Lack of sleep. Limited time. Unpredictable routines.
Yet, the Dads continue to go from strength to strength.
We can ask the question how? But we mostly know the answer, the wives.
As for the why, I reached out to our Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Series fathers doing incredible things and their answers, as honest as they come, may bring you to tears as they did me.
It felt fitting that I started with my husband, Tanyn Lyndon.
“It has given me a new lease on life,” he said as if the answer was sitting in the forefront of his thoughts.
“I’m passionate about surf, I love our son and I want to show him that if he works hard for the things he dreams to do in life, anything is possible.”
Despite being his wife, I had never really asked the question why, I guess I just assumed that he loved it and when we do the things we love, we are happy. But he continued.
“I execute each session to the best of my ability, because if I don’t, I am not only wasting my time, but I am wasting your time, our family time. I choose to do this, so it adds to our life – to Laurie’s life, not to take from it. Wasting a session is taking from the family, and taking from our time together.”
Naturally, I got a little teary.
The next Dad I got in contact with was Sam Norton.
Sam lives on the little apple isle of Tasmania. He paddles all year round, in the dark and often under a snow-covered mountain during the winter months.
Training and travelling interstate for the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Series, some may ask why one would continue to do the long winters and the icy winds to get there?
Sam would tell you, it’s simply perspective.
“The most life changing factor is perspective,” he said.
“Since having Eliza I’ve had something more meaningful to think about than just myself and my sport. Sure, I’ll give it 100% at every race but I think the new level of happiness at home means I can switch off when I leave the beach. I still enjoy the challenge and the rush of performing well, but if I have a bad day, so what?”
I have been lucky enough to have known Sam since 2006, and you’d better believe it, he’s been paddling in the southerly waters before that and, ever since, just without any time schedules, until the arrival of Eliza.
“I have had less time to train so I’ve had to make every session count. There is no time for mucking around with gimmicky exercises that don’t give me definite gain, so I concentrate more on the ‘bang-for-your-buck’ sessions.”
Having executed another winter of efficiency in the south, Sam will line up for the 2023/24 season in what may be, his best yet.
For brother, Tom Norton, his results since adding Dad to his title, have not just improved, but excelled.
Opting for a more tropical climate, Tom and his family now live on the Gold Coast with their backyard, a paddling paradise.
Tom has been a father for just over a year now and within that, has achieved the best results of his paddling career thus far!
“Since having Toby, there have been many positive changes,” he said.
“I now have a greater appreciation for time and have developed a more focused and purposeful approach to training. It has provided me with perspective on both my life and sport in general.”
Even with a little less sleep, limited time and an unpredictable routine, Tom wouldn’t change it for the world.
“I wouldn’t change anything; I love being a Dad!”
And so too, does Kendrick Louis.
“I’m actually obsessed with being a Dad,” Kendrick said.
“It’s taught me to focus on being present, and live in the now, time goes scarily fast. Have fun, live in the now and soak it all in!”
Continuing his successful career, Kendrick hasn’t dropped the ball once since having his baby boy. In the first year and a half of Leo’s life, he has balanced his time to train and race not only in the Molokai World Championship paddle, WA’s Race week and the Coolangatta Gold, but backed up at the recent Nutri Grain Ironman Series trial where he secured himself a spot for yet, another year in the series.
Despite their ever-changing environments, the accomplishment of our Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Dads continue to soar, rising above a level that they once thought was their best.
For Ali Day, the arrival of Danny was nothing less than a positive shift in his training, racing and regime. Although we have seen him rise to the occasion, on every occasion, before and after the arrival of Danny, there has been a personal shift for Ali in the way that he executes his day-to-day life and training.
“I have a whole new perspective, “he said.
“An understanding that things can’t always be perfect and calculated as they once were, and I’d no longer want them to be, as being a Dad gives me more than any result will!”
Bettering his success with the addition of Danny, it’s a little frightening to think just how much motivation and Dad strength that Ali will pull from not just one, but two little people within their family home with the arrival of another mini Day due to join the team in 2024!
“There is an immense amount of motivation to be the best version of me, for him and that translates into my training and racing!” Ali said.
Lastly, I caught up with the Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Series newest Dad on the block and crowd favorite; Mitchell Trim, known to most of us on the beach, as ‘Trimmy’.
Welcoming his daughter into the world just 3 months ago, personally I am excited to see what strength little Elka has delivered to her Dad for the 2023/24 season!
“As a Dad you want to be with her every minute of the day so when I train to make myself better, I make sure I am efficient and giving it my all,” he said
“The biggest change is having less time and once my little girl was born, she made time so precious.”
Enroute and kicking off his summer of racing in Perth at the Shaw and Partners Race Week, I would be keeping a keen eye on Trimmy throughout the upcoming season as he lines up with his new, superpower.
So, what’s the secret to the ‘Dad success’?
The obvious answer appears to be a little mix between a major change in the amount of time the Dads have to train, and the efficiency they give when they are doing so.
BUT, if you really look at their answers, listen to their words and witness the way that they execute themselves on and off the beach, in their day-to-day lives and within their family homes the answer is simple.
Love and perspective.
They love their sport, and their families.
And their perspective, is simply now, viewing the world through the eyes of their children and ensuring that the world they see, is a bloody good one.
So, when I reached out to our Shaw and Partners Summer of Surf Series fathers doing incredible things, their answers, as honest as they come, bought me to tears. Perhaps they did for you too.
Love and perspective, and that’s the secret. That’s, Dad strength.