Surfing

Episode 124: Sean McClenahan

Sean McClenahan -- towing Jaws on the skimboard, big waves and family dedication on Maui

** Interview episode 124 **

Today we talk story with Sean McClenahan, skim boarder, surfer, skater, family man, and much more. Sean takes us through his days surfing the left at Jaws, including the story of his personal biggest wave this last winter of 2019. We hear of Sean’s dedication to the sport of skim boarding, his favorite spots, growing the sport in the Hawaiian Islands as a skim boarding ambassador, and through his training business, SkimHawaii. Sean tells a gnarly story of paddling out at Jaws on his skim board for a tow session (which you gotta check out on YouTube). As a dedicated a family man, Sean talks about raising ocean-focused kids on Maui and tells the story of helping his 9 year old son Asher, a full charger in his own right, score an absolute freight train barrel at Honolua Bay (another video clip you’ll lose your mind over). Really great perspective today from Sean, a man well focused on his family, the ocean, and finding new limits in the water. Next time you’re on Maui — go check him out and throw a skimboard with him.

If you like what you hear on the podcast today, I appreciate you following This Ocean Life on your podcast app and/or sharing with a friend. Hope everyone is well and safe. You can find more fun stuff on the ThisOceanLife.TV websiteInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Host: Josh Pederson, @surfpaddletailgate  

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Today’s sponsors: LiveCrepic.com — use the coupon code Ocean20 to get 20% off any purchase of their rad hats, shirts, and more. Mile22.com — grab a pair of Monster Straps for 20% off when you enter the coupon code TOL15.

Check out the This Ocean Life blog now available and sign-up for the bi-weekly newsletter to stay informed on all the latest podcast episodes, articles, news, and more.

This Ocean Life Podcast Sean McClenahan

Stoked Grom Stories: Bella and Leila

Stoked Grom Stories: Bella and Leia -- surfing, diving, fun in the Outer Banks

** Stoked Grom Stories #9 **

Born and raised in the legendary Outer Banks of North Carolina, two great friends, Bella and Leila, share their stories with us today. As young women of the water, Bella and Leila, take us through their local surf scene describing the waves, the community, and the quiver of boards they ride. Bella and Leila share perspective on charging hurricane swells, travel, and representing the next generation of water woman in their area. With their well rounded skills in the ocean, the girls also talk story of freediving local shipwrecks, paddling, teaching surf lessons, and much more. Tons of fun stuff with these two stoked groms today —I hope you enjoy.

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Today’s sponsors: LiveCrepic.com — use the coupon code Ocean20 to get 20% off any purchase of their rad hats, shirts, and more. Mile22.com — grab a pair of Monster Straps for 20% off when you enter the coupon code TOL15.

Check out the This Ocean Life blog now available and sign-up for the bi-weekly newsletter to stay informed on all the latest podcast episodes, articles, news, and more.

This Ocean Life Bella and Leila

Blog article: Legends Never Die

Legends Never Die: They Live On Within Us

By Mike McDaniel – July 18, 2020

The passing of Big Dave King on July 3rd 2020 came as a gut punch to the surf and waterman community of Santa Cruz. Dave embodied everything good about the surf and paddling lifestyle, and had a big smile for everyone he met. Full of pure Hawaiian aloha, he was more than loved—he was beloved—by an entire town. And at six foot nine (or ten?) he was looked up to—literally and figuratively—by everyone. He was the guy we all hoped we could be, someday; a grounded, genuine, surf-stoked grom. In his middle sixties.

This Ocean Life Blog Dave King

He was the guy we all hoped we could be, someday; a grounded, genuine, surf-stoked grom. In his middle sixties.

Dave had a stroke back in March of 2019, and although his road to recovery was going to be long and bumpy, nobody doubted that Dave would endure that journey, and emerge victorious. But sometimes, fate has other plans. Big Dave passed at home on July 3rd, surrounded by his loved ones.

Only a few days later, I heard of the passing of another surfer/friend, Chuy Venegas. The name might tip you off; Chuy was a friend from Mexico. He lived his entire life in a small surf/fishing village in the Mexican state of Nayarit, that I happened to inhabit for eleven years. In those years, my relationship with Chuy evolved from fear to tolerance, to some sort of compatibility and eventually, to friendship. It was another long bumpy road, punctuated with tense exchanges and middle fingers. But as is often the case, harsh words and puffed up chests sometimes hide soft hearts.

I purchased my first prone paddleboard from Big Dave almost twenty years ago. We were introduced by our mutual friend Zach Wormhoudt. At the annual Pier 2 Pier race in Santa Cruz Zach called Dave over and said “Mike is looking for a used paddleboard, do you have one for sale?” Dave said he had two boards for sale, and asked if I wanted to follow him over to his house to check them out. Thirty minutes later we were in his back yard, checking out his quiver, five beautiful boards racked neatly. I knew very little about prone boards at that point. Dave gave me a quick education, and suggested I try out a couple of them. That was easy because he lived two houses away from the beach. Dave was a realtor, and said “I have to go show a house, but I’ll be back in about an hour and a half. Just help yourself to my boards, even the ones not for sale. Figure out if you like it, first. Then we’ll talk when I get back.” I went paddling alone.

We made a deal when he got back, and I had my first prone board, an 18 foot Richmond that looked like a giant ocean-piercing spear. I had almost enough cash on me… I was a hundred dollars short of the thousand that he hoped for. I offered to run to the ATM, but he said “Nine hundred is fine, it’s a deal.” I considered him a friend from that day forward, the day I met him. And I looked forward to all the Santa Cruz paddleboard races and events, at least partially because I knew Dave would be there. Dave was impossible not to like.

It was definitely possible to not like Chuy. But even though he was the grouchy enforcer in a surf town known for producing talent, and often had harsh words for tourists and expat gringoes living in ‘his town’, or anybody that rubbed him the wrong way, I wanted to like him. That took effort. He was fluent in multiple languages including English, profane in all of them, and his edges were perpetually rough. At times, he seemed like a grenade, ready to explode and take out the whole beach.

I came in from a surf one afternoon, where I caught a bunch of waves. I was stoked on my session. I made some critical (for me) drops, made some nice turns, and kicked out cleanly on most of my waves. I was pleased with myself. As I crossed the sand, Chuy—who had been watching from the beach—blocked my path and he looked irritated. He said “Hey pinche gringo, if you’re going to keep doing that shitty pop-up, go surf another break. It’s ugly.” Now, I knew my pop-up was less than textbook; I had struggled with it for years. But the fact that I could still make a drop and hit a bottom turn, occasionally make a clean, open-face cutback, and find speed on a mushy wave made me feel better about my surfing overall. But Chuy zeroed in on my weakness, and scolded me.

But he also wanted to help me. He and I are built the same; short and barrel chested. And mutual fondness for beer made us both kind of doughy. I tried to blame my clunky take off on my physical limitations, but that was a flawed strategy with Chuy. Despite his stockiness and rock-star-party-all-night lifestyle, he could ride a longboard in heavy surf and make it look natural, even beautiful. His pop-up was flawless. And he could throw an old-school headstand on an open face at will. He gave me some suggestions on getting my knees up under my body more quickly and efficiently. A guy who had never EVER been to a yoga class in his life, or even considered it, suggested I might try it, to improve my flexibility. And then he slapped me a ‘chocala’—the Mexican equivalent of a high five—and said “you owe me a beer” and walked off. That was the day I realized we were some version of friends. All my experiences with Chuy after that were much more pleasant, and some of them included post-surf beers.

Despite his stockiness and rock-star-party-all-night lifestyle, he could ride a longboard in heavy surf and make it look natural, even beautiful.

I’ve been thinking about Dave and Chuy a lot the past couple of weeks. Despite the very obvious differences in the types of people they were—polar opposites, really—the feelings of sadness and desire to see them both again, even just one more time, are strong and equal. I’m going to miss Chuy as much as I’m going to miss Big Dave. I know the the next time I visit Sayulita (usually about once a year) it’s not going to feel the same without Chuy there on the beach, drinking a ‘ballena’ and sneering at kooks. And when I drive up to Santa Cruz on August 8th for Dave’s paddle out celebration, it’s definitely not going to feel the same. But I hope to feel Dave’s loving presence when I get in the water there. They both offered their versions of friendship to me, and those are gifts. They both had an impact on how I ride waves, how I treat others, and how I see and interact within our waterman community. Despite their distinctly opposite personalities, they both had positive impacts.

For all of that, I am grateful. Chuy and Dave… rest in love and peace, brothers. Maybe they will meet up on the other side? I assume there’s a nice wide, sandy beach there, with clean water and peeling waves, and whales breaching on the horizon… and a cold cerveza when you come in from the surf. Under those idyllic circumstances, they could even become friends.

About Mike McDaniel

Mike McDaniel is a surfer, prone and SUP board paddler, creative genius, and all around rad guy. He runs Mile 22 and is the mastermind behind Monster Straps as well as a collector of snowboards and Jay Race t-shirts. Find him on Instagram @miletwentytwo or Facebook.

Episode 120: Neil Pearlberg

Neil Pearlberg -- Off The Lip Radio Show, chronicling Santa Cruz surfing

** Interview episode 120 **

Neil Pearlberg surfs, SUPs, writes and talks on all things skate and surf. As co-host of Off The Lip Radio Show Neil has been documenting the colorful surfing and skateboard lifestyle of Santa Cruz for over a decade. With over 375 episodes, Off The Lip Radio show shares the stories and perspectives from famous big wave chargers, local shapers, musicians, technologists, and much more. Today, Neil takes us through his days writing for the local newspaper, starting Off The Lip Radio, and being an early adopter of stand up paddle boarding in Santa Cruz. We hear his perspective on the evolution of santa cruz surfing over the last decade, sharing thoughts on the hot bed of talent and crazy characters that Santa Cruz waters have produced. Neil pulls no punches and tells it like it is —I hope you enjoy.

 

Find more about Off The Lip Radio Show and give a listen — visit https://offthelipradio.com/podcast or find it on all the major podcast platforms. If you like what you hear, I appreciate you following This Ocean Life on your podcast app and/or sharing with a friend. Hope everyone is well and safe. You can find fun stuff on the ThisOceanLife.TV websiteInstagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Host: Josh Pederson, @surfpaddletailgate  

This Ocean Life Podcast Neil Pearlberg

Stoked Grom Stories: Max Hart

Stoked Grom Stories: Max Hart -- shredding guitar and waves, spearfishing, fishing

** Stoked Grom Stories #8 **

Max Hart is a 12-year old legend-in-the-making from Sydney’s Gold Coast. With a well rounded set of skills and knowledge in the ocean that includes fishing, surfing, and spearfishing Max is constantly busy enjoying life in the water with friends and family. Competing in state championship paddle races and surf competitions, Max is no stranger to pressure. Playing a leading role in the School of Rock Musical in both South Korea and Australia, totaling over 130 performances, Max rips on the guitar and continues to add this gift to his already impressive set of skills in the water. Max shares the ins and outs of his favorite surf breaks, like Byron Bay and Snapper Rock, talks about his favorite dive spots, and masterfully handles the dreaded lightening round of questions.
This Ocean Life Podcast Max Hart

Episode 113: Greg Norman, Jr

Greg Norman Jr -- kiting, surfing, spearfishing, world travel

** Interview Episode 113 **

With a family name synonymous with the sport of golf, Greg Norman Jr has carved out an incredibly deep and well—rounded life in the ocean. From growing up in the waters of Florida to years on Maui Greg has developed love and skill for riding all types of boards on the water — from surfing, kiting, foiling, to wake boarding. Adding on to this a strong passion for the hunt, Greg pushes himself underwater with spearfishing both reefs and blue water, enjoying getting lost in the flow that being in the ocean provides to us all. Throughout, Greg has placed high emphasis on close connection to family and providing greater access to board sports for all with his Shark Cable Park. We started our conversation around the role that the ocean played in his recent engagement to his wife-to-be (it’s a rad story).

Check out the Shark Cable Park at www.sharkwakepark.com

It’s no secret that I love fish art and KC Scott, a name you’ll hear a few times on today’s episode, is one of my favorite marine artists out there. Whether it’s blue marlin pushing bait or a hog fish hovering above the reef, KC captures scenes of the wild that many of us lay awake at night dreaming about. Have a look at kcscottartist.com and if you find apparel or artwork that you like, enter coupon code OCEAN20 (all caps) at checkout and you’ll get 20% off your order. When you do you’ll be supporting this family owned and operated business that’s dedicated to helping us all grow our connection to the ocean.
 

Other pieces to our conversation:

  • Growing up with his father introducing Greg to the ocean — surfing, diving
  • Living on Maui and pursuing love for kiting — competing professionally in the early 2000’s
  • Story of his first date spearfishing with his wife to be
  • Discuss the ins and outs of foiling and how it changes our perspective on waves
  • Kiting and wake boarding trip in Prince William Sound Alaska with hair raising exit by boat
  • Wearing dry suits to wakeboard and forgetting to zipper
  • Spearfishing in the Bahamas and team sport of hunting and landing cobia
  • Wonder and beauty of interacting with sharks underwater
  • Sense of flow in golf and sports in the ocean and challenge of changing your mindset to slow down and focus on the present

 

 

You can also find fun stuff on the ThisOceanLife.TV websiteInstagram, and Facebook, and Twitter. Host: Josh Pederson, @surfpaddletailgate  

Episode 112: Shannon Quirk

Shannon Quirk -- big wave world tour, empowering women in the water

** Interview Episode 112 **
 
From professional snowboarding to organizing big wave surfing events, Shannon Quirk has been part of the action sports world for over a decade. As a reporter and coordinator with the WSL Big Wave Tour Shannon has developed a close connection with the world’s big wave breaks and the men and women who charge them. From Argentina to Portugal to Hawaii, Shannon has lived seasonally in amazing locations building a global community of friends and family that have supported her in both her surfing and professional snowboarding. Throughout, Shannon has placed high emphasis on empowering women through sport and has been heavily involved with gender equity on the big wave tour and as an advocate of health and wellness of us all through day-to-day activity in the ocean.
 
Lots of great videos on Shannon’s YouTube channel and a close look at latest North Shore news and events — check her out at shannonreporting.com.

Other pieces of our conversation with Shannon:

  • Settling down on Oahu, life-giving nature of the ocean, surfing, and yoga
  • Living in various places around the world including Maui, with big focus on Nazare, Portugal for 3 years
  • Similarities of Portugal to Northern California — cold water, wetsuits and thick heavy waves
  • Working for the Big Wave Tour and ‘family’ aspect of big wave surfers
  • Knew as a youth that journalism was the path she wanted to pursue
  • Focus on growing movement of women in big wave surfing and finding new ways to showcase women in the 
  • Starting live reporting for Surf Channel at Mavericks and refining her craft of reporting over the years
  • Dynamics of big wave rescue, driving jet skis, and preparing to help yourself and others in big surf
  • Spent years as a pro snowboarder and traveling the world to chase winters. 
  • Shannon talks about her quiver on the North Shore — big wave boards down to 6’5 
  • The importance of yoga in Shannon’s regular routine

 

 

This Ocean Life Podcast Shannon Quirk

Episode 105: Nik Strong-Cvetich

Nik Strong-Cvetich -- Save The Waves Coalition, protecting surf ecosystems around the world

Nik Strong-Cevitch has travelled around the world setting up conservation and ecostourism projects in coastal communities. As a lifelong surfer NIk has been able to blend his love of surf with his professional abilities and now leads the Save The Waves Coalition to protect sensitive surf breaks the world over. With the audacious goal of protecting 1,000 waves, Nik is supported by a strong cast of characters around the world who contribute to the development of ‘world surf reserves’, help raise funds, and make sure Nik gets a wave or two at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch. On top of all of this, Nik is a humble father, husband, and member of the Santa Cruz ocean community ready to spread good vibes to those around him.

 

I highly encourage everyone listening to this who did, does, or will ride a wave at some point to check out SaveTheWaves.org and find ways that you can help Nik and team combat everything from water pollution to sea level rise and coastal development. When you think about how so much of our ocean culture revolves around waves, it starts to feel pretty important to be sure we preserve them for future generations. Thanks for doing that. thanks for listening, and thanks for sharing in ocean life of Nik Strong Cevitch.

This Ocean Life Podcast Nik Strong-Cvetich

Episode 101: Maria Fernanda

Maria Fernanda -- big wave surf photography, fins and a camera

Maria Fernanda swims with fins and a camera in waves that most of us won’t paddle out for. As a native of Mexico City, Maria found her love of the ocean through years of family trips to the coast to ultimately discovering natural strength in big surf. Tied to Maria’s passion for photography, this has led her on a journey to photograph some of the heaviest waves on the planet such as Nazare, Pipeline, Todos Santos, and her home break of Puerto Escondido. Along the way Maria has trained in big wave rescue, survived a broken leg in the water, built a global community of friends in the ocean, and continuously pushes her physical and mental limits swimming in heavy surf.
 
If you like what you hear today, go check out Save the Waves Coalition, at savethewaves.org, and learn about ways thay you can help protect sensitive surf breaks and preserve them for future generations. Thanks for caring about our ocean and thanks for being here today sharing in the ocean life of Maria Fernanda.
 
Thanks for sharing Maria’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check her out on Instagram and her website.  
 
* Other pieces of our conversation *

 

  • Recent (November 2019) swell at Nazare
  • Swimming and taking photos at legendary big wave breaks such as Jaws, Puerto Escondido, Pipeline, Todos Santos, Waimea Bay, Nazare.
  • First photo shoots and heavy waves on Kuaui
  • Mental and physical training for swimming in big waves
  • Growing up in Mexico City and finding her strength in the ocean through weekend trips to the coast with family
  • Having a mentor to teach her surf photography, starting with a disposable camera!
  • Perspective on the mainland Mexico big wave surf scene, and global big wave surf communit
This Ocean Life Podcast Maria Fernanda

Episode 102: Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy -- jack of many trades in the ocean

** Episode 102 ** Every now and then you meet someone who blows you away with their strength across multiple disciplines in the water. Scott Kennedy is one of those people. As a fisherman, surfer, diver, spear fisherman, boater, and more Scott takes us through his life growing up in Southern California, migrating to Northern California, learning his skills in the ocean the hard way – on his own, and finding great adventure and memories throughout. From hand-shaping surfboards to a love of body surfing, working in aquaculture and sustainable seafood consulting, Scott gives us a unique and humble perspective on the ocean we all love.
 
If you like what you hear today, take 5 minutes and visit FishWise.org or SeafoodWatch.org and read a few things about your favorite, tasty fish and educate on best purchasing practices for you and your family. Let’s use our wallets to let seafood companies know how important sustainable fish populations are to us all. Thanks for caring about the ocean and thanks for being here today sharing in the ocean life of Scott Kennedy.
 
Thanks for sharing Scott’s ocean life with us. Be sure to check him out on Instagram. You can also find fun stuff on the ThisOceanLife.TV websiteInstagram, and Facebook, and Twitter. Host: Josh Pederson, @surfpaddletailgate  
 
* Other pieces of our conversation *

 

  • Fishing for yellowfiin tuna on the Pacific Dawn charter boar
  • Scott’s 16ft Radoncraft skiff (boat) he spent over 600 hours on — adventure, fishing, more
  • Learning his way in the ocean around La Jolla, CA — trial by fire
  • Hand-shaping over 60 surfboards to continually experiment with different styles of craft to ride waves on
  • Anticipation and excitement for his growing family and what it means to get his kids in the water
  • Recent surf trip to the Maldives
This Ocean Life Podcast Scott Kennedy