Ok, ok, that was an April's fool...
Either you believed in it or not, you've been fooled anyway because...
I really am on the bloody cover of Windsurfing magazine!!!
Things I like about that shot:
- the colors of that crazy Superfreak
- the wake of the board that enhances its beautiful water lines and at the same time shows some decent speed
- my feet position. Back foot on the inside rail and front foot delicately pushing on the toes to help keeping the rail engaged
- my focus. The wave is only head high, but it's the bowl of the left at Lanes and that thing gets steep. You can actually see it starting to feather behind me
- the fact that I'm backwinded (the wind is coming from the right of the photo). Not that that is a particularly difficult maneuver, but it's unusual and different from what you usually see on a cover shot. And that is in line with how a sailing SUP should be ridden: differently from a regular strapped high wind windsurf board
- the amazing muscles of my arm! :)
Things I don't like about that shot:
- my extremely receding hair line :(
Assuming that you guys would like some insights of the story, here's one.
As soon as I learned that my photo was going to be on the cover (mid March), I thought about the "everything is possible" series. Windsurfing's editor Josh Sampiero liked my idea and added the April's fool diabolic suggestion, which I immediately liked.
So I made sure that the sixth chapter was going to happen on April 1st. In the meantime I did a staged photoshoot on the rocks (thanks Glenn) and sent the photos to Josh. He added the cover blurbs and sent me the fake cover together with the real one. I didn't even know he was going to put the fake cover and a fake sneak preview on the magazine's website... got to love editors with a sense of humor!
This chapter concludes the "everything is possible" series.
For a regular non-pro sailor like me, ending up on the cover of a major windsurfing magazine (I heard it's already out in some book and surf shops) is clearly another astounding example of it.
Originally, the post I prepared for this final chapter ended here. But a couple of comments about too much hype or high expectations for the "revelation", make me feel the need to spend some more words to clarify once again the message I wanted to give.
All the things I used as examples have in common to be unexpected and unplanned outcomes of actions that I made out of pure passion. Including this last one, even though it clearly can't be compared importance-wise to a life changing thing like deciding to move to Maui.
In my particular case, I'm not even a pro or a pro-wonnabe, and I never even had a dream of being on the cover of a magazine!
So, if you think that the message out of this series of posts is:"if you dream about being on the cover of a magazine, go for it. Because if I made it, you can do it too...", you're a bit off track.
The message is to do things, and more in general to live your life, moved by passion and without any particular goals other than enjoying what you do.
And you'll see that things like this will happen.
BTW, if I'm ever going to write a philosophy book, I'll call it "The bliss of a goal-less life"...
Now, do you really want to know what it means for me to be on the cover of a windsurfing magazine?
I'm tempted to let you guys guess... but since you guys have shown quite poor guessing skills lately, this time I'll answer that for you.
It means absolutely nothing. And a lot at the same time.
Let me explain the first part first (hope I won't lack respect to anyone!).
Clearly, I'm stoked to have that photo. But how happy do you think I would have been if Josh told me instead:"sorry GP, we chose another shot for that cover..."?
Answer: just as happy. I wasn't attached at all.
Actually, it happens that lately I'm so enlightened that I'm not attached to pretty much anything at all!
And if you don't believe it, this great TED talk by Dan Gilbert will show you why.
In other words, the fact that my photo was picked out of the bunch is really quite unimportant.
It's the path the led one of my photos to be part of the final set for the cover shot that really counts!
It's all the hours I spent on a longboard and the thousands of waves I caught with it and the enormous amount of fun and joy that were involved in the process that really count!
And why did I get a longboard in a first place? Not to look cool or different and sure not to get a shot on a magazine! I bought a 12.6 custom longboard in february 2004 (before the word SUP was actually invented), because Jeff Henderson told me how much fun it was when I interviewed him for Windnews. Once again, an action with no other purpose than having fun... how can you go wrong?
But, I'm digressing...
Let's now see why the fact that the photo actually did get picked up is so important too.
Back in Italy, when I was working as an engineer my salary constantly increased year after year. So did my stress level.
I'm now 47 and my actual salary is as low as it has ever been. Yes, I've never earned less money in my life. Shocking uh? Well, at least against the trend, I'd say...
Should I be worried about it? Maybe. Sometimes I wonder about it too...
If you ask my father, he would say yes.
Understandable. He's seen a war and very tough times, for him economic stability is key.
I, instead, for most times am totally stoked! Because earning little usually means two things that I like very much:
- working little, hence having a lot of free time
- having little responsibilities.
On top of that, add the fact that I do like my actual job (specially its schedule, but not only) and here we go.
What would I be now if I kept working for HP?
Who knows... maybe some kind of sales manager (nightmare), maybe a regional manager (big nightmare), maybe even a country manager (total nightmare!). I could be so successful and rich by now that I could probably afford vacations in exotic places all around the world, but the price for it would be all those bloody hours of stressful work.
Money (one of the most overrated things of our society) doesn't make me happy. Waves do. That's why I ride a hell lot of them.
But, as I just mentioned above, once in a while I too have little doubts here and there about what I'm doing.
Questioning yourself and your choices is a very healthy thing to do...
And that's why, seeing a photo of me doing what I like best on a cover of a magazine, is like a loud divine voice coming from the outer space that tells me: "duuude, you're doing good! You're living the life you should be living."
In other words, not that I really needed it, but a reminder like this feels awfully nice.
Especially because it comes from an external source instead of being created by my usual and extremely efficient internal happiness factory (god bless that!).
PS. Now, this is quite remarkable.
I wrote what I wrote till now before I actually got a copy of the magazine, which instead happened this afternoon (BTW, the photo looks unreal on paper...).
Here's a brief abstract of Josh's editorial intro.
He first quotes Francisco Goya:"Right now, the sport is at its purest form - the people that are doing it, they do it because they love it"
And then he adds (hope he doesn't mind if I quote him):"To me, this is one of the most fantastic things about windsurfing. With the exception of the very few pros we have here in the United States, the people you're sailing with every day don't windsurf for pride or fame or money. There's no cool factor in identifying yourself as being a windsurfer. By and large, we do it for the fun"