(In order of appearance)
Eithan is 20 years old – not old enough to buy a beer but old enough to go to war. He drives a beige mid 2000’s brown Volvo stationwagon which not that long ago was synonymous with Karine, his mom, always pulling up with two groms hanging out the windows. A Motorhead sticker now adorns the back.
My brother ‘coached’ Eithan for a bit so I asked him if he had anything to contribute –
“Aton ….he was about 8 or 9. He was buck toothed and skinny, but strong and wiry. I was working for his dad at the time. He asked me if I’d want to get paid to take off at lunch on Tuesday and Thursdays and you know “take Aton surfing and coach him up a bit.”
I have no idea why his dad thought my brother was qualified as a surf coach, but…
“I knew Aton was already a black belt in Tae Kwando , which meant to me he could kick a 6 ft man in the head. So I knew he had potential. I pretty much just told him that putting power and style into his turns and airs would set him apart from the rest of the kids. Then I told him to bend his knees and watch where he’s going.”
When my brother fell on hard times they gave him a place to stay.
“their whole family treated me like I was a part of them when I was bad, they didn’t know how bad, but still… I had it better there than at home, watching TV and eating family dinners. Like the Simpsons. Dane (his dad) is like a tobacco chewing beer drinking good ole boy from SoCal and his mom is a French Hebrew speaking humanitarian. It’s pretty funny combo.”
Eithan had an illustrious amateur career, won his first pro contest at 18 in Israel, where I’ve heard he’s become quite famous, even qualifying for their team in surfing’s Olympic debut through his moms side of the family’s ties.
But I’d say the real challenges lie ahead for an aspiring pro surfer. You can have all the talent and determination in the world but with fickle industry support based off engagement numbers and a competitive circuit where a certain amount of luck is involved there’s no guaranteed path to success.
And what is the measure of success for a surf career?
Trophies? Titles? Covers? Not any more… Youtube subscribers? Money made?
I’m forever grateful for guys like Taylor Steele and Kai Neville who gave my generation a platform to do tricks to music. And thankful for surf magazines that organized trips and employed surf photographers who took pictures of us which got printed in said magazines thus validating sponsorships.
That system has collapsed, and it aint comin back.
If Chapter 11 TV has any small part in guiding the next generation of surfers and keeping it fun while providing a platform the way magazines and video makers did for us, then for me that’s a success.
Thanks for tuning in.