Greatest big-wave surfer of all time releases book of various personal philosophies.
Recently, Laird Hamilton, who is the world’s greatest big-wave surfer, released a book called Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul, And, of Course, Surfing.
The 247-page volume tells fifty-four-year-old Laird’s story, which is compelling enough – born in an experimental bathysphere, abandoned by daddy, collected new daddy from the beach (and his name, Zerfas to Hamilton) and so on – but focusses on his various philosophies.
It begins with this lovely quote from Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long, fruitful life and have family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip, at least a little bit?” LAIRD HAMILTON
Laird hits the vein from a similar dropper.
“You can spend your life fence-sitting because you’re frightened of something bad that might happen or you can launch yourself into it with all of your conviction and all of your intelligence. Here’s my advice: Meet up with your fears. If you’re afraid of sharks, go learn all about sharks. Get into the water with one. If you respect fear, face it straight on and act anyway. What you’ll find isn’t terror –it’s exhilaration and the moments that you never forget.”
“Forget your emotions around fear for a second and look at the simple reality: It’s an energy source designed to increase performance. Adrenaline and the natural hormones your body creates when you’re scared are more powerful than any drug. The ability to harness it constructively, that’s the tricky part.”
“When we’re not operating in life-or-death situations, a lot of times we tune out. If you’re sitting behind a desk all day, you don’t have to be hyperaware. But it’s important to exercise your instincts like you would a muscle. If you don’t try to tune in to every-thing–smell, hearing, sight, vibration–you can get dull, and that might come back to haunt you when it matters most.”
Or my favourites.
“Our days are meant to be fun. Once you lose that thread, I think you’ve just lost the essence of the whole deal. If you build up a wealth of experiences, letting yourself be amazed by everything and everyone around you, then fun and its close relative, joy, will be the inevitable by-products. The last thing you want to do is to look back at the end and think coulda, woulda, shoulda.”
“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long, fruitful life and have family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip, at least a little bit?”
Last year I interviewed Laird for the release of his biopic Take Every Wave: the life of Laird Hamilton. He got me with a few zingers then too.
“The doctor was covered in my blood, all over his mask. I could feel him yanking on me. I could feel pulsing as he was doing shit to my leg.”
“I grew up a white guy in Hawaii and there was a certain level of …of…of…aggression… on the land. Or should I say, instead of aggression, a certain level of separation. I was a white guy in a dark guy’s world. I was an outsider, like I am in surfing, so it was a natural place for me. Some of my best friends are Hawaiians and some of the greatest and most beautiful people are Hawaiians. But when you’re a minority in a racially tense environment you get used to being an outcast. I think that shaped my life.”
Read that interview here.
The book costs around thirty dollars in hardcover, half that in paperback.