Emo Reflections

When I hit lows it feels like the bottom falls out of everything and nothing makes sense anymore. I see nothing but inevitable failure. The second of those last two sentences is the more important I think…

This last week when I went to cold call bike manufacturers and pitch them a strategy that I believed in, I fell apart because I didn’t believe in myself. Although there are many areas of my life where I am sure of myself and willing to dive head first, when it matters most, I fail here. When I look back at many of the passions I’ve cared deeply about over the years, there isn’t one where I feel like I really left everything out on the field.

"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."

Probably the truest statement for me. I don’t lack vision, work ethic, intelligence, or sociability, but I lack confidence and it will hold me back from great things for as long as I let it. The “Tandem10” as I originally envisioned it is dead but I’ll keep everything running under this title.

My intuition is telling me to go against my instincts a bit here. Adventuring for the soul purpose of adventuring. The way is the reward if you let it be so. If you talk to me I always have a grand plan for everything that I’m doing and for once in my life I’m not going to do that. I’m already uprooting my entire life and selling, trashing, or giving away everything I own. And that, in my humble opinion, is pretty badass. It’s a dream that everyone imagines but few ever live. It’s certainly enough, or it should be.

I think for once in my life it’s ok to sit back and give myself credit for what I’m doing. Be my own number one fan and support my journey inside and out. I’m here, I’ve arrived. This is exactly where I wanted to be so I should enjoy it a bit more. This adventure is going to change my life forever and there is nothing else I need to do but get on the plane. Buy the ticket, take the ride, as they say.

The day after the bottom is always so awkward when people are watching

To everybody that’s with me so far I just want to say thank you and I’m sorry if my honesty has hurt you or scared you in some way, especially to my Mother. Your messages mean the world to me. Public honesty gets brutal sometimes but I think there is a path to something better in it for me. I’m still just feeling kinda lost but that’s ok I guess. Wasn’t getting lost the point after all?

Depressed again

I’m in the throws of a full out depression again. Is this going to be my life? Will I live in periods of surreal elation followed by periods of deep self-loathing depression forever? Why does everything suck sometimes? Why do I hate and doubt myself so much sometimes? Why? Why? Why? I just want to crawl in bed, cry, and sleep. I don’t even want to post this cause then I will receive yet another call from my Mother who will freak out and make it all worse. I love you Mom, but please just let me be right now. I don’t even know why I am posting this since you are one of like ten people who will read this post anyway. Not sure what good this blog is even serving any more.

God there are so many times I just want to live in someone else’s life. Someone who believes in themselves and has things they’ve done that they are proud of. I have no idea what it will take for me to be happy. I was happy. I had gotten to a point where I thought that I may not ever feel like I feel today again. But here I am, feeling completely alone and lost. Surrounded by friends and feeling so alone. I am going to go surf now because it’s my therapy. That’s where I am ending this. I can’t sit here and wallow. I don’t have some conclusion or plan right now. I am just kind of existing as of this moment and wondering what everything that I am doing right now is worth. The unknown aka my future is scary. For anyone that’s scared of me hurting myself know that I’m not. It’s one of those weeks I guess.

Near Death at Pleasure Point

Ok, maybe Eric has a tendency to be dramatic and I probably wasn’t going to actually die. But I thought that my shit was toast and I wasn’t alone. (Don’t worry, I’ll update you about my penis later.)

And so it goes…

My neighbor and I have been watching swell patterns from Baja to Santa Cruz searching for the biggest waves within a days drive. And we found just that at Santa Cruz. We arrived late the first day and drove up and down the coast scouting the heaviest wave to surf the following day. We found that wave at Pleasure Point. At the time, it was breaking bigger than anywhere up the coast. So we woke up, put on our cold water gear, and headed to the water. It was still going off. The smaller waves were about shoulder to head high with most sets of waves coming in overhead. Pleasure point breaks in a very specific way. The wave comes in as a fat lump and then in a second goes vertical and begins folding over itself. It leaves little room for error. I have been nursing a torn muscle atop my ribs for a week and knew I wasn’t 100%. But I had decided that no matter what, I was going on this trip and I was going to try. Here is Pleasure Point as viewed from the sky.

You can see the surfers waiting off to the bottom left side. And if you follow the darker color on the ocean floor, you can pretty much see how the waves breaks off the floor and into A JAGGED CLIFF SIDE OF ROCKS. Keep in mind that those sand areas that you see in this picture did not exist that day. So I go for my third attempt of the day, and I’m 100% committed. I almost get to my feet but don’t make it down the face. I fall and the wave falls on top of me. I’ve certainly been rag-dolled worse but I was under for a little while. My travel compadre gets a better view than me from deeper water and sees that the wave I just took is the smallest of another 8ish waves coming behind it. Each one getting progressively bigger. He turns and sprints towards the horizon barely making over the lip of each successive wave. He’s the only one that makes it. Each wave that comes forces me off my board and drags me swiftly to the cliffside. After two or three waves I know that this situation could get very bad, very quick. Another guys leash snaps and he’s now alone without a surfboard to help him. He’s screaming for help. But his friends are fighting their own battle, as am I. I remember a conversation we had at the motel this morning about how we needed to make sure to ask where you got out of the water. We had forgotten.

Another waves drags me towards the rocks, rips my board from under me, and I fall into fearing-for-my-life panic. I frantically start swimming, sans surfboard, and I have to stop myself. I take a deep breath and force myself to regain my composure. I know that my only option is to swim off to the right and make it around the corner. I know that there is deep open water around the corner. I pull my board under my stomach and I begin to paddle full throttle. I have completely forgotten about my torn muscle. Finally, I make it out of the worst zone and begin to feel a rip current pulling me faster to the right. That was the first moment where I knew that everything was going to be ok. The rip pulls me far out into the next break that you can see off the to right in the picture. I drifted another 1/4 mile down the coast line before I found a staircase.

I exit the water and adrenaline is dripping out of my ears. My heart and lungs slow a bit as I walk back to let my buddy know I’m alive and for the first time I feel my rib. It’s not good and I realize that my trip is over. That’s it. All that emotional energy turns to anger and I look like a crazy person pacing back and forth cursing. But Santa Cruz is a lot like Venice so no one really pays me any attention. I knew I was good enough to make that wave; I knew that I was leaving empty handed. I eventually find my friend who’s very pleased to see that I’m alive and well. All in all I think it took about an hour or so for me to really calm down.

I have the skill to make those waves and had my body been 100% I would have turned around and gotten right back in the water. But here’s where I fucked up. I guess you can’t live on burritos, pizza, burgers, peanut m&m’s, and ice cream, and then expect to take on expert level surf. I mean they were holding a surf competition just down at the next break the following day. I’m attributing the original cause of my injury to the fact that I’ve been surfing an average of 2.5 hours a day, with some days exceeding 5 hours, and barely stretching ever. Lets be a reasonable human being and put 2 and 2 together here. It’s time to stop being a glutenous slag and get my act together. I’m still pissed… or motivated… or whatever you want to call it, I want that wave or another one equally as vicious. Hopefully, with this new found hunger, I can take my life a little more seriously without having some sort of emo freak out.

Also I’m happy to say that my penis is in good health and will have a post coming out soon about some fun lessons I learned while changing it up.

Here are some pics

This is my buddy on a wave that’s well overhead.

This is me looking emo as I watch guys surfing Pleasure Point the next day

This is a gigantic set that came in at Steamers Lane

That happened

Erectile Disfunction, Lessons from Kanye, and Other Reasons I’m Changing Things Up

I need to change it up because I’m having trouble getting it up. This is pretty much my worst nightmare. There is nothing worse then being with someone that you totally dig, they’re naked and ready, but your mojo tank is on empty. And we’re talking overall mojo tank, like even my selfies are just not as fun. Obviously something needs to change because this can not stand(get it). I’ve thought long and hard (get it again) about what the source may be and here is what I’m pointing towards (one more now). One, I’ve fallen into a routine and I’m fucking bored with it. Someone can only sit on a couch, get high, surf, and go to their day job for so long. It’s been awesome but I’m working in a cafe right now because I just really need a change of routine. Even a small one to get things going. Two, and brace yourself for this bomb, I need to take shit less seriously. Yes that’s right, I need to chill the fuck out and get out of my own way. Coming near fame, as I’ve never knew it, during my recent close encounter with Jesus and Kanye West, I remembered what it’s like to have a sense of humor. I haven’t been that excited to write a funny blog piece in so long. I mean, I’m about to be a free vagrant traveling the world in search of surf and everything else wild that comes my way. Laugh a little for Christ’s sake (you see what I did there). So you may see a change in tone in my writing because I just want it to be a little less fucking depressing and serious.

Also, a little confession. I may not be able to actually do the ‘Tandem10’. I made a big decision in the last couple weeks which was to decide that I would not pursue any other sponsorships or a documentary. I’m not trying to build this into a business anymore or put what I’m doing into little boxes so that other businesses can sell it. That, I realized, is just that start of me having a bunch of bosses which, if you know me, you know that me and having a boss just doesn’t work well. So with that decision comes the reality that getting a tandem bike may be just that much harder because I certainly can’t afford the 5,000 dollar price tag that comes with it. Whatever, this trip is still going to be insane and I am still leaving here with next-to-nothing and no plans to return. We’ll just see how it all plays out.

It took pretty much a whole month of me not actually doing anything except having internal emo dialogs to figure this all out. Which has left me with a much better self understanding but also little to no progress on getting it. But it’s certainly time to talk less and do more. Here is where I am at.

I don’t have a tandem bike.
I don’t know anything about bike repair.
I don’t own a surfboard for this trip.
I don’t know anything about surfboard repair.
I will not have enough money to finish this trip when I leave.

But here is what I’ve learned from the people that I admire, life goes on. All of these things will work themselves out as long as I keep having fun and doing. Not talking but doing. So please, pray for my penis, pray for me to find a bike and a surfboard, and pray for money. Jesus is listening and will respond when he’s off tour with Kanye.

My Yeezus Look Has Reached Level: Kanye

A friend, of a friend, of a friend, is major producer and is working on Kanye West’s tour that starts tomorrow for his 6th, and most off-the-wall, record, Yeezus. In the midst of all the chaos that goes on with any production, let alone a production of this size, a million things are probably going wrong right now. Apparently one of those was the recent near-departure of the tour’s Jesus character. And with all this happening at the very last minute, the producer was left with telling his people to ask their friends for someone that could leave at a moments notice and strongly resembled Jesus.

So the friend called a friend, who called my friend, who called me, and then I sent over these pics

Jesus hair, Jesus tan, Jesus skinny. Obviously ready for this gig. Then this happened…

And then Kanye saw my nips

By this time I was at work trying to control myself. I kept fucking up everything, I couldn’t remember people’s orders and almost elbowed some lady in the face. I must have looked so disheveled because people kept asking me what was going on. When I told a co-worker she nearly pissed herself she was laughing so hard. Anyway, for about two hours I walked around work waiting to hear back. Then I get a phone call and I’m told to make myself available at 9 o’clock. I have to pull my managers aside and tell them about what is going on, and tell them I need to leave immediately. Then I get another phone call, I’m told that Kanye’s producer is going to be calling me directly and to not let me phone out of my sight. Minimum pay for this gig would be 2k a week, plus all expenses covered, plus groupie love. I leave work and prepare a bag. Here’s the spread…

I have friends come over with beer ‘cause regardless of what the outcome is I’m getting drunk. I leave my things laid out on my bed and sit around the couch with my friends trying to listen to what they’re saying but all I can think about is how fucking ridiculous this would be if it happened. The Tandem10 would be so set financially, I already had someone lined up to rent my room, the thought of having this on my life resume, Kanye in the midst of being a complete psycho, all these things the hairs on my soul stand up. 9 o’clock rolled around and no call yet. Whatever though, they have a million things going on so that call could come in any time between 9 and 11pm right? 11 comes around and my buddy calls me with a different tone in his voice, I know it’s off.

But now for the rest of my life no one will be able to compete with my surfer Jesus look. No one else almost went on tour with Kanye, so the only other person that has anything on my Jesus look is the guy that actually got the gig. Fuck that guy.

Holy Shit This Trip is Only Three Months Away!

One of the owners of Patagonia talks about how the adventure starts when things start going wrong in the movie 180° Degrees. That idea is resonating right now. I wouldn’t say that anything in particular is going wrong but more that my need to execute quickly across a number of different goals is becoming urgent. I still am without a tandem bike and a number of other things that I need. My income just also dropped significantly so I must find a rememdy for that quickly as well. There is still time but it’s now time for me to put my head down and be prudent.

Aside from my massive to-do list, which includes a lot of physical training, I feel like I am narrowing my focus on some crucial questions around the Tandem10. One of which has been the “Why”. When you approach brands for product donations they want this clear precise statement of where the soul of your project lies. For instance, when I find someone to pedal the back of my bike do I have some question that’s centric and ubiquitous enough to guide my conversations (Where are you happiest? for example). Or when am I on a search for something, whether that be surf or the wildest, most ridiculous, adventure I can find. Certainly both those things are true, this trip is centric to happiness and I’m on the hunt for wild adventure and awesome surf. But this adventure was originally created to save my life and it’s already done that. The time when I was suicidal seems like another world now and I needed that I think in order to drastically change my journey. The journey is the destination, after all. So now that I’ve already gained what I originally intended from this, it’s interesting to think about the future and where the soul of this journey truly lies. I think it’s obviously happiness. I am turning this into a business and, if people look back on what I’ve done, the one thing that I would like to inspire is for people to really go out there and be happy, live their lives to the fullest, and cut out the bullshit in order to fully realize what being happy means before it’s too late to embrace it. For me it’s surfing and travel, and I’m about to find out if it’s feral travel, but for others it’s different things and I hope that when people come into contact with me or the Tandem10 that they’re inspired to get out there and get into their bliss much more often. (Now if I could just shorten this up to one sentence.)

This brings me to the next question which is what kind of business am I trying to build this into. Up to this point I have just been following my nose and letting passion brew inspiration but now is the time to start thinking about a bigger vision for this. At this point there is no other option than to pursue this as a business and build something from it. I want to see the world in crazy ways and surf the most beautiful beaches and I don’t want to ever stop, so I must create that. I think that this has always been a brand about content. Facebook is becoming my primary driver to reaching more people and I love posting pictures and video of people doing awesome shit. But soon there will be less of other peoples content and more of mine. I hope at one point to have a built a big enough presence where I can use that audience to get free toys and money for awesome ideas and adventures. Then to be able to use what I have built to find other story tellers and inspirational people and give them access to sponsorship dollars and products. Then my life would be in the company of the people that I have always aspired to be while living my bliss and inspiring millions of others to do the same. That would make me happy, that would inspire me to keep pushing the envelope of what happiness and adventure can mean, that would make a difference in the world and, that’s exactly what this is about I suppose.

My tentative route for the Tandem10

My tentative route for the Tandem10

My Biggest Take Away From My Confrontation with Suicide

What would you do if a doctor told you that you had 6 months to live?

It’s a hypothetical that isn’t new and there is a reason that it’s a question we are all familiar with. Earlier this year when I started this Tandem10 project I started it because I had reached a place of such utter sadness that I wanted to take my own life. Death was real and I wanted it badly. I had sacrificed everything to partner with a multi-millionaire seasoned entrepreneur. I had sacrificed my friends, my health, and my happiness for sure. Then, when the business failed I was left with nothing but emptiness. I had to start all over again but I had gained something that so many people don’t gain until life has removed their ability to execute. I had gained the wisdom of understanding that all that really matter is our happiness. Of course life isn’t that simple and we can’t be happy everyday but everyday can be spent in the pursuit of happiness.

So if you had 6 months to live how would you spend it? How would you spend the money that you’ve worked so hard to save? And if where you lived was going to burn to the ground, and you could only take a few things with you, what would they be?

What happened to me when I was confronted with these questions was that I realized that I only needed a hand full of things. That I didn’t need a lot of money and that my freedom was in-actuality worth much much more than I thought. If I had 6 months to live the only thing I’d change would be my haste. I’d sell everything right now and take my surf board to Bali and surf everyday until I passed. If my house was going to burn I’d grab my wet suit, board and bike. So in my eyes I am doing exactly what I should be doing but are you? What makes you the happiest and how often are you doing that thing that you love so much. Everyday? Once a month? Or has it been so long since you (insert that thing you love doing) that you can’t remember the last time you did it?

Don’t wait until you until it’s too late to stop existing and start living. Go out today and do that one thing that you love. Remember what it’s like to be in your bliss. Hold onto it because it’s not the years in your life that matter but the life in your years.

And again I’m going to post my favorite short film of all time about passion through the eyes of a surf photographer.

DARK SIDE OF THE LENS from Astray Films on Vimeo.

Who am I? What do I Want?

It’s been an exciting week with Surf Prescriptions coming on to make a custom board for the Tandem10. Doc, the owner was so awesome, after asking me a bunch of logistical questions about the Tandem10 he said, “You’re doing the three things that I love the most: cycling, surfing, and traveling. I am your man.” I was so excited that I shouted in celebration so loud my neighbor came over to make sure everything was alright. They are based out of Huntington Beach and have been doing this for a long time. So stoked to have such an experienced surfboard maker at my back. It still blows my mind to think that this is my life and that the best hasn’t even begun yet. The surrealism of what I’ve committed to is starting to fade a bit and this project is becoming more real everyday. The other night I was talking to a friend who is consulting me on PR for my project and she asked me two questions that were so simple but have been at the forefront of my thoughts lately.

Why am I doing the Tandem10? and…

What do I hope to gain?

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I am doing the Tandem10. The Tandem10 aligns so closely with the beliefs that I’ve always held close. My life has always been fueled by people, I thrive when I am surrounded the illumination of energy generated by others. It’s why the idea of an open tandem bike seat sounded so appealing. Anti-materialism and minimalism is something that I have always aspired to. I have felt for a long time that a life lived in one physical location is a life wasted. I grew up in a small-minded town where travel was something celebrated by only a few. It never made sense to me. Are we really supposed to work until our bodies are limited by their physical ability to finally explore a world that we are no longer able to fully embrace? This is what drove me into such a deep depression in the first place. I knew that I was building a prison for myself. I knew that I was allowing myself to follow instead of lead, and that traditional path was completely antithetical to what I believed in. So I think that if I was to pinpoint the number one reason I am doing what I am doing it would be to save myself first with the hopes of giving back after.

As far as what I hope to gain from this, it’s an equally hard question to answer. My initial response to this question was the futility of the question to begin with. It’s like asking me what I am going to be like when I cross that 10,000 mile mark. I have no fucking clue. I know that I’ll be irreparably different but in what ways that’ll happen is impossible to predict. I can promise you that I won’t want to stop. I am not going back to any normal life, may not be coming back to the states. So if there was one thing that I could say I am hoping to gain is the ability to continue that forward movement and keep the journey going in a similar or greater capacity than when I started. I just want to keep getting better as a human, as an explorer, and as a surfer. I have no desire for wealth or power. I just want the means to travel and explore which doesn’t require much, especially the way I travel. If I am bestowed some power through my blog I would love to have to opportunity to direct that energy towards social good. So I could tell you a laundry list of things I want to gain but at the end of this trip I will have gained what I needed and what I wanted won’t matter at all. And I guess that’s just where I stand on that.

Here is this photo because it’s awesome