Laird Hamilton-Fear of Death, Near Death And Adrenalized Experiences

As an adrenaline junkie myself, I find such discussions interesting (if not necessarily “new” with respect to information shared):



Very interesting. Thanks for posting.


Hard core boaters, hair boaters, big wave surfers think about these things a lot. I used to do difficult white water and gave it up after some bad experiences. Moving water can be completely overwhelming.

Some people are scared of a log floating by in a 2 knot current. they think a Class II rapid scary.

Fear is totally relative on the water. If you start losing your fear, it is best to quit. Fear keeps you safe.

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Yup! It’s matter of walking that “fine line.” Unfortunately, at certain challenge levels, it can be crossed quite quickly and awareness follows. Previous experiences help to deal with the subsequent adrenaline dump. It doesn’t always guarantee success. Hence, stories of another “dead” adventurer.

From a seakayaker’s perspective:



If you have dead friends lost in boating accidents, you could be a hair boater.

When Jim Grossman got killed it certainly affected my thinking. I don’t know Laird Hamilton but I saw him SUP surfing in Kauai, definitely a surf god. And if there was a kayaking god, Jim Grossman was pretty close, a lot of us knew him, but he died just like any of the rest of us mortals. I’m getting older quickly I think partly because of less exercise, movement, etc during the Pandemic Closures and then surge of masses at the beaches and trails. I’m being a lot more careful, even though that’s not how I viewed myself getting older, but things like drug resistant skin infections that take 3 or 4 months to heal, and trying to lift a piece of construction equipment you easily carried four years a go certainly make you think you aren’t an invinceable 20 year old anymore.


You know most dead surfers I hear about, are > 50 year old men who have some kind of cardiac event paddling out at the two easiest breaks in San Diego county.

Heuristics, cognitive and confirmational biases these things have to be kept in mind. I have canceled trips at the launch before especially with less experienced people paddling. I have had kickback from some and relief from others. I feel the decision should be made with the weakest link in mind. Would I have done the same if it was just me maybe and maybe not as it is harder to deal with my own biases and desires than to look out for others. I think this is why the most skilled are often at the most risk, after those that simply don’t have a clue.

Over the years I have seen the various FACETS in myself and been influenced by them. After the fact I have realized the potential peril they had put me in. This was long before I learned about heuristic reasoning. As I age and lose stamina, I have also become more cautious. However, those traps of desire and confirmation still are present and not so easy to ignore if they are strong.


He was at the one of the Santa Cruz Surf Festivals we attended. I remember his name being called in out in the heats. Truthfully, I can’t remember which he was among the elite surf paddlers. There were just so many high caliber surf paddlers in those heats. As a novice surf paddler, I was just enthralled to watch these folks just carving up those swells coming into the cliff wall, thinking that disaster was going to happen with the next closeout. Learned since that there is a high level of control that can be developed and exercised with a surf craft. It doesn’t bestow invicincibility though…