I was born and raised in New England (Rhode Island and Massachusetts) which for those outside the US, is in the northeast part of the country. Warm summers, cold/wet winters.
Outside of the water, I work for Dell Computers in the Marketing Technology group and enjoy Photography and coaching boys lacrosse. Happily married to my wife, Whitney, since 1999. She’s my best friend and thankfully very understanding of my bodysurfing obsession. No kids for us, however we do have a very energetic Brittany Spaniel mix named ‘Sota. He’s a water dog in as much as he doesn’t have to go much beyond getting his paws wet.
We moved to San Diego in late 2013, after having lived in Minnesota for 9 years. Super happy about our move and have thoroughly enjoyed the friends we’ve made here.
Where did you grow up?
Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Summers spent at our family’s cottage in Rhode Island in a beach community called Roy Carpenter’s Beach in Matunuck.
Where are you currently living now?
San Diego in Clairemont
What are your favourite local spots?
Definitely Del Mar. Primarily because I’m very familiar with it but I do like the wave itself and the sandy bottom.
Do you have any other favourite breaks?
Not really since I’m still discovering the ones in SoCal…outside of that, I did really like Duranbah in Australia. My home break in Matunuck is awesome with a good swell.
What breaks are on your bucket list?
Probably Sandy Beach and Point Panic.
Have you always bodysurfed?
Yes. Grew up on a gnarly shorebreak in Rhode Island. Now that I’ve traveled a bit and seen other places, I have yet to come across anything like it. I’ve also come to appreciate how brutal it was on us as kids growing up. It was perennially rocky…and I mean golf-ball to softball size rocks. It always had rocks. We’d wait for storms to barrel off the East Coast and send us up some waves that would get as big a double over head. And these would crash hard into those rocks…but we didn’t care. We didn’t get swell often so we went with what we had. Since this was before the internet, we all thought we were the only ones bodysurfing by cutting across the face of the wave. Ha! How naive. Generations would pass down different tricks we’d do. The primary one was a flip— which was really self- preservation. But on the biggest waves we’d cut across the face, get barrelled, and just before impact tuck and throw our feet over our heads in time with the wave so we’d land standing up. We thought we were the coolest kids on earth. Another was the spinner but we didn’t call them that. For some reason that I never bothered to research, we always called them a Finnegan Twist…or Finnegan. The local family name Finnegan denied having anything to do with it. And trust me, this isn’t just me calling it a Finnegan…anyone from our break was call it that. I’ve tried to get it to catch on in San Diego, but so far only Vince has carried the torch. We never had handplanes mainly because our rides were mere seconds and landing on rocks so I’ve enjoyed learning and riding with one in San Diego.
Do you ride other surf craft?
I’ve boogie-boarded a bit but that’s about it. I’ve always loved just getting in and bodysurfing so I never wanted to stop to learn something else.
How are bodysurfers viewed in your local line-up?
In San Diego, I think we’re tolerated. At worst we’re loathed for having a blackball. You know, because the coast is so small that you can’t find good waves anywhere #sarcasm
What do you find cool and inspiring about bodysurfing?
The fun of it. Really, it is fun no matter what. I’ve yet to see anyone that’s bodysurfing say “That’s it, this is too frustrating…I’m going back on land and doing something else."
What’s inspiring you in the water right now?
My childhood of never getting enough waves. I’m making up for lost time.
Where do you hope to take your bodysurfing over the next year?
I’d always like to get better but I don’t want to take it too seriously since I love it so much. It’d be great to compete better, but at the same time I know how much work that can take and I never want bodysurfing to feel like work. It’s too important to me.