Top 3 Connections Between Small Business Ownership, Entrepreneurialism and Surfing

If you’re riding the big wave of small business ownership, entrepreneurialism or surfing in Orange County, California, to achieve results you need to understand that form follows function. Dreaming and preparing are the driving forces behind taking action, whether it’s surfing, owning a small business or exploring entrepreneurship. To deliver results, a fast, flexible, fundable and scalable vehicle is essential. The top three connections between surfing and small business ventures include the following:

  1. Sharpening your board. Surfers know that the sharper the tip of a surfboard, the faster it will go. A unique selling proposition is a good starting point, but many entrepreneurs make the mistake of stopping there. You have to sharpen your pitch by clearly articulating a product or idea for your target audience.
  2. Accelerating success by mitigating risks. Starting a small business is similar to surfing for the first time. Planning for reduced risk in anticipated or uncertain situations enables you to establish methods for handling that risk. The result is accelerated success.
  3. Creating value. Nearly anything of value is risky, including the big wave or a new business venture. The key is understanding the risks before you leap into diversification. Establishing a winning concept, whether in surfing or entrepreneurialism, allows you to create value and manage whatever circumstances you encounter.

Few small business owners or entrepreneurs start by taking on the big waves. The difference between those who just imagine and plan and people who design and develop is taking action. The immediate intention of a surfer is to jump in the water, stand up on the board and stay on top of it. The long-term objective is riding a great wave. As an entrepreneur, the immediate focus is on self-funding or finding creative financing for the business venture quickly. The long-term goal is to ride a great wave of innovation and produce significant value.

Surfing and Entrepreneurship
Surfing and Entrepreneurship

The Evolution of the Surfboard

There are many different types of surfers and locations where to surf, but all of them have one thing in common – the surfboard! The surfboard has changed and developed over the past thousand years. Historians have been able to trace the roots of surfing back to 2000 BC where many of the boards were crudely constructed. I created a presentation to showcase the development of the surfboard. Please feel free to comment or share with anyone who might find this interesting!

The Evolution of the Surfboard from Russell Wallace on Vimeo.

“Eddie” Returns After A Six Year Absence

“Eddie”, a big wave competition, took place at Waimea Beach for the first time in six years this past weekend. The waves reached a record height as many of them reached to be 60 feet. In order for a competition to be considered an “Eddie”, the waves must be over forty feet high and be sustainable all day. This year, El-Nino played a big part to the height of these waves as the weather pattern fueled the water and the creation of them.

2010_mavericks_competitionBig-Wave surfing has consistently drawn in a big crowd to the beaches of Hawaii. A record number of people lined the beach to watch 28 professional surfers engage the monster surges of the bay. It’s estimated that over 25,000 people came to the beach in awe of getting the chance to see the “Eddie”. Some people camped out for 24 hours to get a prime view of the competition.

Many people do not know the legend behind the heroic person it honors. Eddie Aikau was a Waimea Bay lifeguard and a surfing pioneer when it came to Big Wave surfing. The legend says that not a single person passed during his tenure as a lifeguard. At 31  years old, he lost his life retracing the route from Hawaii to Tahiti; something his Polynesian ancestors did. The canoe Aikau and his team were in capsized twelve miles off the coast of the Hawaiian island, Molokai. Eddie was last seen paddling on his surfboard in an attempt to seek help.

The competition was named after him to honor his contributions to the surfing community and the way he would brave waves that others were too afraid to. The competition name was cemented in 1984 after organizers of the competition debated if the conditions of the water were too dangerous. One professional surfer responded to the organizers stating that Eddie would go. Eddie’s brother, Clyde Aikau, is the only surfer to have entered the previous eight competitions. At the age of 66, this year was the last year he will be participating.

Besides the return of the “Eddie”, the competition had the largest payout in big wave surfing with a prize of $75,000. This year’s winner was John John Florence, a 23 year old native of Hawaii. He scored 301 points out of a possible 400. It was his first “Eddie” and a dream come true for him. He tweeted after the competition that “Such an honor. Thank you Aikau family, Brock, and Hawaiian water patrol ! A day I won’t forget.”

Murky Surfing

The winter season brings with it winter storms. Despite California’s seemingly “perfect” weather, the state still gets slapped with some awful storms from time to time. This winter with the return of “El Niño” – a complex weather pattern that creates fluctuating temperatures, and high winds, resulting in fierce storms – has brought with it an array of problems to the California coastline. Power Outages, flooding, fallen trees, and even deaths were reported during the most recent ENSO (El Niño-Southern Oscillation) cycle. According to, beach goers and surfers are seeing some different effects however, as California coastlines are pumped with loads of dirty water.

According to Heal the Bay’s Senior Coastal Policy Manager Dana Murray, one inch of rain from a storm can translate into one billion gallons of runoff in LA County storm drains. Since so much surface area is covered by asphalt, large quantities of rainfall are not absorbed into the soil, but instead streamed right into municipal storm drains. Most of Southern California’s storm drains run into the ocean, draining billions of gallons of LA street water into the ocean. Yuck.

“Dirty water” running into the ocean is definitely a health hazard for surfers and beach goers in California. Since much of the runoff originates from streets and sidewalks, much of the dirty waters flowing from the region’s storm drains contain harmful pathogens, pollutants, and fecal bacteria. This pathogens can cause infectious diseases like Hepatitis, Salmonella, Shigellosis, E Coli., Enterococci, MRSA, Conjunctivitis, and others. Each of these is just as harmful as the other if not treated properly. Some, even with treatment, can be truly unpleasant. Therefore, in order to avoid future discomforts, you should take a few extra precautions before running into the water after a storm.

For starters, don’t surf in dirty water. Once the 72-hour warning goes into effect, heed that warning. Find the discipline to stay away from the water even if you’re a beach bum or surf aficionado. If you have any open wounds, it is ABSOLUTELY imperative that you stay out of the water.

Secondly, screen your surf turf. Be very selective of where you choose to surf and swim after a storm. Definitely avoid swimming in areas near storm drains and river mouths. Make sure the area you surf doesn’t seem too murky, and please, avoid taking gulps of bacteria soup while you’re in the water.

Finally, check yourself thoroughly after the fact. If even a few days have passed it’s better to be safe than sorry. First try to blow as much water from your sinuses as possible. Scrub and disinfect any cuts or abrasions with alcohol and anti-bacterial products. And lastly, shower and brush your teeth immediately (either at home or at the beach showers). Don’t forget to clean behind the ears !

If you liked this post and are interested in reading more info on surf and swim, check out my blog for more. Thanks for Reading !

Kelly Slater Becomes A Hero As Monster Waves Hit Hawaii

It’s winter in Hawaii and the surfers are loving it. During the winter, Hawaii experiences enormous waves that head towards the north shore of Hawaii. This year’s winter sent over 40-foot waves for surfers to ride. Surfers from all over decided to head over to Waimea Bay to catch these gargantuan waves. Surfers such as Tom Dosland, Clark Kittle, Kelly Slater were around the festivities of surfers attempting to surf.

During all the surfing action, an Australian tourist Sarah White and her baby after a rogue wave swept them all the way to the street. Luckily the 43-year-old surfer Kelly Slater was denied action to surf happened to be around the area and was able to rescue Sarah White and her baby. Although, White sustained some cuts and bruises she and her baby made it out the water safe and secure.

Later that day, the husband of the two victims wrote on his Instagram saying, “So thankful the surf gods denied @kellyslater today cos [sic] for whatever reason he was right there to save my wife and kid who were swept across the road by a freak wave today”.

Kelly Slater just happened to be in the right area at the right time. Slater did mention, he was happy that he was able to save the mother and baby, but the lifeguards were not too far from the scene to contribute to the situation.

Lifeguard’s understand how risky it is for surfers during the winter time because of the intensive waves. One of the lifeguards of Waimea Bay mentioned surfers know how dangerous it is to go surfing with waves that high, but they still do it. Hawaii News Now reported, by the end of the day, the waves at Waimea Bay had grown so tall that lifeguards had to ride jet skis to help at minimum 25 surfers who weren’t able to paddle back to the beach themselves.

Being a surfer is about taking the risk, which means catching the biggest wave even though it’s not the safest thing to do. Surfing in the Winter, is the best time to catch waves taller than the typical waves you would surf in the summer.

Below, you can watch footage of the surfers catching the waves out at Waimea Bay.

Surfing with your Heart: Deafblind Attorney Dares to Ride the Waves

“I can’t do that” is something you should never say.

Just look at Haben Girma, a deaf-blind American who graduated from Harvard Law in 2013. Today, she works as an attorney in California at Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. Oh, and did we mention she surfs ? Girma is a true testament of the human spirit, rising well beyond the means she was afforded early in life.

Haben Girma with President Obama. Photo courtesy of
Haben Girma with President Obama. Photo courtesy of

Born in California, Haben Girma is the daughter of an Eritrean refugee who was forced to flee her home of Eritrea in the 1980’s. Growing up, she was fortunate to have great accessibility to technology that helped her communicate, and learn just as well as many of her classmates. Although she credits the use of these technologies to much of her success today, her true success lies in her tenacious spirit.

With the help of Maui surf academy, she dared herself to ride the waves in Encita, California according to the Washington Post. Being deaf and blind, she usually communicates through a device that converts braille into sounds. Since she isn’t able to bring the device into the water, she communicates purely through physical cues with her instructor. Regarding her surfing experience she says: “Success comes about through lots of failure, and i’m not afraid to fall, i’m not afraid to get in the water, try something new and look silly for a little bit because in the end we’re going to learn something and develop skills in the process.” Despite her astounding barriers, she was able to surf the Californian waves with resolution and grace.

Haben is passionate about improving accessibility to communication technology to people with disabilities. As a lawyer she fights to make sure people with disabilities have a proper education. She stresses the importance of adequate funding, well-qualified teachers, and state-run deafblind projects. For her advocacy, she was named a Champion of Change by the White House, meeting and even hugging President Obama.

In an interview with Reuters: “One of the biggest barriers facing people with disabilities are negative attitudes. People assuming that people who are blind can’t do something, or people who uses a wheelchair can’t do something; but anything is possible.” says Haben Girma. Everyone in their life faces moments of adversity that just seem too difficult to overcome. When you feel this way, make sure to think of Haben Girma. She faces adversity with grace, aptitude, and inner strength.

If you liked this article, check out my blog for more surf news and inspiring stories. Thanks for reading !