KEEP­ING THE STOKE BURN­ING

New Zealand Surfing - - Keeping The Stoke Burning - The Ed get­ting his fill of stoke Stoked to be stoked, Yours in Surf­ing Corry Scott and the Team at NZ Surf­ing Mag

I can re­call the first few waves I ever rode as if it were yes­ter­day, even though I was straight lin­ing in one foot of whitewater I can still see the way the droplets of wa­ter came off my rails and the sound the board made, from those first moments I wanted to do this for­ever. I never grew up close to the beach so I begged bor­rowed and stole ways to get to the beach. Most likely mum would drop me early morn­ing not long af­ter sun­rise and pick me up in the dark af­ter work, where I’d be found shiv­er­ing in my wet­suit tucked in out of the wind be­hind the surf club. I never took a change of clothes cause I never planned to get out of my wet­suit, I was gonna surf all day long no mat­ter what.

As I pro­gressed through my teens, while I did have other com­mit­ments, all I wanted to do was be at the beach, cov­ered in the black iron sand with my eyes sting­ing from the salt, cause to me that meant I was in the el­e­ment I loved. When­ever I was around the ocean I was in the lineup be­fore first light and got out in the dark, I barely even ate most days. This con­tin­ued till my mid-twen­ties and at that point in my life I couldn’t see it ever let­ting up, by now I lived at the beach and even when it was flat I’d just go sit down the beach on sun­set and run sand through my fin­gers. Ev­ery birthday and Xmas I surfed! No mat­ter what! Even if there were fam­ily com­mit­ments, I’d pad­dle out at 4:30AM and surf till 7, af­ter all no one was gonna be awake back home by then right? So, I wasn’t dis­ap­point­ing any­one. If I did a roady I ei­ther left late at night or in the small hours of the morn­ing, through fear if that sun was to rise I may miss out on a cou­ple of waves that some­one else may get.

My com­mit­ment to the surf life­style saw me forge a ca­reer in the in­dus­try, firstly as a shaper of my own la­bel, but un­less it was flat or re­ally horrible anywhere within a tank of gas drive in the North Is­land, I didn’t work dur­ing day­light hours. I’d get home mid evening and head on down to the fac­tory I had in an in­dus­trial sub­di­vi­sion, beg the se­cu­rity guard to al­low me to work, as pol­icy was no af­ter­hours en­try (he soon got used to my habit) then shape, sand or glass boards till 3AM have 2 hours sleep throw an­other layer of glass on and hit the road again. My par­ents al­ways wor­ried that I never slept, and of the hours I’d drive, but hey I had waves to score and I’m still here ain't I? Dur­ing this time, I had built up my surf photography to the point that with this as well, I was non­stop 24/7 365. I was get­ting so busy with my board or­ders that in­stead of tak­ing the hit and knuck­ling down, I made a de­ci­sion to re-fo­cus my skills to­ward my ca­reer in the surf me­dia and wound up my fac­tory. This only made sense cause mak­ing boards was get­ting in the way of me be­ing at the beach and if I was a surf pho­tog I’d be at the beach ev­ery sin­gle day, right?

Well… I owe that move to the ca­reer that I have till this day, an in­cred­i­ble journey that has lasted 22 years. But where I’m go­ing with all this is, I be­gan to grow up! Well not re­ally, I be­gan to grow old(er) haha.. I had my first ma­jor in­jury, an acl tear which hin­dered my surf­ing for a cou­ple of years. I be­came so busy in the in­dus­try and while on shoots, that get­ting the job done be­came pri­or­ity, and I even had kids and scored my­self an awe­some mort­gage, it's al­most as if I was hu­man! I was trav­el­ling all round the world to the best waves on the planet and I’d think jeez I’ll never get sick of this. My first trip to Indo was life chang­ing and I couldn’t get enough of the place, but af­ter 22 years of heading there for months and some­times mul­ti­ple times a year, while it sounds crazy com­ing from the lips of a surfer, I was over it! How could I pos­si­bly be OVER the best waves on the planet, but years of monotony had driven my love away. Even back home I didn’t wake early any­more, and I didn’t care if I surfed or not.

Right now, some­one who is im­pris­oned in an of­fice in cen­tral Auck­land who sits on the mo­tor­way dead still for an hour morn­ing and night, who is hang­ing out for a week­end surf is prob­a­bly say­ing “You spoilt prick” and I was! My life was ev­ery­thing that as a grom I’d said jok­ingly that I wanted it to be. But I’d burnt my­self out and my flame of stoke was barely an ember. Sure, I picked my­self up for the jobs, af­ter all I was pro­fes­sional and I’d never let any­thing get in the way of my work ethic, it was my per­sonal time that was suf­fer­ing not the job. I’d see the ads on tv of Sir John Kir­win where he quoted “I was too busy be­ing busy” and this rang true, the very rea­son I’d grav­i­tated to­ward a life as a surfer in the first place was be­ing lost. I had friends and other surfers of the same age all go­ing through the same thing, all too busy with ca­reers and fam­ily, and given some spare time that was all but spo­ken for. Only the best of the best days would drag us out from ‘be­ing busy’, but the prob­lem with this is we weren’t as surf fit as we used to be and the ses­sion was al­most un-en­joy­able.

Over the com­ing years I searched deep into how I could get my stoke back, how I could feel that buzz that fu­elled me like a nu­clear re­ac­tor in my core when I was younger. One day it oc­curred to me that the most stoke I felt was when I did some­thing new, some­thing un-ex­pected that wasn’t a repet­i­tive same old ground hog day type sce­nario. I went back to Indo but I never went near Bali. I flew in to the deep­est dark­est un­ex­plored part of Indo I could find and over the course of a week of scoring the most epic waves you’ve ever seen, in a land that took me back in time 50 years, where we didn’t see an­other surfer, I right there found my soul and spark once again. I came home and found my­self with this re-in­vig­o­rated ap­pre­ci­a­tion of ev­ery­thing around me, I’d get up early and drive as the sun came up and stay at the beach or where ever I was and marvel at the beauty as the sun went down. Sure, I prob­a­bly had things to do but they could wait! I was be­ing fu­elled by this ev­ery­day oc­cur­rence that I’d be­gun to take for granted.

My kids started surf­ing and just to see the look on their faces and the stoke and hype they had as they ran down the beach and rode waves, brought it all back to me. I was feed­ing my own stoke off them. That trans­ferred into the job, I was cover­ing events where I’d wit­ness young groms stoked to be at the beach, just as I had been 30 years prior, I’d watch them surf and ad­mire their abil­ity and how much surf­ing has grown and pro­gressed in this coun­try. I’d meet other par­ents at events, even mates from my younger grom days, who had also been through the same thing I was go­ing through, they were stoked to be back at the beach and back in the surf and we all had smiles on our di­als. The stoke was back. I’m not sure how it ever faded, and when I was young I fool­ishly be­lieved it never would, but for us all grow­ing up be­comes a job and through my own pro­cesses and ex­pe­ri­ences and I’m sure any­one over the age of 30 can re­late. Keep it fresh, keep mov­ing and keep that stoke burn­ing!

As life be­comes busy and days are filled with com­mit­ments that see you miss out on the surf time you once had or wish you could have, when you pull up in the carpark and the first wave you see reels off like this, theres no hold­ing back that in­ner fire, and the stoke from ex­plod­ing as you throw on ya wetty and get out there as fast as you can. Photo: Cory

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