Terry Martin, an icon in the surfing world, sat down with us in his last weeks to record a life review interview. Check out the video. It’s an epic ride through surfing history. This exceptional soulful man took us on a journey into his past sharing revelatory moments that shaped his life and the nature of surfing.
The life review video was recorded and edited by Jay Gianukos, a life story documentary filmmaker, who heads the volunteer life review video program at Hospice Care of the West, a hospice in Orange County and Los Angeles. For those unaware, a life review is a natural looking back process as we look toward the sunset of life. Since the beginning of time, we’ve been looking back over our lives and passing on the wisdom gained in life to pass on to the next generations. That wisdom guides our evolution as a human race. I feel privileged to be witness a to these arcane moments when someone like Terry Martin passes on those lessons, spiritual and soulful acumen gained surfing the waves of life. Here’s one from his life review.
“One of the things that made it very simple for me in life was one of the scriptures, as a kid that I read,” Terry said. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and losses his soul in the process. From that day forward I had a brand new set of priorities.”
He reflected on that defining moment in his childhood when seeing surfers for the very first time in the “breakers”, waves, on the coast of San Diego.
“I saw surfing for the first time,” he said looking out as if glimpsing with awe these surfers.”There’s no ropes like water skiing, there’s nothing but balance and flirting with gravity to keep yourself in the wave.”
And he remembered how back in his day, there were no surfboard shops, you either made one or you bought someone’s old board. At just 14 years old, Terry made one.
He reflects on how he was given the divine gift of being able shape with a veteran sculptor’s hands. He could see the board in a plank of wood and later foam. As he described the magic of shaping, it was as if I was standing right there in his shop watching the board come to life. Terry would shave and shape until the board in his mind was realized, and tangible in his hands.
Just as any inventor will tell you, at first he was banished by his idols on the beach for reinventing the traditional heavy board into a lighter surfboard that liberated him to finesse a wave. But then when other surfers saw him in action on his first day out, they wanted a piece of the action. Before he knew it, Terry was making boards for all the surfers on his break and then a professional board company Hobie. By the end of his life, Terry shaped more than 80,000 boards. In this life review, he reflects on the questions he would ask each surfer who came into the shop. Well, he would say.
“Where do you like to surf?”
“What is your favorite thing to do on the board?”
And his interview led him to literally visualize the perfect board for this surfer in front of him. It never ceased to amaze him that the surfer would call him after a week or so say how much fun he was having on the
board. What a wonderful life, Terry lived to create an instrument of fun! That’s why it’s not surprising that at hundreds of surfers turned out to pay tribute to Terry’s life. This is truly one of the most epic life reviews, I’ve witnessed. Let’s just say, I’ve seen many. Terry Martin is truly in a class shaped of his own.