 months prior to live a dream of sailing in the South Pacific. Brian and Robyn describe their first few months of learning their sailboat Renegade, the ins and outs of sailing among the islands and reefs of Fiji, and developing confidence in their sailing capabilities. The Coopers share perspective on traveling in the outer Fijian Islands, surfing incredible waves, diving, fishing, boat-schooling the kids, and spending time in many local villages where they’ve learned and embraced the Fijian culture. We hear of how the family is adapting to life afloat and how their daughters, ages 9 and 12, are growing and changing as result of spending tons of time in the ocean and interacting with the Fijian culture. Brian and Robyn talk about the next major part of their trip which takes them over a 10-day passage to New Zealand then over to Indonesia and other epic parts of the South Pacific.
In episode 92 I speak with a good friend and legend, Pat Shaughnessy, a world class big wave surfer and prone board paddler. Pat takes us through the past few years of focusing his summers on lifeguarding at Santa Cruz beaches and competing in both the Catalina Classic and Molokai 2 Oahu paddle board races with stories of dealing with the physical and mental challenges of these long distance events. Pat takes us through the evolution of his surfing from competitive shortboarding in his early teens to following his sister, Savannah, to Mavericks for his first big wave introduction. We hear of Pat taking a cautious first few years at Mavericks before things clicking for him and finding his true love for big wave surfing and being invited to compete in the 3 recent Mavericks contests. Pat talks about his crew in the line-up, continued inspiration from his sister in big waves, no-leash days at Puerto Escondido, and spending time to help the next generation find their stoke for big waves.
In episode 90 I speak with a friend and local hero of mine, Tyler Conroy, who has built a well rounded ocean life for himself in Santa Cruz, CA. Tyler shares his stories of learning to surf as a young teen and moving quickly into some of the heavier Northern California water, his time in Jr Lifeguards, and transition into surfing big waves. We hear of Tyler’s first session at Mavericks, some of the local legends who coached him into his first waves, and surfing Mavs with his group of close friends and wife, Savannah. Tyler talks about the lineup at Mavericks, working jet ski rescue in big waves, his breath hold training, love for spearfishing, and progression on the foil (and challenges of the sport here in cold, kelpy, Santa Cruz).
Thanks for sharing Tyler’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Tyler on Instagram.
In episode 89 I speak with Luke Adolfson, a surfer and diver focusing his energy into pursuing happiness in the waters of Maui. Luke shares stories of surfing on Maui, surfing local WQS contests, and his time over the past years pushing himself at Peahi (Jaws). We hear of Luke’s world travel surfing Indo, South Africa, and more with time spent helping those less fortunate with missionary work to Uganda. Luke shares his perspective on the youth of Maui today and the energy he and others in the community are putting into helping the kids stay focused on their goals in life and finding happiness on that beautiful island. Luke and I replay a recent story of a close call with a boat when spearfishing together off of Napili and hear of Luke’s pursuit of breath holding and apnea training.
Thanks for sharing Luke’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Luke on Instagram.
In episode 87 I speak with Johnny Kahakaloha, a man who has found his calling on land and the water of Maui. Johhny talks story of moving to Maui and immersing himself in local Hawaiian culture within the town of Kahakuloa where he learned how to live off of the land and be in harmony with the natural world around him, all while remotely running a highly successful record label company. Johnny tells the story of his entry into the world of paddling starting with the outrigger canoe and moving to the SUP where today Johnny is a regular in the waves and downwind courses on Maui. We hear of the strong community of Maui board paddlers and people who have influenced Johnny to take on one of the biggest paddle challenges on the planet, Molokai 2 Oahu. Johnny shares his story of deciding to paddle M2O in 2019 three weeks before the race and his intense training he went through to prepare. Johnny then shares a super heavy story of being stuck in 30-knot wind less than 2-miles from the M2O finish line and having to dig deep to persevere and finish the race. Throughout, we hear a great perspective from Johnny on finding and pursuing passion in life.
Thanks for sharing Johnny’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Johnny on Instagram.
In this episode of Stoked Grom Stories I talk with Bobo Gallagher, a young man who is loving his life in the waters of Maui. Bobo shares stories of getting hooked on surfing after riding his first wave, the first time he picked up a paddle and surfed SUP, and his discovery of downwinding. We hear about the great support Bobo has from his family and crew of friends in the water who help him train and learn the ocean. Bobo talks about his love for foiling in the surf and downwind and shares his thoughts on the new foil wing and what it’s like downwinding in the Hood River Gorge in Oregon. Bobo does a great job answering the lightning round of questions and shows a lot of great character and passion for his ocean life.
Thanks for sharing Bobo’s ocean life with us. You can find pictures of him ripping on Instagram.
In episode 83 we hear the stories of Mick Slattery around his world of surfing and running SureFire Boards in his home waters of Sydney, Australia. Mick takes us through his time as a grom being in the Nipper program (Jr Lifeguard), moving from the bodyboard to surfboard, leading to hollow barrels and epic waves in the Mentawis. We hear of Mick’s first SUP session way back in 2009 that brought him to experimenting with SUP shaping and design which ultimately brought him to building his SureFire Board company. Mick talks philosophy behind his board design and the importance of delivering high quality to his customers. We hear stories of Mick interviewing and surfing with some of the biggest legends of the sport like Kai Lenny and Gerry Lopez and a fun tale of beating a brand new rental truck in the sand dunes with Laird Hamilton.
Thanks for sharing Mick’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check out photos and videos of Mick on Instagram and Facebook. Vote for SureFire Boards to be SUP Brand of the Year!!