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Name: Aaron

Age: 21

Surfing: P.B. Drive

Post-Surf Food: Organic

“My grandfather was a pro in the ’60s and ’70s. He really inspired me to start competing when I was 14. I’d been surfing since I was 11,” says Aaron, a native of Santa Cruz. He’s a competitive surfer, getting back into the water after major knee surgery and a five-month recovery period.

“I hurt it surfing in Mission Beach; I popped my kneecap out of place. My bone shifted out of alignment and it had to be screwed back in…. I had reconstructive surgery on my leg and knee. They had to re-fracture my bone, reset it, and screw it in.…

“I’m so lucky. I didn’t realize how quickly surfing could be taken away from me. I’m so grateful for every day that I can surf now. It’s always in the back of my head now that I’ve been hurt. I’ve had to rethink my training and work out five days a week now. I’ve even changed my diet to all organic food — no more McDonald’s.…

“I have some friends that are pros and they’ve really pushed me to succeed. There are so many good surfers out here. An overwhelming amount of the kids are really smart, and I think the image of surfing is changing into something very positive.”

Any advice for newcomers to the sport?

“Be patient. It’s the hardest thing you’re ever going to do. Stay out of people’s way, go slow, and don’t be too eager to get good too quickly. Show respect, don’t get lippy and out of control.”

Any competitions coming up?

“I’m not sure…probably in May. I’m still training and getting back into shape.”

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