Reading, foiling and me being a dick

March 12, 2020
March 12, 2020 m8

Reading is not really my thing. I mean classic book reading, if it is not connected to sails, sailmaking, aero-hydrodynamics or surfing in a way.

For some reason I was browsing the iBook store, when I bumped into Garrett McNamara’s book, the Hound of the Sea: Wild Man. Wild Waves. Wild Wisdom

Garrett McNamara or ‘GMAC’ is ‘an American professional big wave surfer and extreme waterman known for breaking the world record for largest wave ever surfed at Nazaré, Portugal, surviving a monstrous wave at Jaws, and riding tsunami from calving glaciers in Alaska.’ sais Wikipedia. And as my current addiction is Nazaré and big wave surfing, I bought his book to support this great guy.

In two nights – which is quite fast for me – I’ve read his inspirational book about big wave surfing and Nazaré. Without spoilering the whole book, it’s a must read for those who are into big wave surfing.

After I’ve finished GMAC’s book, another one came by. The Liferider written by Laird Hamilton. He is a huge name in big wave surfing, foil surfing and his book resonates so much with what I believe in regarding life, death and surfing. ‘Individuals need to experience fear, Hamilton believes, to understand serenity completely; hanging in the space between life and death in surfing, … allows them to face such fear (“Fear is about respect. Fear leads to informed action”).’ – wrote Publishers Weekly about his book. Of course I bought that book as well.

So all of a sudden I’ve read two books, which is probably my yearly dose… How did this happen?

I had a friend/coach/mentor, who had a huge impact on me and a part of my life. He had two passions: sailing and painting. He always told me he uses one to get away from the other. I asked him multiple times how is that possible, as I simply wasn’t able to have two hobbies or concentrate on two very different activities. He told me you will know when you will be older…

So here I am, at the age, or part of my life, when I love my work, but I have to clean  my head, reset my brain, my feelings from time to time. And this is foiling. While windfoiling is a bit like work, because of the sails, surf foiling/big wave foiling gives me a total reset, just like reading these two books.

So I’ve told you about reading and foiling… how do they come together with me being a dick? 😀

I am a member of a secret group, something like Freemasonry. Just kidding. It is a project about the safety gear of big wave foiling, including inflatable pull vests, how to handle foils during rescue, and how to handle fear as a foiler. We are getting ready for the next season. At least mentally.

Some days ago Laird’s Nazaré foiling video came out and we started to chat about him, his wings (foils)/boards with the project team. I told the guys that I started to read his book and it made me laugh when I realised how his nature is so similar to mine. In the introduction of the book he describes himself as:

‘Controversial. Incorrigible. Radical. Visionary. Revolutionary. Disrespectful. Disobedient. Unpredictable. A dick.’

And the guys started nodding. Just like some other friends… and some more friends from the playground.


So what i’ve learnt is:

  1. I’m getting older and I can get lost in inspirational books and reading if it’s written by surfers who dare to risk their lives!
  2. I do need time to get away from work, to clean my head and I can have multiple hobbies.
  3. My friends think I’m a dick. 


However they’ve also found some other similarities with Laird, like being obsessed with certain things, punk contrarian nature, being mad about foils and the aspiration to be the best in any circumstances. So thankfully there are more similarities between Laird Hamilton and me than eating superfoods and working with pull vests. And I’d like to think, that great minds think alike!


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