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Interview With Performance Surfer Marty Magnussen

Posted on: Aug 06, 2012 - 08:50 PM | General | Comments (0)
Author: DB

A 5 question interview with a peak-performance surfer-athlete extraordinaire, entrepreneur and all around good guy, whom you can count on


Dru: Good day Marty! We’re here at Java Beach coffee house at the beach in San Francisco, California. We are doing an interview series with various peak-performers with the intent of finding out what you do and how you do it. We’re honored to have this rare opportunity. You don’t often do interviews…

Dru: So, you’re an accomplished and well-traveled surfer and all around athlete. And you are also a successful entrepreneur; you operate your own successful Christmas tree retail operation during the holidays. And you have many other successful endeavors under your belt as well. You mentioned that you’re opening an action sports gym in the near future…

Dru: So, who is Marty Magnussen? What do you do?

Marty: Ha! I’m still trying to figure that out.  And you’re saying it like I’m great or something, but I don’t think that I’m all that great a surfer, nor have I really mastered anything. But I have high standards! I’ve surfed almost everyday for the last fifteen years; I think that I should be pretty good at it. I also skate, do construction, electrical work, play softball, I do art; I draw… I think that I’m well rounded. I am good at a lot of things; I’m a jack-of-all trades, but I don’t think that I’ve mastered anything. There are a lot of surfers out there that are way better than me. I know that I surf Mavericks and some pretty big waves, but I’m not satisfied with my surfing. It takes a lot (mentally) to surf big waves; it’s kind of tough! I don’t think that I’ll ever be satisfied with my surfing or anything else. And I appreciate this part of me; I accept it. Its OK.

Dru: Let’s talk about your surfing experience a bit… Can you describe what’s going on in your head when you are going out? Perhaps describe the sequence of thoughts and actions when you’re  going for a Maverick’s surf session:

Marty: Yeah… I kind of force myself to go without thinking about it. When it’s big it can be really intimidating. Its not like surfing Ocean Beach, even when its big! When you eat it at Mavericks, it can be life threatening. You can drown. And you get an adrenaline rush that stays with you for a half hour every time you catch a bomb. Before a session, I’ll be checking the waves on my computer (at home) and when I know that it’s on I kind of turn my brain off to fear. I kind of just force myself to go before I get scared or find all of the thousand excuses not to go. I’ll think up anything sometimes; like “it’s a long drive there”, or “there’s no parking”, or “the walk out to the water is too long”. I just go and do it. I would hate to spend the next week pissed off at myself, thinking about how I should have gone and what a “pussy” I am. I can’t do that.

Dru: What about when you’re out there surfing and catching waves. When you see a set wave coming from the horizon, what are you thinking? Do you expect to ride the wave successfully? Do you hope or expect that it works out?

Marty: I never know what’s going to happen. I just go for it and hope for the best. I could eat it and get held down for two waves and it could hurt bad. I just don’t think about that when I’m out there. I just deal with whatever comes at me.

Marty: When I’m surfing Ocean Beach, its really different, even when it’s big (8-12 feet or more). It depends which part of the season it is too. If it’s the first big swell of the season, it’s different from when after I’ve surfed ten big days in a row. That first big day of the season I can be a little bit uncomfortable, but I just force myself to go for it. Sometimes I’ll purposefully get hammered on a big one just to get it over with and prove to myself that I can do it. Then, after that its no big deal and I do fine. And after a few days of larger surf I feel comfortable. But no matter how many times I surf Mavericks, it’s always intense.

Dru: What’s the purpose of your life?

Marty: I don’t want to hold onto anger that I had from past circumstances. I think that the game of life is about the pursuit of happiness. That’s where I’m at: I enjoy life! And I won’t get it from surfing. Surfing is small doses of adrenaline and excitement; and it makes me feel good, but it’s not exactly happiness…

And I think that I’ll find everyday happiness through a family and success. Genuine happiness is not short-term excitement; its fulfillment.

Dru: Interesting! Can you give us three insights from your experience, which you can pass along?

Marty: Yeah… good question. Let me think…

Ok; first, its really important to be good at adapting and embracing who you are as well as handling emotional changes in life.

Second… Its important to find new activities and personalities to keep you excited. You have the choice between negative things and positive things to get you excitement. I usually choose positive things.

And third; having the purpose in life: to survive, is really good. Otherwise you get into complacency and you feel empty and purposeless. You need to have goals.

Maybe a “wildcard” here might be working hard to achieve and then doing what you want afterward. You have to earn your rewards; then you have an appreciation of what you have. And giving to other people is key. I always try to give a lot to other people.

Dru: What’s your best skill?

Marty: Making people smile and laugh and feel good.

Dru:If you could have your way, where would you be in one year, five years and at ninety?

Marty: Whoah! … In one year I could be super successful or dead. I don’t know… Ha ha… Who knows…

Dru: If you could have your way…

Marty: Ok; in one year, I don’t know… But in five years: above average financial stability. I’ll have good money! And I’ll be in a happy marriage with a wife, kids a dog and I’ll be free to give back locally. I want to do a lot for the local community; I think that people in other countries are important but we need to focus on the people near to us first.

At ninety? I’ll be living on a ranch, in a nice house with tons of children and animals around. It’s in the country; not at the ocean.

Dru: That’s great stuff! How about this: everybody has a primary question that we ask ourselves all the time; its usually subconscious and we’re not aware of it. What is your primary question?

Marty: Hmm… That’s a good one…

Dru: If you had to guess…

Marty: Am I giving enough? Am I a selfish person? How can I give more? Or Serve more?

Dru: That’s beautiful, Brother! Wow! Marty; thank you for doing this interview. I think that it will serve a lot of people because you are a great role model and you are a guy whom people can count on. I’m honored! Thanks!

Marty: Thank you!



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