Some Thoughts by Serge Dedina

In this edition of “Some Thoughts” we hear from Serge Dedina who is the Executive Director of WiLDCOAST. He is the author of Wild Sea and Saving the Gray Whale and writes a weekly ocean/surfing column for Patch.com. The recipient of the SIMA Environmentalist of the Year Award, the California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Hero Award and the San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal, he grew up and still lives and surfs in Imperial Beach, California with his family. “Some Thoughts” is a written series on KorduroyTV with thoughtful people like you.

A hurricane that slammed the coast the week before rearranged the sand banks, creating a peeling right.  On our march up the beach, I noticed the new wave spinning down the coast. 

So while my two sons and friends ignored this new spot and wandered up to another wave they were familiar with, I paddled out.

Out in the lineup a set came. I paddled into my first wave and slotted into a head-high wall that unfolded before me and allowed me to drive forward as the wave kept slightly opening as it peeled along a narrow sandbar.  

For me the essence of living a stoked life is being able to see and try new experiences and observing the world through the eyes of my children. That is so that I can continue to participate in a dynamic world that is continually in flux and always evolving.

Because for me tuning into the edges of that flux increases my odds of experiencing something unique, beautiful and life changing.

Before my children were born I was pretty much over the marginal conditions of the beachbreak I grew up surfing. As soon as my two sons were old enough to enjoy the beach, all of a sudden the mundane became exceptional.

A normal day at the beach became the best day ever.

With kids you get to experience everything new again and again.  The touch of the sand. The roar of the waves. The joy of laughter.  The innocence, beauty and awe of the ocean.

With children everything old became new again.

A few years ago, the boys and I hiked down to Black’s on one of the best days of the winter.  Normally I would have avoided the super-packed lineup of one of the world’s best beachbreaks like the plague.

But whereas I was frustrated trying to compete with the likes of Jordy Smith for set waves, the boys were stoked to share waves with one of their heroes.

After a few waves I went in and found surf photographer Jeff Devine on the beach.

“You know with kids, everything is an adventure,” he said.

I have never had much money and I’m not even really sure how to go about making much of it. But my life is richer for all the experiences that I’ve had and the family that is my greatest joy.

My wife and have been together since 1985. When we met on my first day as a UCSD study abroad student in Lima, Peru, Emily, who is from Wisconsin, had just turned 20 and I was 21.

We immediately realized we shared a passion for adventure, social justice, the outdoors, and the ability to laugh at our misfortunes. Soon we were clambering up rocks to reach 16,000-ft alpine lakes in the Andes and exploring the culturally rich coast of northern Brazil.

More than 27 years later we’ve hiked up mountains in the Rockies, explored glaciers in New Zealand, trekked along the wild coast of Vancouver Island, wandered the streets of Istanbul, spent a year living off the grid in Baja, and taken our boys to explore the ruins and waves of Oaxaca.

What has kept our stoke alive has been those moments of transcendence in which something new sparks our senses and brings our family together around shared adventure, experience and making the world a better place.

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