Surfing has really given me so much—it allowed me to travel to different parts of the world, see new places, meet new people. I remember all the places I’ve been, and each one made an impact on me one way or another. I met my wife because of surfing. I didn’t meet her through surfing directly, but I met her because surfing brought me to another part of the world. If I didn’t surf, I wouldn’t have been in Australia, and I may never have met her. That’s definitely my greatest memory. When I sit back now and I think about everywhere surfing has taken me, I feel like I’ve been very fortunate.
I’m very happy with where I’m at right now in my life. I’m just relaxed and I feel like I’m much more at peace with myself. I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done at all, and I’m very lucky to still be a part of surfing. If I want to travel, I can still do that, but I’m much more at ease now compared to a year ago. I get to enjoy those little things that I couldn’t focus on as much when I was competing. I feel like I can spend so much more time with my wife and my friends. We’re a lot more social now because when I was competing, everything revolved around what I wanted to accomplish in that world, and what I had to do to be my best. There were so many times when I wouldn’t see any of my friends for a long time because I was so brainwashed and caught up with what I wanted to do competitively. Now that’s all done, and I feel like I can really enjoy my life without having that voice in the back of my mind saying, “I shouldn’t be doing this, I should go surfing. I need to get ready for the next event and it’s only a week away.” I get to live a life now outside of the routine of surfing contests, and I get to share it all with my wife.
I want to have a family, and that’s it. I don’t concern myself with the future because I love my life right now. I love to surf, and I get to surf. Saying you’re the best because you won a contest and you did more turns than another guy in a heat—that doesn’t mean shit. The people that are caught up in that world, that’s what they love, but at the end of the day, that only goes so far. Look at Sunny Garcia: He won a world title, but man, he’s still had to face some hard times. So what does it all mean at the end of the day? It doesn’t mean anything except that now you can say, “Yeah, I won a world title.” But what does that even really mean? That doesn’t define your life, and that alone won’t make your life great. I’ve come to realize that more than ever since I’ve stepped away from it all. I enjoy my life and I don’t regret anything.