Having a kid changes your life. Suddenly you find yourself telling someone else what to do. It's weird going to the beach and watching them instead of just psyching to get out and surf.
If you're surfing because of your ego, to impress people, to make money, it's never going to amount to anything real and you'll never be satisfied. But if you just enjoy the little things like walking down the beach or watching the sunset and all the childish fun that comes from jumping in the water, you'll have a great life.
My dad was my biggest mentor, and he was that for a lot of other kids too. He would take me and Christian to the skatepark when we were little and told us that skating and airs were the future. He always encouraged us to try airs and to push ourselves, and he did the same with Dino Andino and Archy and a lot of other kids. Everybody thought my dad was crazy—and he is crazy—but he was so ahead of his time that he made us ahead of our time.
If my dad had patented Astrodeck, he probably wouldn't have had to work another day in his life. But who doesn't want to work a day in their life? He's still striving to achieve things today, and he loves it.
There's no better place to be a kid than Hawaii. When I realized I was going to have a kid, we moved back to the North Shore. Lazer can grow up wearing trunks in the ocean and walking barefoot to school. You can't really ask for more.“If you really want to make an impression on the North Shore, wait until it's the heaviest day of the winter, paddle out, and when the biggest set comes, call off everyone and go.”
If you show up on the North Shore with a smile on your face and are respectful, everyone is going to be cool. But if you want to paddle out at Pipeline and get waves at the peak on a west swell, that's still gonna take a while.
If you really want to make an impression on the North Shore, wait until it's the heaviest day of the winter, paddle out, and when the biggest set comes, call off everyone and go. On the really heavy days, it's not like when it's 6- to 8-foot and everybody wants it. People will remember when you go on waves like that, guaranteed. Just make sure you've got a board that can get into it.
No other sport has a culture like surfing. Football culture wasn't formed by burnouts who ran away looking for something new. You can never take that away from surfing, but I think that it's just so big now that it looks totally different. And it's going to keep getting bigger. One day it will be in the Olympics, and it will be in wave pools. It's inevitable.
When you're jockeying for small waves, that's all ego. But when you're in a big-wave situation just trying to survive, it's totally different. If someone gets a good wave, I'm just screaming for them. You want to see everyone charge hard and do great things. Afterwards it just feels like this big exhale, and as long as everyone made it back safe, you're stoked. I think that's where the camaraderie comes from in big-wave surfing.
Time goes by a lot faster underwater if you're thinking about anything else.
I'm serious about training. I don't seem serious, and I'd never take myself seriously [pulls a cigarette from his jacket pocket and lights it], but I'm gonna be 40 soon and I'll be in the best shape of my life, if that counts for anything.
Aerial surfing is in a pretty crazy place right now. John John's airs are the fucking gnarliest. So are Dane Reynolds' slobs when he bones them out. Whatever is really big, and stuck solid, I really like that. But the thing that impressed me most lately was watching Filipe Toledo hit those little waves at Snapper. His airs are so gnarly, but you almost expect that. It was his rail-to-rail power surfing in those little peelers that blew me away. It's hard for my brain to process that kind of surfing.
When you're going for something half-assed, you know you're gonna make it. When you try to do something really huge, you rarely make it. But when you do accidentally land those huge airs that you were never supposed to make, that's the best feeling.
Legacy matters. I don't really care how people perceive me personally, because I know who I am. But as far as surfing goes, I hope to have done something significant enough to carry my family's name.