I want to thank you for the picture and the message. Your words inscribed on the bottom left corner of the enlarged original print of you surfing an 85 foot wave on the biggest day ever ridden resonated with me. I would also like to apologize for the length and narrative nature of this thank you note.
Within moments after opening a long FedEx document tube from Oahu addressed to the Colodne Family, I affixed the picture to a wall in my children’s room. I deliberately re-read your message out loud:
“Follow your dreams as they do come true, like they did for me”.
I asked Aaron, Benno and Lexi what your message meant to them. Then I told them what it meant to me.
The responses were different. However, I think all seemed to understand the meaning of the message in his or her own way. The responses all had a common theme but were articulated from the prospective of a 7 year old young lady and 3 boys ages 10, 12 and 38… Each possessing boundless potential.
I told them to try to figure out what their goals and dreams were, both big and small, and to try, to never let fear of failure get in your way. For if they truly are your dreams, whatever it takes to make them happen is worth it. Never let very rational and overly logical arguments become justifications for not choosing. The only time failure is guaranteed is when you don’t try. Everything is a choice and the results tend to be bigger and better than you had ever planned.
Being sufficiently inspired, a 3 day weekend on the calendar, a rare window of time to not be at Colbeck (the company started and run by Jason COLodne and Jason BECKman), my kids spending the holiday weekend with their mother and a peaking swell on the west coast of Puerto Rico, I boarded a 4:45am flight on Saturday morning to Rincon.
While having dinner with my sister Bara the night before my flight, I realized I was mentally arguing with myself about bringing KOA (the 7 foot, travel board that Ken shaped and named after the stoic Hawaiian warriors).
One side of the argument was clear. I was excited to apply a fresh coat of warm water wax to the yellow deck of KOA. I even dreamed of exceeding my prior surf goal of catching dozens of pealing head high waves on the North Shore of Oahu on a 7 foot board, like the waves (ok fine, the one wave) I caught at Laniakea on the last day of our one week long surf lesson.
The other side of the argument about bringing KOA was both rational and logical. I have not surfed in over 3 months, I did not know what the conditions would be like, and I did not want to check bags at the airport.
Another plausible reason KOA stayed in the travel bag in the cold, dark storage room in New York City, was fear. Afraid that I was not confident in my surfing ability, much less by ability to surf alone, on shortest board I ever paddled out on while not being within a leash distance of the greatest surfer of all time. If I could not do these things, I thought, I would not be good. I was afraid of not being good at what I chose and love to do.
I was now sitting on the warm, coarse and dark tan sand at Maria’s break in Rincon. The pocket of my QuickSilver board shorts was half full with white, green and BLUE sea glass, the key to my rental van and 10 a dollar bill.
I would not admit how much I wanted to paddle out alone as the fear of not succeeding was much bigger than the head high waves. I rationally I argued that I only had about an hour before my surf lesson with Melissa from Puntas Surf School and, since I did not bring a board, I was fine without trying.
I continued watching the waves deliberately ignoring the pack of stray pitt bulls on my right and the quiver of freshly waxed rental boards on my left.
I found myself recalling many of the things I learned from you. I was looking for where the breaks and channels were by the contour of the mountains behind me, where to enter the water and, equally as important, where to exit, and what was the best way to get to outer break where there would be fewer people.
With the same risk of not succeeding (and too many stray dogs), but now knowing that nothing was more worth it, I traded my crumpled 10 dollar bill for a 7’4″ foot rental board and paddled in. I found the channel and paddled towards the outside break. On the second wave of the second set, I paddled towards the peak of a head high wave with conviction. Without either leaning back from fear and missing the wave, or over zealously leaning forward and going over the falls, I arched on the lip of the wave, committed, stood up, surfed down and then across the face of the wave.
While you graciously and patiently taught me about surfing, I realized how the Message you inscribed on the bottom left corner of the picture, relates to far more than surfing.
From the prospective of a 38 year old man and business owner, I will continue to teach the Colodne Family to be committed in the face of fear and to paddle towards the peak of our goals and dreams: Today, I am going out for the second session of the day, I have several important business meetings this week for Colbeck and will be spending the next two weekends with Aaron, Benno and Lexi.