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Episode 32: Meet David Walden, Writer, Surfer and Creator of The Walden Word

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Listen to the episode here

Introduction

David Walden is a native Californian who lives a noble life as a green surfer and a passionate writer. And perhaps more noble than being an advocate for the environment, is living what he preaches on his everyday life.

His connection with the ocean runs deep from childhood. Growing up in a single parent household, David found comfort and company with the vast waters. As an adult, he could always hear the calls of the waves. And finally, when he was 25, he decided it was time to listen to the call. Since then, he became an “Everyday Waveslider.”

Most people go on with their mundane activities, not realizing that every minute, our environment suffers a bigger damage. And for someone who hears this cry loudly, David Walden couldn’t stand idly by. His online lifestyle magazine, The Walden Word is packed with lovely reads about saving the environment and other interesting articles.

This conversation with David is an eyeopener on the issues our environment is facing today. David shares some of his written works such as Surflife and Astro-surfers. One of his recent blogs, Latinos Unidos-The Best Thing You Can Give talks about the great inflation in Venezuela and how people can help them, especially the children. David also mentions various non-profit organizations solely dedicated to helping the environment and how surfing contributes to advancements in science to help fight climate change. Surfing is more than a hobby or recreation. It is a way to connect with and hear what our Mother Earth has to say.

Show Notes

Today’s conversation is a chat with David Walden. David is a writer and has created an online lifestyle magazine called the Walden Word. At the same time, he’s actually preparing four novels as well. In our conversation, we discover how the The Walden Word was created, and what sort of topics are addressed. And we talked about David’s writing process and routine. And obviously, we talked about surfing.

“Once you start surfing, you just want to be there- near the coast near the waves, every day; you think about surfing all the time.” –David Walden

What’s really interesting in David’s story, is that he has dedicated his whole lifestyle towards his passion for surfing and writing. He’s made the choice to pay his bills by waiting tables in the evenings, and the rest of the day he spent doing what he loves. I guess if there is anything to take from this interview. It’s just that having your priorities straight and accepting to live life a little differently, is in fact possible.

I hope you enjoy this episode.

Take care, have fun, and enjoy the waves.

Ciao,

Imi

Episode Highlights

  • 01:53 In Love with the Waves
  • 06:12 The Walden Word
  • 08:44 How to Write a Catchy Read
  • 12:21 Listening to the Rhythm of Words
  • 18:14 Latinos Unidos
  • 23:37 Surfing For Science
  • 27:11 First Catch
  • 29:45 Green Surfing

Photos

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Quotes

“Once you start surfing, you just want to be there- near the coast near the waves, every day; you think about surfing all the time.”

“A lot of surfers are still doing great things for their communities, for their environments… the ocean has affected us personally and then we use that and go on and contribute to our communities.”

“Writing never feels like a chore. It always feels like a joy.”

“The more you read, you start to hear a rhythm or a cadence in other people’s words.

“There’s always someone who’s going to be at a level that you’re aspiring to. … as long as you’re on your path, and you’re continually working as hard as you can and doing what you can; persistence is the key to getting better.”

“Every surfer knows that hour that you spend in the sea is an hour that you’re not on land with your problems…”

“Anything we can do to reduce that (plastics) in our personal lives, or any efforts that we can make, I think are necessary and should be made.”

“Love it or hate it, as long as you’re passionate about it.”

Episode Transcript

Imi Barneaud: Hi everybody and welcome to the The Oceanriders Podcast, conversations with creative entrepreneurs, thinkers and dreamers who also happen to be surfers. My name is Imi, Imi Barneaud and I am your host. Today’s conversation is a chat with David Walden. David is writer and has created an online lifestyle magazine called The Walden Word. At the same time, he’s actually preparing 4 novels as well. In our conversation, we discover how The Walden Word was created, and what sort of topics are addressed. And we talk about David’s writing process and routine, and obviously we talk about surfing. What’s really interesting in David’s story is that, he has dedicated his whole lifestyle towards his passion of surfing and writing. He’s made the choice to pay his bills by waiting tables in the evenings, and the rest of the day, he spent doing what he loves. I guess if there is anything to take from this interview, it’s just that having your priorities straight and accepting to live life a little differently is in fact possible. So without further ado, please welcome David Walden. Hi David, and welcome to The Oceanriders Podcast. How are you today?

David Walden: I’m doing well, Imi. It’s great to be here.

Imi Barneaud: Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show. Before we start, do you think you could introduce yourself to listeners in a few words?

David Walden: Sure. My name is David Walden, I’m a native Californian, and about eight months ago, I started an online magazine focused on surf environment and adventure called The Walden Word.

Imi Barneaud: Brilliant, brilliant. So a bit more about your backstory. Whereabouts did you grow up?

David Walden: I grew up in Sacramento, California, the capital here, and I grew up in the inner city, so I was kind of landlocked. I grew up in a single parent home. My mother would take us often to, either the mountains, or the ocean. And I fell in love with the ocean at a very early age, playing in the waves, swimming, bodysurfing, doing all that, and yeah.

Imi Barneaud: Well, that’s lovely, and so how did you get introduced to surfing on a board?

David Walden: Gosh, I was 25, and actually living in Wisconsin at the time. We came home to visit my mother in California, and I really just wanted to learn how to surf. So, I called my best friend who I’ve known since I was five years old, and he met me in Santa Cruz with my mother as well. And we rented some 10 foot foam blue boards, and huddled out at Cowell’s beach in Santa Cruz right there next to the boardwalk, a great little beach. And on my first time out, the paddling part was okay. I noticed a 72 year old man that was next to me kept catching wave, after wave, after wave. So, I started mimicking whatever he was doing. And so the next set rolled in, and I just did whatever he did. I paddled when he paddled, I stood up when he stood up. And in that way I caught three or four waves that day until he paddled over to me, and we had a conversation. And then that’s how I know he was 72, yeah.

Imi Barneaud: That’s lovely, that’s a lovely story.

David Walden: Changed my life (laughs).

Imi Barneaud: (laughs) So did you live in Santa Cruz for a long time? And did you get to surf Steamer Lane?

David Walden: I did move to Santa Cruz in 2009, because once you start surfing you just want to be there near the coast, near the waves like every day, you think about surfing all the time. I would be at home watching surf videos, and like seeing what people do with their hands, and what they do with their feet, and riding different skateboards, with like, you know, the carver with the trucks, or before that there was some kind of the Sector 9 Skateboard that had these spring loaded trucks, and you know, I just would bomb hills, and go in parking lots, and practice turns, and just you’re dying to surf even when you’re not.

Imi Barneaud: Oh that’s brilliant. That’s amazing that the house with pool, of the ocean, and of surfing. And so, did you surf regularly at Steamer Lane?

David Walden: No, not at Steamer Lane, I lived over in Capitola. Capitola is on the other side of Santa Cruz, and I also surfed a lot at, like 43rd Street, and Pleasure Point, the hook. Little area called sharks, 43rd Street right there out in front of like Jack O’Neill’s house which sits on a little bus there, and yeah, my sister and brother in law used to live there, so I would go from Capitola, skate up the hill, and keep a longboard behind their house, and go run out there. And beautiful place, there’s so many different waves in Santa Cruz, even if it’s not breaking, you could hop in your truck and just drive on the other side of the Little Horseshoe, that is in Monterey Bay, and find good waves somewhere.

Imi Barneaud: Brilliant, yeah. I remember I visited the Surfing Museum in the lighthouse about four or five years ago, and it was just an amazing feeling.

David Walden: Oh, yeah, that’s fun.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, I did the whole pilgrimage there with the kids, visited the whole Pacific, and stopped at Mavericks, but that day it was flat, which was amazing. But yeah, we stopped at Steamer Lane as well, and just seeing the guys surfing there, and the sea lions, and kelp, and everything, it must be an amazing experience. And to surf in those waters.

David Walden: In Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay, there is a Marine Sanctuary, so there’s laws and limits to what kind of boats, and how long your nets can be, or where you can fish and where you can’t, and everything’s preserved. It’s really a beautiful place to be, as you noticed Wildlife’s everywhere. You’d be out there in the morning at the hook, and a little sea, otter would swim to the surface, like a crab on his chest, and a rock and just kick, kick, kick.

Imi Barneaud: (laughs).

David Walden: Break it open, and have a little breakfast over there. Crunching crab while you’re catching waves.

Imi Barneaud: Oh, that’s so sweet.

David Walden: Gorgeous.

Imi Barneaud: That’s an amazing place. Actually, that brings me to The Walden Word because this is the name of your blog —

David Walden: Yes.

Imi Barneaud: — and it’s a really lovely to read, and I just wondered if you could explain what the objective of the blog? And, how you select your subjects on the articles that you write?

David Walden: Sure. Well, it came about because I wanted to write more. I was an intensive writing English major in college. I only finished the first two years of college, but longtime reader, longtime writer, and I wanted to give my writing a home, I guess. So, The Walden Word came about, and it’s an online California lifestyle magazine focused on Surf, Environment, and Adventure. And just because those are subjects that I am passionate about, I could talk surf all day long, and there’s so many different avenues of surf and surf culture that I find exciting, or important. And naturally as a, you’ve mentioned to have this connection to the ocean, not just to the ocean, but I feel like, to something greater than yourself as a whole. So there’s that, and then all of it is an adventure as far as picking what I wrote about, I really described about things that I feel that I’ve been asked about, or things that, as a surfer I dream about, or wonder about. I really have this little piece that I like a lot called, SURFLIFE | Destroying Waves and Stereotypes. Because the stereotypes still exist often when I’m at work, or at town, or talking to my relatives that live inland, you know, surfers just want to drop out of society and just surf all the time. I would just live in a van and drive them down the coast, and my answer to that is, well: “Hell yeah, we do.”

Imi Barneaud: (laughs).

David Walden: But a lot of surfers are still doing great things in their communities, or for their environments, and you know, I really just like to highlight how the ocean has affected us personally, and then how we use that and go on and contribute to our communities.
Imi Barneaud: Absolutely. That’s a really lovely way of, sort of, taking this information. And I guess that’s what we also have in common because we’re sharing the stories of people who are also contributing to the community and possibly the environment.

David Walden: Yes, the podcast is lovely.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, I just don’t, thank you very much. Actually, to go back into the writing, do you have a specific routine? Because writing is a real process, a long kind of standing process, and I just wondered if you had a take on that, and what your routine is.

David Walden: For sure, I do. And in some ways I feel like I’m still an old school writer, meaning, I really, am in love with the pen and the paper. So, I have notebooks, and in my notebooks I usually write what it is that I’m focused on for the week, or what articles I’m trying to pursue, and then I will focus further on an individual article and once I do, I forgot what aspects of it I want to learn about, or I find interesting as a surfer myself. I think that, if I find it an interesting read, other surfers will find it an interesting read, and then I go through and I take notes. I usually take anywhere from 5 to 10 pages of notes to write an article that’s maybe a thousand words, or 2000 words, or something. And then I further organize my notes, I use highlighters to go through, and pick out which this parts going to be, in the introduction, in the beginning, and then these are the topics that I’d like to talk about, and just sort of fill them in from there because it is an online magazine, I’m also always looking for photos, and pictures, and wherever I can find them. I use Pexels and Unsplash, or when I write about people, I just ask for permission to use any of their photos off their Instagram, which often gives me five or six years of photos to dig through, and I’m only need five or six photos. So that’s always great when people say: :Yes, use anything you want.” Because they’re excited to have an article written about them.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah.

David Walden: It’s been a lot of fun so far, I meet a lot of interesting people, and writing never feels like a chore, it always feels like a joy. I mean, I give myself these projects and these deadlines, and some days I work for, you know, seven, eight hours straight, but it’s pleasurable. I mean it’s something that I want to do. It’s something I’m passionate about. It’s like, in a way it’s like surfing, you know?

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, And so, do you have several articles going on at the same time before you publish them? Do you have some certain topics?

David Walden: Often, I mean I read like that, and so I try not to write like that because I used to stack up five, six books that I was reading next to the nightstand, or on my desk, or wherever they are. And so I try not to write like that. I try to spend a week focused on one article and just really get it done. But inevitably, there’s the next article that’s out in front of me that maybe I have to interview someone via telephone, or write some questions for them. I have a little introductory list of questions, seven questions that I usually send out, and sometimes people fill that out so well that I don’t really have too many further questions. But yeah, there’s always three, or four articles. I mean, I’m writing one right now, but then there’s the next two articles ahead of it that, you know, and the downtime I think I look at, and start to outline, and get more than a general idea of what that article is going to be about, and who needs to be involved. I also, again, because it’s online, I like to give credit to whoever participates, or whoever gets mentioned, or whoever provided a fact, or a piece of information. So, I keep a list with all the articles of websites that were visited, or organizations that were mentioned, or people that were interviewed, or someone who contributed a picture. And then about every five articles on my Instagram page, I put a banner of some surfing picture, someone riding a wave usually, and then behind that banner is a list of thank you’s to all the people who were involved and they all get tagged.

Imi Barneaud: That’s a really good idea. That’s great.

David Walden: That’s part of the process.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. And how important is actually reading also in your whole process as a writer?

David Walden: Reading is extremely important. I have a house full of books. I mean probably over 600 books. Every room has bookshelves in it, but even just when I’m writing, recently I wrote a piece called Astro Surfer, you know, a speculative journey through the galaxy and beyond in search of waves. And while writing that piece, I probably read somewhere between 20 and 25 articles, and then you know, I pick out the bits and pieces of information that I find important and that I can speculate on and weave together, and it’s often like that. Reading is very important, I love to read fiction because I want to write fiction, which is funny because I write a lot of nonfiction right now, and my fiction projects, I’ve taken a side seat. However, I read less fiction is what I’m trying to say. But when I write an article, I realized that I’m reading a lot. I read other articles, I read online magazines, I read surfer magazine, I read all the time (laughs).

Imi Barneaud: (laughs).

David Walden: So it’s very important. And as any writer knows, or reader knows, the more you read, you start to hear a rhythm, or a cadence, and other people’s words. And it also helps with your grammar and when you’re writing, if you read a lot, then you know what good reading should sound like, or even what good writing should sound like. So when you write it, and you go back, and you read it, if it doesn’t sound correct, then it probably needs to be fixed.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. That’s really interesting. That’s great advice for anybody who’s trying to write, or trying to put their work out online, or offline even. Are you planning on writing a book then?

David Walden: Yes, I’ve got actually four books that I think will be, I know I’ll be writing in the future.

Imi Barneaud: Ehm.

David Walden: That’s part of this project. This is a passion project for me to set goals, to work everyday, to have the next article in front of me, to get me to form a schedule, and to focus better. Because a book is a large project.

Imi Barneaud: Yes.

David Walden: So doing The Walden Word every day, and having articles to work on every week, and to see one go from start to finish, to have a project in mind, and then to pursue it, and then to finish it to just is constantly building confidence. And writing a book, I know it can be broken down into smaller segments, you know, chapter by chapter outlines. I’ve outlined the book before, I’ve just never made it all the way through when the writing process starts. But yes, I do have plans to write a few different books.

Imi Barneaud: What keeps you going when you want to give up, like, wanting to take a day off, or you can’t keep your schedule because of X, Y, or Z. What keeps you going?

David Walden: That’s a good question. I think, just a passion for writing and wanting to be better at the craft. If I find myself feeling sort of stagnant, or tired that day I, going for a surf is always really good, or I might just, you know, some days you feel like, well, I can write about anything, and I can do anything, I’m really good at this, I get positive feedback all the time. And other days you just feel like I’m in over my head. There’s lots of publications, and magazines, and other writers are better than myself, and it feels that way in the ocean to.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah.

David Walden: When you paddle out, that a lot and you look around and you’re like, oh, all these groms are just like doing airs, and surfing circles around me. You know? There’s always someone who’s going to be at a level that you’re aspiring to. And then, I think as long as you’re on your path, and you’re continually working as hard as you can, and doing what you can, persistence is the key to getting better.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, how does your schedule map out on the day? How’d you organize your time?

David Walden: I usually wake up, walk my dog, and get some coffee. We go check the surf together. My dog is a great judge of a swell direction, swell direction surf size, you know?

Imi Barneaud: Really (laughs)?

David Walden: That’s usually (laughs), yeah.

Imi Barneaud: That’s brilliant.

David Walden: So like, I need him there. From there. I usually get in the water for usually 90 minutes is a standard surf session, maybe it takes a couple of hours. And then by that time it’s a mid day, and I try to write from about noon, or 1:00 o’clock to, about 4:00 o’clock usually. So, I spend three or four hours a day. If I have the day off, I’ll write for longer. Or if I’m working on a project, I’ll wake up early and go for a quick surf, maybe just an hour, and then come back. And you know, when you’re working on a project, sometimes you get real excited about it, and so three, four hours of work just isn’t enough. You want to push a little further, and do a little more because it’s exciting to see it get closer and closer to completion.

Imi Barneaud: Absolutely. Yeah, you work, we could work forever on a passion project. It’s very difficult to, sort of, keep yourself back, hold yourself back from going on, and on, and on.

David Walden: I’ll be in bed at night with a notebook, just going over things, and what’s coming up next week, and what needs to be done for the website. And yeah, it’s just that it’s a never ending process —

Imi Barneaud: It is.

David Walden: — plus I run all the social media, so you know, I promote a lot on Facebook. So then people respond and ask questions, and I invite them to like The Walden Word on Facebook, then there’ll be a follower, and every time I put a piece out it’ll show up in their Feed, and that way I’ve made a lot of friends. And on Instagram, you know, I like to put, to make three posts for each article. So it’s just, it feels like there’s always something to do.

Imi Barneaud: I know, it’s just crazy, it’s crazy, but it’s great. It enables you to also reach so many people that you would probably not be able to reach in real life, and to —

David Walden: Yes, it’s true, yeah.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah. The opportunities linked to social media is quite incredible. I just wanted to know if we could, sort of, focus on a couple of pieces that you wrote, and one of them is that Latinos Unidos, all of your latest pieces are really interesting —

David Walden: Yes.

Imi Barneaud: — non profit. Can you tell us more about it?

David Walden: Indeed. So Latinos Unidos is a nonprofit organization that collects surfboards, smart phones, electronics, and then looking to ship them, right now to Venezuela, but they have plans to go to other Latin American countries in need. The founder, or one of the co founders is an ex Quiksilver writer, and Venezuelan national surf team member, Korak Tinoco founded Latinos Unidos. And so, he has family in Venezuela, and he’s from Venezuela himself, grew up on the Island of Margarita, and was talking to his cousin one day, and just, his cousin was telling them how much worse the situation in Venezuela has become. Their economic crisis is out of control, with equation over 80,000%. You know, the average wage per month there is the equivalent of 2 US dollars, which buys about two pounds of cheese and a carton of eggs. That’s not much at all. So in an atmosphere like that where it’s very difficult to even find suit or basic medical supplies, and where things are rationed, it’s hard for children to be children. And when Korak was growing up, there, were a couple organizations, and there still are that, you know, they bring children to the beach, and they coached them, and they teach them how to surf. And there’s an ex pro Venezuelan surfer, Francisco “Paiva” Hernandez, who is doing great. They’re all doing great things with children. They’re just to, really provide hope, and give them joy, and put them in the ocean. And I mean, every surfer knows that hour that you spend in the sea is an hour that you’re not on land with your problems that are there and with whatever it is that you’re focused on. So I’m in a great escape, Latinos Unidos has collected over 50 surfboards here in California, and now they’re seeking to ship them over to Venezuela, and they will be distributed through a couple of organizations. Fundacion Pro Surf is one of them, and Atletas del Surf is another. So these are known non profit organizations that do teach kids to surf. They have a GoFundMe page, which is set up for everyone to donate something. You know, that would help.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, we’ll put links to your page in the show notes of this episode so that people can link to it, and then link to the GoFundMe page as well. But that’s a really interesting project. And yeah, I’d have a friend who’s from Venezuela as well. And she’s just devastated by this state of her country. And yeah, they’ve lost everything. Like, they just migrated here. Everything they had was being, you know, repossessed by the government, and it’s just chaos, and it’s so sad.

David Walden: It’s horrible.

Imi Barneaud: And so, how did you actually find out about Latinos? Do you have, do people come up to you and say: “Could you write an article about this.” Or do you sort of find this information online and then dig out the information, and interview people? How’d you get your inspiration?

David Walden: Ironically enough, I met, Korak knew me from the water here in Oceanside, we surfed the pier together often. However, I didn’t know who he was. I recently met him about a month ago at a little sustainable Lucca Festival, they were calling it. And it’s about keeping the sustainable fight alive, so there were nonprofit organizations such as himself. There was another organization that was focused on women’s surf therapy, there were eco-friendly clothing brands, and there was a guest speaker from Wild Coast Salvaje, which does, like, works on pollution here in the United States and Tijuana. It’s a by national organization that is looking to clean up the Tijuana river Valley. So, I went to that because you know, I’m a surfer and I’m somewhat of an environmentalist, and I’m interested in those things. And that’s where I met Korak, and you know, you attend events, and you surf, and you end up meeting people in real life. And sometimes, I meet them on Instagram, and sometimes people contact me, but sometimes the people who reach out aren’t necessarily the ones that I would like to write about. Everyone, everyone does have a story. So I do encourage everyone to reach out, and let me know what your story is. And then we’ll talk about that.

Imi Barneaud: Because you’ve got a great form on your blog as well called the surf life, sort of, section. And so you can fill in a form, and just give a few snippets of yours and so, what happens, do you contact them back, and you give them a call? Or do you Skype?

David Walden: Yes, it really depends on what they’re more, or most comfortable with. The surf life is on the webpage, and I do get a couple of times a week, someone will fill that out. So oftentimes I will, more often I think I contact the people that I’ve met, or that I have in mind that I feel like have a good story. Or if you filled out the surf life questions, which are basically, you know, just when did you start surfing? And what does surfing mean to you? And what do you do in your everyday life? And why do you do that? And what sacrifices have you made for surfing? And things like that. So if you have a good story then I’ll follow up with you, and we’ll talk about it. I’m just looking for positive people, people that are surfers that have a positive influence on their communities, or their environment, really. So if you, if someone has a positive story to tell, or is doing something really great, and I would like to write about it, I think they can definitely go to The Walden Word, and fill out the surf life.

Imi Barneaud: And you also, you surf for science. What’s all this about?

David Walden: So, surfing for science is, it’s called the Smartfin program, and it is run through the Surfrider Foundation, Future Fins, and also Scripps Oceanography, they’re down there, the Oceanography Institute, a couple of scientists down there thought it would be a good idea. There are also surfers, to come up with a Fin that has sensors in it, that you put into your surfboard and when you take it out, it measures temperature, it has GPS locator, there’s plans in the future to measure salinity, things like that. All this research gets uploaded into your computer and goes directly to the researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. And those researchers, they share that information with other researchers, climate researchers across the globe, and they’re looking to notice and figure out trends, and global warming, and how it’s affecting coastal climates and coastal communities.

Imi Barneaud: Have you had any information, or some feedback from your surfing sessions, or the whole group of surfers that are members of this campaign?

David Walden: Not recently, I’ve been pretty busy. Honestly, I haven’t been to a meeting in a couple of months, but they meet once a month. I still surf with a Fin, and upload my information.

Imi Barneaud: Ehm.

David Walden: Once a month they do have meetings, and they go over where the project is at, and they sometimes send out emails, and things like that.

Imi Barneaud: That’s cool, that’s really cool. And the last one is the Astro Surfer piece that you wrote, I thought that was a really, really good take on, actually sort of seeing what the, all the opportunities in the universe of where we could possibly surf if it was made for human beings kind of thing. So could you tell us a bit more how you came up with the idea.

David Walden: For sure. So as a surfer, I wake up every morning, and I think about, what is the wind doing? What is the tide doing? And the tide is directly tied to the moon. And as the moon is, you know, just a celestial body going around, and we’re orbiting the sun, the moon is orbiting us. And when I look up at the moon, and I think about the tides and its pull, I think about density gratification, and how a star once exploded, and iron and nickel at the center of our earth, and then surrounded by, you know, rocks, and then heavy soil, and then water, and then air, and it gets thinner and thinner. We’re spinning so fast that the iron and nickel made an electromagnetic field that protects us. I know it’s a, and all that, just because, I’m staring at the ocean, but the ocean makes me think about the cosmos. And I think it makes a lot of surfers think about the cosmos, and you know, and then, I wonder what would it be like if there were an ocean on the moon? You know, it was with a six of our gravity, waves would be bigger, move a little slower. Where are their oceans on other planets in our galaxy, or our solar system? Are there other oceans out there that we just haven’t found yet? You know, there’s all the, you know, so many galaxies, an infinite number of galaxies that we’re starting to be able to see with our modern telescopes. And where’s the next ocean? Where’s the next great uncrowded wave?

Imi Barneaud: Exactly, that was lovely. And I definitely recommend, I recommend that listeners to have a look at your lovely articles because they really have a great, great outlook on surfing in general, so that’s lovely. Maybe moving on in the conversation we could focus on your relation to surfing. And I just wanted to know what, if you remember what you felt when you caught your first wave?

David Walden: Alation, pure joy, that feeling that I was going to love this for the rest of my life. I had that feeling when I was nine years old and I went skiing for the first time. I fell in love with the mountains. I fell in love with the pure freedom of moment to moment. Surfing was much the same. You’re focused on nothing but what’s in front of you. Just that moment, and a pure joy of having a little sunshine, a little on your skin, a little salt water on your face, the sounds of the sea, feeling like you’re a part of something that is greater than yourself. Riding, I guess waves are, you know, the sun’s energy, and solar wind, and it hits the atmosphere and it creates wind here on the planet, which creates fetch that sends a wave all the way to us. And there I am in the cosmos again, but the first time just pure joy.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, that’s lovely. And who has made the greatest impact in your surfing?

David Walden: So my brother in law, I used to call him my surf mentor when I first moved to Santa Cruz and started surfing every day back in 2009, my brother-in-law was working for Surftech, which shapes all these different shapes and designs, and then reproduces them, mass reproduces them, and ships them out to different surf shops, and different places on the globe. So he was working there and had access to many boards, and they would give him prototype boards with different stringers, and different materials. And he lived on the Hook, in Santa Cruz there is a really well known surf spot. Gave me his garage code, and would drop boards off at my house and in his garage there, you know, not only his boards or some of the prototype boards, but boards have probably 10 to 20 other surfers, whoever was visiting at the time. So the garage, just wall-to-wall wall surfboards, I mean to the ceiling, he grab a longboard, grab a shortboard, grab an Eagle beak eighties twin fin boards. So my surf mentor, Rob Lynch was probably most influential in those beginning days. Just encouraging me to surf, and also letting me just take out any kind of watercraft that I could imagine, and try to surf small boards, short boards, fat boards, just so much fun. Yeah.

Imi Barneaud: That’s excellent. Obviously as a surfer your connected to protecting the environment, and I just wanted to know if you had any special hacks, or any special routines that you have when you come out of the water, or do you, sort of, plastic free July, or if you have any kind of thing, or volunteer work that you do on a regular basis?

David Walden: I think like a lot of people I show up for the Surfrider, each cleaning day, and things like that. That’s always a good way to low key, get involved. Also, it’s very difficult to break free from plastics. It’s something that I’m still struggling with trying to do. I mean there’s, even as I look around my desk, there’s so many plastics here.

Imi Barneaud: Me, too.

David Walden: But you know, the major ones I bring my own personal coffee cup. Yeah, I use that all the time. I also have a Hydro Flask, and try not to use plastic water bottles. I have a friend who has a business called Reform Life that makes a reusable utensils, straws, and things like that. So I try to carry that around with me, and then I don’t have to use plastic straws when I’m out and about —

Imi Barneaud: Excellent.

David Walden: — or the plastic utensils. Just little things like that. And I’m only one person cutting down very little bit of plastic. But yeah, I think we’re all somewhat sickened by the amount of plastics and microplastics that ended up in the ocean, or that ended up in our environment in general. Anything we can do to reduce that in our personal lives, or any efforts that we can make, I think are necessary.

Imi Barneaud: Mm Hmm.

David Walden: That should be made.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So since you’ve been running The Walden Word, what are the most surprising things that have come out of this blog for you personally?

David Walden: The most surprising things I think are how social it has become, how many different people that I meet, or they want to contact me via social media, or send me an email, which is always encouraged. I love hearing from people and I like the feedback, most of it positive, sometimes it’s not so positive. I think inevitably not everyone’s going to agree with your point of view, which is okay, I don’t like to argue, but if you write me something and we don’t agree, I will just state the facts as I see them and I’m open to your opinion. Maybe you’ll broaden my horizons or open my mind.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah. Well, if you do have sort of critics, it’s a good sign as well. You know, it means that you’re —

David Walden: I think so, too.

Imi Barneaud: — disrupting something. So, you know, it’s a very good sign. That’s great.

David Walden: Love it or hate it as long as you’re passionate about it.

Imi Barneaud: Exactly, exactly. And I just wanted to know before we wrap up this conversation, if you would like to finish some sentences for me, it’s the usual Q in the podcast, but basically is four questions to finish. So the first sentence is, I love.

David Walden: Writing about the good in people so that others will be inspired and encouraged to do the same. And also I love the ocean.

Imi Barneaud: Fantastic, I miss.

David Walden: I miss surfing in Santa Cruz, because although I never really went to church there. Every time that you paddle out, you’re in a sanctuary.

Imi Barneaud: Really. I didn’t realize.

David Walden: A Marine Sanctuary.

Imi Barneaud: A Marine, of course (laughs), I wish.

David Walden: I wish that I could surf at a high level until I’m old and gray, and it all just fades away.

Imi Barneaud: Oh, lovely, and I want.

David Walden: Everyone to go to The Walden Word, and read my most recent article, Latinos Unidos | The Best Gift You Can Give, then donate whatever they can to help the children in Venezuela.

Imi Barneaud: Brilliant, brilliant, that’s lovely. Lovely way to wrap up this interview. I guess what we should do is review how to get a hold of you on social media. Just give us the rundown of where to find you online and on social media.

David Walden: Of course, you can go to The Walden Word, and you can click on my contact page there and send me an email if you’d like to, or you can message me on Instagram at thewaldenword. I’m also on Facebook, again, thewaldenword on Facebook, you can send me a message there too if you’d like. Those are the three most active where you’ll find me the most.

Imi Barneaud: Okay.

David Walden: I would recommend that.

Imi Barneaud: That’s brilliant. So what are the plans and the articles that you’re preparing for the future, for the next few months?

David Walden: Currently I’m working on a piece about landlocked surfers in Munich, Germany, surfing the Eisbach, the river wave there, how it was outlawed back in the 60’s, it was illegal, surfers would get chased out of the waters by the police, I think it was late 90’s, or early 2000’s. They had a mayor there in Munich who legalized it and said that it was okay and now it’s become quite the spectacle. And then there is a female surfer named Janina Zeitler who surfed that wave often, and has been competing on the QS and multiple contest, and is trying to make it on the world tour. So, I think someone who went from surfing a river waves, to having sponsors to surfing ocean waves, and that’s the piece I’m working on currently.

Imi Barneaud: That’s an incredible story. Excellent. That must be so fun to write about.

David Walden: Get to meet interesting people all the time.

Imi Barneaud: Exactly, exactly. So, well, thank you David for being such a lovely guest, and how do you feel?

David Walden: I feel good. I feel like going for a surf.

Imi Barneaud: Well, I hope there are plenty of lovely glassy waves waiting.

David Walden: Thank you, Imi. I appreciate it.

Imi Barneaud: Yeah, yeah, and please take a wave for me because over here in the Mediterranean, it’s summer and it’s as flat as a pancake, so I’m really in need of a surf very soon.

David Walden: You got it.

Imi Barneaud: Okay then, take care David, and speak to you soon.
That was a lovely conversation, I hope you enjoyed it. To connect with David, you can skip over to his website, www.thewaldenword.com, or you can check out his Facebook at @thewaldenword, or his Instagram account at @thewaldenword. The Oceanriders Podcast is a passion project, and if you like it, you can support it in a number of ways. Number one, share your love for this podcast on iTunes by giving it a few stars or a review, better still subscribe to the podcast. Anything in this direction increases my ranking, and lets people hear more about my fascinating guests, and how they are busting the surfing stereotype. Number two, comment and join the conversation on social media. You’ll find links to my social media accounts on www.theoceanriderspodcast.com. Alternatively, you can connect with me on Instagram @TheOceanridersPodcast, on Facebook @TheOceanridersPodcast, or on Twitter at @ImiPodcast. Number three, join me for an episode, or sponsor my podcast. Just send an email to hello@theoceanriderspodcast.com with a quick bio, and I’ll take care of the rest. Anyway, that said, thank you ever so much, David, for being such a delightful guest, and thank you guys for listening. Until next time, take care, have fun and enjoy the waves, ciao!

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