One Wave and I was Hooked
I started surfing when I was 12. My first board was a 10' Chuck Dent that I had to drag in the sand because it was too heavy to carry. I caught my first wave and was so stoked I never stopped surfing. I'm 58 now and surf every day if I can.
I grew up on the West side of Los Angeles and regularly surfed Malibu, Topanga, Santa Monica, Venice and up and down the coast when gas was cheap and you had to sneak into Trestles because it's a Marine base and Nixon had his hideaway there.
In 1965, my Parents bought property on the Kona side of the Big Island, Hawaii. I became a lawyer and moved to Kona in 1980 to surf-and practice law. As a surfer, I had a keen interest in coastal issues, like beach access, clean water, and resort planning. In 1983, I successfully obtained an injunction against American Hawaii Cruises for polluting the Islands' harbors with effluent. I was off and running. I stopped construction of a deep-draft harbor in Kohala by a resort that wanted to cater to the booming Japanese economy at the time. I testified many times against coastal development that would restrict or preclude access, and challenged development of resorts that would result in numerous forms of pollution.
I made a lot of friends in the surfing industry because of my work on coastal issues. Also, before moving to Hawaii, I helped organize and run with David "Stinky" Isackson, the U.S. Malibu Pro, the first Mainland contest sanctioned by the I.P.S., predecessor to the A.S.P., which is the official sanctioning body for the professional tour. I became a board member of the I.P.S., on behalf of the U.S. Pro, and became good friends with legendary Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick, who started and ran the Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing.
In 1990, I became legal advisor to the A.S.P. One of the benefits of doing so was I got to travel the World to the A.S.P. meetings and work with the top people in the surf industry, in addition to a lot of the pros. My law practice now included representation of the Triple Crown, board manufacturers, surf pros, surf shop owners and everyday surfers with various legal issues. It was a perfect marriage of my job and passion for surfing.
I have traveled extensively over the years, in Indonesia, from Sumatra to Roti, the South Pacific, Fiji, and up and down the coast of Mexico and Central America. I've been hanging at home a lot lately. In 1989, I was appointed Commissioner to sell some beachfront property in Kohala on the Big Island. You needed a key to get through the gate. I was amazed to discover it had perfect right and left breaks with a deep channel in between. I've been fortunate to keep that key to this day and have been surfing our secret "private spot" for 20 years with a handful of friends.
I still ride shortboards and longboards, from 6' 4" to my 11' 3" stand-up. To me, there is nothing more spiritual than surfing. The ocean is my church, and I can't get any closer to God than when I'm deep in a clean barrel. I try not to let work interfere with surfing. I live to surf, and work is just the means to allow me to do it as much as I can.