The Surf Strong Show

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Born and raised on the North Shore of O'ahu Jamie Sterling has been charging big waves since his teen years, is the 2011 WSL Big Wave Tour Champion, and now own and operates Jamie Sterling Surf Experiences.

We chat about his time as a Professional Surfer, what he did then and does now to prepare for big wave conditions that demand so much physical and emotional focus, and what it was like being around and learning from the likes of Jerry Lopez, The Ho brothers, Mark Foo, and Johnny Boy Gomes.

Links to what we discussed in the episode

Full Episode Transcript

00:02
Jamie Sterling
Surf kid on the North Shore and watching all the world's best surfers surf right in front of my house, surrounded with that level of talent, being around Ronnie and the likes of the Ho brothers and Marvin Foster and Mark Fu and Johnny Boy Gomez and Jerry Lopez in my life from when I was a little kid. Mid. 


00:25

Greg Finch
Today welcome Jamie Sterling to the surf strong show. North Shore native, big wave surfer since the age of 16 2011. WSL big wave world tour champion. He now runs Jamie Sterling surf experiences. Taking people onto the North Shore imparting his experience and expertise. He also travels with surfers throughout the world. Searching out waves imparting his knowledge. We talk about what it took to prepare for his big wave challenges. What he does now, his upcoming Molokai to Oahu paddle race. Let's get to our conversation with Jamie Sterling. I'd like to remind you to like, comment, subscribe to this and all of our episodes of the Surf Strong Show. Wherever you get your podcasts for all show notes and links that we talk about in the episodes, you can go to Surfstrongfit.com slash podcast for this and all the past episodes. Thanks for joining us. It really means a lot. 


01:30

Greg Finch
Jamie, thank you for being on the Surf Strong show. I really appreciate you taking the time to be on today. 


01:36

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, thanks for having me, Greg. Happy to be here to have a conversation with you today. 


01:42

Greg Finch
So we kind of jump right into it. I really like to hear how surfing came into your life and just maybe talk to me a little bit about just, like, your early years where you grew up, kind of how the ocean and surfing kind of came into your life. 


02:02

Jamie Sterling
So, yeah, I was blessed to grow up here on the North Shore of Oahu. Born in 81, so I'm 42 years old now, and we always lived either, like, right on the beach on the North Shore or a couple of houses back from the beach. So my dad was a surfer from Manhattan Beach, La. Moved here right out of high school to go to college, ended up on Kauai, and then he ended up on the North Shore after Kauai, and, yeah, I moved here for he. He was super instrumental in paving the way for me to become a surfer and got me onto the front of his surfboard when I was probably, I don't know, around three years old or so. But even before that, I was swimming and playing in the water and then kind of just naturally progressed to becoming a little North Shore surf kid on the North Shore and watching all the world's best surfers surf, right? 


03:06

Jamie Sterling
In front of my know in my backyard, basically, and just surrounded with that level of talent and the immense power of the waves that we have here in Hawaii. So to me, that's kind of all I knew. I just thought that waves are always big, waves are always powerful. Surfing, when you're used to something, you watch something from a young age, you soak it up. And I kind of soaked it up and got a good early start. Later down the track, my parents divorced, my mom remained on the North Shore and she started dating Ronnie Burns which is one of the Pipelines best surfers ever. He also grew up on the North Shore so he mentored me for about five years while he was in my life before he passed away at the young age of 27. But being around Ronnie and the likes of the Ho brothers and Marvin Foster and Mark Foo and Johnny Boy Gomes and Jerry Lopez all those people were in my life from when I was a little kid. 


04:23

Jamie Sterling
I remember watching Ronie surf at Jerry's house at Pipeline, which is now the welcome House. But back then, Jerry owned it with Herbie Fletcher and just was around all those heavyweight, world class surfers. And, you know, I think a lot of that had to do with it. And then the other part of the catalyst for me growing up here was having a good friend, Mark Healy. He and I grew up on the North Shore, so we grew up on the same street. And I spent a lot of time at his house coming from single family home, spent a lot of dinners and evenings at his house with his family. So Mark and I kind of became competitive with each other and going out and know, more serious, bigger waves than the other kids my age. So that was helpful to have a kid, a friend that also wanted to progress their surfing in bigger waves than just the inside waves. 


05:44

Jamie Sterling
So that was super helpful. Having Mark as, so to speak, a sparring partner, same age, lived, like, three houses away from, I think, you know, everything's just meant to happen the way it is. Yeah. Here I am today still living on the North Shore and kind of doing pretty much the same thing I've been doing my whole life. But now I'm in that field of passing the torch and sharing my knowledge that I've gained the last 40 plus years out here. To traveling surfers and visitors and other professional surfers. 


06:28

Greg Finch
When you paddle out now in winter and you're paddling out there's probably times where you'll have this reflection whether it's back on a specific moment or just an era of that early part of your life. What feels like home, like, what feels the same on that paddle out that first touch of the ocean and what feels different? It can be positive or negative, but what are those kind of things that feel the same to you paddling out now? And what feels different. 


07:05

Jamie Sterling
On a sensory level? I mean, it's just the coarse North Shore sand that we have and the smell of the bar of wax and the bumps on your board and the water sloshing against the bottom of your fiberglass board. And that's what I remember from when I was like three on my dad's board. Still hear that sound. So that's very much the same sensory things that I still hear, I guess, on things that are different now. There's just more people in the lineups. But the lineup itself doesn't change as far as what you're triangulating and what you're lining up with, what house or what tree. Because the waves don't really change because we have just reef bottoms here so that they stay the same for the most part, change a little bit maybe on swell direction and tide, but for the most part there's more people. 


08:16

Jamie Sterling
But I just do a good job of not really looking at the people and just sticking to my lineups that are very pronounced for me and just distinguished lineups that I know. So that helps me find the better waves because I would say 80% of the crowd on any given day basis is visitors. Being that Hawaii is such an expensive place to live, a lot of the locals have to work constantly. There are two or three jobs here, so most of the time there's not a lot of locals in the water. Actually, it's mostly a lot of visitors. So the visitors don't really have as much knowledge as, say, someone like myself. So I just kind of don't look at the people, look at the lineups. And that's kind of my secret. 


09:12

Greg Finch
Yeah. 


09:13

Jamie Sterling
To finding the better waves. And then of course, I guess there's more just tourists in general on the North Shore because back then it wouldn't be like so much a tourist destination for non surfers to come out here. They would always just stay in Waikiki. But now it's kind of like a bucket list item to come to the North Shore now. So there's just more population of surfers and non surfers just coming to the North Shore, too. 


09:49

Greg Finch
So even people that don't really have a connection to surfing are coming more as a tourist destination. Maybe see some surfing or others, but it's not really the reason that they're coming. 


10:01

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, not the reason they're coming. They're coming just to see the surfing or see a turtle. Maybe take a beginner surf lesson. Maybe go shark cage diving or a shark or a non cage dive with sharks out here. Or go skydiving. There's some of those bucket list items for non surfers to come to the North Shore. Whereas before a lot of those industries didn't exist and they'd have no business being out here. They wouldn't come here because it was far. It's an hour drive from the city. So in general, it's just more people. One thing that stays the same is the waves. The waves don't change, really. And they stay true to their same form and shape and quality. 


10:48

Greg Finch
Yeah. With the just abundance of world class waves in that stretch if everything being the same, meaning the quality is the same in any given time, which of course, is never going to be the case, there's always going to be some variation. If you had to choose one or two waves in that stretch to surf, do you have that or is it really just depending on it? I mean, is it always Sunset if it's there? I know you're known for surfing that wave a lot. Has that changed over the years, or do you really have just whatever's going that day is, where you're going to go? 


11:29

Jamie Sterling
I would say currently Sunset is my go to wave. It's kind of changed in the last ten years. I used to surf a lot more pipeline when I was younger. Being that I'm goofy foot, I still love surfing out there, but I don't surf it as much just because of the consequences and how crowded it is now. You kind of have to weigh out the consequences. Are you really ready to take a hit on the reef and things like that? Definitely more picky and choosy when I surf Pipe. So nowadays I surf Sunset more, and Sunset is definitely the more consistent wave, the most consistent wave on the North Shore because it breaks from one to two foot, three foot perfect long boarding waves to short boarding. Then it moves into the mini gun step up board realm, and then from there you go into your gun realm. 


12:22

Jamie Sterling
So it'll break from two to 30 foot faces on any given day and any time of year. So handles the most swallow directions northwest, northeast, west, west, northwest. So that's my go to. And then I like surfing. Want to surf like a left. I like surfing on a smaller like I still like surfing Rocky Point grew up in that neighborhood a lot. When I was younger, I lived at Rocky Point, so that's kind of my go to shortboard hot dog wave if I'm not surfing. Sunset. 


13:02

Greg Finch
Nice. Now as you were going through your career and your training and kind of the evolution of your own surfing from what you're talking about just being a grom and you and Mark Healy getting kind of pushing each other as you were kind of preparing for this more significant wave this larger wave faces more water moving around. What were you doing outside of the water to kind of prepare for that much more significant wave. 


13:36

Jamie Sterling
Well, to tell you the truth, when I was before high school, I didn't really have too much of a training background. It was kind of just surf. Just go surf seven days a week, just surf your butt off, just be a kid. It wasn't really until I got into high school, like 9th grade. It's kind of when I signed up, one of my electives was weight training, and that's when I got immersed into lifting weights and working out and being on more of a nutrition plan. And that kind of was, like, the base for me in my training. And I've never stopped since 9th grade with my training. And of course, it's gotten way more varied as opposed to just lifting weights. I try to be very diverse and never replicating the same thing I did yesterday, what I'm doing today. It's always different to keep it interesting, to keep it fun, as well as to not let the body get adapted to what my training is. 


14:45

Jamie Sterling
It's the constant thing of muscle confusion and keep confusing your body so it doesn't plateau. So, yeah, I would say high school was kind of like my starting point. I've gotten to work with different trainers and different types of training, and I just try to keep it really fun and diverse. I get the best results that way and keep it interesting. 


15:17

Greg Finch
Yeah. So on a week now, so present day, like a week now. Now, I know, obviously, it's summer, some surf, but it's not like it's winter on the North Shore, so surfing, less large waves. What's your average week look like? What does an average week look like for, you know, your mobility, some of your strength, what are you doing for your breath, other endurance things. Just kind of walk through a little week. What that looks like for you. 


15:53

Jamie Sterling
It's like three days a week, I'm doing heavy strength work, whether that's, like, strict press, front squats, deadlifts, like a heavy three by five, three sets of five reps. I get that in every week just to maintain super strong muscles. And then other days, I'm incorporating circuits with kettlebells and pull ups, body weight exercises, kettlebell like flows, different flows with the kettlebell. And then also incorporating on the front end of those workouts as well as the strength workouts. I've incorporated, like, foundation training to turn on that isometric power and kind of get the muscles warmed up between the tensioning of inward tension and outward tension with your arms or legs. So that's been really beneficial for corrective posture and that stuff. And then I've been a big advocate of doing yoga since I was about 18 years old. I adapted a yoga practice, and I went on to get my 200 hours yoga teacher certification with Ian Finn from Blissology Yoga about ten years ago. 


17:30

Jamie Sterling
I did that. I still maintain a yoga practice. And then there's also the beach workouts come into play, the run swim runs, the underwater dumbbell or rock running or dumbbell training in the pool for breath holding capacity stuff that I'm doing. And then there's long distance prone paddleboarding, which I'm doing, like, every other day this summer. That's pretty much all of it right there. And in kind of a summarization of what I'm doing. 


18:10

Greg Finch
That's a pretty full week. 


18:13

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. So there's always something you're not just doing the same workout in a gym environment. Sometimes you're taking it to the ocean or the beach or a pool. And then it's not just yoga, it's foundation plus yoga. So the foundation and the yoga are very helpful for mobility and just to kind of tap into your body and go inside and see what needs attention after you've strained it with heavy lifts or a CrossFit style kettlebell workout with barbells or power cleans and things like that. So, yeah, keep it like I said, it's about just keeping it fun, because once things aren't fun, then it becomes unmotivating and then you just don't do it. So you got to stay motivated first and foremost to stay on your fitness routine. And I think having something that motivates you to do it is really important. Like, the why has got to be there. 


19:18

Jamie Sterling
Like, why are you getting up in the morning to go to the gym? It's got to be something beyond just yourself. I feel like maybe doing it for somebody else or you're doing it for a sport that you're trying to maintain or get better at or you want to be strong at so you can do it better. So it's got to come down to the why, because as soon as you lose the why and the motivation, then you just start plateauing and start skipping those workouts. 


19:46

Greg Finch
Yeah, it's much harder to stay consistent because you're right, this friction is always there, and you're right, something larger than yourself. It's interesting because with clients that I have right now, all my clients are surfers. But before, when I was just starting coaching and training, when I had more non surf clients, they would come and they would talk about their motivation and they would talk about, my daughter just had a grandson and I want to be here for him, and I want to be strong. And it's interesting because what I was finding was that's absolutely true. I mean, you can't probably have something more motivating than to be there for your family. But what's interesting is when you do start to detach from that, it sometimes doesn't sustain the motivation that you need. Like intellectually, they're absolutely right, that's what's motivating. But sometimes in the moment for us, that's what we're so lucky is to have surfing. 


20:52

Greg Finch
And we want to keep that in our life. It's so intense. And to keep that elevated activity in our life takes a lot. Like the description of just what you said for your week is intense for a lot of people. But it's what you need to do to maintain that level of experience and surfing at that high level. And that's what's great for us, is to do that family and your own health and everything below it gets to come along for the ride. And surfing is what keeps us motivated. So that's really great. And for those that Jamie was mentioning, foundation training, and you can go back. I had Peter Park on the podcast a few episodes ago, and that was great. He helped with Dr. Goodman to create foundation training and to go back and listen to the Peter Park episode for anybody interested in it is phenomenal. 


21:54

Greg Finch
He's a phenomenal athlete and an incredible coach and trainer. So foundation training is that connection. Like you mentioned, you're checking in, all this work that you just did, this intense work, you're going back and checking in, like, how do I feel right now? Is there something that needs more attention? Is there something that I need to give some more work and help to? So it is a great way to check back in. 


22:21

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. The foundation is like checking in, but also learning to put the heavy weight into your hips, not into your joints, not into your knees. Our hips are meant to bear the weight. And the gorilla lifts in foundation or the woodpeckers, those are awesome. Just great modalities to it's. A second layer. Or it's like this other layer of strength that you don't get from just pushing weight. It's like this inward tension or outward tension that you don't get in any other modality of training, really. It's great because it's giving me more strength. Another layer of strength outside of the explosive strength of kettlebell swings or the heavy lifts of a front squat or back squat. It's just another spice to add to the repertoire. My list may seem long of what I do, but there's no rush, really. Right. It's just every day being motivated to do something for an hour or 20 to 30 minutes or however long you have in your daily life. 


23:42

Jamie Sterling
But for me, it's been helpful to be the more diverse I have, the more diversity I have. I look at it like it's like my plate of food. Do I want to eat beans and rice every day? No. So I look at it like my workouts. Do I want to do push ups and sit ups and pull ups every day? 


24:01

Greg Finch
No. 


24:02

Jamie Sterling
They're in there somewhere during the week or the workout. But there's so many modalities and different lifts and things to add to your repertoire to keep it interesting. And I guess when you've been on such a long fitness train since you're 15 years old, I think probably for someone like me, I need that diversity because it just keeps it so I don't get burned out. But then my why is so great that I can't really afford to not do something on a daily. And then, of course, there's also these other modalities, too, like the contrast therapy with heat and ice. I've incorporated that into my life and that's been helpful. And then you have the CBD oils out there and the tinctures that help with recovery and pretty awesome. In this day and age, of all the different things we have, theraguns and all these different little things, every little bit helps. 


25:12

Greg Finch
And it's great to, like you mentioned, doing things with body weight training and the foundation training it's also great to know that at any point you don't need this outside stimulus to raise the intensity of the thing that you're doing that both is empowering. You can internalize and raise. Like, you were mentioning some of the forums, when I have people do for the first time, they get introduced just to the founder. And I'm like, okay, hold this right here. Contraction without tension. Be there in that place. And you can just see it. You can just see them starting to shake and it kind of dawns on them like, oh wow. To keep this intensity without tension and to stay focused, it's also freeing because used to before, when my practice and my coaching was based in a physical place, when I had a studio, now it's remote and people are all over. 


26:19

Greg Finch
What that did was it used to be, oh, I'm going on this trip, so I'll see you when I get back. And I always was working on like, no, it doesn't stop. Wherever you are going, wherever your body is, that's where your program is. It's right there. Every time you wake up, that's your program. 


26:39

Jamie Sterling
Exactly. Everybody's on their own journey, right? 


26:43

Greg Finch
And so now it's freeing because I go, you mentioned doing crunches and push ups and squats every day, but when they go there, I'm like, there's your daily that's your bare ass minimums every day. Do push ups, do squats, do some crunch contraction, do some breathing. There's no reason that can't happen. So when you come back from at. 


27:07

Jamie Sterling
Least get the basics in. Yeah, you get those at least do the body weight stuff to do the yoga, the stuff that you don't need anything. You don't even need a mat. All you need is your body and that's it. 


27:20

Greg Finch
It's empowering. And then you can see it in some people. They're like, oh man, you're right. I don't have that excuse at all. You got to keep doing that. So talk about the paddle race that you're training for and kind of describe for people that don't know what this annual race is all about and some of the history of it. 


27:41

Jamie Sterling
This race in Hawaii, and I think around the world, is one of the most famous sought after races. It's 32 miles. It starts on Molokai and goes to Oahu across the Kaibi channel. It's the same channel that the late, great Eddie Aikao lost his life when they set sail on the Hokulea boat. So it's a pretty intense current, very high current, really high surf, high choppy, rough channel. As long as the wind cooperates, it should be a downwind paddle. And it's really fun. If the wind is correct, you're riding waves and chops for the most part, and linking the bumps together as you would on a paddle board race in choppy water. So I'll be on a twelve foot board and I'm going to be doing it with a partner. So it'll be like a relay. So I'll paddle for 30 minutes and then we'll switch and he'll paddle for 30 minutes. 


28:52

Jamie Sterling
Colin Steinberg is joining me. He's a Hawaiian city and county lifeguard. We'll just be partnering through that, and I've done it once and on a stand up paddle, I've done it about ten years ago with a partner. Tucker Ingalls did it with me way back when, and that was really fun on a stand up. So this will be my first time on a prone board, and it's been good again. It's been giving me another why and another motivator this summer. Being in Hawaii, it's pretty small and a lot of flat days on the North Shore, so it's been giving me that extra y factor to stay fit during summer, and that's just only going to make me more prepared for this coming El Nino season that they're forecasting. So I looked at it like as a good summer to partake in this channel crossing because I'm going to get super fit and it's going to just roll right into a month later. 


30:05

Jamie Sterling
It's September, and then that's kind of when we start to get our first few swells on the North Shore, so it's been a good thing to just keep me on track. 


30:15

Greg Finch
Yeah. What's the average time it takes to do that 32 miles race, depending on. 


30:24

Jamie Sterling
What board you're on. I know Jamie Mitchell was like, the king of this race for like, ten years in a row. He won it many times. There's been other guys since him and before him that are dominating the sport, so it depends. Those guys are on like, I think 18 footboard, so they're generally faster. They're on a bigger craft. I think those guys are coming in at like, four and a half to 5 hours. The fastest guys, I'd say average time is probably more like 7 hours. Six to 7 hours is, like, average. But there's stand up paddleboarding this year. There's foil boarding, so those guys will do it in like, 3 hours, probably. 


31:10

Greg Finch
The foil board if the wind is cooperating. Right. They're just riding those swells as best they can on those foils. 


31:17

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. So they'll be riding the big high aspect, super large foils, so they'll be the fastest. And then after that it'll be probably the 18 foot prone or the 18 foot stand up paddle teams or guys that are doing it solo. I'm not an elite paddler in the paddling world, but I'm hoping to finish around 6 hours or so with my partner. It's kind of my goal. We'll see how we go. 


31:48

Greg Finch
Yeah, that'll be fun. Now, when's that coming up? What's the date for that? 


31:53

Jamie Sterling
That's July 30. So we're just a few weeks away. 


31:56

Greg Finch
All right. 


31:57

Jamie Sterling
I've been training since paddling, since the end of April, every other day for this race now. 


32:05

Greg Finch
Is it feeling good? 


32:07

Jamie Sterling
Body's feeling good? 


32:08

Greg Finch
Nice. Is it kind of like how I've done some triathlons and I've trained some people that were doing some marathons where you're kind of extending out the miles that you do. You never maybe fully reach that 32 miles capacity between you and your partner. But are you starting to kind of like is that how you kind of did it? Kind of stack more miles on each week? 


32:32

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, similar to what you would do in the gym, stacking on five pounds every day you go back until you reach a point to where you kind of stay at that weight. But, yeah, we just kind of started with three to 5 miles and worked into the double digits, and now we're kind of up to that. Currently, I think we're doing about like 15 miles now. So, yeah, feeling really good. And then it just kind of comes to that point to where we kind of taper back training maybe about a. 


33:04

Greg Finch
Week away, make sure you fully recover. 


33:06

Jamie Sterling
Get the body more recovery and more yoga, more foundation and more just cardio and less tax, shave the shoulders for the race day. But, yeah, you just kind of work up to it just similar to what you would be doing in the gym, just working up your reps or your weight. 


33:24

Greg Finch
Make that extended level be your, quote unquote norm. Right. It's amazing how exactly the mind and the body just adapt to like, oh, well, this is the norm now. As long as, of course, you're giving it the nutrition and the recovery and you're not overusing. It's amazing how much of it is that mental capacity to just train of like, oh, this is my norm. And that's how people can achieve such amazing things with that consistent repetition, making sure they recover. I mean, you can accomplish more than you can possibly dream of if you progress in that way. That goes back to the basics that you were talking about. Doing those minimums every day is amazing how much it gives you that foundation to then set a goal for something that might have feel totally outside of what we can achieve. As you start to increase that, then it's like, oh, this is my norm now, and then I go farther and farther. 


34:21

Greg Finch
Amazing. 


34:22

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, the body and the mind are very adaptable, whether it's getting stronger or running farther, paddling farther, or lifting heavier. I'm seeing it like this week. Currently our kids are enrolled in the Hawaiian Junior Lifeguard Program and it's happening on the beach at Pipeline this week for the next three weeks. But they do a one week, each class does one week. So this is their week right now. And every day they start with a run swim run. It's like 200 yard run and like a 200 yard swim and another 200 yard run, a run swim run. And each day everybody's chip. Their time is getting faster and going into the guarding, going into the class, the kids were nervous and now their. Confidence and their times are way better. Confidence is up, time is better, and it's the same. Yeah. You see it with the kids, you see it with the adults. 


35:31

Jamie Sterling
It's just a human body is pretty cool like that. 


35:34

Greg Finch
Yeah. Anybody out there listening? A lot of people will be really familiar with it. But even if you don't live right at the beach and you can coordinate coming to a local junior lifeguard program for your kids, it is one of the most powerful ways to not only introduce them to the ocean if they haven't done that yet, but to kind of what were exactly what were just saying is they will achieve more in that week than they can ever imagine. My daughter's 15 now and we had her as soon as she was eligible, age wise to do it. She was same thing, nervous. And then all the other kids are kind of in the same boat and I live in Morrow Bay, California, and she's going from the Back Bay paddling prone all the way out to the mouth of the harbor. She would never do that with me. 


36:26

Greg Finch
She'd be like, I can't do that and we're out of the equation. She's with her peers, they're safe, they've got lifeguards around and they just achieve so much and it's just so powerful for them to be exposed to the ocean and then start to see just what we're talking about. Oh my gosh, I can do way more than I can imagine I can do. 


36:48

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. And that's the important take is I think, providing kids the opportunity to learn something with other kids that are same age, then they push each other. So the pure thing is super important. And then obviously learning from the best watermen in the world and then they're learning life skills to not only protect themselves, but they can help now in the community, or learn how to save somebody if need be, or perform CPR if needed, provide first aid, all these different things. And then all the camaraderie, all the friendly competition that exists amongst it. It's definitely one of the better programs that I've taken. I'm a graduate from the Junior Lifeguard Program here on the North Shore. I took it when I was young. 


37:47

Greg Finch
The memories from it I'm sure, are. 


37:49

Jamie Sterling
Very yeah, and I'm showing up there in the morning, doing the workout portion with them. In the morning I'm doing the run, some runs and it's bringing back the same maybe emotions I once felt when I was twelve years old. 


38:04

Greg Finch
That's pretty fun. That full circle is just that stuff is just so fun. So as you were kind of going through your career and you were starting to get into some of this larger wave and it kind of coincided with those large wave competitions and people going into those, it kind of lined up with when that started to get more and more exposure. So just talk a little bit about those memories that you have. Certainly I'd love to hear about the 2011 WSL Big Wave Championship that were part of. Just kind of talk about what it was with other people from the North Shore that were going and that just kind of developing into what's become, of course, a worldwide phenomenon for a lot of people that aren't even connected to the surf world. 


38:56

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, the big wave thing, I think it appeals universally just because it's so awe inspiring looking at images or videos when you see a huge wave. I think a non surfer is excited to view that footage and watch that footage because it's kind of that gladiatorial man versus nature film, and everyone loves to see humans being challenged in the most powerful way. But I was fortunate enough with my background, of having a lot of really good mentors here on the North Shore and then being pushed into that. Not really pushed, but pushed in a good way. And I had sponsor come along, which was Red Bull in 2002, and they were just kind of breaking on into the extreme sports world. And I was one of the first surfboard surfers to get sponsored by Red Bull way back in the early two thousand s, and they really helped me propel my career to keep chasing my dream of riding big waves. 


40:21

Jamie Sterling
And they sent me all around the world. And there was a couple of standalone events like Red Bull had a contest in South Africa, in Cape Town, that we would surf that wave dungeons annually. There was always the Eddie, and then there was like the Mavericks contest, and then there was the Dungeons contest, but there was never really like a tour. And then Gary Linden created this Dream Tour of kind of connecting the dots to these places. And there was Chile and Peru. A spot in Oregon Lincoln City and El Scott Reef was on it, and then Mavericks was on it and then fell off of it. But there was good amount of contest to actually have a tour, and it was 24 guys, six man final six man heats. So that was really cool because prior to 2009, there was no tour. It was just you would get invited to select events and travel to South Africa or be a part of the Mavericks or the Eddie. 


41:34

Jamie Sterling
And then, yeah, Gary formulated this really cool tour, and Carlos Berlay was the inaugural winner. He won the first one. I won the second one in 2011. Peter Mel was, I think, the third, and then I think it was Greg Long or Twiggy maybe the following year. But up until that point before the Was, I kind of just made my living or my keep with my sponsors by more like marketing and videos and photos. I didn't compete a lot. Maybe once a year at the Eddie if that happened, or the Mavics or the Dungeons contest, but I didn't do a lot of contests, but it came second nature for me to compete in big waves because that's just where I excelled. That was kind of my niche in the surf world, and that's kind of what separated me from other kids my age to get to where I am today, was I found my niche, I found my real passion, where I really excelled. 


42:41

Jamie Sterling
And then yeah, having won that contest, definitely one of the bigger competitive highlights of my career. Not to say maybe I didn't get the best waves of my life on that tour, but definitely competitive wise is definitely the best result on a competitive level. Yeah. And then I don't know, unfortunately, I think years to follow, the WSL kind of came in and almost I don't know, it seems like they almost buried it because now it doesn't really even exist. Unfortunately, they have a Nazareth tow event and one event at Jaws. So it's not really like a tour anymore. But hopefully, I don't know, one day maybe they can bring something back that was so cool and grassroots like that. Because I think a lot of the big wave guys love doing it. And I think it still could be a really good thing because, as were saying, how inspirational the content that comes out of those events or those sessions is so powerful even as to a non surfer. 


43:53

Jamie Sterling
And I think that's huge because there's more people that don't surf than surf. So if we can appeal to the masses, I think you're going to get way more success than just appealing to our small surf community and surf industry, as opposed to if you can appeal to the world plus our industry, then you got a pretty good product to market and to show around the world and all that. But I don't really have anything to do with it anymore. Nowadays, I'm parlaying all my knowledge into the clients and the people that hire me for whether it's training to get stronger or just to be safe while they're on their vacation here in Hawaii. 


44:45

Greg Finch
Yeah, let's talk about that a little bit about that. Your Jamie Sterling surf experiences kind of have a couple facets, which you just kind of talked on a little bit. Preparing people for surf when they come to the North Shore, giving them an experience there. And then you're also going with people on international trips. Is that right? Where you're going to a different destination with them? Just kind of talk a little. 


45:12

Jamie Sterling
So, you know, I cater to all levels. I'll even do the beginner tourist bucket surf lesson. Come to Hawaii, learn how to surf. I don't really feel people really learn how to surf. It's more just like an experience. 


45:27

Greg Finch
Yeah. You're introducing them to this amazing I'm. 


45:30

Jamie Sterling
Introducing them to this amazing thing on a ten foot or eleven foot soft top, and I call it ballet surfing. I'm telling you when to paddle. I'm pushing you in the wave. I'm telling you when to stand up, and then I'm coming in to help you get back out if you don't have the muscle strength to paddle back out. So I cater to that. But I also cater to the most extreme toe surfing session you might want to do. So it's from A to Z. I offer all services and everything in between. If you want to go surf sunset on a ten foot day, and you have the experience level to do it. So I'll take you out there if I feel you're fit enough or deemed good enough surfer to go out with me, and I'll take care of you, and I'll show you my lineups and help you catch the waves of your life. 


46:24

Jamie Sterling
So I do that, and then I even do, like, consultation. Before you even come to the North Shore, I try to help you get on a training program, tell you the things you should be doing, talk about the equipment that you should be. I do consultation. You have a trip coming up in the fall, or let's just say you have a trip coming up in September. It's July right now. Start talking to you about ordering boards where you want to surf, what your goals are a lot of your boards. If you're from, let's just say California and you only surf small ways, but you want to surf sunset this winter, I'll suggest ordering a board from a local Hawaiian shaper that's been state shaping boards for sunset for decades. And you don't have to travel with it. It'll be sitting here when you get here, and you'll be on the right equipment. 


47:17

Jamie Sterling
What's your training program like? I'll get you. I'll suggest you start doing X, Y, and Z. What's your diet looking like? Suggest some diet changes. That way, at least when you get here, you're as prepared as you can be without being here yet. And then once you're here, then we can even fine tune things even more, and we can work one together at my gym or in the water together, one. So it starts now, and the planning starts now, but yeah, I do one offs, too, if you contact me and you're already here. And I'll be happy to take you out and take you to the best waves on the day, wherever they are, for your level. So it's a very tailored experience to the client's needs and to what their goals are and what their surfing abilities and fitness abilities are on the day that the booking happens. 


48:14

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, it's not a one size fits all at all. 


48:17

Greg Finch
It's also powerful too, to what their expectation is of something or what their own perceived experience level is. And then they get hit by the first wave in Hawaii and they're like, oh, yeah, this is completely different. So you're keeping them safe. Not just safe but also the ability to have a progressively better experience because that first Hawaiian wave that hits them is a wake up call. 


48:52

Jamie Sterling
Definitely. Yeah. Being in Hawaii for your first time, if you've never been the waves hit harder know, no doubt they move faster have we don't have the continental shelf that the United States has that slows it down before it actually hits the sandbar, hits the reef there. They come in faster. That's why foam is, your know, riding a thicker, wider, longer board is going to be more beneficial to you, especially if you don't know the wave. There's guys that have been surfing here for decades, and they know the wave, so they already have the upper hand on you. So you can't bring a knife to a gunfight. 


49:34

Greg Finch
Yeah, absolutely. 


49:37

Jamie Sterling
Fitness and equipment that goes hand in hand with it all. So I'm here to help you not make the mistakes that most people make without consultating with an expert like myself. You're just going to have that much more of an enjoyable trip. Plus you're going to get that many more memorable waves, and you're not going to be wasting days looking for waves and not knowing where to go because the wind switched and it looks onshore at sunset. But I know exactly where it is offshore down the road. 


50:13

Greg Finch
A lot of little nooks and crannies and a lot of little changes of where that's at makes all the difference. It's an island. You can go a lot of places. 


50:22

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, it's an island. And there's always offshore ways. And your days are numbered here. Right. You may only have four days, and you don't want to waste any of them. So that's kind of what I'm here for, it's to not waste any of your travel days and just get you the best ways of your life while doing it safely under the washful eye of myself and my friends. I also incorporate other friends into the program that help me if I have larger groups. So it varies. It can be one one privates or if you have a group of friends, I bring in other guys of my caliber to help watch. And then I also have jet ski services, water safety services for the outer reefs, towing foil boarding excursions. Even if you want to just go and watch and take some photos off the safety of my jet Ski that's also available. 


51:18

Greg Finch
Yeah. That's awesome. It's so powerful because this is one of the things for my clients and advocating, but also just trying to communicate out is we know people that are going on this. It's considered their trip of their lifetime or one. Of what they hope is many say they're going to endo or they're going to somewhere of this caliber and they're spending all this money to get spending. If they're going on a boat trip, they're spending that. If they're going to a resort, they're spending that. And I want to say to them, you book this, sometimes it's a year out. Take the time and invest in yourself to prepare for that trip. Because if it's there and it's firing and you have, say, seven days at this one resort, you want to get everything out of every minute that you can. And if you're not ready for it and can't recover that next day, you're going to be not ready to surf again. 


52:21

Greg Finch
And so it's almost like this public service announcement, yes, we do this, we're coaches. But it's really like, I just want you to have an amazing experience and put the time and the work in now, and it will pay huge dividends for you down the road. 


52:41

Jamie Sterling
Huge dividends. I mean, even for myself, it's 80% preparation, 20% spent time in the water. The rest of the time it's preparing. Like this race I'm doing. I've been preparing since the end of April, and it's going to be spending months of this, and it's going to be five or 6 hours of paddling, and then it's done. But I've spent countless hours to get ready for those 6 hours that I'm going to be racing. And it's the same everything that I've ever done that's been a great achievement, like winning the world title. It's one day of each contest. It happens in one day. I surf for a total of 3 hours on that day to win that event. 3 hours. But I spend maybe 90 minutes at least every day of the week training for that event. And again, it just comes down to preparation and then also the mentorship of equipment and diet. 


53:44

Jamie Sterling
And that all falls in lines with preparation. And then it's like your two hour session could be the two hour session of your life. Those months of preparing will definitely be worthwhile for those 2 hours or that week of glorious wave riding time. And you're going to create lifelong memories of that trip or that destination or wherever it is or whatever the goal is. You got to prepare if you want the highest success rate and to have the best time. 


54:16

Greg Finch
And it does sound a little simplified and cliche, but enjoying the journey that is so powerful because it's kind of like one of those things, like once you put something on the calendar, right? Like, say, away from surfing and physical preparation, just anything. Like you buy tickets for a live music concert, right? As soon as it's on the calendar, you're already starting to enjoy that. And so this is kind of like that same thing. If you're really vested in the journey of that, then you're lifting what that experience is going to be. And so the memories, when they come from that are that much more powerful and that much sharper, if you will. It's just enjoying that day to day goes back to what we said earlier. It's the consistency is waking up. 


55:06

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. And sometimes the journey can better than the destination itself. The people you meet along your journey, the friends you make on the airplane or in the airport, or the people I'm meeting this summer for Paddleboarding, this whole new community that I'm delving into and meeting and the relationships I'm establishing, these are the things that are currently on my journey. And then the destination is coming, but just enjoy the journey. And it's a lot of the times it's about the journey, not the destination. And the destination is the bonus, because you may or may not make the destination. You don't know. There could be a lot of trials and tribulations during that year before your Indo trip. You never know. It's like a goal, but you just got to put 1ft in front of the other day after day and have that golden carrot dangling there and being like, this is why I'm doing this job. 


56:13

Jamie Sterling
Maybe the job is stressful, and it's like, Why am I doing this? But it's like the end of the day, you have one thing in mind. You want to get to that surf trip, and you want to ride those waves that you've always dreamed of, so you got to put in the work. 


56:26

Greg Finch
Yeah, I guess it's all just a bunch of different ways that we can say about working day to day on presence. Right. It's just like, that's what it is, and that's what I say so often. People that are in my life or that I meet and they ask us, Why surfing? Why does that get you up at 530 in the morning to go jump in where I am? Cold water. I kind of always struggled with how to explain that? How do you explain this experience of somebody that's never experienced before? And what I've come down to realize is I know when I get in that water, waves are just the bonus. It's just being in that connected to the ocean. I can't be anywhere else. I'm absolutely right there. If I'm somewhere else, surfing isn't going to happen. There's just too many circles moving, too many things going on. 


57:22

Greg Finch
You have to be absolutely right there. And it's just that reminder and knowing that I have to be right there just keeps me wanting to get back into that space again because everything else goes away. And it also puts it back into the perspective, like this thing that I'm so worried about. It's not that big a deal. It's going to be fine. And that's what that is. It's this forced reminder. I know it does it for me. And so that's what's just pushing me to get back in there. And then when I get those amazing waves, it's like, oh, my gosh. It's just that much better. 


58:02

Jamie Sterling
Yeah. The special thing I think about surfing is it's one of the only things that demands 100% of your attention in that present moment and gives you that flow state that a lot of elite athletes, or just athletes in general, you don't have to be an elite athlete to experience flow state. But whether you're skiing down a mountain or even a jogger, they get that runners high and they're in that moment. But surfing really with the moving water, the board moving, the wave moving, and it constantly changing and not knowing maybe what the wave is going to end up doing 20 yards ahead of you, it demands 100% of your attention and to be present. And I think that's why a lot of people fall in love with surfing. Because not only are you in the ocean and everybody wants to be in the ocean, I think because the ocean is so healing and feels so good and it's just something special place, but how demanding it is for you to be present. 


59:17

Jamie Sterling
And that's a lot of other the rest of the day. It's hard to be that present in a lot of things we're doing because it doesn't demand you to be that present, whereas surfing demands it, otherwise you fall immediately. 


59:37

Greg Finch
It doesn't work any other way. And it's also that kind of unfiltered connection to that energy. When that wave is pushing you, it's physically pushing you. There's nothing between you. That's why sometimes I just love to just go out and just get kind of beat up body surfing. It's just like there's nothing else there. You're just feeling that energy and swim and that drop in. And surfing is very similar. It is literally making it happen. You're connected to that energy so closely that it is. I want that again and to keep that in your life. It's all the other things that we talked about, your nutrition, your mobility, your strength. You have to maintain those things, otherwise this diminishes or completely has to go away. And I'll do anything and everything I can that's reasonable to keep it in my life because it's just that powerful. 


01:00:44

Jamie Sterling
Yeah, definitely. I mean, just being connected to nature, that's a very unique feeling, a unique thing that we have with surfing and being a surfer. And then back to the fitness part, especially as you get older, it's even more important to have a routine of stretching and fitness and diet because when you're younger, you can kind of get away with it depending on your genetics and your genes. But definitely, as you get older in life, if you want to maintain. 


01:01:26

Greg Finch
Really. 


01:01:26

Jamie Sterling
Good health and be around for your children and be able to keep up with your children and just to wake up without the minimal aches, and pains that a lot of people experience because they've neglected a healthy lifestyle. It's so important as you move into the older years of life to establish a routine of all those things. 


01:01:52

Greg Finch
Absolutely. Well, Jamie, thank you so much for being part of the Search Strong show. I really appreciate you taking the time. 


01:01:59

Jamie Sterling
To come on today thank you. Thanks, Greg. Appreciate you having me. And it was fun conversing about the things that we're passionate about. 


01:02:09

Greg Finch
Absolutely. And we'll have all of the links and the show notes of Jamie's Sterling surf experiences and all the places you can find him on social media. We'll have that in the show notes. And thank you for being on the Surf Strong show. 


01:02:27

Jamie Sterling
Thank you, Greg. Appreciate it much. 


01:02:28

Greg Finch
Aloha, thank you for joining us on. 


01:02:31

Greg Finch
The Surf Strong show. To find out more about the Surf Strong Fit programs and if they're a good fit for you, go to surfstrongfit.com. Slash programs. You can also direct message me on either Facebook or Instagram where I'm at surfstrongfit. I'm your host, Greg Finch. I'd like to remind you to like, comment subscribe to this and all of our episodes of the Surf Strong show. Wherever you get your podcasts for all show notes and links that we talk about in the episodes videos of the podcast, you can go to surfstrongfit.com podcast for this and all the past episodes. Thanks for joining us. It really means a lot. 


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