I adopted a life chasing chaos.
I need to take a second to lay some blame. I hardly recognize who I am anymore and I think I know the culprit: it’s this damn surfing’s fault. Over the past 15 years it’s put me through a complete metamorphosis. You can ask my mom; she watched it all go down.
Growing up I was extremely calculated, organized, and borderline obsessive-compulsive. A real future-insurance-agent type. Looking back now, it’d be easier to just say I was a big pussy. Risks weren’t something I took. I was shy, reserved and terrified to travel. I skipped fifth grade camp to stick around and run the playground alone. I would incessantly fix my little brother’s hair and apologize to strangers for his lack of manners and hygiene. I held onto my youth; I cherished routine. I’m pretty sure my parents thought I’d never move out of their house, just age quietly in my childhood bedroom. I’d just inhabit the safe side for eternity.
But then, sometime around sixth grade, I started surfing and quit the baseball team. I tanned out and my hair turned blonde. I began getting dropped off at the beach after school and adopted a life chasing chaos. Up to that point, I’d surfed with my dad sometimes on weekends and thought it was pretty cool — but I didn’t really like the sand (neat freak) and was kinda annoyed that I didn’t have a board with a pointed nose. I’d instead resort to the boogie board because it was soft and never dinged up your shins. Much safer. But that sixth grade year I made friends with a few guys who surfed, and going to the beach with my dad became the only thing we lived for.
That’s when the metamorphosis began to show. I stopped caring about things I used to think were very important; my hair was no longer combed up just right, and I paid more attention to surf videos than to girls. I knew the importance of every surfer from Justin Matteson and Benji Weatherley to Tom Curren and Kelly, and knew all the songs in each of their videos. I became obsessed with the lifestyle and wanted to travel to France and Indonesia and Costa Rica and wherever else waves broke.
But it was the dramatic shift in my demeanor that was most startling. I took more risks. I got tougher, more confident. I wanted to see things. I don’t think any of this would have happened had I continued with normal sports and school and whatever it is people do while we go surfing and waste our days being happy in the ocean.
So I blame surfing for making me who I am today: a bit of a flight risk and at times unpredictable. For initiating my curiosity about life. For giving me all my best friends and allowing me to see more places and things before 30 than many will ever see; for making me aware of my surroundings and really good at observing weather conditions; for getting me noticed by girls; for installing a bit of “f–k it” in my system; for turning me on to music and filmmaking and writing and reading and making me a better, more well-rounded person overall. For giving me everything I have.
But most of all, I want to blame surfing for forcing me to quit being a pussy and go check some shit out in life — because really, that’s all there is to this world: the people you enjoy, nature, and something good to eat and drink along the way. So surfing, just know you’re at fault for this dramatic shift, and that I’m glad I could get it off my chest. No love lost. —Travis Ferré