Why Blame Laird?
Laird Hamilton has inspired many people to enjoy the ocean. Laird’s intense passion for all water activities; big wave surfing, foil boarding, kite boarding, jet skiing, body surfing, and his latest passion, StandUp Paddling, have opened up countless eyes to the joy ocean, rivers and lakes can bring one’s soul. People are happy to blame Laird for opening their eyes to this joy.
StandUp paddling has become one of the fastest growing sports since Laird made it part of the mainstream in the early 2000s. His pure curiosity and innovative spirit led him to discover a new way to spend an hour or two out in the sea; by standing up on his board and going for a paddle.
He did not invent standing on a board… what he did was create StandUp paddleboards and paddles that are stable enough for people of all sizes and shapes. He has created boards for racing, for catching waves, or just taking a peaceful stroll in the ocean, all while standing up. Laird did this for his own enjoyment and love of being in the ocean. Little did he know how it would change so many people’s lives and give them access to the joys of the ocean like never before.
When he married his wife Gabby Reece they made a deal to split time between their two homes, Hawaii and Los Angeles. Laird must live in Hawaii from Oct-April to do what he loves to do, surf big waves. Gabby needs and wants to be in L.A. April-Oct because this is where she considers home. Because the waves are pretty flat during the months of April-Oct when they live in Los Angeles, Laird was challenged back in the late 90’s, early ‘00’s to get creative on ways to enjoy the Pacific without waves. He would kite surf, boogie board, paddle prone long distance, windsurf, jet ski, water ski, body surf, short board surf, or just go for a swim. One day he and his tow partner and best friend Dave Kalama were messing around with a paddle. That conversation turned into prototypes of longer paddles and wider/longer boards.
Soon after, in early 2000, people began to take notice of someone regularly standing up in the ocean every afternoon in Malibu. Word began to spread, curiosity grew, conversations began and Laird’s love for this activity thrived. Boards were made for friends and then more friends and more friends, and soon it gained worldwide attention. The rest is history.
StandUp paddling has opened up oceans and lakes to countless people and provided them with activity, adventure and fun. It has allowed wounded water lovers to re-engage with the ocean because of its ease. It has enabled fearful people to engage in the ocean in ways they never thought possible. Let us know how it has changed your life. We’d love to hear! How do you blame Laird?