By LAIRD HAMILTON
“ON THE LEFT IS A JET SURFBOARD, a 27-pound motorized board that creates a wave when you don’t have one. It’s one of those toys that when you were a kid you could only imagine existing in cartoons. The board shorts and hat are what I call my uniform. A fireman wears a fire outfit; a policeman wears a police outfit; in Hawaii, where I’m based for half the year, you live in your board shorts. The package is a superfood creamer that I’m making. It’s part of my espresso ritual—coffee’s my energy drink. The green board is one I rode huge waves on all over the world. It is solid balsa, weighs close to 30 pounds and is designed for tow-in waves.
Wrapped around it are shell leis from my wedding—my wife and I are going on 18 years. We were married in Kauai on a river on a floating canoe that I decorated with ferns and flowers. The framed portrait is of my mother. She loved the ocean and promoted my love for it, but her concern was much more that she wanted me to be a good person. Behind is a hydrofoil board: the most efficient wave energy riding instrument that we’ve ever had. It’s highly sensitive and as close to flying as you can get without all the consequences. The risk riding that board is higher than on any other because you’re connected to it and wearing snowboard boots—like those on the right.
The white board behind, a Surrator, is a stand-up board that has a design that benefits the large number of stand-up board surfers that are coming into the sport, which has only been around for 10 years. It lets you ride higher in the wave. On the right is a gift from my middle daughter, Reece, a painting she gave me for my birthday. Unbeknownst to me, she had been writing down all these sayings that I use and put them all on this painting. I think she was 9 years old. To say she’s enlightened is a slight understatement.”
—As told to Christopher Ross