I was honored by the Patriots Day committee Feb. 5 as Laguna Beach's "Athlete of the Year."
I've won a lot of trophies and awards before but none are more meaningful to me than this one. It sits proudly on the mantelpiece above my fireplace, and no matter how many great places in the world I have been lucky enough to experience, there will never be another place more special to me than Laguna Beach.
Just as there will never be another place I would rather be in the world on a beautiful day than Pearl Street beach, the very beach on which I was raised.
My whole being, vision and spirit was shaped on that beach by those before me. There was a long list of surfers out there before me, including my brother, who inspired me to surf and then one day become a professional.
Today, I dedicate my life to preserving our beaches and oceans. It wasn't something that happened overnight. In fact, in all honesty, it just happened over time, much like anything else, through hard work, desire and dedication. My work perhaps isn't traditional as some may like, but that's not my issue. I do what I do because I believe in it and I want to do it.