We grew up in surf rich, small-ish town, in Southern California called San Clemente. We began surfing with my dad as soon as we could walk, spending almost everyday at the beach. My dad is a teacher, so he was able to take us surfing after work -weather permitting. My parents always had some type of Volkswagen van, so we also spent long holidays camping at the beaches up and down the coast.
We started surfing on a soft top, long board; surfing the long, crumbly wave down at SanOnofre, a popular beach at the south end of San Clemente. And, believe it or not, it wasn’t always fun. Sometimes surf sessions were frustrating, sometimes we probably cried, because something didn’t go as planned - like, we got sand in our wetsuit.
Once we gained more experience surfing on a long board, we transitioned to a hard top, short board that was wide, had thick rails, and was basically indestructible. Gradually, as we progressed and we learned the “rules,” we were released into the wild: Lower Trestles. That’s really when we found the love of surfing.
Crosby and I didn’t start surfing in contests until we were 7 and 10, respectively. Seven is about the age kids tend to start surfing events, but ten was a little older than usual. At that time, my parents were not aware that amateur surf competitions for the youth were an option, so we spent most of weekends at soccer games, swim meets and little league games. It soon became apparent to my parents that spending weekends at surf contests would be a much better option and a lot more fun. Because Crosby and I were able to surf at the same events, we were able to attend as a family.
Once we competed, we were no longer interested in any other competitive sport. Surfing was fun and challenging and we were competitive, so it was a proper outlet for our competitive drive.
Amateur surf contests were challenging and a great place for us to hone our skills and develop as surfers. The contests and, especially the championships, always felt like major events and we constantly felt the pressure to succeed. Not so much from our parents, but pressure from ourselves. When you are competitive, the drive to win is innate. It is hard to teach yourself to appreciate the game itself and it is just as important to hold appreciation for all aspects of competitive surfing.
We feel fortunate to be able to pursue a dream while also gaining appreciation for what the journey professional surfing has provided. We have friends from all over the world, friends we will have for a lifetime. These are friendships that stand the test of battle and will exist long after our days of competition are over.
We have also been able to travel and to travel hard. It is not easy traveling. It’s jumping from one plane to another, sometimes running to catch the next flight. Learning to navigate customs and border crossings. Finding planes, trains and automobiles to get to the next location. Surf travel is not luxurious, we sometimes find ourselves sleeping in airports on the floor, dragging 2-3 large board bags from one location to the next. We get sick, hurt and sometimes lice.
These are all great lessons that have helped shape us as competitors and humans. In spite of how it might seem to the outside, we face hardships too. Fortunately, we have tools to help us, like exercise, meditation, journal writing. We also have supportive family and friends. Because of this, we are eternally grateful for our past, our present and all that lies ahead. We, especially, are grateful to anyone in our lives that support us!
Thanks for visiting.
The Cola Bros.