The following are brief profiles of interviewees. The full interviews will be published in the upcoming book.
Russ Clune is a 50 year old rock climber, who lives in New Paltz, New York, and who has traveled to dozens of countries to climb, either for pleasure, or for his job as a sales representative for the climbing equipment manufacturer Black Diamond. Russ remembers participating in swimming and golf at a very early age, but became interested in the adventure of camping and hiking when he was eleven. He was enamored with the classic alpine literature of the time, and loved the wild feel of high places. Russ attended University of Vermont, and had the chance to rock climb in his first week. Once he did, he knew he found his sport. Russ went on to travel the world and climb leading edge routes, as well as enjoy the people he got to know in the process.
When Russ lived in California for a time, he picked up surfing, which he claims is the only other sport he has ever done that is as engaging as climbing. Back in New York now, Russ works at finding the balance among his job, his family, his friends, and climbing.
In our interview Russ shared his experiences setting climbing standards around the world, and how he has managed to stay in the game and love it.
The following is a brief profile of one of the interviewees in the upcoming book, Dream It, Live It, Love It. The full intreview and insights gained by the author will be shared in the book to be published at a future date. To see future interviewee profiles via email and to stay updated on the status of the book, use the widget at the bottom right of this page to subscribe.
Ward Smith – Surf Now!
Ward Smith is a 61 year old surfer from Aptos, California, which is in the Santa Cruz mountains. Ward came from an active and resourceful family. He remembers water skiing when he was six years old, although his family didn’t own a boat. Ward’s father knew lots of people, and the family got to take part in many fun activities, and this has shaped Ward’s life. Living very near the beach gave Ward lots of opportunity to do watersports. He surfed on rubber matts at Huntington Beach when he was six or seven years old, and has many fond memories. Ward remembers going to see the surfer movies like Gidget, and those made by Bud and Bruce Brown, with the family coming home buzzing. These movies, and the love of the water, had Ward wanting to learn to surf, and his parents were very supportive. When he bought his first surf board, they all had fun with it, first in the pool, then at the beach. He remembers the first time that he went to the beach to surf with his new board. He didn’t know that there were not always waves, so he ended up hilariously sitting on his board in calm water, never catching a single wave.
Ward has surfed ever since, and has even shaped his career around his love of surfing. Ward taught in the California public schools for a number of years, and 18 years ago worked with other teachers and parents to form Alternative Family Education, which administers homeschooling. Ward loves the fact that working with the school gives him the flexibility to surf more often when the surfing is good.
Ward has a license plate that sums up his approach to life – “SURF NOW.”