Riding the Wave: Firsthand Insight into a Surfer's Life

Mar 12, 2014

One of the founding philosophies of MAN of the WORLD was creating a community of like-minded men who fearlessly seek adventure and love exploring unexpected and obscure destinations. Christian Yeager fits that mold. He is a lifelong surfer who has packed more exhilarating and transcendent experiences into his young life than most people muster in an entire lifetime. He grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii and naturally gravitated to the ocean; swimming, diving, fishing and surfing. Surfing quickly became the essential love of his life and eventually led him to Puerto Escondido in Mexico after high school. Since then, he has lived and traveled all over the world (San Diego, Los Angeles, Italy, Austria, Bali, Brazil, The Canary Islands, Panama, to name a few), sometimes working as an actor, other times modeling, but always surfing. For Christian, surfing is nothing short of a spiritual endeavor. His very existence is a constant quest for the perfect wave. It is as vital and intrinsic to him as breathing itself. We now provide you a candid glimpse into Christian’s life. Read below:

On falling in love with surfing …

The first time I could actually recall being head-over-heels in love with surfing was the summer of 1998. I was 12-years-old living on Sunset Point on the north shore of Oahu. I surfed every day whether it was pumping or completely flat. I remember it like it was yesterday, the very first tube I ever pulled on a surfboard. Seeing the perfect shape of that wave swallowing you whole is a truly magical experience.

What he loves most about surfing …

Through surfing, I have been able to travel around the planet. It is such a learning experience, meeting new people as well as new cultures. The rush from surfing a new wave in some exotic corner of the earth with just you and the friend you traveled with is indescribably exciting. Secondly, I love the community of brothers and sisters worldwide I have through surfing. Surfing connects people in a very spiritual way. To meet another human who is a complete stranger, talk for five minutes, find out they are fellow sea dwellers, and then come to find out you have 10 mutual friends… Then that night, he is staying at your house for a month. It happens all the time, which is nice because I have accrued some good couch credit over the years that I’m about to cash in on.

Thirdly, I love how surfing provides a rejuvenation of the mind, body, and the soul. Surfing, for me, along with the ocean is the fountain of youth. The differences I see in older men and women who surf, opposed to those who have quit or never started is incredible.

Most memorable surfing experience …

There is one night that changed my understanding of California forever. It was the US Open swell of 2009. Kelly Slater scored a perfect ten on a pier-sized left in Huntington Beach on the biggest day of the swell. My good friend and I paddled out around 11 pm and surfed until the sun came up the next morning. It was the biggest swell I have seen hit Malibu in all of the six years I lived in Los Angeles. It wasn’t only massive, it was as clean as it gets, sheet glass all night long with only two other people out. The feeling driving home from that surf, watching the sun rise over the Santa Monica mountains with a close buddy was simply euphoric. Both of us were sitting speechless while attempting to process what just happened and thinking the same thing, “Nobody will understand what we just experienced.”

Favorite places to surf …

Dreamiest waves I have wiggled on would have to be Barra de la Cruz in Oaxaca, Mexico; Keramas, Bali; and Turkey Bay on the North Shore, Hawaii.

When I lived in Puerto Escondido, Mexico in my late teens, I had an English teaching job that left me large chunks of tube time at the Mexican pipeline. On weekends, we would head south for the point breaks, mainly Barra since it was only a few hours down the road, and just camp out and surf till we could not paddle anymore.

Keramas is my favorite wave on Bali because it’s the easiest wave to get really radical on. You can get barreled through the entirety of the wave or do three of the craziest turns of your life and then kick into the channel and let the rip take you right back into the lineup.

Finally Turkey Bay, this is where I usually surf when I’m home in Hawaii. This wave has given me more time in a blue barrel than any other place on earth. The best wave of my life was out at Turkeys on a perfect double overhead sized day. The wave went inside out for 200 yards with me racing for an escape inside of her. The reef at Turkeys is shallow, and dangerous, with live coral growing along with small underwater caves. All the flesh and blood I’ve lost out there is easily worth the waves traded in exchange.

I would love to surf Jeffrey’s Bay in South Africa. A two-month boat trip to the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia is in the cards soon, and hopefully a long trip to both North and South Island, New Zealand. I know I’m not going to stop traveling anytime soon so the mysteries of the planet will be solved further on down the road.


Biggest fear he notices in surfing novices …

This may be a little twisted, but I love watching people face their fears. Most people truly face fear once they have suffered either a wipe-out or a wave breaking on their head. In that moment when people understand that they have no control over the ocean, a very distinct look shows up on their face and they look to me for comfort and guidance. Then I calm them down and take the beatings side by side showing them how to read the waves and go under when in danger and also teach them when and how much to breath.

Why everyone should try surfing …
Everybody should give it a go, at least once. It’s certainly not for everybody, but for those who try it and love it, their lives are changed forever.

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