I caught up with one of the most extraordinary athletes on the planet, the ultimate waterman of the universe and author of a new book called Life Rider.
As a longtime very casual recreational surfer (I like my waves 18-24….inches), I have long been fascinated by Laird’s continued pushing of the outer limits of human performance in the water. Laird is best known as a big-wave surfer and innovator in the world of action water sports. Laird is credited with being the driving force behind tow-in-surfing (behind a jet ski, so one can ride larger waves than paddling in), stand-up paddle boarding and hydrofoil boarding.
One of my favorite Laird experiences came a couple of days apart during an epic storm pattern in Southern California. With record-sized waves pumping, Laird made it onto YouTube when he “shot” the Malibu Pier on a standup paddleboard. This is the extremely challenging and dangerous act of riding a wave all the way into the pier, passing through the huge wooden pylons underneath, then emerging out the other side. Considering you are traveling some 20mph on a big wave, if you hit a pylon you are likely toast. A video arriving two days later beautifully framed with a big picture of Laird. At the same Malibu Pier, a foolish body surfer became trapped in an undertow and was about to drown. Who jumps in to quickly save him but Laird. So you have the extreme athlete pulling off epic feats for the brah’s to marvel at, and then switching into his lifeguard hat to risk his own safety to save a Barney. Watch the video and look at Laird’s demeanor…
Laird seems to touch things and have them turn to gold. His Laird Superfood coffee creamer and related products have been a smash hit, as was his innovative GolfBoard that allows golfers to get a surfing-like experience on grass instead of a lame golf cart. Laird, along with Gabby, are pioneers in underwater strength training.
When surfing, you can tell what’s happening behind you by looking in front of you. [08:12]
Nurture the body and you’ll stimulate the brain and get it to work even better. [10:25]
It’s a human responsibility to get out and live and experience life. Take risks. [13:02]
There are three ways to approach dangerous things. [21:29]
Are we born to do certain things like extreme sports? [23:34]
Subconscious programming takes place from age zero to six. [25:30]
High performing people in all fields many times come from some sort of shit in their background that was tough and challenging to them. [27:36]
How does one juggle life in the big city with communing with nature? [31:05]
If you want to keep learning you have to seek out information. [36:14]
This younger generation doesn’t know how to have fun. [38:13]
If you stop having dreams, then you stop having hope. [40:30]
We are each our own greatest restrictor. [44:34]
What did it take for Laird to learn to be more aggressive? [48:22]
- Shooting the Malibu pier on a standup paddleboard. Don’t try this at home. Not even in your swimming pool!
- Saving a life in Malibu
- Wide-ranging interview about fear, haters and his ESPN body photo shoot
- Liferider: Heart, Body, Soul, and Life Beyond the Ocean
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Brad: 00:08 Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is author and athlete, Brad Kearns, discovering ways to be healthy, fit and happy in hectic, high-stress modern life. So let’s slow down and take a deep breath. Take a cold plunge and expertly balanced that competitive intensity with an appreciation of the journey. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go.
Brad: 03:29 I got to talk to Laird Hamilton. Man, my surfer friends can’t believe it, but he’s got a new book out called Life Rider and it is a beautiful piece of work. I highly recommend reading it and that’s saying a lot for me because who has time to read a lot these days? We’re too busy being distracted, connected to technology and, Oh, Laird has a few things to say about that. I think you’re going to love this interview. We hit it hard to, hey, teed this guy up and he just goes off and he might not be a polished professorial, eloquent speaker, but when he offers up these insights, they’re really worth reflecting more deeply upon because I think he’s locked into an existence and lifestyle that transcends the patterns and the traps that so many of us engage in and a lot of it’s through his pursuit, his constant pursuit of the outer limits of human peak performance, especially in the water.
Brad: 04:30 I’ve been following this guy for a while and he’s had a tremendous impact on me. I love his stuff so much. It’s been such a privilege to get to meet him a few times in person hanging out in Malibu with Sisson and when you see him in person, as you might imagine, he’s got that larger than life personality, this incredible positive energy always with a quick laugh, which you’ll enjoy during the show and he’s also a quote machine with these profound insights and it’s so nice to reflect on this stuff for a long time. Afterwards. I got a couple of questions off about his book and some things that I read that had been really sticking with me. So overall, I think it’s going to be a fun interview. If you haven’t heard a Laird Hamilton, keep listening and get out and live some more life. Man. Get off the rush hour traffic, go to the beach, talked to some other surfers. Okay. Watch a little bit on Youtube, but Laird is known best as the big wave surfer king, the ultimate waterman. In addition to his affinity for the water, Laird has been labeled as an inventor, author, stuntman model producer, TV host, fitness and nutrition expert, husband, father and adrenaline junkie, a renowned innovator and guiding genius of Crossover Board Sports Including Tow in surfing, standup paddle boarding and hydro foil boarding. Laird’s, the essential water man. Continuously pushing the limits and expanding all you know about his wife, Gabby Reese, the ultimate fitness power couple of the universe and they split their time between Hawaii and the urban metropolis of Los Angeles and the Malibu area. I asked him a little bit about going back and forth and managing and juggling all the things that he’s got going in life. I think you’re going to love his insights and get out there and do more. Have Fun, like Laird. Enjoy the show.
Brad: 06:20 Thanks for joining me. Laird.
Laird: 06:24 My pleasure.
Brad: 06:25 Uh, this thing is, this thing is the real deal. I’m holding up a book called Life Rder. I’m very impressed, man. And uh, I get a lot of books surprised. Well I’ll tell Ya, I get a lot of books. I write a lot of books, read a lot of books and um, a lot’s been already said and when you get into something that’s got an interesting take that hits you really hard right away, that’s something special deserving of a compliment, man.
Laird: 06:55 Well I appreciate that.
Brad: 06:56 And yeah, this guy, Julian Bora, I guess you guys are pretty tight. Your, your, your co writer and he starts out writing, uh, in his, in his person talking about you and then we jumped in. So I kind of liked that, that pattern really cool. But, um, the start of the book, you know, it, it blew me away because it was getting really deep into like the meaning of life. And I think the, uh, the takeaway message is that you gotta be physical. You got to, you got to connect the mind and the body. We’re here and a high tech life where we’re mostly just sitting in front of a screen all day instead of an going experiencing water or different environment. And I guess that’s, that’s, that’s kind of your main message, uh, that you’ve been conveying for a long time.
Laird: 07:39 Well, I mean, because we’re, this is where we are. I mean, you know, we’re, we’re on this physical plane and, and we’re, and this is who we are and where we are. It’s like when we talk about our biology, there’s certain things that you’re just not going to, no matter how sophisticated, we get techno, you know, technologically we just not gonna we’re not gonna change some aspects of our biology overnight. I mean, maybe that’ll happen, but it’s gonna take a lot more than a generation or two for that to happen.
Brad: 08:12 Um, the, there, there’s some prediction that we might get used to eating sugar and about 50,000 years. That’s about the prediction. We’re going to evolve. Meanwhile, we don’t want to wait.
Laird: 08:26 No. Oh. And we can, we can’t in a way, I think we can’t forget our, you know, part of it, it said, you’re seeing, I always use surfing as, as a metaphor, but you know, surfing is it, when you surf, you can tell what’s happening behind you by looking in front of you. And it’s kind of, it’s a pretty interesting way to go about, you know, things and at where, you know, if you can, if you, to try to begin to understand what we, where we been, uh, we have to look at where we’re going too and, and, and, and, but also be, have to be realistic about what we are. Right? We have to be realistic about that. We’re, we’re still physical beings on a physical planet. And it’s like, I remember one time I was talking to Elon Musk and I was asking that it’s a guy that just makes rockets, but eh, but I would anyways. [inaudible] it’s not about him per se as much as it, I use him as an example, but where he’s so focused and so in his head, right, he’s so much in his head that it’s like, I, I, I put my hand on his shoulder and I was like, Hey, don’t forget to take care of this like this. Like your body. Like, like, you know, as, as intelligent as as we are, and this is as an intelligent as some of people are like Ilan and these other incredible minds. We, we have to remember that they need to nurture the body too because they’re really not even optimizing, in my opinion, they’re true intelligence. Like they give, there’s so much more intelligent than that. In a way. It’s like, wow, you know, look how smart that guy is. But you’re kind of like, but yeah, but as the operating to his full potential, if you know, if you use everybody else’s a reference, you could say, well, I mean, he’s so far beyond anybody that he can, you know, that, that you can’t use them as a comparison. But for himself ultimately for himself is he really opt are operating to his, his true potential.
Laird: 10:25 And I think that’s what most of, I think we all have to be, uh, kind of responsible to that connected to, you know, where your own, your, your, your own doctor, you’re the best doctor that you’re ever going to have that. And no one can tell you how you feel better than you can tell yourself how you feel. No one can tell you better if a, if a medicine’s working for, you’re not better than you can. I mean, and kind of take responsibility. I think we live in a time where we love to just go like, Hey, I’m going to go to this guy and he’s going to tell me what’s going on. How am I going to be? And I’m going to the other guy and he’s going to tell me, you know, how it’s going to be and I’m going to go and we’re, and we’re instead of kind of taking up, taking it on ourselves and, and you know, but, but all ultimately optimizing intelligence through physicality that, you know, the brain without oxygen from the lungs and the heart doesn’t last long. So you know, it, it, you know, feed the body of nurture the body and then you’ll, and then you’ll stimulate and you’ll get the brain to work even better. Right. So I just, I just, I just like to tie it, to tie it in. I think that that’s part of the messaging and the book is for us to, is to connect everything and not departmentalized. You know, I think we’ve, I mean, you think about the fifties or the, or the forties or where, you know, it’s like, okay, he’s a jock. Well, he’s a, he’s a, he’s a professor. Like somehow, you know, but then if you look back in history, like somebody like Leonardo Da Vinci, well, he was a strong and powerful individual, right? And could chisel stone all day, but optimizing his thought. So there was a relationship between physicality and and, and mentalality. Yes. I would say, you know, I, I think there’s a connection that we have to give that we have to nurture and be aware of and consistently feed.
Brad: 12:12 Well said, doctor Laird, you’re, you’re onto something here. And I think a lot of us in modern life are getting pushed further and further away from owning this concept. And we all played when we were kids, at least people of our age played. Now, I don’t know, the kids probably don’t even play starting at age one when they get their screen in their hand. Uh, but if someone’s kind of stuck and not really grasping the importance of this, they watch you surfing the big wave and they go, wow, that’s really awesome. I would never do that. That’s crazy. Or they watch Alex Honnold climbing the, the thing in Yosemite and go, wow, that guy is, that guy is so crazy. He could, he could slip and die. What would you say to kind of bring in the, the Elon Musk or whoever you have a chance to talk to that we all can benefit from exploring those, those physical limits that you’ve been all about in your life?
Laird: 13:02 Well, I mean, I think that’s part of our responsibility is of being alive. That that’s one of our, one of the, one of our purposes is to, I mean like again, talking about reaching your full potential. When I watch Alex climb, it makes complete sense to me. Like that makes sense to me. I look at that and I go, yeah, like you’re like you’re at a level in your skill that you know that you can do something and not make a mistake. That I think I go, Bravo. I’m like, that’s, that’s, that’s what we, that’s, that’s the, the, the evolution of, of, of, of, of, of our, of our skill, you know, that’s the highest level to be able to say, hey, I can go do this thing without falling. I can ride this wave without falling. I can climb this mountain without falling. I think that’s first of all, the to the mental fortitude to be able to, to have the experience, to actually make that commitment that I’m able to, to be that.
Laird: 13:59 But I think that it’s, it’s a, it’s a human responsibility to get out and, and live and experience life and I, and I, and, and the fact is, is that that the presence of death, uh, as, as, as I would describe it as, as kind of shadowed is it may be in our, in our modern society doesn’t make it any less relevant or present. It does it just because we’ve, we’ve shadowed it and pushed it further away and disguised it and done all these things, you know, just cause we seat belted and airbags and warning signs. Yeah. Yeah. I mean all that stuff, just because we’d done all this stuff doesn’t make it any less relevant. And the fact is that, that we have lived in that presence of, and in a, in a, in an intimate relationship with that, as long as we’ve existed. That we’ve, and we, and, and in nature, it’s, I mean, I, and it’s good for us. It’s a healthy thing for us to, to be near near it and, and to, and, and to, and to operate with its presence because it affects the way we conduct ourselves. It, it makes us act differently when, when, uh, you know, when, when our, our, we’re at risk, we act, we act differently, we’re better, we’re better, we’re better.
Brad: 15:27 I think maybe some people misunderstand this who aren’t in extreme sports that your, your, your fear is okay out there when you’re facing giant waves because it brings out the best in you.
Laird: 15:40 Well, it’s mandatory. It’s a necessity. First of all, I would question your, your, your ability to understand if you were in a situation that had like, you know, like a mountain climber on a ledge that if you, if you lose your footing, you fall, you die. So pretty clear like, and it’s a pretty clear thing. Like you’re, you know, you’re, you, you know that, that a mistake we’ll make. Well and for me. So that’s I think, I think, and then it, and then that once you’re in that emotion of, of that you have, uh, and again there’s difference between being scared and having fear. And fear is a, is an emotion that you can use that can make you faster. You know, I would say, you know, if you want to see what fear looks, looks like, watch an antelope run from a cheetah. I mean, that’s what it looks like. You want to see what fears looks like. And usually the antelope gets away by the way. So, but what so is found fast as a cheetah is somehow the antelope manages to manage to get away most of the time. And, and, and that’s fear. That’s, that’s, that’s the, the, that, that understanding of, Hey, I’m smart, my, you know, my vision, my hearing, my, everything’s firing an optimum, uh, which is, which is, you know, which is part of our, you know, our life. It’s our presence. I got my attack dog. Got It.
Brad: 17:09 Love it.
Laird: 17:10 yeah, I got chickens and I heard
Brad: 17:14 Some chickens too. Yeah. Oh, beautiful. Man. So, uh, let me ask you this, Laird, when you, when you, you mentioned Alex Honnold and I remember halfway through the movie seeing him writing the notes in his journal and that’s when it lit up for me that this guy is actually memorizing every single move and that his right hand goes here into this little hook and his left foot goes up to that bump in the rock. And so he, he memorized the route. But when you’re out there in the surf, it doesn’t seem to be exactly lining up with something that he did on land because you’re at the mercy, the, the, the, the waves. Does this have that element of, of danger that you cannot control and how do you deal with that or how do you accept that risk? If it’s a, what’s the percentage? You know,
Laird: 18:03 When you look at Alex’s work, okay, you, you, he’s dealing with a fixed environment other than, okay, there’s dew on the rock are there, there’s, there’s glare or there’s something. But he’s dealing with a fixed thing where he’s accumulated this library of techniques and of moves for these situations that allow him and then a memorization pattern that it’s allows him to get through this course. Now, ours is is again different but similar because it were understand, you know, our experience at looking at waves, watching waves being on waves, watching what they do and how they do it over thousands and thousands of hours gives us a knowledge bank to be able to tap into that information and say, okay, well when it does that, this happens. Now each one being slightly different, uh, yet we have on accumulation of information to use to, to implement into the situation and then that’s what allows us to do it. Uh, like, like, and, and the, and the fact is, is that, you know, what do they say? There’s a predictability and chaos, but, but the fact, but the fact is, is that waves are highly predictable, much more than humans. I mean, humans are the ones that do the most unpredictable things that were waves don’t all of a sudden come from the land out to the sea. They’re always coming from the sea to the land. They’re always a, at a, at a given spot.
Laird: 19:29 They always move a certain direction. I mean, there’s just certain characteristics that are very reliable. Uh, it, it, for the knowledgeable, you know, for those who have knowledge, those things are very consistent and very reliable. For someone who looks from the side, it might be kind of confusing and, and, but you know, and listen, they are, you know, stuff happens. We know that, right? We know that things can happen. Um, that’s, that’s part of life. And how you respond in those moments and what you and, and the, and the, you know, the, uh, the moves that you make really feed into, you know, first of all, your intentions originally. Why were you, why do you do this? You know, I always, I always say if you really want to see, um, why someone’s doing something, put them in a situation where, uh, you know, where they, where they’re going to be tested and you’ll know right away their sincerity because it’s like if you’re doing it because you love it and it’s in your heart and it’s all you’ve ever wanted to do, that you’re good with what’s going to happen, you’re okay with it. I mean, I guarantee you that Alex was going to be okay with following that. He was going to be on the one day he stopped. I go, respectable. Good, good call. You just, you didn’t feel it. Hey, listen to your intuition. Do you know, you gotta you know, I mean, you got cameras, the whole thing. You’ve got all these distractions taken away from the thing you’re actually trying to do. Listen to your gut. Uh, so I, and a lot of respect for that, but, but that’s, you know, that’s uh, I mean, I think that, that, that’s your, I mean, this is what we do. This is what we do. This is what we love. This is what we’re born to do. This is what we’d done for our life. And so I think that’s what makes you respond correctly. I go, if you’re doing it for other reasons, uh, then, then I quit, then I’ll then I’ll, I wouldn’t be surprised if you do something, something, uh, foolish in, in a, in a, you know, in the heat of the moment,
Brad: 21:23 the Barn Barney moves out there in the ocean. We’re putting other surfers that risk too, cause they’re out there to get their picture in the magazine or something,
Laird: 21:29 or chicks dig, get school or whatever it is. I mean, you know, there’s a thousand things or there’s a thousand and judges and maybe all of us have a little of each of it. You know, we, I talk about there’s three things that you do and uh, most people that do dangerous things, there’s kind of three ways you approach it. One way is it denial. Um, another way, way is, is, uh, you know, is you operate within your kind of, your experience. Uh, and then there’s ignorance. So you have ignorance, but you just don’t know
Brad: 21:56 Two of those aren’t too good, man.
Laird: 21:58 Yeah. Well I’m saying do you have ignorance? And I think there’s a combination of all three of those, right? If I say to myself, you know, how do I go about doing something? Maybe there’s a little denial. The land grants, a lot of experience. Maybe there’s not very much experience, a lot of denial, a little ignorant. I mean there’s just a conflict. Those seem to be the three kind of, you know, those are the three elements that exist in most games in my, in my opinion, dangerous situations. And I think maybe some of us have a, an ability to implement a little bit of denial in so that it doesn’t impede our decision making and us doing the right thing. I think that we are able to, you know, that obviously there’s a, there’s a, uh, there’s some element that certain, certain people have that they have an ability to not allow certain factors in the situation to get in the way with them making the right decisions to, to, to be where they are. And, and, and, and, and I, you know, I think there’s a little that’s, it might be some DNA. You know, my, my stepdad used to say, you know, big wave riders are born and not made, you know, you don’t make, you don’t make an Alex. Alex is born. You know what I mean? You don’t, you don’t, certain people, you don’t make these people, these are people that are born like that. And then they have the fortune to be in a situation where they get to really cultivate and, and, and, and, and evolve this natural naturally given, uh, you know, drive or instinct or talent or however you want to describe it.
Brad: 23:34 So the first 10 times you were out on the water with the surfboard, did you feel something at that young age that this was something that you were meant to do or that you were uniquely suited for it?
Laird: 23:49 You know, I don’t think it was, I don’t think I was, there was any kind of like, I thought I was special. It was just, I was drawn to the water. So I was, I was naturally just, and I, it was at such a young age, you know, people I’ve been asked plenty of times, you know, what was the scariest thing that ever happened to you? And I said, honestly, I think most of the, of the real intense fear that I experienced was when I was very young, because I would, I was in very treacherous ocean conditions as a young kid and I, and I would get rescued constantly. And so I think, and, and you know, it’s, it’s like I tell people, I go, hi. You know, there’s nothing like a scary movie for a young child, right? Because of the purity and the innocence, right. That you’re, that when you’re older or scary, movies are scary, but they’re not like they are when you’re young. Right? And so the impact, because we’re like sponges when we’re really young, the impact that those things have on us is much greater than they are when we’re older. You know, our sponges are more full of water when we’re older. We just don’t absorb the same. It’s not the same. And so I think being scared so often and so much growing up, it became, it just wasn’t the same. When I got older. It didn’t mean it wasn’t scary. And usually I was, I would get more scared and sit through situations that I was unfamiliar with, but I think that was a little bit like, you know, kind of almost a trained skill that you becoming. You know, they, they, I saw that film where either, you know, they did a study with Alex’s brain where it’s not firing like in these three situations. And I go, but of course, but of course, of course that makes complete sense. You’d because, and I think it wasn’t like that before. I think it comes from being exposed to those intense situations.
Laird: 25:30 The body just goes, hey, listen, I don’t have the ability to sustain this amount of fear. This is too much work. So I’m just, and you, and we haven’t died doing it, so we’re not going to be scared. And so, and we built from that. And I think over time we get a, you know, and you could say you’re numb or callused or jaded or all these expressions, but the fact is I think that the, the system itself is so efficient, it just won’t let us operate under that intensity for that long If you’re going to climb for three or four hours, the body can’t sustain you being in that intense fear or being scared and also like knows, it’s probably not the most efficient emotion to be in during those times to make the best decisions at to B and did it be the most economic with our energy. So I think there’s a lot of things that happen, you know, and I don’t know the science, I just know what seems to make sense to me when it comes to this kind of stuff. And it made a lot of sense that you know, that you wouldn’t be as scared if you had been exposed. Right. Long periods of time growing up.
Brad: 26:35 Well, the psychologist a third that, you know, age zero to six is when most of your programming takes place. And then biology beliefs. Bruce Bruce, Bruce Lipton says we operate 95 to 99% of the time from our subconscious programming in in daily life. So the subconscious programming took place from age zero to six so if you are out there, it’s of gnarly, gnarly ocean conditions from zero to six and you got used to it and survived and realize that you get back on shore. That’s transcending the, the the many challenges that may never like the big wave surfers are born, not made, but maybe they’re made when they were little and then they go for it.
Laird: 27:17 Exactly. Well I me and maybe they’re born, they’re born with some us thing. They’d allowed them to be there when they were six, so,
Brad: 27:24 oh yeah, like a different era. The era before helicopter parenting when they would never let a kid out there doing what you are doing. We should add home videos if you get in an undertow and then
Laird: 27:36 yeah, there’d be a lot of them. Might be a loss. There would be a lot when I, I thank you for that. But for the science, like I said, in a way, because that is true. Like, I mean, I, I from zero to six, I spent, I mean, I spent my entire life on the beach from zero to six every day. And I lived from, like in my formable years, three, four years old. I lived in one of the most dangerous beaches in the world and would get sucked out to sea and people would get sucked out and never seen again. I mean, I mean, that was the environment that I grew in, grew up in. So for me it was a little, you know, what looks to, to what it looks from a distance as something, you know, so out of this world, what would seem to, is more of a normal seem normal. Like I said, of course you’re going to go do that. And of course that happens in, of course that’s stuff goes on and it’s, uh, you know, I, I, it’s back to that exposure, but having the mentality I think is a part of it too. I think there’s a piece of it that um, you know, and I don’t know, I heard this, I heard a study once that they said that there are certain people that are born with a genetic predisposition to be able to do dangerous things, you know?
Brad: 28:51 Right. I mean you wrote about this it really nicely and you, you, you called it the uh, the high stress point on the organism and you observed that these high performing people in all fields a lot of times come from some sort of shit in their background that was tough and, and challenge them. A lot of times we hear the stories where it’s a abuse, abandonment, those, those terrible things. But you know, being, being in the ocean as a young kid, it could be anything. But you’ve had these high stress experiences that kind of opened you up to, I guess being able to cope better with new challenges.
Laird: 29:25 It’s unfortunate. I mean there’s an unfortunate, I mean, somebody goes, is there any way to, to get benefits because it seems like everywhere we look, stress seems to be the thing that really triggers all this great stuff. It’s like, whether it’s heat and ice or whether it’s, whether it’s, uh, you know, okay, I’m going to be, I’m fasting now, or whether I’m on a fitness routine, I mean, everything seems to be stressed based, right? We stressed the organism, it blossoms, right? We take the road, you know, we clipped the rose tree and it, and it, and it, and it makes roses and, but it’s a little bit how the system is, you know, I told somebody to go, listen, don’t, let’s not forget that the system started with a big bang. So, uh, you know, I mean, how much stress was in the Big Bang? I mean, we’re, our whole system seems to be designed around kind of a stressed base kind of, uh, you know, performance driven design. I mean, it’s just seems like that this is, that, that’s where that’s our, that is our universe, that our universe is, is built like that. And I wish it wasn’t because it’d be great to go ahead and lay back on the couch and eat whatever you want and don’t do anything and you’ll be in the best shape of your life. Like, it’s like, you know, don’t read anything, don’t listen to anything and you’re going to be the smartest person in the world. Um, but, but there’s something to be said about, you know, observing nature. I think nature is probably one of the greatest teachers that there are. And I think anybody real intelligent, it’s just somebody who probably understands nature better. Uh, and when I say nature, I mean the universe and you know, off our planet as well. But just when they, when you understanding kind of understanding patterns, I think leads to intelligence.
Brad: 31:05 No, you, you talk about this, speaking of stress, you, you talk about, you come out of the water on those big days and you’re kind of fried, you called it PTSD, big wave PTSD. And I think that’s another thing that people don’t recognize. They just see you raising your arms as you ride the wave, but the, you know, the psychological and physical cost. I want to ask you, you know, you’re constantly forced to recalibrate back into real life and you’ve got to drive the car pool, man, we got to leave at 7:45. You’ve got to go get in line at Costco and the line’s long or you’re also, I’m going to ask you a big question with that, and also the, the going back and forth between your roots in a rural experience in Hawaii, and then you’re coming back to large metropolitan area running businesses and doing crazy stuff like that. So it seems like these alternate worlds that you’re constantly getting the, the nature experience, the massive stress of peak performance as, as athlete in your sport. And then you’re going back to hang Laird, look at this spreadsheet and we want to see how the coffee creamers doing, uh, in quarter three. So I wonder how you juggle all that man.
Laird: 32:11 Well, I mean, I think, I think, I think you’ve explained it really. I, that’s how I juggle it is I, I, you know, I go those, those, that, that, that I’m using, you know, I’m running, I’m seeking, you know, I’m seeking, uh, kind of, I’m seeking sanity, but I’m seeking a serenity or I’m seeking a sanctuary and then I go back out and I, and I run around and do all, you know, do these other, these other kind of more stressful things. You know, I have a friend, this is a great example, but I said, you know, I have a friend that plays professional basketball. And I said, you know, if you’re in a stadium, then there’s 50,000 people screaming your name, whether they like your hate you or you’re playing a bunch of all these people. I go, when you’re done with that, you need to go find a big tree somewhere and sit for awhile along underneath the big tree just to, to create some Yin and Yang. Some balance, you know, a little negative, positive little. And so I feel like that’s one of the bay, one of the fortunate blessings that I have is that I’m able, that I have a relationship with nature. I’m, I’m highly conscious of how important that is. I continue to cultivate that on a regular basis. And, but then I still, I could go and run around and, and, and be in the car pool lane with the thing and have the, you know, get cut off at school by the giant suburbans and you know, have all these people with, with rage and, and, and, and talk about, you know, things that are less interesting than writing a giant wave, which is most of the things, um, but, and be okay with that. So, and I think that that’s, you know, um, you know, that all work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.
Laird: 33:48 We’ll all play and no work makes Johnny adult boy too. So I think there’s a certain thing about that, you know, using these things to kind of play off of each other. And I think that, that they, first of all, you come back into nature after you’ve been in these big metropolitan areas and your appreciation for the chicken creation, tricking his dog, the freedom to go with thing. And then, you know, okay, I’ve got to go change saw some, you know, some, some bad tree that that’s, that’s, you know, taking over the island because it was introduced 20 years ago or what not. You know, I’m just saying whatever that, that, that part of being the o should be in the mountains being in the river. And then you go back and you’re like, okay, I’m the 405 and there’s six lanes and there’s cars in 80 miles in every direction and I’m not going very fast.
Laird: 34:34 And, you know, and, and so I think that really allows me, I, and I think, um, you know, I think that that’s the thing that, that allows me to do it, but I have that relationship with nature. I understand how important it it is. And I go back to it. But at the same time I realized that it’s that it’s a big world and you need to participate in it. If you want to have any productivity, like if you really want to make, if you really want your life to, to, to, to, you know, not only bring meaning, but really bring value to other people. Like if you’re going to do anything substantial in the planet and have any kind of positive effect, you can’t do it in the bushes. You just stock going or you’re just not going to do it. You have to come out and participate. and if you want to have a, you know, it, we, we talk about trying to make a difference and, and, and, but to do that, you’ve got to come out and play. You gotta come out and you’re going to come out and subject yourself to the thing and say, okay, I’ll, you know, I’ll take 10 planes and be in place. I don’t want to be and do things I want to do. So I can do that. And then at the same time and then have a life that you know and then have the life you want to. So not be sitting back on a and frustrated because life hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to, but then you haven’t gone out and taken any risks. You haven’t gone out side of your comfort zone
Brad: 35:56 Or just load it up too much. Like we all know the, the classic Surfer Dude whose going nonstop surfing trips and eating fish tacos and drinking too much beer and it’s maybe they haven’t pushed that other edge of their, their personality and desire to make a contribution to the world .
Laird: 36:14 On the other side. Listen, on that note too, I think that, I mean the old saying ignorance is bliss, but the fact is is that there’s a, you know that there’s, you won’t appreciate the fish taco and the beer. I don’t drink beer but it, but I would, but you wouldn’t appreciate it. Like you would if you were, if you went and you did your, you know, you did your eight city tour and you are in the bill and you’re at the office and you’re in the freeway and you hadn’t, and then you come back and then you’re like, wow, this wave is beautiful. This sky is beautiful because the people that are always in nature don’t appreciate nature, right? Because they’re like, they just think everywhere is like that. And you’re like, yeah, everyone’s not like that. If you want to come with me for a second, I can take you somewhere,
Brad: 36:58 405 north heading from lax to, yeah,
Laird: 37:02 Any direction you’ll see it. So I think that, you know, it’s about appreciation and, and uh, and if you listen, if you want to keep up all weekend, you want to keep learning, you have to go, you have to, the information has to be sought after. You have to go and find to learn. You need to go and, and you know, and if you’re, if you’re curious like I am. And I think, listen, I think that that’s one thing, you know, you talked about not being people not having fun or not even knowing how to up on the mark. I’d say that’s probably one of the single most important thing that anyone could do for their health is just to learn how to have fun again. They’d, I mean, or just learn how to have fun period. Like you said, the new generation, they don’t even know how to have fun. They don’t even know what having fun is. They don’t know what playing is. And, and then he, and then you questioned if they understand what, you know, daydreaming is it, and having, and having, you know, kind of that creative, the way the mind works creatively when you’re, when you’re daydreaming. Like now it’s just how could you date premier on my Facebook, Google with that? I mean it’s, yeah,
Brad: 38:08 It’s rough that the thing’s going to wake you up from the daydream.
Laird: 38:11 Oh yeah, exactly.
Brad: 38:13 So Laird does this sort of a, an adult, uh, personal growth where you were that guy that was stuck, I mean, you, you talk about how you were self destructive out of the water in your youth and I think you gave the single best piece of advice from I think as Tim Ferriss at the end, right? He asks what advice would you give to your 30 year old self? And he asked every single guest that you remember what you said?
Laird: 38:36 Yeah, I think I stopped drinking.
Brad: 38:40 Oh, that’s precious. You know,
Laird: 38:42 Hey listen, you know, there’s a great, uh, a great passage is, you know, when I was a child, I behaved as a child. When I became a man, I put away my child just waste. The fact is, is that that, uh, I just took me a long longer than, than normal. I think I just got a lot of, I had to be an older man to put away some of those things and not all of those things, but, but you know, for me, I feel like a lot of it’s about discipline. A lot of it’s about wanting to maximize your life, like, you know, wanting to, wanting to, to maximize your life and, and, and, and, and being somewhat, you know, I would describe it as my mom said to me once, if you can’t be true to yourself, you can’t be true to anyone else. And so I just use that as a kind of a guiding force. Like, hey, be true to yourself. See where you’re going to do, do what you mean mean what you say? I mean, these are just, you know, like these are, these are, these are, you know, ways to live by,
Brad: 39:41 well, you had all the discipline, competitive intensity, focus, drive, all those things and all you needed to do is redirect them. And I think that’s important point for everybody to reflect on. I, I know some, some young kids who were superstar athletes in high school and absolutely at the top of their game and now they’re, you know, beyond those years and they’re struggling in real life to, to, to hold the job or get into the school rhythm or whatever. And it’s like, why can’t you just apply that discipline that made you all section player of the year? Uh, but once, once you can lock into it, I’m, it seems like that’s your story too, is you just, you just got to shore and locked in and then started w what’s the, uh, what’s the favorite? That orange, orange colored creamer. What’s the name of that? The coffee creamer. I you gave me
Laird: 40:25 Laird Superfood.
Brad: 40:26 What’s next? Let’s give a plug for that man.
Laird: 40:30 Well, you know, I mean just what you said, you know, we have a, I have a saying for that, right? Never let your memories be bigger than your dreams. So at the end of the day, don’t let you know there’s a, it was an anonymous stunt man. Said, you know, never let your memories be bigger than your dreams. And I think that we all need to remember that because if you stop happening dreams, then you stop having hope. And if there’s no, if there’s no hope, all is lost. I mean, as long as you got love, you can survive because love is the king. But without hope. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a pretty sad road. And I think, you know, when you, when you live off of your past, I think we just need to remember like, hey, that anything’s possible and that you can, and that you haven’t seen the best years of your life. I think it’s, I think are the best moments or the, or the, or the, or. I just think there’s so much to look forward to and there’s so many things to do. How could we possibly talk about, you know, being the champ of the football team in high school as the apex of our life? Like we got to, we got to re.., you know, then you’ve got to change something and, and, and, and, and how would you get a dream and start, you know, start working on it. But, uh, and I know it’s easy to say that and, but, but the fact is, is that, that it can be as easy as just having that thought that it really, it can be as simple as believing that you can, but we got to help some hopes. We got to have some dreams. I mean it’s, it’s, uh, you know, the, the end, uh, I mean, uh, you know, and back to what you said about the superfood stuff, you know, that my whole food thing is all based around trying to make people feel better. So how can I heard a statistic at one point that the most nutritious thing that some Americans do was drink coffee. And I’m like, if that is true, if that’s true, then we need to try to put some stuff in there. And then there, and then from that, uh, from that concept, uh, Laird Superfood was born and, and then now it’s, uh, you know, now we’re working on all kinds of, of great new products and people are loving them, loving the loving the products that we have and, and loving the new ones that were coming out with. So it’s, it’s about, I mean, now I feel like that’s a contribution that again, you want to make a difference in the world. You feed people good stuff and watch them excel. I mean, it’s, it’s, you know, it’s, it’s not that tricky.
Brad: 42:57 So you have all these hopes and dreams and ambitions. And then you’re also walking around with a little tiny healthy dose of fear or denial. And I’m wondering when you paddle out these days, what we’re the same age? Like 53 54. I got 35 going down. 55 double nickel. Michael Jordan. Yeah. Do you have any concessions to your new hip? You’re many injuries, your mortality, your, you’re a father of young people. Uh, what any adjustments. Oh, comes
Laird: 43:30 in, you know, that’s for the denial. That’s where we just bust out the denial and we’re in full denial. We’re like, no, we’re still 16 and here we go. We have healthy, you know, if I have any apprehension, um, it’s not, you know, it’s not based like, oh, I have kids now. I’m not going to do anything dangerous. It’s nothing like that. Um, it would, you know, it really has more to do out of interest that, that and that I’m not as interested in doing certain things. And it does it, you know, and some of it, the fact is that some of the lack of interest in certain things isn’t that I’m not interested in doing things because it’s dangerous. It’s just that particular discipline. I, I’ve kind of gone through my, my, my, uh, my learning graph and I, I, you know, I talk about life as a formulaic process and then I really enjoy the beginning of the art when it’s real steep and the increments are big and you’re going up and you’re not plateauing and kind of, you know, you’re not just along on a level ground, but you’re really making leaps in browns.
Laird: 44:34 And that’s comes from doing new stuff. So I’m, I’m constantly doing new things and looking for new ways to do old things, um, to keep inspired so that, and that’s my, you know, and, and I, I mean, you know, I could say I’ll be all, you’re not as fast and as this, but I go, listen, at the end of the day, my, I have a friend who has since passed away, Mr Wildman and he was talking about, you know, before steroids. In the in in Olympic lifting, the one of the strongest guys, the limping world champion was 50 years old and the guy was like the strongest guy in the world and the Olympics when he was 50 and it’s like, and people go, well 50 I mean you’re over the hill. And I’m like, well no. Like I was at the apex of strength at 50 so again, don’t put, don’t put these, these, these limitations and these barriers on yourself because that’s really what’s going to stop you more than anything we’ve talked about. We are each our own greatest restrictors. We are our own greatest inhibitors. We inhibit ourselves from doing more stuff than any, any anybody ever does it go, you can say, Oh yeah, this guy, that guy, we do it to ourselves. We say, okay, now I’m here. I can’t do that. And listen, if you don’t want to do it, that’s one thing. But don’t say it’s because you’re 40 because you’re 50 because you’re 60 and and granted there are certain things that come along. You’re not going to run the 50 yard dash at 70 years old like you will at 25 okay, great. Sure. Of course. But uh, but maybe it’ll be over this, you know, the, the, the, the dash and you want to go do something else and that you could do at 70 at a level that is better than anybody that’s 25 because all the experience and understanding it. So I, you know, I think it, it, it’s, it’s, we have to, there’s times times to aim to your strengths, right. And go that in that direction. And when age for whatever reason or injury or ailment becomes an inhibitor, just adjust and go to a place, then it’s not because there’s, there is one of those more than what you know, which field you want to go into.
Brad: 46:33 I love it man. That’s my message with my speed golf passion. You know, I’m not a, I’m not a pro triathlete anymore and I have no desire to be, and I think maybe the specialness of the magic of what you did on jaws and whatever year when it was this many feet high. I mean, doing that over and over every year, it would seem to me to kind of nullify the incredible achievement that happened on that day. And there’s no reason to go and try to repeat that over and over.
Laird: 47:02 Well, and listen. The fact is, is that that, uh, that it just becomes less interesting. I think. I really find that I enjoy doing things. I haven’t done more than I then doing the things that I’ve done over and over, like I really like to do. Like if I had, if I haven’t done something that’s a lot more interesting to me, a lot more fulfilling for, for to me as well. So, um, I, I feel like I would prefer, I’m more interested in looking for the things I haven’t done. Then he continued to do or just, or just to verify because that’s your ego. Your ego wants to go out and just go, oh yeah, well I get this. Oh, I got to do is show you how I can do this. So I’m look at this, I can do it again and again after a while. It’s kind of like a boxer. Hey, you already won. How many times do you, are you going to not stop till you get knocked out? Like, cause you haven’t done that. So then you end up doing that and you know, it’s like,
Brad: 47:52 Or do you, you’re killing it in, uh, in the slow lane in the 405 heading to the office and being an incredible success in one narrow dimension. But you haven’t, you haven’t been on a wave or a rock or a swung a golf club in years. And so I think we, the more narrow we get, the more trouble we have a, we do avoiding. I’m old.
Laird: 48:13 We’re not designed to do that. That’s not, that’s not what, that’s not what we are. We have too many fingers in, too many Joe’s to till you get unlimited gas. Yeah.
Brad: 48:22 Oh Man. Oh, there. Before I let you go. There was this passage at the beginning of the book and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I read it. Sort of like a, a, a personality inside or uh, uh, a thing that really blew me away I think is one of the first things you said in the book where you were just a kid. Uh, I don’t know if it was 10 years old, you mentioned something and you saw a father and son heading out to the water and it was a day that you looked at the water and felt something was weird. And so you mouthed off to those guys and said, hey, I wouldn’t go out today. And the guy gave you some choice words back cause you were a punk kid and maybe you can tell the rest of the story and how you decided after that day to become more aggressive with your personality.
Laird: 49:03 Well, general, you know, I think that was one of those things. It where the guy went out into the water, then he, and then he ended up drowning and uh, you know, and then you, and then I think the lesson that you, for me, I felt like what? Like what, what, what that the impact that had on me was in the future. First of all, I won’t be so, um, I’ll be a lot more aggressive about when I, when I knew intuitively know and feel something in somebody’s interest. And I started, I started to realize that it doesn’t matter if they hate me, if I saved their life, it’s all okay. They can, they can continue to hate me and that’s, and I’ll be okay with that. So like getting over, kind of worrying about, about people’s feelings, uh, when it comes to their own interests, you know, ultimately they, you start to realize like, you know what, I might hurt somebody’s feelings, but in the interest of their safety, I’ll, I’ll have no problem doing that and I’ll do that every time.
Brad: 50:02 What about if it’s beyond that into general everyday life? Like, if someone comes up with a, a crappy design for the golf board, are you going to saying, look, this ain’t gonna fly, I’m not going to put my name on this and be aggressive in that sense too. Or is it, is it [inaudible]
Laird: 50:16 Honesty? No, I just think it’s about being honest. It’s just about, and I have a bad habit of telling people what I think. So you know, but, but you know what, at the end you don’t have to look back and, and then you don’t hold your, you know, and I always, I mean, you can preface it by and just say, hey, you know, this is my opinion. I could be wrong. So at the end of the day, it can just give a disclaimer and be like, Hey, this is my opinion. I could be wrong, but that looks pretty stupid and I’m not to be involved.
Brad: 50:44 Oh Man, it’s a pleasure to catch up with you. I appreciate you and your books so much Life Rider. People go buy it. What else do we want to, uh, how do we find you and all that good stuff. At the end to plug.
Laird: 50:55 Oh, I don’t know. I’m so bad with all that stuff but, but definitely go to Laird superfood. Get that to, you know, that’s a, that’s a product worth doing. And um, I know, I know you can, you know, you could see me on Facebook and Instagram and all that. Not Fun stuff but, but uh, if you just want to see what I’m doing, just look up, you know, foiling on waves and riding waves
Brad: 51:16 if you’re on there and get out in the water instead and were it says, you know who the other guests who told me, I don’t know, whatever. When I asked how, how people can follower, it was Gabby Reese, man.days or doing something. Laird Hamilton. Thank you so much. Thank you. A little hollow. Aloha. [inaudible] you’re the best.
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