Innovation & Tech Today|5-Year Anniversary
What makes an innovator? Where’s the best surfing? We pick Laird Hamilton’s brain in this exclusive interview from 2015.
I&T Today: Tell us about the sheer adventure, risk, and feeling of big-wave riding. What goes through your mind when you’re riding a wave like Pe’ahi ( Jaws)?
Laird Hamilton: Well, I think that’s an ongoing understanding. You know, the more I think about a question like that, the more I realize when you’re doing it, you’re so in it. It’s a place of ultimate focus which really narrows your vision and dulls your hearing. Being in that state turns off all of those things in your system that aren’t essential to the act itself or surviving it. I think we seek that feeling out and that it’s something so innate to us. In big surf on an intense ride like Jaws, that is one of the few places that you are as present as can be on the planet that we’re on.
I&T Today: Why do you think a select few people in this world feel that innate desire to push the envelope riding building-sized waves, skydiving from the stratosphere, or summiting Mount Everest? Where do you think this desire for the ultimate adrenaline rush originates?
LH: I think it’s a mechanism that’s in man. Not every man has it, because it’s not essential for all of us. Maybe it’s just essential that some of us do. It’s something that’s in us that we’re driven and drawn by these things as part of the exploration of what is possible. Maybe again it stems back to how we evolved and why we evolved and what we needed to evolve. I think that emotion and that thing that’s in us is something that was essential for our evolution, and without it being in some of us, there wouldn’t be any of us.
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