David Walker Green Beret is a Financial Services Executive. Former US Army Special Forces commander with exceptional ability to lead under pressure. David Walker Green Beret has over 17 years of experience in all aspects of running a hedge fund. Equally successful managing start-up, turnaround or rapid growth organizations. David Walker Green Beret’s expertise spans front, middle and back office operations and network of industry contacts includes institutional and high net worth investors, prime brokers, broker/dealers, technology firms, accountants, administrators, auditors, attorneys, banks, exchanges, ECNs and government agencies (SEC, FINRA, CFTC, FSA etc).
What t is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby is a toss up between surfing and skiing. I am actually glad to have two really fun hobbies that don’t conflict with each other. I can surf in the summer and ski in the winter so it works out quite well. Both require balance and skill and the better I get, the more I enjoy them. The downside of surfing is the paddling…it’s quite exhausting. I can ski all day for five days straight with no problems, but I can only really surf for about an hour and a half to two hours before I am completely worn out. And even then, I can only surf for about three or four days in a row before I need a rest day. I have great respect for professional surfers as they are in great shape, especially the big wave surfers. Their lives depend on their fitness level, their wits and a little bit of luck.
How did you get started with it?
I actually got started surfing late in life. I was in Costa Rica on vacation and was taking kite surfing lessons. Kite surfing is an entirely different sport. It was a lot of fun, but there were days when the wind just wasn’t blowing enough. So on one of these windless days, my instructor suggested that we just surf. I said yes, and it all changed from there. It was truly amazing when I caught my first wave; I was literally standing on water. It was such a different experience…I was hooked. As for skiing, I also started around age 18, which also is a little late. But friends invited me so I jumped on the chance, took a lesson and was also hooked right from the beginning.
Tell us what you love about it.
What I love about both sports, surfing and skiing, is how I feel when I am doing them. Surfing is a bit of an individual sport and although I have surfed with friends, the majority of the time I am by myself. I like this because it gives me a chance to sit and think and reflect while I am waiting for a set (of waves) to come in. It’s a really calming experience and I like it for that. As for skiing, it’s more of a communal sport. I like skiing with friends for the fun of it and to share the memories of our trip, etc.
What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?
Both sports can be expensive if you let them. Surfers are notorious for adding to their “quiver.” A quiver is a collection of surfboards. Some guys have literally dozens of surfboards. I think the most I’ve had was three at any one time. I seem to live in places where storing these boards doesn’t make sense. Plus, I am a bit of a minimalist…I don’t like having stuff for the sake of having stuff, especially if I am not using it. As for skiing, I had a great pair of boots stolen a few years ago, which was disappointing as they fit so well. Skiers will tell you when you find a great pair of boots, stick with them. Most boots have a slight pinch or bind here or there so finding a great pair is not easy. Anyway I paid a lot for them and then paid again to replace them.
What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?
I like to shop in the off-season for equipment for both surfing and skiing. Surfing is a little more difficult as there is no off-season in places like California and Florida. But for skiing, the summer months is when I like to find great deals from manufacturers who are trying to move their inventory. I have shopped at both stores and online. Generally, I don’t have a preference for either. It’s wherever I can find what I am looking for. However, I will say that one should go to a ski shop to buy ski boots. It’s very important to have them sized correctly and to find a pair suitable for your skill level. Also, I’d recommend renting a surfboard the first couple of times before you purchase one. Then go to a surf shop and talk to an expert about the proper size, shape and volume of board for your skill set. Beginner surfers commonly buy a board too small or with too little volume for their ability.
How much money have you invested into it and how much should a beginner invest to get started?
For a beginner, I would say rent everything first and take some lessons. This way you can see if you really enjoy the sport. If you do, then invest a small amount to get some basic equipment. Don’t run out and buy the most expensive stuff at the beginning. For surfing, once you have rented a board and taken a lesson or two, buy a foamie. A foamie is a soft-top surfboard that allows you to fall and not get hurt by the board. It also has a lot more volume than other boards which will make it much easier to paddle and catch waves. It’s a great way to start for a beginner. Then one can move up to a standard longboard surfboard and then move down in size from there as they become more proficient. For skiing, I’d say buy some boots and a helmet. Then continue to rent skis as you get better. Once you are an intermediate, you can buy a pair of skis too or continue to rent wherever you go. I have my own boots, but still rent the skis as they are a pain to lug around especially on airplanes. And the technology for skis changes more rapidly than for boots. But you certainly want your own boots as they will eventually mold to your feet.
Are there any good books for beginners interested in your hobby?
Not really sure of any good books to learn surfing or skiing. These are sports you have to get out and do in order to get better at them. However, one can peruse YouTube and there are plenty of great videos from instructors. It’s a great place to start.
Are there any videos you can recommend for beginners?
I actually watch a lot of YouTube videos on both sports. There are many good instructors who give really good advice on how to improve and what to work on at all skill levels. But, nothing beats practice for surfing, skiing or any sport.
How has your hobby changed your life?
Surfing has changed my life because it is more than just a sport to me. I was actually just speaking to a friend who joked that I go surfing on Sunday mornings and he suggested that it’s like church to me. And he is correct. Surfing is spiritual to me. It’s relaxing and renewing at the same time. And for that reason, I generally do it alone. But skiing is a sport I do with friends. Skiing is a social sport and it has changed my life by giving me great memories with friends.
What advice do you have for others just starting out?
Have fun. I read a sign once that said, “the best surfer is the one having the most fun.” And I truly believe this. Same for skiing – go out and have fun. Wipe out or fall…who cares, have fun.
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