The Search for Freedom (2015) Movie Script

I watch my 16-month-old son,
and he's fearless,
and he wants to just walk out
into the shore break.
I mean, there's something
so interesting about that,
to watch him just stare at the ocean,
stare at waves coming in,
and watch them just crash on the shore,
and that's super entertaining.
So much of it is just, you know,
you put your feet in the water,
and you feel your toes sink
into the sand, and to feel that draw,
the pull of the tides
and the surge of the shore break...
You know, and you want to go out deeper.
You could live for three months
on 100 bucks.
We didn't think of it
as any kind of a culture.
We just thought of it as like,
"Aren't we lucky to be doing this?"
There was less than 15 chairlifts
in the world,
and I bought my first pair of skis
for two dollars.
We were kind of disenfranchised
from society.
I mean, we had totally different
lifestyles than our parents.
It was obvious
that this was going to go someplace,
but, man, we were like broke hippies.
We were kind of on the low rung
of the totem pole.
You were kind of an outlaw,
kind of an outcast.
And there was no future in that.
You're 100% focused on what
you're doing right now, this instant.
This instant is the most
important thing in all of your life.
The past is the past, and the future...
Well, who knows what's coming?
Somehow, every time you do it,
at whatever level,
I mean, whether it's your first day
or you've been doing it
your whole life...
It somehow manages to free you
from a lot of the things in life
that are going to try and sink you,
try and drag you down,
that are going to try and make you
unhappy or negative.
It somehow allows you
to leave all that behind
for maybe just a moment,
but sometimes that moment's enough.
It's a basic instinct of a human
being, his search for freedom.
And still the search for freedom
is within all of us.
Whether you're young or old,
male or female, it's the same thing.
It's that thrill of the first ride,
and once it gets under your skin,
you can never stop.
We would all be in prison. I think.
If you're kind of a misfit kid
and you want to rebel,
you need a place to do that
in a positive way.
Some guys grab skateboards and did it.
Other guys grabbed climbing ropes
and came up here.
My number-one goal
was to cover the Earth with bikes.
You know, it's going to happen.
This is going to happen.
There's no doubt.
It's just a matter of time.
To me, being in the wilderness
is what it's all about.
Wilderness is the battery
that recharges all of your energy.
Gives us life, gives us inspiration.
You're touching it. You're feeling it.
You're a part of the cliff.
You understand the power of this thing
that you're interacting with.
I think what motivated me
when I was young
and what motivates me now
are basically the same things.
That sense of glide,
and that sense of weightlessness.
There's a host of sports now
that didn't used to exist,
and they all have that same sensation
that is sort of core
to a lot of people's nature.
Adventure, to me,
is just getting out of your comfort zone
and going into the unknown.
That's where I feel every emotion
of life and feel the most alive.
Most sports are a form of art.
It's no different than an artist
having a big piece of canvas
and a paintbrush.
Having a skateboard and going out
in the city is a similar thing.
Skateboarding happens
to be one of those sports
that allows you to push pretty far
into a creative place.
Well, I just wanted to see what it felt
like to be fifth gear, pinned,
and just sail in the air
as long as I could.
It just seemed like such a great idea.
When I started surfing,
there were maybe, you know,
not more than a thousand or two surfers
in the world, for sure.
So we felt very, very elite
because we knew about this thing
that the mainstream had no idea existed.
Surfing was the antithesis of organized
social behavior when it began.
See all those guys in their cars
leaving for their nine-to-five?
Who's got it right, them or us?
And that was the question.
That was the question.
A bum is somebody who won't work,
and I've never worked, so that fits.
If you love what you're doing,
it isn't work. It's fun.
I made my first movie in '49, '50.
I did all the photography,
all the editing, stole the music,
booked the shows, got the ski clubs
to put it on, designed the posters.
I showed up on time, set up
the projector, set up the screen,
set up the microphone and the PA system,
and narrated the show live.
110 cities in one year.
I made movies of people skiing.
Now, of course they said,
"Who is going to watch that?"
They were right in a lot of cases,
because there was many times,
I can't tell you how many,
where I showed up in a high school
auditorium, 1,000 seats, 1200 seats,
and there'd be eight or ten people there
and that was all.
But those eight or ten people,
I really screwed up their lives,
because at least two or three of them
took up skiing.
We all tried to figure out
something we could do
that we could stay at the beach
and live how we wanted to live.
I mean, obviously, like,
a surfer would rather live
in an expand-o trailer
on a perfect point break
than have a mansion in Beverly Hills
with 45 servants and eight Rolls Royces.
I mean, it's just
where your priorities are.
At the time, if you go, "I'm a surfer,"
they go, "Oh, God, poor guy."
The high school I went to had 3,000
kids, and I was the only surfer.
- And where was that?
- That was in Long Beach.
In 1959, the movie "Gidget" came out,
and surfing went from just a small
amount of surfers, trace amount,
to several million by '63.
The Endless Summer came out in 1964,
'65, and opened in Kansas City.
And there were guys driving cars around
with surfboards sticking out the trunk
that had never seen the ocean.
"Endless Summer"
showed the rest of the world
what surfing was really like,
and it was correct
for the people that were in it.
It entertained a general audience
who didn't know
anything about the sport.
It's just a home movie.
You just shoot it,
and then when you get home,
you look at the footage and edit it.
But that's what I'd always done.
We shot, edited, narrated,
not because I thought I was good at it.
It was the only one I could afford
that would work for 50 cents an hour.
Every time a new movie would
come out, you'd go to the opening,
and it was a gathering of the clan.
What the surfers found in them
that was so compelling
was what other good surfers looked
like, what they were doing.
So they were the basic form
of communication.
And the surf magazines came along
in the early '60s,
and it was the beginning
of the lifestyle culture.
It was the first time
they'd had a language
and a dress code and behavior
that left where you did it
and was taken to school,
or wherever you went.
And then the funny thing
about surfing is,
is that it spawned skateboarding.
And then skateboarding urbanized
and came back and influenced surfing.
So there's all kinds
of cultural cross-pollination.
The clothing industry caught hold
in the early '70s,
and this thing went ballistic.
If you were to ask me back
then if we were going to have
the largest surf-skate-snow
industry company ever,
I'd tell you, no, not a chance, no way.
It's really not about any one person,
never has been.
I always call myself just a humble
board short maker so here we are.
Let's talk a little bit about you.
I lived in a little house in Newport.
We had no money.
I had a Volkswagen van. That was
our biggest asset in the company.
At least we could drive around
and make things happen.
I had no business being in business.
I had no idea how to start something.
I thought my business experience would
be to just go to work for somebody
and get a paycheck and learn.
So we really had to make it up
as we went along,
just driving around town all day long
finding fabric, Velcro, snaps.
We'd get about 24 pairs
out of production every day.
I'd put the snaps in every pair.
And we'd put them in my Volkswagen van,
and drive to an account
who would take
as many as we could supply.
I thought,
"All right, well, this sounds fun."
I can hang out at the beach.
I can keep surfing.
I have this little project,
do it for a year or two,
and then I'm going to go
to graduate school. That was my plan.
You know, when I was young,
climbing saved our lives.
We had nothing to do
with corporate America.
I mean, this is the '60s.
We just said no to a lot of that stuff.
We had a counterculture lifestyle
and made our own way.
We really were proud of the fact
that climbing had
no economic value in society.
That was great.
When we were doing big walls
in Yosemite and stuff,
hardly anything had been done.
So you didn't repeat routes.
I mean, why repeat a route
when you can go do a new route?
I think the curious common bond
that we all had
is a passion to do something
with no outside motivation.
It was more from the inside.
Because you weren't going
to get famous about it.
You weren't going to get paid for it,
no way, no how.
When you first started
coming into this place,
it was really intriguing about
the lifestyle and the characters.
It just seemed
like an array of characters.
You've got to remember,
it was in the early '70s.
There was a whole revolution of things
going on in mainstream society
of protesting wars, you know,
hippie generation and all that.
It seemed like everything
was an adventure around here.
Every step you were taking
had an inspiration of the unknown
and the excitement just to be here.
If you go back
in the history of bicycles,
over 100 years ago,
people rode nothing but unpaved roads.
So one could say,
"Well, off-road riding,
that started when bicycles started,"
which now everybody takes for granted.
But back in the '60s, '70s,
it was a radical proposition.
There was this whole place
where people would go to, this shrine,
where it was so close
to a major crazy city, San Francisco,
yet at the same time
you could get so far away.
The golden key was this thing
called a balloon tire bike,
and originally it was, you know,
found objects.
It was bikes that were found
in second-hand stores
and, you know, the Goodwill or dumps.
What happened here was
a mongrelized bike.
I mean, some people,
half the people would spit on it
and say, "This is a piece of junk.
Are you out of your mind?"
And the other half would say, "That's
what I want! I need that thing."
I was lucky enough
to have met a couple of the first
windsurfers in Hawaii in 1974.
I wasn't big enough or strong enough
to get the sail out of the water.
I was 11 years old,
weighed, like, 72lbs.
I graduated from high school in 1981,
and that's the year
the sport turned pro.
So I deferred admissions to university.
I said, OK, I'll see what being
a pro windsurfer might be,
because there weren't any at that point.
When you first started skating,
especially in the '80s,
or even the '70s,
skaters were outcasts. It wasn't cool.
When I was in high school,
I got ridiculed for skating.
There were only
two other skaters in my school.
We just kept our head down, did our work
and bolted as soon as the bell rang.
I got into it in its early days
from before we had bindings,
before it was allowed at ski resorts.
The vibe in the early days was like,
"You can never make a living
doing that."
There was no such thing as a snowboard
industry or a pro snowboarder.
I left school and the whole thing.
Left at 16 to come up here.
I did not feel like I was smart.
That was some of the side effects
of being in a situation
where you're being given
an A, B, C, D, or F.
And you convince yourself that you're
not as good as, you're less than.
But at the same time, I realized
something very curious for myself,
that I had a very strong connection
to nature.
Basically, rock climbing
became a way of life.
Now, who would have thought?
I was a youth.
What I recognize is you're willing
to almost do anything
to just know who you are
and where you're at.
And with youthful enthusiasm,
they're willing to try it
just for the adventure of it,
for the initiation
into something that...
Who knows what it is?
It might be a gang. I don't know.
And I tell them that you had to do
something to get in here,
even to get locked up.
Now you know where you're at.
What are you going to do about it?
What I got to experience as a kid
on a 20-day backpacking trip,
hiking to the top of peaks and things,
is that somehow your imagination
will catch something,
and you might get that miracle of life
that is "anything's possible."
All right, gentlemen.
- Have fun.
- Good luck riding!
I fell in love with skateboarding
and surfing early on.
Just getting to the beach
was a huge adventure.
Oftentimes, it was hitchhike
45 minutes away, hide in the bushes,
sleep on the beach
so you're there in the morning.
I was seeking out
the optimal places to surf and skate,
and had those adventurous ethos
from the beginning.
Going into these places,
you fill your backpack with everything
you think you might need,
and you walk into the wilderness.
And to go out there and really walk
through these mountains,
one wrong call
could have dire consequences.
It's super important
to be really present-moment.
And it is a process
getting into the flow,
to, like, really, really
get into the flow.
I'm really firing on all cylinders,
and reading, like, every little nuance
that the mountains are doing.
And when I come back
from time in the mountains,
whether it's a day or a week
or a month, I respect life,
but I feel like
it's really important to live life.
Every day, I'm involved in a pathway
that's a critical pathway.
Someone's life depends on the decisions
and the actions that I take.
And I saw myself
on a predetermined pathway.
There is a medicine career pathway.
And when I was taken
into the wilderness for the first time,
that disrupted my pathway.
It disrupted my life.
It was a liberating circumstance
that just happened
to explode my comfortable life
into a million little pieces.
The wilderness opened up
a whole new possibility for me.
It alerted me to the fact that there was
another, deeper, more multidimensional
person inside this doctor.
I get inspired by an idea
and the challenge, the excitement for me
is to make the idea,
the vision, a reality.
I wanted to jump off, base jump,
the highest cliff in the world,
the great Trango Tower.
For me, all adventure is a metaphor
for the journey inside yourself,
getting to know the darkest, remotest
corners of your own psyche.
Sometimes that means going way,
way, way outside your comfort zone.
So I started to pursue fear,
the mastery of fear.
The thing that I've looked at,
which is on a poster my sister gave
to me when I was a young kid,
was a picture of a really big wave,
and there was a surfer on there.
It said, "Face your fears,
live your dreams."
That sat above my bed
from my early teens till I left home.
That inspired me to work
the last 20 years of my life.
Almost killed myself,
but facing my fears.
My fears were fears of acceptance,
you know, and being worthy.
I was someone that was always pushed
to "100% is all that's acceptable."
Having that drive
to always push for the top,
it's driven me to want
to jump further than anyone else.
As a child I was the one in the block
where the parents didn't want
their kids to hang out with me
because I was crazy.
But one thing I liked doing
was riding motorbikes.
I was four years old
when I got my first motorcycle.
And that became the next ten years.
We just traveled the circuit.
We were doing all the state rounds,
and eventually
the national championships.
My dream has always been to jump
big jumps on my motorcycle.
I've always looked to the top of
the pyramid as, like, that's the goal.
I went to Evel Knievel's funeral.
It was something that I just really
wanted to go to and pay my respects
because I really felt
that we had some kind of tie.
I stood in line to go up
and just kind of say a prayer
and stood in front of him,
and, you know, kind of bowed my head.
I just said, "Evel,
I want to follow in your footsteps
and take the torch where you've left
it, and take it to a greater height
and I want to do that
with your blessing."
And when I said that,
there was this crazy rush of cold air.
I can feel my hair on my whole body
standing up right now.
It's like I feel like
I got the Knievel spirit in me.
It's just like
I felt like he gave me his blessing.
When we all got out of school,
it was like our skate gang.
There was no age discrimination
other than what my brother tried
to put on me.
It was always an uphill battle to get
his approval for me to be around.
Then I would also have
to impress his friends
for them to also, you know, to stand me,
to be OK to be in the crew.
So that drove me
to push myself quite a bit.
When I was a kid, I used to sit
in class and draw ramps all the time,
and I always had this vision
that ramps could be a lot bigger.
You know, why were they
the size they were?
I would sit there and brainstorm
new ideas of things I could do
when I got out of school
on the ramp that day.
When I think of a trick,
when I'm sitting at my house,
I come down here and learn it.
A lot of what I'm doing today,
I fantasized about it
as a kid quite often.
I was a bit of a daredevil as a kid.
Combine that with the creativity,
and that's really the formula
of what makes me tick.
When I started snowboarding,
I quit everything for it,
and it was the only thing
I thought about.
I was gonna move to Whistler,
be a professional snowboarder.
Every decision I made was for that goal.
I don't think I had that feeling
with anything else.
So there was no B plan.
There was no, "If it doesn't work out,
what's going to happen?"
That was just the plan,
and it was going to work out.
I don't know how to say it.
It's like I'm almost breathing.
Like the best breath you can take
of full bliss and happiness.
It's like magic.
I do tow-in surfing, kite surfing.
Surfing, stand-up surfing
and wind surfing.
I've been riding with Kai Lenny
since he was nine years old
and helping him through
the whole process of becoming a pro,
and now being, basically,
the best in the world at stand-up,
you know, an incredible windsurfer,
kiter, surfer.
He's kind of like me,
where he does everything.
You know, Robby, since
I was young, would always tell me,
you're a product of your environment.
I always knew what I wanted to do,
what I wanted to be.
Looking at Robby for inspiration,
he's old enough to be my dad
and he's still going,
stronger than ever.
And he sometimes... I sometimes
feel like he's younger than me.
Most people grow up.
You get out of high school
and they stop playing.
They lose that aspect of falling down
and getting back up
and brushing yourself off
and doing it again as an adult.
And I've never lost that.
I'm still doing the same thing
that I was when I was 12 or 16 or 20.
I think it's good for you.
I like riding bikes.
Man, I like riding bikes.
I was the thorough addict.
I was a road racer.
And when I was 12 years old,
I told myself, "I will never stop
doing this, no matter what."
I wanted to spread this thing everywhere
because I knew that we could just make
a lot of people so happy.
The first year, we made 160 bikes.
The second year, we made 1,000 bikes.
People lined up out the door.
In 1983, for the first time in history,
you could walk into a bike shop
and walk out with this fat-tired thing
called a mountain bike.
In another ten years,
when someone would say "bike,"
they'd actually mean a mountain bike.
You go to this amazing park,
there are two gigantic,
awesome artificial turf soccer fields.
There's a gigantic, beautiful dirt
and grass baseball field.
There's basketball courts.
There's a full swimming facility.
Then there's a gigantic skate park.
I think that says a lot
about the evolution of everything.
In this kind of community, all those
sports are kind of at the same level.
Skating is such an important part
of this community.
So many kids are doing it,
we have to include that in our park.
Action sports have become mainstream
because as soon as we step
on a skateboard, on a surfboard,
a motorcycle, a bike, it's on.
I noticed that contemporary
youth adored and respected
and revered these pro athletes,
pro skateboarders,
in the same manner that they felt
about mainstream athletes.
Whether it be a Michael Jordan
or a Tiger Woods.
You now have, at least
at a competitive level,
a ton of parallels
to these traditional...
Whether it's soccer, football,
you name it.
Today we watch the Olympics,
and the number-one rated event at
the Olympics is halfpipe snowboarding.
I don't think anyone thought
it would grow to that size.
Now you have the first,
or probably second by now,
generation of people
whose expectations are
"I want to be a pro athlete."
Ladies and gentlemen, you've just seen
some magnificent surfing
out here in the Pacific Ocean
and Santa Clara River Mouth.
Here with me I have Kelly Slater.
Kelly comes along. He's this
beautiful little kid from Florida.
We met him when he was...
I don't know, 15 or 16 years old.
Walked up to us
at the trade show and says,
"I'm going to be the best surfer
in the world one day."
And we just looked at him. "Really?"
Then other people told us that this is
the guy, and we're like, "OK."
I think he stands head and shoulders
above anybody else.
He was the guy that took it
from a core activity
to a mainstream consciousness.
Probably by the time
I was about ten or 12,
I was pretty sure I'd be a pro surfer.
That's what I wanted to be.
You know, I didn't know how,
or if it was going to make a living
for me or anything like that,
but I knew that was what I wanted to do.
I woke up this morning
and realized I had this long dream
about a barrel all night.
And it's just... it's my passion.
I don't know if there's anything
I would have been as passionate about.
11-time World Champion
paddling in. He's up.
There he goes, Kelly Slater in the pipe.
Riding in the barrel, can he come out?
It's basically a desire, you know?
Having a passion for it
and having the desire to keep learning.
No matter how much you think you know,
there's a lot more that you don't know
than you do know,
and if you keep that idea in your head,
if you perceive surfing that way,
then you're always going to have fun.
You're always going to keep
learning things.
I mean, you look
at the young generation of kids
and they're surfing a lot better
than we were at that age.
With video and film, they could sit
there on a rainy day when it's flat
and literally watch surfing all day.
By watching something,
it's learning by example, you know.
You're getting taught visually.
As far as, like, videos,
that is so important.
I think just as important, if not more
important as winning any contest.
That's really where the progression
of skateboarding gets pushed to.
People, they devote years
to making a video part.
That's how important it is.
All their efforts of skateboarding,
as a pro skater,
if they're not competing, are going
to making an amazing video part,
and breaking themselves off
in the process.
That's what kids ask,
"How do you do this trick every try?"
I go out there and I do it
every single day for this many years.
You're eventually going to be able
to do it almost every single try.
And, I mean, obviously it takes failing.
It takes falling a lot to be able
to get to that point, you know,
falling a lot, and falling hard,
and getting hurt, and all those things.
But that's just part of the game.
Yes! Finally.
We're definitely
in the age of the sports vid.
And I think it's changed
the sports big time.
If you look at the films,
they are the history books.
They do show you
what the progression is.
The most important part of documenting
these sports are watching the films.
What we've seen happen
probably in the last ten years
is what we're living in right now,
the digital revolution.
You never know you're inside
a revolution when you're living in it.
Now, if you look back,
it'll be like we're living
in the Wild West of the Internet.
Cameras are shrinking
and getting better every day.
The reason those shots are so amazing
is because it truly puts you
in the perspective of the athlete.
It just became the staple of how people
shared their sport adventures.
When everything
got blown apart by the Internet,
everybody started doing their web clips
and stuff, it became very different.
It was more like the experience
of out on the road and traveling.
The riding wasn't
the most intense or the craziest,
but it was accessibility, and it was
about something anyone could do.
It started when I was, like...
The summer of, like, sixth grade
going into seventh grade.
I wanted to surf every day that summer
to get better.
Once the summer was over,
there was only 30 days left.
I'm like, "OK, well, I'll make
it 100 days," and so I did 100 days.
Then I decided, like, a year,
and then it was two years,
and now I just did 1,000 days,
so I want to do three years now.
Even if it's bad, I still have fun.
Surfing just makes me so happy,
so it's good. Every day is a good day.
We were in the water,
growing up, every single day,
all day long, as much as we could.
My parents never really
forced us to surf.
It was just like, "Here's the beach,
do whatever you want."
Here's some surfboards, boogie boards,
some sand toys.
Like, basically, just have fun.
And that's kind of where it started,
just sandcastles on the beach.
I think my limits are a little
different than other people's limits.
Other people's limits are maybe surf
bigger waves, surf more often,
or, you know, learn new tricks.
I just like to keep surfing the way
I like it, and that's just to have fun.
For me, I think
pushing myself in my sport
is maybe more about teaching people,
and showing people
this amazing thing that we do,
and putting a smile on their face.
That's pushing my sport for me,
I guess. That's what it means to me.
I remember the first wave I ever caught.
You know, still to this day,
if I could explain the feeling,
it would be like
what it feels like for me now,
dropping into a huge wave at Jaws.
Basically, you instantly feel like
nothing else in the world exists.
Nothing else matters.
You're living in the moment.
Big waves are relative, you know.
I think everyone's a big-wave surfer
if the waves seem big to you.
You know, that's... It's all relative.
You just want to feel it again,
and you want to keep driving,
keep going just to keep feeling
the same emotion every time,
every time you skate.
It's fun.
I mean, I keep saying that,
but it really is that fun.
And it's... I just can't describe it.
You just feel like you're in the groove,
and you're just going with it.
It's the best.
I really don't put that much thought
about what I really want to do.
I'm just trying to skate and have fun
and keep progressing the sport.
I don't really know what to do
right now, because I'm just kind of...
It's kind of the off-season
I guess, right now.
There's really no off-season.
Just kind of always skating.
When you're a kid, you get asked
this one particular question a lot.
It really gets kind of annoying.
"What do you want to be
when you grow up?"
Now, adults are hoping for answers
like, "I want to be an astronaut."
Or "I want to be a neurosurgeon."
You adults and your imaginations.
Kids, they're most likely to answer
with "pro skateboarder,"
"surfer," or "Minecraft player."
I asked my little brother, and he said,
"Seriously, dude? I'm ten."
"I have no idea. Probably a pro skier.
Let's go get some ice cream."
See, us kids are going to answer
with something we're stoked on,
what we think is cool,
what we have experience with.
But if you ask a little kid,
sometimes you'll get the best answer,
something so simple, so obvious,
and really profound.
"When I grow up, I want to be happy."
This is where I'm really happy.
Powder days. Skiing, to me, is freedom.
I look at this
and see a thousand possibilities,
and it's a good metaphor for my life.
People are celebrating
just what action sports really entail,
much more than just the technical side.
It's just more about the opportunity
it gives you to be out on the mountains,
be out in the oceans.
It's just an amazing experience.
At the center of the whole industry,
there is still that core,
that very limited,
very small group of people
who really continue to push progression
and really take us to the next level.
Because that's really,
at the end of the day,
that's really where
a lot of the new ideas are born.
You always kind of have
in the back of your mind
what your biggest passions are,
and your biggest goals,
and that's what you live for.
And for people like me,
that's jumping off stuff,
sliding down snow as fast as I can,
finding interesting, creative ways
to have fun in the mountains.
Skis, normally,
are the fattest at the tip
and they get skinny under your foot,
and then they get fat again at the tail,
and these are the opposite.
They're fattest in the middle
and they get skinnier at the top.
I took that shape idea
from water sports,
from surfboards and from wake-boards
and from water skis.
So finally I just decided, you know,
I'd grab these water skis
and mount them up.
These are jumping water skis
from the '70s.
I put those things on,
and then all of a sudden
these huge double doors just went...
And I was like, "Look what we can
do now. Look what I can do!"
To be successful,
you've got to be learning new stuff.
You've got to be inventing.
You've got to be pushing the boundaries,
going bigger, flipping more,
spinning more, going higher.
That's the way you make your mark.
I think that is solely what drives me,
the land of the infinite possibility,
knowing if I go to work today, I can do
something I've never done before.
Just like skateboarding as a sport,
when the physical aspect of it evolves,
I believe that the environments
that we skate on
also should evolve
with the skateboarding itself.
The ultimate goal is to get to
where motocross and snowboarding's at,
as far as magnitude of jumps
and distance and heights,
and the caliber and scale
of the air time.
There's no boundary. There's no limit.
We haven't found it yet.
It's crazy because I'd always watch
the videos of Tony doing 900s.
It only took just one person
to have the great idea
to try to take it up a notch each time.
I guess I was that person on this one.
Somebody asked me, like, ten years ago,
what's the biggest advance
in the mountain bike?
I said, "The trail."
That whole technique, artistry,
has seeped out and is
just starting to cover the Earth.
The ultimate trail-building started out
of Vancouver and the B.C. area.
The trail builders up there,
some of them have become
sort of like underground cult heroes.
When I'm not working at the hospital,
I practice the same procedural basis
to go and do wingsuiting, climbing.
I change the outfit of clothes
that I wear, I change the look,
but the underlying process,
I think, is very similar.
There is a thrill-seeking gene,
the DRD4 gene on chromosome 11.
You can have
between two and 11 copies of that gene.
If you have two copies,
you're a low-sensation seeker.
If you have 11 copies,
you're a high-sensation seeker.
And that's me. That's Heather.
We've done the tests.
We have 11 copies of the DRD4 gene.
It's a whole difference
in our essential brain neurochemistry.
A lot of the behaviors that we think
are environmentally determined,
in fact, many of them have
a genetic predisposition.
And I don't consider myself
to be an extreme sports person.
I consider myself to be
somebody who's experiencing things.
Skydiving, it started as a way
to save your ass
when you got out of a plane
that was falling out of the sky.
And then it became a sport.
People wanted to prolong the amount
of free-fall time that they had,
so they started building suits
that gave them wings,
that prolonged the amount of time
that you could interact with the air,
interact with that new environment.
And that technology is getting better
and better all the time.
That's a nice climb right there, too,
that little tiny thin crack.
It's funny how that works,
because in your youthful times,
you play the risk, in a way.
It's more exciting.
As you get past that, and you realize
that you don't live forever...
- When you're 19, you'll live forever.
- Yeah.
But when you're my young age of 56,
you're like, "Dang, you don't."
I'm only 16, but I've been
through a lot of stuff.
Like, from 2011 to now,
I've been locked up probably, like...
Like 20 times.
Since I'm 18 now, if I keep
continuing this path I walk on,
it's going to lead down
to destruction and all that.
Time makes you think. It really does.
Just sitting in there, you think.
Yep. That's right.
It goes around that way.
Underneath, and then back out.
Don't even think about it.
Just start going, yeah.
Put your foot right inside that crack.
Yeah, like that. Exactly.
- Keep going. Motivation.
- Lift this one up, down.
Yeah. Focus. Just use the rope a bit,
and go up there and grab it.
Pull up, and we'll pull you up.
Got you, we got you.
Just jump. Yeah, bro. Yeah!
Yeah, yeah.
It's so interesting.
We call it, when we're underneath
a friend, you "spot" him.
So that's what we're kind of doing
for each other now
in these moves we're making.
Those kids are sharing how they feel
and I'm sharing how I feel.
We're spotting each other in life,
helping each other to the next move.
- You're holding me.
- Yeah.
My life's in your hands.
Every definition of adventure
in "Webster's"
has an element of risk.
If you take the risk out,
you take a lot of the values
that you get out of it.
When you're doing these risk sports
you try to live right on the edge,
and try to push that envelope
all the time,
push the edge away all the time.
But you never go over,
because if you go over, you're dead.
I know going into it
that there's a really good chance
that, unless everything is perfect,
I'm going to pull the plug.
I start out the day going,
"There's 20 nos."
"Unless I turn those into yeses,
I'm bailing on this thing."
Sometimes that means I've made it
three quarters of the way up a mountain,
and I can't get that 20th "yes,"
and I'm pulling the plug.
If I can just leave this thing
that I've spent three weeks
trying everything I have into it,
and I can walk away from it,
then that's when I know
I'm making the right decisions.
I think the time
when you're most stressed
is when you do your most important work,
and that's how it's been for me.
I've overcome
some of the gnarliest injuries,
broken backs, necks,
and punctured lungs,
and nearly ruptured my aorta.
I've had over 40 broken bones
and none of them I'm proud of,
but they've all taught me lessons,
and they've molded me
into the person I am today.
When you put your helmet on
and it comes down to the night,
you screw in the throttle and hope for
the best, but it's a calculated risk.
There's been a lot of planning
going in place.
In my biggest jumps, I've actually
sat there before and been...
it sounds crazy to say this,
but it's the daredevil nature,
being like, you know what?
However this works out
is how it's meant to be,
and however it does go down,
I'm just going to embrace it.
If I'm falling from a ten-storey
building and it's the end,
I'm just going to give into it
and just let it be,
and not scream on my way down.
You know, just... just take it.
For the Arc de Triomphe,
the fear was definitely killing myself.
Like, I was really worried
about not making it
and seeing the new year come in.
Part of me wanted to just quit
there and then.
But that childhood dream of mine
was that little echo going,
"You've got to do this
for that kid in you,
the one that dreamed like that
all through school,
who wanted to do that.
How's the opportunity."
"You going to walk out now? Coward?"
You could feel it in everyone.
You could see people were nervous.
Everyone around me,
the whole team was, like, on edge.
It was such a tense moment.
I worked out and faced my fears
in myself,
and I faced the fear of that jump
months before I even got there.
You're scared of hurting yourself,
of hucking off that ledge.
You're scared of that giant wave
that's barreling down on you.
Riding the edge of that fear
and what is that fine line between
reckless abandon and calculated risk,
to where you're doing something,
you don't even think twice about it.
I just saw the snow under my feet
break up.
I knew right away what was happening.
Thankfully I was really calm that day,
and I was able to keep my speed
and focus on what I needed
to do to get out of it.
Learning to deal with fear
and talking yourself down from things
you're scared of really helps.
It really helps you deal with other
situations for the rest of your life.
Because then nothing becomes
that big of a deal,
since you've put yourself in
a situation where you were so scared.
You're always negotiating
with the fear of something
to know how to protect yourself.
If you feel the fear come in,
that's just a sign. "What are you doing?"
And as a rock climber,
you go the other way, I think.
When fear comes, you calm down
and you think clearly,
"OK, what do I need to do?"
You don't panic and start shaking
and wing it
and start going for it
and see what happens.
So I think that fear is
a very interesting friend
that's there for you to help you,
protect you, make you consider.
There's no words to describe how scared
I was on my first base jump.
Every animal on the planet has a fear
system that's basically the same.
It's there to protect you.
But what can happen
is it can get out of hand.
It can start firing off
when you're having thoughts about
doing the things that you want to do.
The fear of death
is the fear of the unknown.
It's the fear that is probably
the strongest in all of us,
and to confront that and run off
a cliff into the unknown,
every cell in your body is on fire
screaming, "Don't do it."
When you know that you've undergone
the proper training
to get to the edge of this cliff,
then you use that understanding,
that reason and logic
to cut through
the screaming chatter and do it.
We both went into a tumble
due to the thin air
and the heavy 16mm old
clunky cameras that we had.
I hadn't expected that.
I thought I had pushed it too far.
These sports used to be
real rebel, counter-society,
"don't go near them" sort of activities,
to now they're readily acceptable,
although the extreme part of it is
getting more and more extreme.
These guys have a crazy switch,
and they can't wait to get there.
They live for it. So they're pushing it,
and by them pushing it,
the next group wants to go bigger
and higher,
and it's just been pushed
and pushed and pushed.
It's the inherent DNA of these
performers. They want to go big.
There's a point where, intuitively,
you really do hit the red line
on where you're getting
to the point of taking serious risk,
and that is injury or death
or whatever it is.
There's a point where that's reality.
There's a threshold there
unless you're really ready
to go that far to risk,
and you can digest
the consequences, you know?
I could keep pushing myself
to be the best in the world,
but realistically it's not possible.
I honestly feel like this lifestyle,
the motorcycle lifestyle,
has taught me what I needed to know.
I'm able to let go
of that wild daredevil side
that needs to prove to the world
that I can do the craziest things.
I really don't feel
I need to prove that any more.
The fears I've had to face,
I've really had to kind of face myself
and find out who I am,
and the only way to do that is to sit
in a quiet room and sit it out.
It's a hard thing to do.
I still struggle with it.
But that's when I find the biggest joy.
I had to do some crazy things
to find that.
Since the beginning,
there's been monumental change
in action sports.
At its core, the thing that remains
absolutely the same
is that experience,
that calling that people have.
This is something
that I'm completely dedicated to,
and it's who I am, and it's something
I'm going to do my entire life.
You get to the summit.
There's no summit. It's just flat.
There's nothing up there.
There's nobody meeting you.
There's no wise man up there
telling you the secret of life.
There's nothing.
You realize, you know what?
It's all about the process.
It's a fine line
when you're forcing something
and you're learning to flow
with something.
You're becoming a part of something,
or you're just trying to grope
your way through something
with just strength.
There's a place I go to by myself a lot
where it's just a horizontal traverse,
I just try to learn to move
with the moment
and be focused on my breath.
I might go across the traverse
and just think about breathing.
I might go through it just thinking
about my hands, or my feet,
or, you know, how you're moving
your shoulders, whatever, and practice.
By going out and rock climbing,
you have to face everything
about yourself, and it's all up to you.
You take your hands and feet,
you put them on the rock.
You pull yourself up.
You are 100% responsible for yourself.
You've got to know
that knot's tied right.
You've got to know who your partner is.
You need the trust of a partner.
I bring that up to our youngsters.
I say, "Rock climbing
is like what you guys do."
"if you get yourself into something,
how are you going to get out?"
I think for me, sometimes it's just
to see the potential in something
and try to bring it out.
Trying to grab surfing is like
trying to hold a snowflake.
You know, the minute you try to hold it
and possess it, it melts.
The wave is forming in front of you.
The wave is over your head.
Your wake is disappearing.
Your footprints are washed
from the beach.
There's no material production
from having done it.
There's no depletion,
there's no creation.
It's just an aesthetic instant.
And out there, when all that
holds you back is the horizon,
that's real freedom.