Archive for category: Misc

Fantasysurfer 2014 Results – Top 1%

20 Dec
December 20, 2014
Fantasysurfer 2014 results

If Fantasysurfer awarded a combined Men’s/Women’s performance prize, I think I’d have a good shot at winning!

Fantasysurfer 2104 results- Men's

My Men’s team final results – Not bad!

Fantasysurfer 2104 Women's team results

My Fantasysurfer 2104 Women’s team results- even better!

Well, the 2014 Association of Professional Surfers’ 2014 World Championship Tour ended with the culmination of the Pipeline Masters in Hawaii, yesterday. The ASP crowned a new World Champion, Gabriel Medina- at age 20, the youngest world champion since Kelly Slater. Medina narrowly beat out Slater and Mick Fanning for the title, which would have been Kelly’s 12th. The best surfer to ever walk the earth may possibly retire, or not. At age 43, he still has the ability to win it all and it is only his interest level and motivation that will likely determine whether he comes back or not.

I completed another year of Surfer Magazine‘s Fantasysurfer.com competition (a fantasy surfing league where you have a $50,000,000 budget and select and manage a team of surfers), where the men’s side winner wins a trip to Hawaii. It’s a fun game. Just like all fantasy leagues, you need to know a great deal about all of the surfers, their abilities and tendencies, the breaks and what kinds of conditions each surfer performs best in, etc. I’ve cracked the top 50 in the men’s side previously, and had another good year this year.

On the men’s side, I came in 453rd this year out of 33, 907 teams- finishing in the top 1%! On the women’s side, I came in 250th out of 22,189 teams, also in the top 1%! Unfortunately, Surfer Magazine does not give out a prize for either the women’s side or for combined performance. If they did the latter, I think I’d have a great shot of winning the whole thing. Oh well, maybe one day they’ll at least let me fill in for Shea Lopez and/or Ross Williams to write for their Fantasysurfer.com blog!

Coming undone

10 Dec
December 10, 2014
Surfing in Guana State Park

Almost!

Having some fun in a tropical storm I can’t quite remember the name of one summer day, likely down at Guana River State Park.

I’d be lying if I said I pulled this, but therein lies half the fun in surfing: How hard can you push and still recover?

Right Whale Festival 5K, 2014

16 Nov
November 16, 2014
Right Whale Festival 2014 t-shirt artwork

Beautiful graphic art for beautiful animals

Right Whale Festival 2104 5K Men's Results

2nd in age group, 16th overall. I’ll take it!

 

Some nice looking graphic art for this year’s Right Whale Festival swag! I did the 5K on Saturday am, Nov. 15th up in Jax Beach. Always fun, relaxed and for a great cause! The festival was going on all day. I’ve done the run a couple of times now and enjoy supporting them. I gave it good effort and finished 2nd in my age group, 16th overall with 8.10 min miles. Not too shabby, and listening to Jack Johnson the whole way! I can’t believe I’ve got a “50” hanging by my name in the results. I still feel 35 on most days, but doggone it, they got it right!

Perspective

09 Nov
November 9, 2014

Check out this incredible time-lapse video featuring thousands of images from the International Space Station stitched together by french photographer and filmmaker, Guillaume Juin. I’m actually a bit of a space geek, always one to be looking up at the sky and checking out celestial events. I love nature and of course, space, as Gene Roddenberry once wrote (and Captain Kirk said), is the final frontier. Thanks Ryan Ketterman for sharing this one with me. Seeing earth and looking out into our universe this way provides such amazing perspective about our world. It reinforces certain beliefs for me. But, I’ll leave you to watch it and formulate your own thoughts. Enjoy it, and go full-screen if you’re able! It’s spectacular!

Eric Geiselman – Grindy Fun in New Smryna Beach

24 Sep
September 24, 2014

What can you say about this? Eric Geiselman is one of the Right Coast’s premiere talents. If you want to see some truly phenomenal surfing- explosive, with near flawless style, just click right here and enjoy. The drone (UAV) videography also reveals what lurks below the surface here in Florida- plenty of sharks. New Smyrna Beach in particular has more than it’s share around the inlet, but Eric is clearly having too much fun to notice.

I think the growing use of the aerial videography is going to continue to reveal what we’ve all been surfing over and around for years, without fully knowing it. I think this will probably make many people more uncomfortable; and a lot of people, more comfortable. While I have had a couple of nerve-wracking run-ins with very large sharks over the years, neither I, nor anyone I know personally has ever been bitten, and I know a lot of people who have spent a ton of time in the ocean here, over many years. Like my own personal encounters and the evidence in this video, it leads me to believe that if sharks were really interested in us as a food source, we’d have figured that out upon stepping in the water on most days.

Sisters of the Sea / Saltwater Cowgirls Surf Contest 2014

20 Sep
September 20, 2014
2014 Sisters of the Sea / Saltwater Cowgirls Surf Contest

Did she get through her heat?

Had a great time at the 2014 Sisters of the Sea / Saltwater Cowgirls contest on September 6th, at the Jacksonville Beach Pier! What a wonderful event this is for all surfer girls / women of every age and ability. The spirit of the event is really supportive, and I would venture to say that vibe does not come altogether easily or naturally for many women, or surfers. But it sure showed on the beach at this event, which has been held for about 15 years now, I believe. Very proud of Kaelyn who made it through three rounds in the most crowded division (the 12U Whitewaters). 1st place in her first heat; 2nd place in her second heat; and 4th in her third heat. She missed making the final by a single surfer! Arrggh, so close! Sorry, honey! Thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors and photographers, including Joey Wilson, who snapped this one.

Below are a few video clips of Kaelyn. There wasn’t much to ride the day of the contest, so Kaelyn’s strategy was just to ride each wave as far as she could. She had quite a few step-offs during the day. In her semi-final heat, I lined her up outside in what had been our sweet spot all day, but the peak had shifted over with the tide and she couldn’t find quite enough good ones. Oh well, next year!

IMG_1384

IMG_1388

IMG_1386

IMG_1379

Backwater Backyard

01 Sep
September 1, 2014
Mother and daughter kayaking in Guana River State Park

Gretchen and Kaelyn in the kayak with Kendall on point on the SUP, exploring Guana River State Park

 

Stand-up Paddelboading in Guana State Park

Kendall taking in the beautiful, natural, peaceful setting of Guana River State Park

 

Yesterday was Labor Day and we had some time, so decided to go explore our “backwater backyard” in Guana River State Park. We went up to North Guana Outpost (check ’em out!), rented a kayak and a couple of SUPs and were on our way (you can launch straight out from the back of the store)! The Guana, as always, was spectacular! It is so beautiful. We saw a lot of fish and birds and could hear gators, but never actually saw any. We went out at high noon, and it was pretty darn hot. An early morning excursion might be even better. But it was awesome and I highly recommend it. Great exercise, too! $25/hr. for board/kayak rentals or $50 for a 1/2 day. We may have to invest in a couple of SUPs for Christmas!

 

 

Sea Life’s Beauty

30 Aug
August 30, 2014
Driftwood on the beach

Sea life’s beauty, tossed up on the shore.

THE ALS #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE

24 Aug
August 24, 2014

If you live on planet earth and are connected to the Internet, then chances are you’ve heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral social media challenge created to help raise awareness of, and generate funding for, the advancement of a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Disease, otherwise know as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The challenge works by challenging (3) people to either donate $100 to ALS or record a video of themselves getting a bucket of ice water dumped on their heads and donating $10. Of course, most people opt to take the bucket on the head, and the $10 donation. The videos then typically get posted to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites and the challenges continue to spread. The campaign has already raised over $50 million for ALS, a staggering figure and a wonderful success story.

I was recently challenged by my friend Ryan Ketterman, a photographer here in Ponte Vedra Beach (check out his work- it’s fantasic!). You’re supposed to act on these challenges within 24 hours. My mid-week work schedule made this difficult for me, but I finally got around to it this weekend. The challenge has actually been around for a couple of weeks and I feel like that wave has crested, you might say. So, while I wasn’t necessarily going to flood anyone’s feed with one more bucket post, I also wasn’t going to back down from the challenge, which I have to say was fun, COLD and hilarious! I know my daughters, who helped out, sure enjoyed it! Below is sequential documentary evidence of my completion of the challenge. Thanks Ryan!

For more information on ALS, please visit www.ALSA.org

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge... What's the big deal?

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge… What’s the big deal?

Go for it girls! I can take it!

Bring it! This doesn't hurt!

Bring it! This doesn’t hurt!

Oh %@#!, maybe a 5-gallon bucket wasn’t such a good idea!

Dang, how long was that ice in there for?!!!

Dang, how long was that ice in there for?!!!

HA HA HA HA HA! OK, I think that actually may have been more fun for you guys than it was for me! Thank goodness we live in Florida!

HA HA HA HA HA! OK, I think that actually may have been more fun for you guys than it was for me! Thank goodness we live in Florida!

Killin’ it in Fantasy Surfer!

04 Aug
August 4, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 8.08.11 PM

Screen shot 2014-08-03 at 8.07.36 PM

I’m continuing to do pretty well in Surfer Magazine’s Fantasy Surfer competition this year. With 6 out of 10 events down for the women’s side, I am currently in 100th place out of 20,559 players! I’m definitely in great position to win the whole thing with 4 events remaining! For the men, with 6 of 11 events complete, I am in 2,000th place out of 31,329 teams- not as good as the women’s, but still pretty decent (about 94th percentile). The winner of the men’s side gets a free trip to Hawaii! The winner of the women’s side gets… nothing (a mention in the mag). I think it’s a real (sexist) shame that Surfer has it set up that way, but hey. I think they should award the overall winner (men’s + women’s) with one trip; then the winners of both the men’s and women’s sides getting trips, as well. I think I’d probably be in the Top 10 if they were combining the performance of both sides.

Fish On!

31 Jul
July 31, 2014

Early morning fishing preparations

Good morning, sunshine!

Bluepoints Marina Red Snapper catch

Capt. Dwayne with Trey and myself at Bluepoints Marina

Red Snapper catch, Port Canaveral

My brother-in-law, Trey and myself, with some of the day’s catch

Big Red Snapper

My brother-in-law, Trey holding up one of our many throwbacks

After banning Red Snapper fishing for a long, long time, the FWC recently opened a “season” for just a few short (8) days, to check on the health of the stock. I had the opportunity to go out at Port Canaveral, Florida with my brother-in-law, Trey, and a few of his friends, and we made ’em pay! I’m here to proclaim that the conservation efforts have worked! We must have landed 25-30+ Snapper, all about the size you see here (ranging from 12-19 lbs., with an average of abut 15 lbs.). We spent most of the day throwing back fish due to the catch limits per fisherman. Thanks to Trey and his friends, Dwayne, Grant, Amber and crew for an amazing day! We also had a Grouper, Cobia and several sharks. But mostly, it was just a non-stop Red Snapper frenzy and quite a workout! As a result, the Hamby’s have been eating well this week, and Snapper is my favorite fish! P.S. Don’t ask for the GPS coordinates! They are highly protected numbers.

Guana River Sunset

31 Jul
July 31, 2014
Guana River Sunset

The sun sets over Guana River State Park

Never Quit 2014

29 Jul
July 29, 2014

"OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         "TRIDENT20141

Tident2014-2Trident2014 PM

Well, I made it through another year of Never Quit, an event I really enjoy. I competed in the Trident Solo, which includes a 5K Run, followed by a 500 Meter open ocean swim, followed by a 1,500 Meter surfboard paddle. It was a blast, as usual, and I met both of my personal goals- bettering last year’s time, and finishing in under an hour, despite a bum knee, which prevented me from doing any kind of serious prep work this year.

1st Place Sports results showed me as coming in third place in my age group, although they got that wrong. They showed my age as 49, placing me in the 45-49 age group. Truth be told, I turned 50 on May 1st, 30 days prior to the competition, which would have put me in 50-54 age group, where I actually would have placed 5th among men. But hey, happy to take third against the younger guys! : ) If you live in, or near Northeast Florida and have never participated in Never Quit, I encourage you to give it a go. There are all kinds of events and activities to participate in. I think it’s the best sporting event in our area, personally, but then I love the beach and the ocean.

The event is put on the Petroni family of Atlantic Beach, led by Erik Petroni (Some may recognize the Petroni name. Karina Petroni is a successful young pro surfer from the area). The event celebrates the life and spirit of Erik and Karina’s father, Capt. Gerard Petroni, who was a great patriot, athlete, waterman, Christian and family man. Capt. Petroni suffered a massive stroke in 2006 and fought valiantly to recover before eventually passing in 2009. During one of the most critical moments of his recovery, while unable to walk, eat or speak, his family handed him a piece of paper and asked him if he could write one thing on the paper, what would it be?  He scribbled the words, “Never Quit”. Today the event celebrates the values that Capt. Petroni held dear- healthy living, love of family and friends and a relentless “Never Quit” approach to life. You can learn more about the event and Capt. Petroni’s amazing life in this fantastic video.

 

OutdoorsJax.com

17 Jul
July 17, 2014

I’ve recently begun working on a new project during my spare time. My idea is a website that people would use as a resource for discovering things to do outside in Northeast Florida (hiking, biking, boating, fishing, surfing, SUPing, kayaking, ziplining, etc.) The best activities; best places to go; best guides/lessons/gear/rental equipment; etc. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while, and finally decided to get started. I’ve looked around online for similar resources and while there are a few good niche sites for individual categories, I haven’t found a really good aggregation of information in one spot.

It’s a pretty big content challenge and I’m creating it myself (using an online web builder software). I think it will probably take all summer. But, it allows me to scratch my creative, entrepreneurial and outdoor adventurist itches all at the same time. I’m not looking at it so much in the interest of creating a business at this time, more of a community-minded effort because I think we need this in our area. If it ends up generating some consistent traffic, I can always monetize it later. As I am developing it, I am doing so with strategic SEO in mind.

Below are the first few screen shots. Some of the navigation is hidden, but I’ve included some of the drop-down menus so you can get an idea of where I’m headed. Wish me luck!

 

Screen shot 2014-07-12 at 1.55.59 PM

Landing Page

 

Screen shot 2014-07-13 at 9.37.35 PM

 Landing Page, Below the Fold

 

Some Navigation Menu Items

Marine Layers

17 May
May 17, 2014
The beautiful coastal elements of La Jolla, California create a multi-layered, natural piece of art. Check the two nesting birds.

The beautiful coastal elements of La Jolla, California create a multi-layered, natural piece of art. Check the two nesting birds.

Fantasysurfer – (3) Events into the 2014 WCT Season

06 May
May 6, 2014

 

Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 8.43.11 PM Screen shot 2014-05-05 at 8.51.04 PM

Three events into the 2014 Fantasysurfer season and I am looking pretty good… Top 95th percentile on the men’s side, top 99th percentile on the women’s side. Too bad they don’t offer the Grand Prize trip to Hawaii for the women’s division! I’m going to have to make a bit of a move if I want to win it for the men’s. But there’s plenty of time left to do that. I’m still within striking range. The stats here show the teams I began the season with (first event) and not my current lineups. I dropped a bit on the men’s side and improved a bit on the women’s. You’ve got to be consistent. With 28,000+ playing men’s, and 18,000+ playing women’s, just one bad event can really set you back to the point where you’d have no shot at winning the thing. So we’ll see how threst of the season goes. Eight more events to go, with the Billabong Pro Rio up next!

Over the Edge: Sports Parents Who Push Their Kids Too Hard

04 May
May 4, 2014

This happened.

And pardon my use of the word, “push” in the headline. What I should have said was, “kick”. As in “kick in the ass”. Because that’s what you’ll see in this video. The parent of a six-year-old kicking his child off the ledge of a 13-foot skate ramp because the boy couldn’t muster the courage to drop into “Big Brown”, the intimidating half-pipe at legendary Kona Skate in Jacksonville, Florida. A young teenager at the park filmed the scene because he claimed it happened three times earlier that day.

I’m sorry- but if this isn’t child abuse, I don’t know what is.

The images and sounds are extremely disturbing. The little boy –a local skateboarding prodigy- seems to look up at his dad for some reassurance and/or to express anxiety over not being able to gather the courage to make the drop. Clearly frustrated, his father sneaks behind him and literally kicks him in the ass, sending him flying and landing on his tailbone at the bottom of the pit. You can hear the child crying in a mix of terror and pain when he hits the bottom. It’s the kind of fall that can leave a person with broken bones, paralyzed or even dead.

Worst of all, the little boy never even had a chance for a proper knee slide. His father kicked that opportunity right out from underneath him, before quickly fleeing the scene. Never mind that many skaters with years of experience at Kona regularly avoid this particular ramp, or that what might seem like 13 feet to an adult, probably seems more like 26 feet to a six-year-old half his size. Simply put, the father took out his anger and frustration on the child, physically.

Thankfully, the teenager who was smart enough to video the incident reported it to park officials, and also gave it to a friend to post on Instagram. The local area Instagrammers Club (#Igersjax) quickly picked up the clip and called out the father, harshly criticizing the act and exhorting its members and followers to re-share the post, help identify the dad and report it to local authorities and media. A social media firestorm quickly ensued, as the video went viral. The father was identified and was reportedly being dealt with by the Department of Children and Families. At the park, Kona officials had already asked the man, who reportedly skates often at the park with his son, to leave immediately.

In ensuing social media posts, one or two skaters, who seemed to be acquaintances tried to defend the father’s actions, but most, including both amateurs and pros were quick to point out that such actions had no place in skateboarding, or anywhere else. The father reportedly expressed remorse, saying he was, “caught up in the moment”. But such an event sure makes you wonder what a normal day at home might be like for this little boy, when father and son aren’t out having, “fun”.

While it is unknown if the father will lose custody of his child or be charged with a crime, he will no doubt pay the price for it due to the digital legacy of the shocking video and whatever emotional damage he may have caused his son now and in the future.

While this video is particularly distasteful due to the callous nature shown by the father to his son, it is ultimately one of countless episodes of hyper-competitive parents pushing their kids to extremes to excel, to satisfy their own egos. Skate dads, dance moms and bloated beauty queens who exploit their toddlers in tiaras- they’re all the same people. Selfish parents yearning to live vicariously through their kids at just about any expense.

Bad doses of reality.

Pushing children too hard, too young, runs the risk of inflicting permanent physical and emotional harm upon them, and burnout before they ever near their true potential. Remember that most kids, even veritable prodigies who may achieve truly significant accomplishments at an early age, are likely far less interested in competitive domination, and much more in simply having fun, and connecting with their parents. And by that, I don’t mean by way of a foot in their rear end.

Note: This is an article that I originally wrote for Seshn.com, an online magazine for a variety of creators with a strong emphasis on arts and action sports.

Changing Conditions

04 May
May 4, 2014

 

Photo, courtesy of Pat "Tupat" Eichstaedt

Photo, courtesy of Pat “Tupat” Eichstaedt

Author’s note: This is a story I originally wrote for The Inertia, billed as, “surfing’s definitive online community featuring news, opinions, photography, videos and art from many of surfing’s most talented figures.” 

Transformation, reinvention and evolution are rarely easy. Yet they are a part of life as ancient as the ocean and constant as her rhythms. Life is a series of crests and valleys. And our conditions are ever-changing. When we embrace the concept of evolution, we not only learn to roll with life’s changes, we begin to recognize the opportunities they present. At the very least, we overcome our fears of them. I know because I was forced to evolve following a sudden, deep and unexpected period of change in my life recently. And turning back wasn’t an option.

I’m sharing my story for a few reasons: One was a remarkably timely email that I received from The Inertia a few weeks ago, informing me of some changes coming to their website. The note also asked if I might consider writing about a “significant moment of change” in my own life, something that led to “personal growth and transformation” in conjunction with their re-launch. “Ideally,” the email read, “it could relate to surfing, but also just to life in general.”

My experience certainly relates to, “life in general,” and, as for “surfing,” to me those two things are inseparable. After God, family and friends, surfing has probably been the most significant influence in my life since first standing up on a wave at age 15. Most major decisions I’ve made in my life – where I’ve lived, who I married, how I’ve spent my time and money, have almost always been linked to surfing in one way or another. Isn’t that the all-consuming nature of the sport (activity) that so many of us have freely surrendered to?

Interesting is the role that The Inertia itself played during my period of evolution. I don’t even know if Zach, Alex, Ted or anyone else was aware. Another reason I thought it an ideal time to share. Most importantly, I thought there might be others out there navigating similar times of unexpected change in their own lives who could find some value or encouragement in my experiences.

My “transformation” began in late 2007 when the collapse of the housing market struck a devastating, and ultimately fatal, blow to my 11-year old real estate marketing firm. The business I had launched with one friend out of a small apartment a decade earlier had grown into a 27-person, full-service integrated marketing agency doing about $5 million-a-year, every year.

Until the housing bubble burst.

Understand that there’s a reason people use this specific language when talking about sudden market collapses. When “bubbles burst,” by definition, they cease to existAnd that’s exactly what happened to our industry and our business. One day, we were working 20 or so large accounts. Then, seemingly overnight, all new development just… stopped.

All of it.

The next four years would become a steady series of layoffs of people I considered family, and for whom I felt responsible in much the same way. I delayed every cut for as long as I could while methodically feeding the company with all of the resources my wife and I had worked hard to accumulate over 15 years of marriage.

We liquidated our savings.

Our real estate investments.

Our 401K’s.

And finally, our home, which we were forced to sell to tap its equity. Thank God it sold when it did, or the bank may well have taken it from us.

Now, I have never been materialistic and can be as happy with nothing as I can with abundance. But, the fact was that my life had turned upside down, and the changes were painful. The home my wife and I had built eight years earlier was located directly across the street from the ocean with private access to a beautiful empty beach, with three extremely consistent sandbars within 150 yards of each other. For years, I could walk right out my front door and go surf anytime I felt like it.

As owner of my own business, I rarely missed a swell.

When my boards lost their pop, I ordered new ones.

And I traveled… Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Barbados, The Dominican Republic, Mexico (Mainland and Baja), Costa Rica (over and over), the Bahamas (over and over). But those days had come to an end.

Breaking down our 10,000 s.f. office was physically and emotionally grueling. My partners and I had invested $425,000 building it out to create a one-of-a-kind environment. Now I was selling designer furniture and high tech equipment for next to nothing on Craigslist.

I remember a revelation I had when boxing literally hundreds of local, regional and national awards we had won over the years for just about every creative marketing and design category you could imagine.

You know the saying, “You can’t take it with you?” I get that now. At the end of the day, what value do these things really hold? I wondered then, and do still today, if Kelly Slater feels the same way about his collection of awards which must certainly far outnumber those we had accumulated. I have to believe that he must.

Still, stubbornly, I packed every last one of them with care, lugging five God-awful heavy boxes home with me. My justification: this was for my daughters – so that one day in the future they might pull these things down from the attic, brush off the dust and discover, “Damn – Dad was pretty good.”

A few weeks later, I reconsidered.

I realized that my daughters already know exactly who I am, and everything that is truly “important” about me, and to me. My values. My beliefs. The things I feel are important to stand up for. And what they might understand or think about my professional accomplishments one day in the future… well, that’s the last thing I’d ever really care about. Even at the pinnacle of my career, my work never defined me.

And it never will.

And I hope the same is true for them.

Following the four-year unwinding of my business, I spent the next full year trying to figure out, “What next?” By now, the rest of the country was gripped in the recession, and I was on the front lines with millions of others trying to find a job.

My circumstances were less than ideal. If you think it’s tough trying to find a solid job out of college, try doing it when you’re 40-something with an extensive resume, a reputation as a “specialist,” and you’re a life-long entrepreneur. Employers interpret this as “expensive,” “one-trick pony” and a guy who “can’t work for others,” regardless of what the truth may be.

The one thing that was genuinely vexing, however, was that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I had been doing the same thing for 15 years and that industry was now dormant. This is when I really began to embrace the idea of “transformation” and the opportunities it presented.

While a significant chapter of my life seemed to have simply vanished into thin air, I couldn’t repress my inner desire to get on with something new– to dedicate my considerable experience and passions to new challenges, whatever lied ahead. It was the feeling you get when paddling into large surf you’re not certain you’re equipped to handle, but that you’re committed to dropping in no matter what – a mix of nerves, fear, anticipation and excitement. During this time, I continued to rely upon those same foundations I always had during challenging times in my life – God. Family. Friends…

…and surfing.

Yes, my travels had come to a halt about three years earlier. But during my year of career transition, I had plenty of time to get out in the water, and I did. Often. I used this time to try and decompress, focus my thoughts and figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do. I also began teaching my 9-year-old daughter how to surf. I relished the opportunity to share time with her in the ocean for that entire year, and I would never give one second of that time back. Those are days I will never, ever forget.

To keep my creative metabolism flowing, I began to write more and, in late 2011, stumbled upon The Inertia. I loved the website, admired Zach’s vision and reading posts from so many intelligent writers and surfers on subjects that weren’t being addressed in the mainstream print surf pubs.

I submitted a few of my own articles and received an incredibly warm reply. Before I knew it, my first piece was published. By coincidence, happened to share the home page with Kelly Slater’s first post to the site, lending a high number of views to my own article and a great response as a result. This would happen again just a few weeks later.

These were comforting distractions during otherwise stressful days. For a time, I considered transitioning into the surf industry full-time. But ultimately, I wasn’t ready to relocate to Orange County to try and do it. With limited resources and a family to support, the risks just didn’t make sense.

Instead, after months of searching and sending resumes into the black hole of online recruiting sites, I came across a notice for a position that perfectly suited my experience and passions for surfing, travel and marketing. The Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority needed an Executive Director to lead tourism marketing for New Smyrna Beach and the surrounding area. New Smyrna may be the most consistent break on the east coast and I knew it well because I had spent much time surfing there while finishing college at the University of Central Florida. I applied for the position, made the list of finalists, and eventually won the job.

I then began commuting to work from my home in Ponte Vedra Beach– 90 minutes each way, every day. While this was less than ideal, I was ecstatic just to be working again in a role I was perfectly suited for.

Not long after starting, I realized that our office needed a content producer – a photographer/cinematographer who could capture New Smyrna in the way I knew it needed to be represented: beautifully honest. Unpretentious. Pure and real. One of my team members suggested long-time local Patrick Eichstaedt. The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it. “You probably know him,” she said. “He surfs. And, he writes for that same website you do – The Inertia. But, he goes by the name ‘Tupat.’”

“Ah, Tupat!” Yes, I knew Tupat, who was an active contributor not only forThe InertiaSurflineESM and others but who had worked for …Lost Enterprises for many years. I asked him to come in and ended up hiring him to help with our NSB re-branding efforts. Tupat would pull in local surfing icons like Shea Lopez, Lindsay Perry and others who graciously helped us create a series of marketing videos and other promotions.

During this same time, I conceptualized a new events festival for NSB I called, “Beach Weeks.” It would consist of seven straight weeks of coastal-themed events incorporating new events with existing ones in early summer. Beach Weeks included surfing and SUP contests, Reggae and Blues festivals, fishing tournaments, movie nights and many family-friendly events. We even brought Bethany Hamilton to town to help kick things off. The festival was a hit and Beach Weeks since expanded to include both Summer and Fall versions.

Although my fortunes had turned and I was doing something I loved, my transition was not yet complete. The commute had begun to wear upon me. I was rarely home for dinner with my family and we realized if I was going to stay, that we’d have to relocate. As much as I love New Smyrna, I am a third-generation native of Jacksonville, Florida, and our city has a lot going on in its own right. The surf scene is thriving from St. Augustine to Jax Beach and the home we were living in (and still do now), while far more modest than our last one, was still within walking distance of one of our area’s best breaks. My kids enjoy great schools and all of their friends, and so many of my own, are here.

As decision time approached, I was contacted by a former employee of my agency, who began recruiting me to come back to Jax for a position at a large public tech company where she was now working. The role: Director of Social Media sounded interesting and I was only weeks from having to make a decision on moving prior to the start of a new school year.

I live by the motto, “You don’t know until you go” and so decided to investigate it further. The more I learned, the more appealing the thought became. No moving. Short commute. Better hours. Better compensation. Better benefits. This included generous stock options – the type of benefit that, more than just a good salary, can truly help to build long-term financial stability. The perfect fit for someone starting over on rebuilding their retirement.

I accepted the job.

Looking back today, I am at peace with the changes that occurred in my life. I’ve continued to grow personally and professionally. I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend in New Smyrna Beach and stoked to see the programs we put into place there, producing positive results for the area. I’m grateful for the full year I was able to surf with my daughter, and for the fact that after 15 years, I was able to try something brand new with my career.

For those who might be going through similar periods of change, I would encourage you to never give up, never lose hope and never lose confidence in your own abilities. Recognize that no matter your circumstances in life, there are always countless numbers of people navigating greater challenges than your own. I reminded myself of this fact every day during my period of transition and never fell into the trap of feeling sorry for myself. Recognize that life truly is a series of ups, downs and changing conditions. Embrace those changes and enjoy the ride. Remember that it is always the most difficult conditions that provide us the greatest opportunities to learn, grow and evolve, and facing them that provides our highest levels of joy and satisfaction.

 

 

The Barnett Building, Jacksonville, FL – One Spark

03 May
May 3, 2014
The Barnett Building in Jacksonville, FL

The interior of The Barnett Building in Jacksonville, Florida, during the One Spark festival April, 2014

California Cool

03 May
May 3, 2014
California Cool - Lifeguard station, La Jolla, California

California Cool – Lifeguard station, La Jolla, California

La Jolla Dreamscape

03 May
May 3, 2014
Scenic beauty in La Jolla, California

Check out the spectacular beauty of La Jolla, CA! Paradise!

La Jolla Cove

03 May
May 3, 2014
Seals at La Jolla Cove, California

Seals chillin’ at La Jolla Cove, California

The Seals of La Jolla

03 May
May 3, 2014
The Seals of La Jolla, CA

The Seals of La Jolla, CA relaxing on a lazy Sunday

Kickin’ back in Cali

03 May
May 3, 2014
Tim and Kendall in La Jolla, Ca -  Good times!

Tim and Kendall in La Jolla, Ca – Good times!

La Jolla Seascape

03 May
May 3, 2014
Beautiful La Jolla, Ca

The scenic beauty of La Jolla, Ca

Find us on Google+