8 TED Talks that Surfers Must Watch

TED is a global set of conferences shaped around 'Ideas Worth Spreading'. You probably see them pop up in your news feed every now and then as posted by that guy on your friends list who thinks he’s the next Zuckerberg or zen master of the human psyche. However, TED is not the latest in a long line of social media fads. And the talks certainly aren't those “you can do anything you put your mind to” scam packages of half-assed motivation. A lot of them actually grant some pretty unique individuals a platform to express some amazing stories and ideas. On this note, we have assembled 8 TED talks that surfers absolutely MUST WATCH. Delivered by surf industry figures, scientists and even a magician, we can all learn a lesson or two from these guys that we can apply to our lives in and out of the water.

1. Easkey Britton - Just add surf 
While finishing her PhD in Marine Science, Irish surfer Easkey Britton began to explore the transformative power of surfing and how it can create positive social change. At age 16 Easkey became the first Irish person to surf Teahupoo and has since become a Billabong XXL Global big-wave finalist and Ireland's 5-time surfing National Champion. Now she is sharing her passion for surfing and the ocean by bringing her pioneering approach to the more isolated regions of the world exploring how the creative expression of surfing can empower us all.

2. Kyle Theirmann - Surfing for change 
Kyle Theirmann is a surfer with a passion to systemically effect change. Through his Internet series ‘Surfing For Change’, Kyle combines surfing with a range of current global issues to highlight the power of individuals in creating a better world through everyday decisions. Kyle connects young people with the simple daily decisions they make that benefit their local economies and the world and leverages his exposure as a known surfer to empower typically disengaged people to become part of the solution. Great work Kyle!


3. David Blaine – How I held my breath for 17 minutes
We’ve all had a wipeout or two that resulted in a hold down that seemed like an eternity. Even the most physically fit and fearless chargers will tell you of the moments where their lives flashed before their eyes as they were eaten by monster slabs of water and trapped under avalanches of white wash long enough to look at renting a place on the ocean floor. To survive a massive wipeout, your mental preparedness is as important as your physical conditioning, and when it comes to endurance of the human mind, nobody does it better than magician and stuntman David Blaine. David describes how he prepared for some of his most notorious stunts and exactly what it took to hold his breath underwater for a world record of 17 minutes!

4. Keala Kennelly – I’m Keala Kennelly and I’m a surfer 
Keala Kennelly is a professional surfer, once ranked one of the best female surfers in the world. She was recently inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame & the Actions Sports Hall of Fame. Keala talks about her time on tour, her experiences at Teahupoo, and how pushing the boundaries of fear has allowed her to live a life of truth and ambition.

5. Sylvia Earle - How to protect the oceans
Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean and shocking stats about its rapid decline as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet. An eye-opening must watch for all watermen and waterwomen.

6. Rick Steves: The value of travel 
As surfers, there is no denying that travel and exploring is in our veins. The desire to expand on what we know and break free from our comfort zone, chasing new waves and experiences is something that just comes naturally to our psyche from that first ride. After spending 4 months a year for the last 30 years living out of a suitcase, Rick Steves reflects on the value of thoughtful travel. Sharing lessons learned from Iran to El Salvador and from India to Denmark, Steves tells why spending all that time and money away from home has broadened his perspective, enriched his life, and made it clear to him, as he says in his talk, "Fear is for people who don't get out very much". 


7. Ben Saunders: Why bother leaving the house?
Explorer Ben Saunders wants you to go outside! Not because it’s always pleasant and happy, but because that’s where the meat of life is, “the juice that we can suck out of our hours and days.” As surfers, we can relate to Ben’s passion of immersing oneself in the challenging yet rewarding conditions of Mother Nature simply ‘because it’s there’.

8. Brian Bielmann – Inspiration: Pass it on 
Brian Bielmann is an internationally renowned photographer who has traveled extensively with many of the world's best surfers, including Bruce and Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, and many others. A close friend of AI, you may know Brian from his touching slideshow tribute to Andy shortly after his passing which in the midst of all the controversy reminded us of the true talent and beloved person that Andy was. Brian captures all aspects of the sport, and continues to push the boundaries of photography both above and below the water. His passion for surfing and photography have kept him on the cutting edge for over 35 years. He has been published in every major surf publication around the world, and is still considered one of the most prolific and inspiring photographers of the modern era. Brian is a model example of how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many through passion and the power of art. A true embassador for the beauty of our sport.

Posted by: Matthew Ryan, on July 8, 2014
Categories: Articles, Videos