Age / Location / Passion
35 / Venice, CA / Surfing
Also stoked about?
Sustainability, Surfrider Foundation + teaching
Favorite place to get outside?
I love surfing County Line
Go to Gear?
What’s your story?
I grew up in Allentown, PA and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time outdoors. We rode BMX in the woods, built forts, rope swung into rivers, went fishing + spent winters sleigh riding and having snowball fights. My family spent one week a summer at the beach, usually in the Outer Banks, NC. I always loved the ocean but didn’t discover surfing until I was 13 and a hurricane was off the coast. An older girl saw me staring at her board so she took me out. I stood up on the first wave and was hooked. I loved the beach lifestyle, I loved the ocean and now I love surfing. My goal was to make it all my life one day. So after college, I saved money and moved to Hermosa Beach, CA with some friends. Been surfing ever since.
What’s something that’s happened recently that got you stoked about?
My co-founder, Warren, and I started StokeShare three years ago because we wanted to experience new adventures. We were surfing buddies in San Francisco but we talked about other action sports. I always wanted to spearfish, whitewater kayak and kitesurf. Last weekend, for Warren’s 35th birthday, a group of us took a trip to Baja for empty waves, epic spearfishing and roadside tortas. It was my first time spearfishing. We rented gear from locals in LA and San Diego. I free dove and spearfished a kelp forest off a spot called La Bufadora, one of the world’s greatest places to dive. It was pretty special, the realization of a dream. Diving kelp forests in cold, clear water with all kinds of fish swimming around you is an amazing experience. I’m so stoked to do it more and help introduce the sport to other friends.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired by mission-driven entrepreneurs like Yvon Chounard and Blake Mycoskie. I have a Master’s in Environmental Science & Management so I’ve been trained to find solutions but it’s challenging be optimistic when I know the planet is in serious condition. If you are starting a business today that relies on an unsustainable relationship with resources or waste, that’s not a business to me. It’s crazy. Patagonia, Toms and other mission-driven brands are showing us the way. We must accept the challenge and keep innovating. That’s what drives us at StokeShare.
Why StokeShare? What’s it all about?
StokeShare is an online sharing economy marketplace where people can rent each other action sports equipment. Think Airbnb meets REI. We all know people who have perfectly good outdoor equipment collecting dust. As we jam ourselves into cities, we also know people are craving the tranquility and adventure of nature. The solution isn’t buying new stuff. It’s connecting people and building communities that can help each other get outdoors. We knew there were people that could help us spearfish, kitesurf and whitewater kayak. StokeShare is the platform that connects us.
Why is what you’re doing with StokeShare important?
I’m not going to be like every tech founder who claims they’re changing the world, but we do have a mission. Warren and I both come from sustainability backgrounds. It’s how we met. We want to make money but it’s not what drives us. Inspired by Patagonia and Toms, we wanted StokeShare to be something bigger than an online marketplace. We decided we could use this library of gear we are building to help kids experience nature, specifically kids from disadvantaged communities. In the year and a half since we launched the website, we’ve partnered with eight different at-risk youth non-profits and five different environmental organizations to connect over 150 kids to nature through action sports events. It’s pretty cool to tell new StokeShare users by listing their gear on StokeShare.com they are transforming the life of a young person.
When you’re not getting outside with StokeShare, what are you up to?
I’m really active in the environmental community. I am the sustainable building advisor for the City of Santa Monica, one of the world’s most progressive cities. I am the vice-chair of the Surfrider Los Angeles chapter, where we fight to protect our oceans. I teach in the Sustainable Technologies program at Santa Monica College. And when I get a break, I enjoy riding bikes around Venice Beach with my beautiful wife Lauren and enjoying the amazing culture it has to offer.
In the craze of day to day life, what’s something that you think is really important?
Balance. It’s something Lauren and I are really trying to focus on in 2017. Making time for each other. Making time to read, especially fiction. Embracing the ability to buy fresh, local food from the farmers market and cook together. Letting ourselves sleep in. Traveling and immersing ourselves in other cultures. Ultimately our health and happiness are what’s most important. I am fortunate enough to have careers that I am passionate about but we still need balance.
If you could give one bit of advice that you’ve found to be a game changer that’s helped you balance adventuring + everyday responsibilities, what would it be?
Taking life one step at a time. Living in the moment. Warren introduced me to rock climbing. I love the symbolism of the sport. You focus on the next move up. You don’t look back. You conserve energy. Action sports are great teachers of life. Many surfers have embraced that surfing forces you to operate in the present. We should live our lives that way.
Favorite Instagram account?
Post-surf go to eats?
Thanks for sharing the stoke with us. We’ll see you outside soon.
Stranded on Land