Fearless is a bold word, one that I’ve used to describe a few guests on IQ. It’s a necessary skill for any entrepreneur to learn. Laird Hamilton’s business is riding big waves (and it’s on a comparatively tiny board). He cheats death on a fairly regular basis, and has done so from an early age. At 52 and still riding high, I’d say he’s got fearlessness pretty well figured out.
Laird wouldn’t call himself fearless, though. To him, that’s another word for “reckless.” He approaches the craft of big wave riding with the same respect and humility he brings to IQ. Despite breaking countless bones over the course of his career, Laird is living proof of a connection one can find that transcends science, but not sense.
You might notice an ever-so-slight stiffness in Laird’s step as he takes the stage, because he just had hip replacement surgery. You won’t see him wince, though, despite the fact he’s rejecting pain medication. His reasoning to tough it out is simple: anti-inflmmatories slow down healing. He wants to get back out there and surf! If there’s anything tougher than that mindset, it’s the fact that he was AWAKE during surgery… even making phone calls! When was the last time a friend hit you up with a bone-saw cutting through their side?! Emoji texts surely would not do that one justice.
I asked Laird to clarify just how high some of these waves he’s ridden have been (some supposedly reached 100ft). He confirmed and responded with “we’re limited by what the ocean produces.” Yes… he used the term “limited” to describe his unprecedented feats of defying nature. If anyone can show you just how unlimited our potential is, it’s this man.