For Laird Hamilton, having a deep emotion connection with the ocean, riding one hundred foot waves, and tackling death defying situations head on, is all part of Laird's everyday life. To others he is just another person but to me big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton is a role model, my motivation, the best surfer in the world, and most importantly a deserving Hero. Laird Hamilton is a deserving hero because he is wise, he is a waterman, and he is truly brave.
On the date of March 2, 1964, Laird Hamilton was born. When Laird was three months old, he and his mom left California and moved to Hawaii. One day, famous surfer of the time Bill Hamilton was walking down beach when he saw a young boy playing in the water. Bill body surfed with young Laird and that's when they knew they had a special connection. Laird had big plans to introduce Bill to Laird's Mom, Joann Zyirek, and hopefully they would get married. Soon enough Laird's plan worked and he was gifted with the last name Hamilton. Bill and Laird would go body surfing a lot and that's what Laird said "was the foundation of our relationship," (Laird Hamilton). As an outcast, Laird defended his way through school for he was the only white boy in an all Hawaiian school.
By the time Laird was a teenager he had entered only a few competitions, but none were professional. The taste of those minor competitions was just enough for Laird to realize that the competitive side of him was also the worst side of him and Laird wanted nothing to do with it. Eventually, in year 1997 on November 30, Laird got married to professional Volley ball player Gabrielle Reece. They had three kids, Reece, Brody, and Isabella. To this day Laird hasn't competed professionally and still fulfills his passion of riding big waves.
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Laird is a deserving hero because he is wise. Laird describes what riding a big wave is like, "If I had to tell you what riding big waves is like, there's a giant dinosaur outside; this giant dinosaur it's outside and it's just gonna run down the street, you wanna go watch it? Who wouldn't say yes? Every single person would go running out of the building to go see it. Waves are like giant dinosaurs," (Laird Hamilton). Laird compares riding giant waves to giant dinosaurs, to him that's the closet thing that he can compare it to for it to even come close to what it is really like. He asks the audience "you wanna go watch it?" because Laird knows that if there was group of people by the ocean and there was someone riding a giant wave everyone would run to go see the fascinating event that was unfolding in front of them, things like that are naturally intriguing." He admits that he is a risk taker and that what he does it dangerous, but he would say that not doing what you're born to do could be equally as risky,"(Oprah Winfrey). Laird has the knowledge acquired from his life to say that doing risky things is just as dangerous as not doing what you were born to do. I think that he couldn't be more right because if you're not doing what you were born to do then you basically have an empty gap in your heart, and it can't be filled unless you participate in the thing that you were put on this earth to do.
To me Laird is a deserving hero because he is a person with a deep spiritual connection with the ocean, also referred to as a waterman. "You know I could go to the middle of Afghanistan and show a guy a picture of a giant wave and it would evoke an emotion out of him that would almost be a primal instinct emotion, it would be something inside of you that you don't know why. There's something special that way about it - that's that spiritual aspect of it - that we're all connected to it in a way that we don't truly grasp."(Laird Hamilton) I think that Laird Hamilton is trying to say that water/the ocean can ignite an almost natural emotion inside of us that feels like it was meant to be part of us. Laird knows this because he has felt this emotion ever since he first saw the ocean, it has become part of him, and just the way he describes it seems like he almost is the emotion in my eyes. Laird discusses his thoughts on surfing, "Surfing is a relationship with the ocean, a wave is something pretty primal and the fact that you're able to ride waves that come from a storm, there might something hard to understand about that but it brings you a sensation. I mean you're out there by yourself ultimately and that the intimacy that you're out there in creation in the ocean where life really on the earth would not exist without and somehow you're in this soup, this thing that we're made of, salt water. I love the act of riding a giant wave because it kinda bridges the gap of understanding,"(Laird Hamilton) I thought that I had surfing put together because I'm a fellow surfer myself and I love it and have a passion for just as well as Laird, but after hearing the things that Laird had to say, how he incorporates it to all life and emotion, it just gives me a whole new understanding of the sport. Just seeing someone that has so much to do with the ocean, and seeing someone with just as much if not more love for the ocean and surfing it just really intrigues me. It is almost like Laird was born in the water, it just seems like Laird has it all put together. I mean the ocean is simply his life and just like he discussed how not doing what you were born to do is just as dangerous as doing something risky, I just can't imagine him being put on the planet to do anything else.
Laird Hamilton is a deserving hero because he is incredibly brave. "Waimea Falls is just a big waterfall so there's places on the side of the waterfall
where you can jump into a big big hole down below. I wanted to go to the top
and guys were diving off the top of the falls. I'm 6, 7 or whatever I was maybe
8 probably much too young to be jumping from that high, let's put it that way. To
me man or no man it didn't matter if they could do it, I could do it so I just
jumped," (Laird Hamilton). I think when Laird was doing this made him realize that
he knew how far he could take it, that he could jump off a 40 foot cliff and be
fine but he still knew that he wasn't invincible. To me, someone who is brave is someone who has the mind set and confidence to do something dangerous and life
threatening but at the same time they know what they are doing, someone who has
the situation under control but is still spontaneous. The things that Laird
does and the way he does them really makes him a perfect fit for what I think
is brave. The documentary Riding Giants describes Laird Hamilton's ride at
Teahupoo, "In August of 2000, Hamilton took another giant leap by riding a wave
so treacherous, and so outrageous that it affected the course of big wave surfing
history. The wave broke 3000 miles south of Maui on the French Polynesian
island of Tahiti at a reef pass known simply as Chopoo. The wave Laird encountered
at Chopoo was a freak of hydrodynamics, unlike the deep water big wave breaks
of Waimea, Mavericks, and Peahi, Chopoo explodes laterally onto an extremely
shallow, razor sharp reef. The result is an extraordinary wave. While not as high
as Peahi it's almost unfathomable in its mass power and furiosity,"(Stacy Peralta).
I know for a
fact that a lot of people just upon hearing this would not even consider
surfing this spot, it's just common sense, but to Laird it was much more than
that. It was about pushing himself to the limit and beyond, conquering what
some could consider an impossible wave, and talking a huge step in the
direction of what was possible. As Stacey Peralta describes it, as a wave that
unleashes onto a very shallow, bone crushing reef, Laird has all this in mind
but he knew that he had the mind set and skill to take this situation head on
so when he saw that wave coming over the horizon he didn't hesitate to go for
it and drop in.
A deserving hero to me is a person who is wise, has a deep emotional connection with the ocean, and is truly brave, that person is Laird Hamilton. Laird deserves to be a recognized hero because he knows the boundaries of life. He respect and has a deep emotional connection with the ocean. Laird doesn't give, he is incredibly brave, but in a way where he still understands how fragile we are, but he still stands tall ready to tackle any situation thrown at him head on.
Casey, Susan. The Wave. New York: Anchor Books Publishing, 2010.
Hamilton, Laird. "Laird Hamilton.com" Laird Hamilton .com. Laird Hamilton, 1 Jan.
2010. Web. 09 May 2012.
Laird Hamilton. Dir.Oprah Winfrey. Oprah.com. Harpo Productions, Inc, 12 Feb.
2012. Web.07May 2012. .
Riding Giants. Dir. Stacy Peralta. Perf. Larid Hamilton. IMDb. IMDb.com, 21 July 2004.
Web. 08 May 2012.