I love windsurfing. I remember my first drive down to Hood River, Oregon. In May of 1990, Dad took David and me down there and we all learned how to windsurf - if you call falling, splashing, and getting swept around the river "learning." I vividly remember that first drive down there. Driving east along the Columbia River into town it's pretty obvious why they call it "the Gorge." The Columbia River cuts right through the Cascade Mountain Range. By doing so, it links the ocean air to the west with the inland desert air of the east. In the summertime, rising desert air sucks the ocean air along the river and through the Gorge like a straw. That creates consistent and epic windsurfing conditions. As the wind blows east, the river flows west. Yin and yang = killer swells! I've been windsurfing ever since that first "lesson" and I'm still learning new moves and getting deeper into the matrix - and bashing and wiping out a lot still too!
I like to run. There's just something ultra primal about getting into a good running groove. Running is arduous, but there are moments (sometimes) when that sense of pain and fatigue just evaporates and goes away. That's the best part. And of course, after the run is over, the harder it was, the better it feels. I never clock myself. I just set the distance and run at the pace that feels right at the moment. Probably not the advice most track coaches give. Running doesn't involve any cool gadgets, but that's actually the beauty of it. This summer I ran the Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon. The best part was the training for it. Forcing myself to run on rainy days in the months leading up to the big one was a solid challenge. But having the marathon constantly in my sights was a great motivator. The Rock n Roll Marathon is especially cool because they set up live bands all along the route. The pumping music adds a lot of rock'n energy to the route. That was my first marathon. Anybody want to run it with me in 2012?
A few years ago, half of the law firm climbed Mt. Rainier. We climbed half way up the first day and slept at Camp Muir. The photo on the right is Camp Muir. They call that thing in the picture "the Ice Box." It's just an old shipping container that somebody wedged into the side of the mountain. Sleeps about 30 souls. Like fish sticks on an oven rack. I didn't get a wink of sleep. We left for the summit at about one o'clock in the morning. Headlights. Crampons. Darkness. Red Bull. Ropes. It was all pretty surreal. The altitude and lack of oxygen added another layer to the experience. Getting to the top was extreme. Total exhilaration. The psychological release from exerting mind over body for so long felt a bit like an out of body experience. Walking down the mountain wasn't exactly a walk in the park. I dreamed of trudging through wastelands of snow and ice for a solid 2 weeks afterwards. Climbing Mt. Rainier left a 14,411 foot impression on me. Whenever I look at the mountain today, every inch of it jumps out.
I like to rollerblade. Smooth cement is critical. Alki is a good place for skating. Smooth glides, transitions, and balance can really relieve stress and open up the senses. I'm serious. It's totally Zen!
Hawaii is a very special place to me. I just love it over there. Maui is my favorite island. My sister lives there now with her husband, Hiro, and their two kids. Sometimes I go over there and visit them. The winter waves in Maui are incredible. Hiro is a legendary big wave surfer. He's taken me tow in surfing a couple times. Tow in surfing is just like regular surfing except instead of paddling to catch the wave, you get towed in to the wave with a jet ski. Tow in surfing allows you to catch bigger waves on a shorter board and you get longer rides because you can catch the waves earlier.
Here are a few pictures I took with a disposable camera. Bobbing around in the ocean when the waves are huge is a little nerve rattling. The power and energy of those forces is just mind numbing. Most of the big waves along the north shore break about a mile out on the outer reefs. That makes for a long swim back in if something goes wrong. One of the best places we surfed was Sprekelsville. Spreks holds a perfect "A-frame" peak that breaks in both directions down the line. Hiro and I have had our share of close calls. One time we were trying to get out past the impact zone and got clobbered by a monster wave. We barely made it over the hurling lip, which launched us 10 feet in the air. We both flew off the Jet Ski and quickly scrambled back on just as a 30 footer almost cleaned us up. The scariest place we surfed was Jaws. Everything about Jaws is scary. The rocky beach, the cliffs surrounding the break, the ominously deep water, and of course the bone crushing swells.
Practicing law is kind of like big wave surfing in that you have to go out there prepared. All of your equipment has to be working tip top. You have to be relaxed, yet focused. You have to be alert and know what is going on 360 degrees around you at every single moment. You have to have a game plan, but at the same time be flexible, because the ocean is constantly moving around and conditions are always changing. No shorts in the courthouse though.
Dad bought David and me our first surfboard when I was seven years old. It was made of styrofoam. It was a 4' 3", with styro-thrusters. The first time we tested the curl was at the Sans Souci on Waikiki Beach. We caught some rides. We were hooked. Next day, Dad took us to Makaha. The waves were bigger. We got munched by shorebreak and snapped the board. I was traumatized, but Dad got us another one.
My most memorable surfing experience was at White Plains Beach, otherwise known as "Shark City." It was mid-week during the school year so nobody was out in the water except Dad and me and the sharks. While we were waiting for a set, I unleashed and swam under Dad's board, grabbed his leg, and started thrashing. Dad wouldn't speak to me for six weeks. Now we practice law together.