Pat O'Connell is a professional surfer, beginning his surfing journey when he moved to Newport Beach & Dana Point in the 80s & was a member of the Dana Hills High surf team. In 1990, he represented the US in the World Amateur Championships in Japan, winning the 1st event & finishing 9th in the Open Division. He gained celebrity status when he took a lead role in Bruce Brown's remake of The Endless Summer. He peaked in 1998 at 11th on the WCT & 10th in the Surfer Poll. The same year he & fellow Orange County businessmen launched The Realm, a clothing venture. After many seasons on the ASP World Tour, he retired & took a marketing job for Hurley International. He's been a regular on the "Drive Thru" series since 2005 & was inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame in 2009.
Longboards are easier to start with than short boards, but as you progress and want more control, a short board is better. Transcript: "Hi Naomi. The question is, are long words easier than short boards? They absolutely are. In fact, I think so. My son has been surfing. He's eight years old and he's just transitioning from a longboard to a short board. And the whole thing is just, it's volume. It's basically having all that foam is way more forgiving, you know, as you as you progress and feel Like you want to control the surfboard more? It's much better to have a short board but in the beginning to get up and sort of just do the cruise, you're going to want a longboard have fun."
I was 13 and surfing when someone's board caught me in the tear duct. For 6 months, I couldn't cry and had to pry it out. After that, I learned to always put my hands above my head when coming up from the water. Transcript: "Hey Byron, thanks for the question. The story is actually kind of a funny one. I was 13 years old and I was surfing just down in front of that. My house here and guy had dropped in on me. And one of the first things you learn as a surfer is to always put your hand above you, when you're coming up because you never know what's going to be above you. When you, when you do come up and I didn't do that. I thought, oh no, I'm fine. And I pushed off the bottom without my hands and a guy surfboard came down and caught me right in the tear duct. And for about six months, I couldn't cry, which is not a bad thing, but it actually is a terrible. As it sounds, it actually stuck in the corner of my face. So imagine having pry it out. I learned my lesson, I'll always put my hands above my head when I come up from the water. So, Cheers."
I remember my first time seeing the ocean when I moved to Newport Beach from Chicago. I thought that I could see Hawaii in the distance, but it was actually Catalina Island. What I remember the most is how vast and expansive the ocean was compared to the city of Chicago. To this day, I love going to the ocean whether it's to surf or just to chill. Transcript: "Hi Carrie. Thanks for the question. The question is until I moved out of Chicago, had I ever seen the ocean? And do I remember seeing it for the very first time I do I have an embarrassing thing that I'm going to share is that we move from Chicago to Newport Beach, and the first thing is, we had a, we lived in this little condo that had a view of the ocean and in the distance on a nice clear day, we could see Catalina Thailand. And I was for sure that that was Hawaii and I would tell my relatives that it's so clear. I can see Hawaii today. Not true, it's Catalina, he can't see Hawaii, but I was kid and I just thought it was the coolest thing. There's obviously two islands sitting out there or a island sitting out there in the middle of the Pacific, and I just thought I had to be Hawaii, but I think, you know, the That I remember the most is just how broad and expands. Like just it went forever and it was just kind of the end of civilization growing up in Chicago, was just a big city and you sort of always ran into people. And so it was like kind of this cool, very calming thing to say it all sort of stops there. And that has persisted in my life is that I go to the ocean in the morning in the evening every day, whether I'm surfing. Or not and it just kind of a cool place to just chill. And so, Pretty cool. It's still at this point. Yeah is the thing that makes me the most happy"
Puerto Rico has amazing surfing waves, particularly during the months of January - March and September - October. Transcript: "Hey Michael. Thanks for the question. Then Puerto Rico. A few times, I don't think I've ever really gotten amazing ways there but the waves are incredible. You know, I've been to sort of the Rincon side and hobos and all that stuff. There's Great Waves. I know the local people have much better waves than I've been able to Surf. So the Puerto Rico is an amazing Place. Lots of good ways in the Caribbean actually. I think the best time of year is like that sort of February, January, February, March time. And then sort of our late Autumn like september/october kind of hurricane season. So go check it out."
I think it took so long for surfing to be an Olympic sport because of access and the Olympics wanting to become more young-focused. Now is the time to include different sports like skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing, etc. This year's Paris Olympics will be amazing with surfing at Teahupoo. Transcript: "Hi Mariana. The question is what why do I think it took so long for surfing to be an Olympic sport? I think it's a really great question. The first thing that comes to my mind is access while you know, here in California access to the beach is really easy but just globally, it's a lot harder. I also think that, you know, the Olympics has made a really big effort and I have trying to become a little bit more young. A lot of people that are doing, you know, actions boards and different sports that are outside. I feel like right now is the is the time to do that. And so I think there was just a big push whether it be skateboarding or surfing there was you know rock climbing and other things like that. I would imagine to see more evolution in that way. So I think it was interesting this year I can't wait for Paris and teahupoo in. 24. It's going to be amazing."
Growing up in Chicago, I didn't have a lot of exposure to the ocean and was initially scared of it because of slimy things that would touch me. What got me over my fear was having friends who competed with each other and pushed me to be more comfortable in the water. Transcript: "Hey, Adam. Thanks for the question. It's yeah, sad, but true. I grew up in Chicago so the ocean was wasn't like super natural for me. It was crazy. That now it's like the most natural place in the world, but at first, I used to get really freaked out about like kelp and like slimy things touching me. I was more like I wasn't really afraid of the waves and I Afraid of swimming. I just hated all this stuff that would just touch me. And so, yeah, it took me a little bit. And, you know, honestly, the biggest thing for me was just having a lot of friends that I used to compete with, like, not just like in the water, but just like, who got there. First in the morning, who stayed the longest, really, what got me passed to any of. My fear was just being around other people and that was probably the best thing for me. So Sad to say, but it is true. I was a little bit spooked as a kid"