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"We can spend our lives let­ting the world tell us who we are. Sane or in­sane. Saints or sex ad­dicts. He­roes or vic­tims. Let­ting his­tory tell us how good or bad we are. Let­ting our past­de­cide our fu­ture. Or we can de­cide for our­selves. And maybe it's our job to in­vent some­thing bet­ter. " CHUCK PALAH­NIUK

The other day I was sit­ting around a ta­ble with my two boys and their three cousins, and I asked each of them what they would like to be when they grow up. Milo, 12, says he is go­ing to be a screen­writer and di­rec­tor of films that change the world. “Hor­ror movies, Dad, but hor­ror movies that help peo­ple,” he said. Cool.

Iggy, ten, reck­ons he will grow up to be an ac­tor or a nov­el­ist. “Like Dr. Suess. You think his sto­ries are ridicu­lous, but re­ally they’re about ev­ery­thing.” He ac­tu­ally said that. Mad pride!

Ed­die, 11, is go­ing to be a pro skater, and start his own skate la­bel called Quez­tion. Rad­ness.

Then I asked the two lit­tle ones. Mickey, five, wants to be a fart when he grows up. And Min­nie, three, told me she would like to be a kan­ga­roo.

I can’t re­mem­ber what I wanted to be when I was three or five, but I do re­mem­ber that by the time I was 13 I knew for sure the rest of my life would be com­pletely ded­i­cated to surf­ing. I didn’t know how (hope­fully turn pro), or in what ca­pac­ity (happy to set­tle for sweep­ing out shap­ing bays), but noth­ing mat­tered more to me than mak­ing sure my fu­ture was all about surf.

When I look back to­day, it’s hard to un­der­stand the ab­so­lute con­vic­tion lit­tle me had in that idea (and that it ac­tu­ally worked – I’ve been mak­ing surf mags since I was 17), be­cause these days I never feel 100 per­cent cer­tain about any­thing. Ev­ery choice I make is clouded by a re­ward ver­sus reper­cus­sion equa­tion, and ev­ery ac­tion I take is af­fected in some way by a fear of fail­ure. I’m not ham­strung by it, but it’s there, qui­etly lin­ger­ing like a guy at a party who doesn’t know any­one. I don’t know if it’s a sur­vival in­stinct, or if it’s just the mind­set that comes with get­ting older, but these anx­i­eties have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the choices I make and the mean­ings I at­tach to life. Ha! Far out, what is this philo­soph­i­cal psy­cho bab­ble? What I’m try­ing to say is, choos­ing to put your pas­sion first can be a re­ally dif­fi­cult thing to do, but if you can find a way, things do seem to work out.

In this is­sue you’ll meet surfers on vary­ing paths who’ve put their pas­sions first – a World Champ, an au­thor, an art stu­dent, a med­i­ta­tion guru, the son of a surf­ing leg­end, a film­maker, a pho­tog­ra­pher, and a Flash Gor­don look-a-like – all deal­ing with very sim­i­lar themes in how they go about liv­ing.

They’ve made de­ci­sions that make them feel gen­uinely stoked with who they are, where they’re at, and what might come bound­ing around the cor­ner next. You’ll read a lot about cre­ativ­ity, mo­ti­va­tion, iden­tity, and choice. These weren’t themes we were go­ing af­ter, but co­in­ci­den­tal threads that bind the en­tire mag to­gether. Their sto­ries are in­spir­ing, and ap­pli­ca­ble to all facets of life, from some­thing as small as de­cid­ing to go for an early in­stead of sleep­ing in, to mov­ing to New York just to see what liv­ing there might be like.

I’m not sure how that ap­plies to grow­ing up to be a kan­ga­roo, but I’m sure some­one ad­dresses that in here some­where too. – Vaughan Blakey

Above: Bryce Young soul arch­ing across the equa­tor. (Shield) Pre­vi­ous Spread: Ari Browne dan­ger slide. (Sken­nar) Cover: Ari Browne, Baja (Mike Townsend)

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