John is stoked for me. Photo by Austin Novy

John is stoked for me. Photo by Austin Novy

A feeling of anxiety began to turn my stomach slightly as i paddled into shore. Who is going to help me with my board? The lifeguard is gone for the day and the sun is setting. I'm alone. I need to figure this out quickly, so i decide to beach myself and just see how things go.

Just as the nose of my board sweeps onto the sand, a tall, tattooed man runs up to me. I've seen him here before.

"I saw you comin in. I'm here for ya if you need me."

"I'd be stoked if you could carry my board for me."

 Photo by Daryn Goodwin (@myepicwave)

Photo by Daryn Goodwin (@myepicwave)

 How we get there. Photo by Austin Novy

How we get there. Photo by Austin Novy

"Done," as he grabs it and, with ease, carries it to my car.

That was a few years ago and the beginning of my dear friendship with John. I call him Iron John because he has dedicated his life to serving his fellow people and is just so damn strong.

I'm spoiled. He makes it so easy for me. I just show up at the beach and we have the system so dialed that i feel as if i am just heading out for a surf like anyone else and that feeling of anxiety, wondering how and if i am going to get out there, is gone. This translates to me surfing more, which is a very good thing. And if anything were to go down, i have absolute confidence in John's ability to get me out of there. THIS translates to me surfing HARDER and getting out of my comfort zone, which makes me a better surfer.

 Iron John cutting the glass. Photo by me w/GoPro Hero4 Session

Iron John cutting the glass. Photo by me w/GoPro Hero4 Session

Recently, we went on a paddle mission and were able to get up close and personal with some whales. This was a rich spiritual experience for both of us. We commune together with the ocean. It has brought us together and it will continue to bring us closer.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go TOGETHER!!!

Did you know that when you're close to whales you can smell their breath?

 Morning fist bump before piggyback. Photo by Nolan Tiftt

Morning fist bump before piggyback. Photo by Nolan Tiftt

 Iron John. Photo by Nolan Tiftt

Iron John. Photo by Nolan Tiftt

 Board buddies!!! Photo by Nolan Tiftt

Board buddies!!! Photo by Nolan Tiftt