I started surfing when I was 7, so pretty late in life for a Hawaiian. At first it was just something that I loved to do with my dad when we had free time, but as I got older free time became less and less frequent. Pretty soon, it was high school and between classes, work, and taking care of family and priorities, there wasn't enough time to join a sport let alone surf every day.
I ended up hearing about the Kamehameha Surf Team, which valued community service and grades as much as team effort. In a last-ditch effort to rekindle my love of the ocean with an extracurricular, I joined. This worked well with my schedule (and my transcript) and surf practices became a spectacular outlet to let off steam after a long week and my dad and I got to spend more time together after what felt like years of not surfing.
When competition season came around, I borrowed my dad's DSLR camera on a whim and started to take pictures of my teammates throughout their heats, and instantly fell in love with capturing moments that are gone in a flash, while the team became obsessed with the photos. They would post them on their social media sites and use them to evaluate their surfing, and after only a few months, my coaches sent some pictures to local magazines for team publicity, and as can be expected, the team went crazy at seeing their hard work being published.
As high school progressed and the team got better, I became more and more interested in the surf industry. I kept sending my photos into local publications and by my senior year, my coach, Journalist Daniel Ikaika Ito, gave me a shot at writing my own article right as the Surf Team took first place in the NSSA Championships.
Creating my own work and getting it published was so exhilarating that I decided on getting into surf journalism. Sitting on the sidelines turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since I learned how to capture moments that are gone in a flash and find beauty and detail in ways that require specific attention. I choose to follow my passions of writing, surfing, and traveling because as I get older and it becomes harder to keep the faith, I worked hard to get here and I can't stop before I get the chance to grow. So I continue taking chances and seeking help, and I grow by doing so.
Don't get comfortable in your routine; keep growing, but over all of that, learn to love how you grow.