Friday, June 24, 2011

Kings Canyon

In Kings Canyon, in Kings Canyon you can:
-Play horseshoes with Kevin "the ringer" Riley
-Listen to Zach tell amazing add-on stories about Nachos and cheese around the campfire
-Tour boydens cave and look at the wedding cake, bacon, the lost city and experience total darkness
-read by the river
-build campfires and sing songs........"rock the boat"
-sleep in an open air tent and look at the stars at night
-backpack 13.5 miles to Paradise Valley with your Dad on Father's Day
-forget how to drive and get ice-cream before dinner
-leave your Iphone, Ipad, T.V. and movies at home
-sleep peacefully to the sound of a roaring river
- be on the lookout for a tall, well built, talkative Austrian man in his 60's
-discover the wonders of the JetBoil
-enjoy your family in God's country

Thank you to my Dad, Denise, Garrett, Tasha, Kevin and Zach for a great trip! Let's do in next year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Les Guthrie 1926-2011

Les Guthrie died on Saturday night at the age of 84. He was a visionary developer and business man who pioneered the development of King Harbor Marina in Redondo Beach. I will always be grateful that he took the time to meet with me, in his home, to discuss the founding of my company. Les was ill at the time, but his mind was actively engaged, and he pushed and prodded me to define my company, and more importantly my goals for myself. I came to know Les as Nicole's grandfather, who stood as a towering presence and example in her life. My father knew Les when he was city manager of Redondo Beach and together they worked to bring the Super Bowl Sunday 10K to Redondo. I mostly knew Les from the stories and conversations that I had with my Dad and Nicole about him. He was a risk taker, a thinker, an innovator, a reader and a man excited by ideas. He was a wonderful Grandfather to Nicole and pushed himself to overcome his illness to repeatedly take trips with his family to Hawaii. I did not know this man well but I cried in my office when I heard the news that he had passed. It just seems that they do not make men like Les anymore. He was a man that was excited by life and had the will to go after what he wanted and make his dreams reality. I only wish I was able to spend more time with this man among men.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Matt the Aquatic Ape

"All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea-whether it is to sail or to watch it-we are going back from whence we came."
JFK 1962

"Only a Surfer knows the feeling"
-A popular slogan on Billabong's T-shirts

I have been reading recently that many biologists and anthropologists increasingly believe in something know as the aquatic-ape theory. They believe that our ancestors, unlike other primates, had to wade and swim in order to survive. The theory is that this is why we have hooded noses, which enables us to dive deep, and a lowered larynx, which allows us to hold our breath. We have nearly hairless bodies to reduce friction while swimming and we cannot live without a few key nutrients found in the oceans. I have often been fascinated as to why I always feel better (mentally and physically) after I immerse myself in the ocean. In fact surfers have a term they use for going out even if the waves are small: they say, "I just want to get wet." And everyone that surfs understands that feeling. People say that swimming is the perfect exercise for your body as it works all of your major muscles and does zero damage to your joints. Is there something inherent in our DNA that releases a feeling of peace and joy when we see the ocean? I would have to say yes. When I was in Nicaragua a local guy asked me why I like surfing so much that I would pay money to leave the U.S. (with McDonald's, electricity and Starbucks) to come to a poverty stricken area ( with pigs, blackouts and no coffee). I tried to tell him about the allure of the ocean and ridding empty waves but something was lost in translation. If you look at all of the major sports what do guys give up their entire life for? I only have three answers:

1. Surfing
2. Rock climbing/Mountaineering
3. Skiing/Snowboarding

I have never heard of a guy rearranging his entire life to play more basketball or shoot pool. So we have three major sports that have nature at its core and all get you outside and interacting with nature. When we face challenges in nature, say surfing a big wave or climbing a mountain, our primal DNA (our aquatic-ape) is cheering us on because we are showing survival skills and will thus continue the existence of the species. Americans are so obese because sitting in a cubicle and yakking on a cell phone, only to than come home for TV and computer games, does nothing but make our aquatic-ape very sad. I say embrace your inner ape, go surfing, go sailing, go body surf, go swim, go boogie board, go dive, go SUP, just go and make your inner aquatic-ape happy!