Episode Archives

Blog article: The Four Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Boat to Mavericks (Part II)

Mavericks is hectic and scary for both surfers and people who operate a boat out there. I learned a few things about the boating part some years back and have shared these with you all. In part I we talk about how to avoid shallow water (aka likely destruction) and why the fog is not your friend at Mavericks. Now here’s part II.


Episode 128: CJ Hobgood

CJ Hobgood -- professional surfing, movie making, family, life evolution

I’m really excited to share with you all a figure in modern surfing that continues to evolve and expand his influence in the surf industry, Mr CJ Hobgood. You hear his name, and you may automatically identify CJ with an amazing professional surfing career where he was ASP rookie of the year and former world champion but what I really enjoyed learning was there is so much more to CJ than riding waves.

He’s an identical twin to his brother, Damien, CJ is a dedicated family man, he just created a movie, he’s podcasting, he’s helping support a major ocean lifestyle brand, and way more. We play some clips from the movie, And Two If By Sea, where CJ shares his own human experience in the world of professional surfing, we talk about pushing our limits in the ocean, the power of story telling, raising families, and more.

Lots of good stuff with CJ that I’m really stoked to share with you all. Be sure to check out And Two if By Sea — it’s available on Amazon Prime and as you’ll hear today you don’t need to love surfing to love this movie, there’s something in it for everybody. And because we are all looking for more podcasts to add to our lineup, go find and follow the Salty Stories Ship’s Log podcast that CJ’s launched with Salty Crew. So thanks again everyone.


I also appreciate the support of my awesome sponsors. ***
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This Ocean Life Podcast CJ Hobgood

Episode 127: Sam Clothier

Sam Clothier -- hike and spear, seafood foraging, Wet Mammal YouTube

** Interview episode 127 **

Born and bred in the UK, Sam Clothier has found his calling diving and foraging in and around the ocean. From a young age Sam found his deep connection with the water and has been on a path of pursuit ever since. Honing his skllls in the breath hold and spearfishing on the rugged British Coast Sam has experienced waters and fish around the world from Fiji, Southeast Asia, Australia, and more.


With stories of handling sharks in Western Australia to discovering new experiences in his local waters Sam shares a great perspective on sustainably enjoying foods of the ocean that we rarely consider, the challenges of diving alone, and his own personal connection with being in the ocean. To see what Sam is up to go visit his YouTube channel, Wet Mammal, and think about foraging for some new, fresh food straight from the ocean that’s never been on your menu before. Enjoy!
This Ocean Life Podcast Sam Clothier

Episode 126: Vicky Durand

Vicky Durand -- Wave Woman the book, Waikiki surfing in the 1950s

** Interview episode 126 **

In this episode Vicky Durand takes us through the colorful life of her mother, Betty, charging waves in the 1950’s. From stories she’s captured in her recent book, Wave Woman, Vicky tells the story of her mother finding and thriving in the world of surfing, the legendary Waikiki surf scene, the first international surfing competition for woman, and much more. Vicky takes us through her own teen years of surfing on Hawaii, the characters, the waves, and her own stories of progressing in the ocean, and surfing with her mother. You can find the whole story in Wave Woman, available at wavewomanbook.com and major online book retailers, and if you love hearing about what I consider the golden days of surfing, you’ll love this book. 

This Ocean Life Podcast Wave Woman the Book

Episode 125: Dr Enric Sala

Dr Enric Sala -- National Geographic explorer, scientist, ocean protector, author

** Interview episode 125 **

Dr Enric Sala grew up in Spain along Costa Brava where at a young age he found passion for the undersea world by watching Jacques Cousteau’s Undersea World television series (like so many of us did). Pursuing a life of research and conservation to help protect all of the oceans Dr Sala came to the US and spent years as a tenured professor and researcher with Scripps Institute. We hear the story of his epiphany that his research felt more like writing an obituary of the sea rather than inspiring protection.

This took Dr Sala to creating the Pristine Seas Project with National Geographic that for the past 12 years has taken him around the world documenting over 30 remote and untouched areas of marine life with the goal to inspire decision makers in all countries to take strong action to protect their waters. He shares stories of still unspoiled areas of the ocean and stories of areas like the Galapagos struggling to heal themselves from human impacts such as overfishing. Through them all, Dr Sala has used his stories to write an amazing new book, The Nature of Nature, that helps all of us understand the importance of biodiversity and how the health of our planet is fundamental to human health, wellbeing, economic prosperity, and so much more. I really love the final chapter tying COVID pandemic to our general disconnect from the natural world.

So definitely go check out the Pristine Seas Project and Dr Sala’s book, The Nature of Nature, for a dose of inspiration that we together can help our oceans truly return to the clean, healthy, and vibrant places that we all dream about.

This Ocean Life Podcast Enric Sala

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  


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

Blog article: The Four Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Boat to Mavericks (Part I)

The Four Do’s and Don’ts of Taking Your Boat to Mavericks (Part I)

Mavericks needs no introduction. It’s a big, scary wave that requires full attention and respect from both the people who surf it and those who take boats out to it. Thanks to my friend Zach Wormhoudt I had the amazing opportunity of taking my old boat, Maria May a 21 ft Parker wheelhouse, out to Mavericks for a few occasions. First in 2011 for a zero-visibility surf strike, second in 2012 as support boat for filming of the Chasing Mavericks movie, and third in 2013 for the Mavericks Surf Contest as board caddy for a few legends. 

How many days total have I been out at Mavericks on my boat? Four. Does that qualify me to give advice to other would-be boaters at this scary surf break? I’ll let you debate that answer after you read the rest of this article. If nothing else, four days of boating at Mavericks is very much trial by fire and more than enough for me to learn a few very key do’s and don’ts. Three sets of key do’s and don’ts in fact 🙂 

Do #1: Go around the buoy

Pull up a map showing the Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay and you’ll see that it’s a straight shot from the harbor mouth out to Mavericks. Looks like a no-brainer to run straight out from the harbor, right? Now pull up a map with bathymetry (ocean depth) and you’ll see a different story. It’s shallow. Very shallow. A reef, rightfully named Blackhand Reef, extends from the harbor entrance out toward the surf break. Guess what washes over this shallow reef when the swell is pumping 18 feet at 15 seconds? Very big waves with very big whitewash. On their way out to the 2011 Mavericks contest a couple of friends on a Boston Whaler just barely turned around in front of a detonating 10-footer on Blackhand Reef escaping catastrophe. 

So you do not cut across the reef unless you are on a ski and can easily run to the shoulder to avoid serious harm. The alternative is to head south down coast for ~1 mile to the can buoy. This marks the safe channel and your best friend; deep water. Big waves struggle to break or reform in deep water so it’s your safety zone. Once you round the buoy you take a diagonal path out to Mavericks 1 mile+ out, staying in deep water and watching the chaotic scene unfold on Blackhand Reef from afar. Deep is safe (remember that). 

Don’t do #1: Don’t go in the fog

This lesson is best told in a story that would take way too long to tell properly in this blog article (I’m hoping to actually do a podcast on it one day). The cliff notes go something like this: Myself and 5 friends (including Zach) took my boat out to Mavericks one early morning where the swell was 12 ft at 14 seconds with fog so thick we had to navigate through the Pillar Point Harbor by GPS (basically zero visibility). We somehow found the wave (heard it before seeing it), rode a few waves while my buddy hovered the boat like a ghost somewhere in the channel, got all of 4 of us back on the boat, and made it back into the harbor safely. All with <25 feet of visibility in the fog and before a big clean-up set blew out the other few surfers, scattering them onto the rocks (which we heard about later in the parking lot). 

So needless to say, don’t do this. Don’t take a boat out to Mavericks in the thick fog. Pretty simple. Looking back, we were a bit younger and definitely more stupid than today but more than anything, extremely lucky. Mavericks is sketchy enough surfing or boating on a calm, clear day let alone with almost zero visibility.  

Do #2: Watch your depth sounder, not your surroundings

Deep is safe. Remember that? This is exactly the case while hovering your boat on the shoulder of the wave while your crew is surfing or the photographer on board is doing their business. You can pilot your boat while shifting your focus between the horizon and landmarks, like the famous radar dish, to stay in a seemingly safe zone but just a couple minutes of distraction can be costly. A change in wind speed or direction can quickly put you in the last place on earth you want to be with your boat — in the bowl. No boat that I know of is meant to take a draining 15-footer on the bow. So while you think you’re safe one minute, the next you may look up to see that your a touch inside with a set swinging wide causing a very sick feeling in your stomach (pray your motor doesn’t hesitate). 

So while lineups and watching the horizon are key, what’s most important at Mavericks is depth. Mavericks breaks so suddenly and violently because the water is really deep then suddenly jacks up onto a plateau-like reef taking all that deep-water swell and unleashing Niagara Falls. The safe zone for your boat is 50-60 feet of water (just outside of the reef) with the danger zone being anything under 40 IMHO. If you remember the scene in Chasing Mavericks when the boat almost rolled over from a big set wave (main picture above), I was there about 20 yards outside of that guy and was just able to get around the shoulder of that wave, still in about 45 feet of water. 

Chew on this for now and we’ll look at the rest of the do’s and don’ts in Part 2.

This Ocean Life Podcast Mavericks in the fog
All here, but not all there 🙂

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.


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 123: Dr. Gregory Stone

Dr Gregory Stone -- ocean scientist and conservationist, making cleaner energy from the ocean a reality

** Interview episode 123 **

Today, we have Dr Gregory Stone. Career oceanographer, conservationist, author of books, and overall expert on the ocean. Dr Stone takes us through his transition from ocean researcher to ocean protector touching on the many roles he’s held within his career culminating into today with Deep Green. We learn about polymetallic nodules and the massive potential these undersea rock formations provide for the key materials of cobalt, manganese, nickel and more that we use to create our electric vehicle batteries. Dr Stone takes us through Deep Green’s mission to extract these nodules from the deep sea as a sustainable and eco-conscious alternative to today’s destructive land-based mining practices. Along the way Dr Stone shares his passion for all things ocean — mammals, sharks, marine reserves and shares his perspective on developing socially responsible and economically viable business models that help protect our natural world. With the continued rise of electric vehicles, which my family has 2 ourselves, today’s conversation with Dr Stone is fun, inspirational, and educational. You can learn more online by going to Deep.Green and finding Dr Greg Stone’s page on Wikipedia
I hope you are well and getting in, on, or under the water, maybe not 6,000 meters deep like Dr Stone here, but getting wet nonetheless — thanks for being here with me and Dr Gregory Stone.
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.
This Ocean Life Podcast Dr Gregory Stone