Relief and scientific advancement!
Growing up, some of us thought that the best way to Live the Life was to shirk the demands of school.
Others see more than a swell or two ahead.
Take, for example, BeachGrit’s Chas Smith, a degree in advanced linguistics and a former UCLA teacher, or Aaron James, author of Surfing with Sartre. James holds a PhD from Harvard.
And now, Cliff Kapono, a surfing doctoral candidate at University of California, San Diego.
Cliff, like Chas and Dr. James, uses his job as a foil to sustain a life of surfing. Cliff’s little scam includes traveling around the world — serendipitously to serious breaks — to do his research for the “good of mankind.”
Recently, Cliff was interviewed by the New York Times.
LA JOLLA, Calif. — On a recent trip, Cliff Kapono hit some of the more popular surf breaks in Ireland, England and Morocco. He’s proudly Native Hawaiian and no stranger to the hunt for the perfect wave. But this time he was chasing something even more unusual: microbial swabs from fellow surfers.
Mr. Kapono, a 29-year-old biochemist earning his doctorate at the University of California, San Diego, heads up the Surfer Biome Project, a unique effort to determine whether routine exposure to the ocean alters the microbial communities of the body, and whether those alterations might have consequences for surfers — and for the rest of us.
Mr. Kapono has collected more than 500 samples by rubbing cotton-tipped swabs over the heads, mouths, navels and other parts of surfers’ bodies, as well as their boards. Volunteers also donate a fecal sample.
Did you guess? (Hint: It’s the last paragraph. The whole last paragraph.)
While we all applaud Kapono for making waves part of his work, we probably wouldn’t want to shake his hand.
“Volunteers also donate a fecal sample?”
How far is too far to Live the Life?
My friends and I use to frequent a research hospital on weekends to finance trips to Tamarindo. Charming blue-checked medical gown, some TV, ping-pong gambling, a couple of injections of whatever and a $750 check to cash on Monday.
But can you imagine waiting on the beach to ask, “Hey, can I have some of your poop?”
And, therefore, the question of the day is, what would you do for cash?
How far have you gone?