For those of you who know Daniel Yacykewych, you know that he is indeed a unique individual.  Graced with certain calm under pressure and a flexible nature that belies his outgoing demeanor, he is a mix of velvet smooth dashed with a spoonful of grit.  If he were a Bar he would be the place where Salvatore Dali meets Monet for a beer.  If he were a musician he would be Frank Zappa playing reggae in Jamaica.  As a friend he is loyal and persistent, intelligent and curious, fascinating and comfortable. 

I am fortunate to know Daniel as not only a friend, but also as a committed surfer and adventurer.  Please note that I place the surfer before the adventurer because I know that Daniel is first and foremost a waterman with a heart for exploration.  As he recently prepared for his 5 month-long hike over the Pacific Coast Trail, we spent some time discussing the reconciliation of his surfing life, with his willingness to leave the ocean for what are quite literally greener pastures. 

Sea Sand Surf: Since I have known you, you have been hyper attached to all things ocean and surfing.  What does that stem from?  Where you born into a surfing family?

Daniel Yacykewych:  I actually started surfing late in life.  We are a North Jersey clan and it was not until I rented a board on a day trip to Island Beach State Park with some buddies that I tried surfing out. 

SSS:  Let me guess… Cosmic Surf Shop?

DY:  You know it!  We rented short boards which was an utter failure! (Laughs)

SSS:  Sounds like a typical first session.  What kept you coming back?

DY:  I have always loved the ocean and the idea of being a surfer. I looked at the whole thing as a learning process and a challenge.  I can never say “no” to an honest challenge.

SSS: That attitude seems to have worked to your benefit, because you have taken to the sport.  I know you have gone on to surf in a number of great places. Where have you been?

DY: Let me see.  There is Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica, Panama, California and the East Coast from top to bottom.

SSS:  That is a great list.  Where does Jersey rank?

DY:  Well, you know as much as anyone that I love Jersey surf.  There are few places that I would rather be than at Manasquan Inlet on a nice winter swell at dawn.  We have done a bunch of those.



Daniel and I- Winter Morning

 SSS:  It is true.  You never said no.  I have seen you get it all time and not back off.  What is it about your approach that allows you to maintain your focus in the heavier situations?

DY: I think it is just being excited for the chance to get in the water and make the most of it. 

SSS:  Is this the same attitude that allows you to plan for a 5 month hike?

DY:  In many ways the idea of a long hike is similar to getting ready for a good winter session.  So much of it surrounds around the gear, your mindset and the training that you did before hand.


SSS:  So how do you train for a 5 month hike?

DY:  Surfing is actually great.  I also played a ton of soccer and of course I walked as much as I could.  You can never really be fully ready, but you can be in a place that you are able to feel confident and prepared.

SSS:  So how about surfing?  Will you miss it?

DY:  Of Course.  I will be looking forward to getting back in the water as soon as I return. 

SSS:  Do you have any rituals you will rely on to stay tuned in when the ocean starts to call?

DY:  Yeah, I will listen to Slightly Stoopid on my iPod and think about some of the waves I have gotten.

SSS:  We will be rooting for you and looking in on Jersey Fresh. We will keep a spot in the lineup for you.  Will you be checking in to keep us in the loop?

DY:  Indeed.

SSS:  Awesome.

  1. Jerseyfresh says:

    It was M’s golden idea to interview me. Something only a solid friend, lifelong surfer, and clever writer would think to do. Thanks, M.

  2. daria says:

    this was labeled “part 1”, looking forward to part 2!

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