Luca Padua Surfing Big Waves

Luca Padua
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Juliet: [0:00:18] This episode of The Ready State Podcast is brought to you by Momentous. 

Kelly: [0:00:21] Let’s talk about the real problem with any sport supplementation, any behavior change: consistency. How easy is it to do the things you need to do?

Juliet: [0:00:32] What exactly are you talking about?

Kelly: [0:00:34] I’m talking about we see that people have the best laid plans but then somehow things like life gets in the way. Today, we’re talking about collagen shots. Shots.

Juliet: [0:00:45] Which is probably our favorite supplement.

Kelly: [0:00:48] Yeah. And the reason is I never forget to take it. These little individual packs, 10 grams of collagen, all Vitamin C, all the clinically studied collagen peptides. But guess what? It goes in your pocket. So I’m never like, oh, I’m at the gym or I’m on my bike ride, I forgot to take it, it’s just right there. 

Juliet: [0:01:03] Yeah, I mean I always have two or three collagen shots in my work purse, in my gym bag.

Kelly: [0:01:08] Nerd.

Juliet: [0:01:09] When I travel.

Kelly: [0:01:10] It’s true.

Juliet: [0:01:11] So they’re just the best thing to have around. And they also taste really good and help with things like recovery or feeling better after you work out.

Kelly: [0:01:18] Yeah. I tell you what, the older we get, the more I’m convinced that collagen is part of the fountain of youth. We want to have bomb proof tissues. You’re not eating enough chicken skin, people.

Juliet: [0:01:27] To get your own collagen shots, go to and use code TRS for 20 percent off your first purchase. 

Juliet: [0:01:35] This episode of The Ready State Podcast is brought to you by Sleepme.

Kelly: [0:01:39] When we are trying to untangle the Gordian knot of human experience, as in I want to feel better, I want to look better naked, I want to perform better, I want to heal, I want to learn, I want to grow — you have to sleep. I can’t stress this enough. You’re in chronic pain, we’ve got to get ahead of your sleep. And those things are complicated things to do.

Juliet: [0:02:00] Well, and here’s the deal: Science tells us that having a lower core body temperature helps us sleep better.

Kelly: [0:02:06] Yeah. When we’re trying to have people sleep better, one of the most undertapped, underappreciated aspects of that-

Juliet: [0:02:14] Is being cool.

Kelly: [0:02:15] Yeah. Is managing your temperature. And for those of you who run hot, like yours truly, it’s a big deal. Wake me up a lot. We used to call the leg the regulator. And I’d be like don’t come near me.

Juliet: [0:02:27] You’d just have your one leg out-

Kelly: [0:02:28] That’s right.

Juliet: [0:02:28] And that was the one way you’d regulate any temperature.

Kelly: [0:02:30] When I discovered Sleepme technology, I’ve been on this thing for almost a decade, it has changed the quality of my sleep, density of my sleep, I love it. And if you are a cold sleeper, you can make that thing hot, that’s no problem. You can adjust your temperature to find an ideal temperature. So don’t mess around.

Juliet: [0:02:48] We are huge fans of these products. Head over to to learn more and save off the purchase of any new Cube, Ooler, or Dock Pro sleep system. There is an offer available exclusively for Ready State Podcast listeners and only for a limited time. That’s to take advantage of our exclusive discount and wake up refreshed every day.

Kelly: [0:03:12] Every day.

Juliet: [0:03:14] We are delighted to introduce Luca Padua to The Ready State Podcast.

Kelly: [0:03:19] Luca is… How did we discover Luca? Luca is this gentleman, savage, crazy, amazing surfer who lives in the basement and is Laird Hamilton’s surf partner. That is the surface.

Juliet: [0:03:36] That is the surface and that’s how we first met Luca. But maybe he’s maybe best known or one of the things he’s known for is he was the youngest kid to ever surf Mavericks when he was 13 years old.

Kelly: [0:03:4] Ye7ah, so what I love about this conversation is we’re going to get a glimpse into what I think is an incredible way and a sustainable way of becoming a professional at an early age, especially in the wildness of the internet and Instagram and being famous. here we have a young person who gets early mentorship in a culture that is saying, hey, here’s a better way to do this. If you want to do this thing, this is what it looks like.

Juliet: [0:04:14] Yeah, I just loved hearing so much about how he trains to be a big a wave surfer and the progression of his training over the last eight or nine years and what’s changed and what’s working and just how thoughtful he is about it all. I also loved hearing, not going to spoiler it, about his in-ocean animal encounters.

Kelly: [0:04:33] I love it. One of the greatest parts of this conversation I want you to be aware of is that Luca shows in all of his associations and is quick to talk about his lineage. I think in today’s social media, it’s so easy to say I got here on my own. And Luca is really powerful because he brings all of the people that are part of the success with him. And as a model for being, he’s one of the youngest, I’ll call extreme athletes, outdoor athletes, adventure athletes, in our world circle right now. And he’s one of the most complete athletes I’ve met in a long time.

Juliet: [0:05:06] Yeah, I mean Luca is just one of the nicest humans, most thoughtful people, and also is a totally badass of an athlete.

Kelly: [0:05:15] Lastly, I don’t know if we get into it here or not, but never play cornhole with Luca. He will take your lunch money. Please enjoy this great podcast with our friend, Luca Padua.

Juliet: [0:05:26] Hey Ready State listeners, if you like what you’re hearing, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show. 

Juliet: [0:05:33] Luca, what is up? Welcome to The Ready State Podcast.

Luca Padua: [0:05:36] Thank you guys for having me. It’s a privilege to be here.

Kelly: [0:05:39] Yeah, it is a privilege. Let’s be honest. The last time I saw you, you stomped me so thoroughly in cornhole that I actually came back and we bought cornhole and we were so embarrassed by our native latent nonexistent cornhole skills that we were like-

Juliet: [0:05:59] And we’ve barely been practicing so we’re still terrible.

Kelly: [0:06:01] I know, it’s true.

Juliet: [0:06:01] So it hasn’t worked.

Kelly: [0:06:02] Okay. Where are you talking to us from right now?

Luca Padua: [0:06:05] Right at this second, I’m sitting in Malibu, California. And I’ve been here-

Kelly: [0:06:10] What and who’s in Malibu?

Luca Padua: [0:06:11] What and who? I’m down here and this is year three for me I’ve been living with Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece and we’ve been training out under water and twiddling our thumbs getting ready for winter time.

Juliet: [0:06:27] So we’re going to have a lot of questions about that part of your three-year experience. But I want to go way back in time and have you tell us a little bit about how you got into surfing in the first place.

Kelly: [0:06:37] And how you ended up in this room because you just don’t like catch a local wave and then poof, you exist in the dungeon. What happened? What’s the story?

Luca Padua: [0:06:47] So I grew up in the small town of Half Moon, California. 

Kelly: [0:06:51] It’s kind of famous for a reason.

Luca Padua: [0:06:52] It’s famous for a reason. A giant wave, Mavericks, right down the road from where you guys are now right now. And I was fortunate enough to participate in the Junior Lifeguards Program when I was eight years old until I believe twelve. But a very kind instructor taught me how to surf during that program. And all it takes is one wave.

Juliet: [0:07:17] Was there actually a Junior Lifeguard Program in Half Moon Bay or did you have to go down to Santa Cruz or some other surround?

Luca Padua: [0:07:23] Half Moon Bay State Junior Lifeguards. Amazing program.

Juliet: [0:07:28] It’s the coolest. We don’t live anywhere near a beach but I am such a huge fan of Junior Lifeguards and if I lived anywhere near one, I would send my kids to it. But it’s too late.

Luca Padua: [0:07:36] I love it. I tell people all the time, I meet parents in Whole Foods and out in town, I’m like Junior Guards, for your kids, Junior Guards, Junior Guards, Junior Guards, Junior Guards.

Juliet: [0:07:46] Do it.

Kelly: [0:07:46] Will you explain that for a second because as we’ll get into you are quite competent physically. You train a lot. You take your wave preparation seriously and you also happen to be a really good athlete. Those things are not necessarily automatically conjoined. But roots running, being competent, multiple avenues into the ocean, swimming, bodysurfing, surf ski, wave ski, all of those things, how does that-

Juliet: [0:08:13] Yeah, like and for the people who don’t know-

Kelly: [0:08:14] Never heard

Juliet: [0:08:15] What even is Junior Lifeguards? What do you learn in that?

Luca Padua: [0:08:19] So Junior Lifeguards is a four-to-eight-week summer program that you can participate in as a young, hungry beachgoer. And there’s a staff, a team of six to eight seasoned, veteran lifeguards that host these kids. And you go through everything from surf and environment education, CPR, safety training, how to make a local safety contact if you were on the beach and you saw someone who was in need of help or acting irresponsibly. There’s no shortage of incredibly fun games and physical competition, swimming, running, building. And so you get just four to eight weeks to immerse yourself in the salt, in the sand, and in an amazing crew of inspiring instructors. 

Kelly: [0:09:13] Were your parents surfers?

Luca Padua: [0:09:15] They weren’t. My dad’s a sailor, my mom grew up in the Midwest. And by the grace of God, I grew up by a beach.

Kelly: [0:09:22] Do you feel like your parents knew they needed… There’s an old saying. Hang on, it’s not Dune.

Juliet: [0:09:29] Is it an old Russian saying?

Kelly: [0:09:30] Not even. If you want to control a wild bull, you put it in a big field. And did your parents figure out early on that grinding you down through activity, through surf, is that the way? Is that the way of your family? I think you have a brother there. I mean do you have other siblings who have a similar path?

Luca Padua: [0:09:50] Slightly. We’re all different in our own ways. But the bull in the field, that’s a good analogy because my dad literally put me in a field. He had me playing baseball. And so up until high school I was a committed baseball player. I was a catcher. And there’s nothing more frustrating in the world than wanting to go surf and having to go to baseball practice. 

Kelly: [0:10:12] So say we all.

Luca Padua: [0:10:13] Yes. But I can appreciate it now, looking back. My dad wanted me to learn how to work on a team. And that’s an irreplaceable skill. So grew up playing team sports and wishing I was on the beach when I wasn’t. 

Juliet: [0:10:29] So how old were you when you were first introduced to surfing and by whom? And then at what point did you decide you were going all in to focus on surfing?

Kelly: [0:10:40] Especially big wave surfing because that’s not surfing. Surfing and big wave surfing are sort of different.

Juliet: [0:10:43] Yeah. I’m assuming you didn’t start big wave surfing. That was an evolution.

Kelly: [0:10:46] No, Junior Lifeguards, they push them.

Juliet: [0:10:48] Yeah, here, let’s go to Mavericks.

Luca Padua: [0:10:50] What’s cool is you’re doing the Junior Lifeguard Program and you’re at a beach directly across the Bay so you’re looking a couple miles straight out is Mavericks from where you are as an eight- or nine-year-old kid. And obviously nowhere near the dangerous surf, but you’re looking at it. And obviously growing up in this town and being a surfer, you start to cultivate this relationship with big surf and the big, dangerous ocean. But I started surfing in the Junior Lifeguard Program. We had a block of schedule during a few days of the week called WDT, which was water development time. So you could either surf or boogie board or paddle or swim, whatever you wanted. And there’s an instructor named Taylor Reece who grabbed a surfboard and said, “Come on, I want to push you into a wave.” And so he pushed me into my first wave. I must have been eight or nine years old. And when I was eight or nine years old, I decided that I wanted to stick with surfing for the rest of my life.

Kelly: [0:11:57] What is the trajectory locally? We’re in San Francisco, we have a lot of surfer friends who migrate down, we have friends who surf with you in the lineup. How does a young kid transition? What are the steps to actually ending up in Mavericks? That place has a pecking order. It’s real danger there. Legendary surfers have drowned there. It’s real. How do you take those steps and how do your parents feel about taking those steps?

Juliet: [0:12:23] And also, maybe include that you’re known for taking those steps early.

Luca Padua: [0:12:28] Yes ma’am. So the good thing about growing up as a surfer in Half Moon Bay is the type of surf you get is extremely diverse. You have beach breaks, there’s reef breaks, there’s big waves and small waves. So you get a lot of exposure to a lot of different kinds of surf which can definitely speed up your development. I was actually really scared of what we could classify as anything significant as far as surf size. So when I was eight, nine, ten, eleven years old in those first few years of me really enjoying surfing, I was scared of bigger waves. And again, growing up as a surfer in Half Moon Bay, you idolize Mavericks and you idolize the ladies and gentlemen who go out there and put their life on the line and surf that wave. So for me growing up, I was terrified of big waves. And I grew up in front of one of the best big waves on the planet. And that always seemed like something that I wanted to participate in. 

Kelly: [0:13:35] We talk with our daughters, whom you know, a lot about just taking small, incremental risks all the time. It seems like a small risk and it builds and builds and builds and your abilities and capacities fill in behind you. I feel like though with a wave like that, I know it’s not always 40 feet, 60 feet huge, but there’s got to be a moment where you’re like, okay, I’m committing to surfing this thing which is infamous and really amazing, but there’s got to be a –

Juliet: [0:14:06] Yeah, like a progression.

Kelly: [0:14:06] A kind of quantum leap there. Is there a straight progression, you’re just like and that’s 21 feet, now it’s 22 feet and now it’s 60 feet, or do you just keep building up?

Juliet: [0:14:14] Or is this someday you’re like I’m ready, I’m doing this?

Kelly: [0:14:14] How does that work?

Luca Padua: [0:14:16] It’s more like that. At some point, you’re just jumping off the high dive because as soon as you go out and you’re like okay, it’s my day, it’s 20 feet, it’s not 22 feet, then the 25 footer’s going to come and it’s going to land directly on top of your head. So yes, I’m well versed in that. And I have a lot of exposure to different sizes and different types of waves, which I was very, very fortunate to have mentors to help expose me to. And so right when I turned 12 or 13, it was like a flipped switch. And I had this attraction to bigger surf. The fear was still there but I cultivated a respect for that fear and I had my sights set on Mavericks.

Kelly: [0:15:04] It seems like you either have that crystallizing experience when you get that first taste of you’re all in, it’s very real, the consequences are real, and you either stick with it, or you just say, hey, that’s not for me. Do you remember what sort of feeling was? Was your first experience on that big wave where you decide, hey, I’m going to be a big wave surfer because you clearly have become one, do you remember your feelings in that moment of thinking, oh my gosh, I have to do that again and it gets bigger and I have a lot more work to do? Just set that up for us. What is that crystallizing moment?

Luca Padua: [0:15:37] Well, for me, so I went out to Mavericks for the first time and surfed when I was 13. And rewind a few years, I was sitting in a fifth grade classroom and we had a goal sheet to write. I’m sure we could get my mom to pull this out of the attic. But I had a goal sheet. And on my fifth grade goal sheet, I wrote that I wanted to surf Mavericks before I turned 16. And then fast forward a few years, I had the opportunity to go out there a few times. And catching the first wave for me at Mavericks, I had a very similar feeling to catching that first wave at Junior Lifeguards. I knew that was exactly what I wanted to be doing.

Juliet: [0:16:18] And so I can’t emphasize this enough. So you first surfed Mavericks at 13.

Luca Padua: [0:16:25] Yes ma’am. 

Kelly: [0:16:26] I was kind of stoked that Georgia got up and made her bed at 13.

Juliet: [0:16:28] Yeah. So I mean I don’t know, I would love if you could… Well, first of all, were you the youngest person to surf it, and then second of all, can you describe what that experience was like?

Kelly: [0:16:39] Being a young person.

Juliet: [0:16:39] Yeah, just being a young person.

Kelly: [0:16:42] Did you go back to school and you were famous? What happened?

Juliet: [0:16:44] Yeah. I mean what was the town reaction? Did anyone know or care? Just tell us about what that experience was like.

Kelly: [0:16:49] Did you blow up on Surfline?

Luca Padua: [0:16:52] Well, it was interesting for me because I actually didn’t have any intention of surfing Mavericks that early. I knew I wanted to do it at some point. I had zero intention of doing it that day, that time, that season. But I’d been training and surfing with a good friend of mine who I tow with now, Tim West, and he called me up one day, it was an afternoon, beautiful, and he says, “Hey, Mavericks is really good.” And I said, “Awesome. I hope you have a great time.” And he said, “No, get your wetsuit and come down to my house. It’s time.” 

Juliet: [0:17:26] Was he also 13?

Kelly: [0:17:28] And did you have to sign something with your parents?

Juliet: [0:17:28] Was he a real life adult? What’d your mom say? It’s a lot of questions here.

Kelly: [0:17:32] We used to make people sign a waiver to come jump on our trampoline at our house.

Juliet: [0:17:38] Yeah. There’s a lot here. Wait, so was he an adult at the time or was he also 13?

Luca Padua: [0:17:42] Absolutely a responsible adult, Mavericks competition competitor, experienced waterman. And he did absolutely say, “Ask your parents.” I absolutely did not ask my parents.

Juliet: [0:18:02] So it was like you asked for forgiveness later kind of thing?

Luca Padua: [0:18:05] Absolutely.

Kelly: [0:18:05] We interviewed this famous fighter named Georges St-Pierre, who is a friend of the family. And Georges went, his dad was against him signing up for local fights. Just no, it’s not what we do, it’s not the way we train, it’s too showy. And Georges went and fight and the next day, won, and then showed up with a black eye. And his dad was like, “Oh, what happened?” And Georges was like, “Oh, I was just in a little scuffle at training. No big deal.” And then his dad just slid across the paper and there was Georges on the front of the local paper.

Juliet: [0:18:38] In his fight. In his actual fight.

Kelly: [0:18:40] In his fight. Is that what happened?

Juliet: [0:18:42] Did your parents next day see you in the paper?

Luca Padua: [0:18:45] No, I just clearly remember going back to the car that evening, and Mavericks, it breaks far off shore. There’s only so many days a year you get to ride it. So when you go out, you’re out there for hours. And Tim and I were probably out there for a healthy four. And so I get back to his car and my phone’s blowing up from my parents because they have no idea where I am. So I called my dad and I’m like, “Hey, I just went surfing. I’ll be back home in 15 minutes.” Little did I know we had family friends coming over for dinner and I was supposed to be there. And he was like, “Well, where were you?” And I was like, “Oh, I was at Mavericks.” He’s like, “What do you mean you were at Mavericks?” I was like, “Oh, I just surfed Mavericks for the first time.”

Kelly: [0:19:24] I love this story.

Luca Padua: [0:19:25] And so him and my mom had a little meeting. I got my ass home. And we had a good talk about-

Juliet: [0:19:34] Like a sit down?

Luca Padua: [0:19:34] A good sit down talk about communication skills and how this was going to pan out.

Kelly: [0:19:42] All that baseball teamwork. All those lessons were working out right now, right?

Juliet: [0:19:46] So since you were the youngest person, was this picked up by the media and stuff or was this just on the DL?

Luca Padua: [0:19:54] No, it was more on the DL. And I do appreciate, same thing, when we came back to the car, Tim told me, “You don’t need to tell anyone about this. They’ll know.” And I appreciated that and it was good for me at the time because when you are 13 and young and hungry you do want to tell your friends. And I guarantee I was an egotistical little 13-year-old at the time and wanted everybody to know. But I just kept my mouth shut, and a small town, word spreads through the grapevine and people find out.

Kelly: [0:20:28] How did your life change after that? What happened?

Luca Padua: [0:20:30] The first year there was some what could be classified as some misbehavior on my part. And as soon as I had a good idea that pursuing big wave surfing and surfing Mavericks was something that I was interested in, the misbehavior completely went out the door. So now I’m focused, now I want to start training. So where can I train? I know nothing about training but I’m going to start running the beach. And I’m not going out on Friday and Saturday nights anymore. I want to stay home and wake up early so I can go hang out with these older guys who have an idea of what they’re doing in the gym and start to focus. And I’m lucky, my first experience in big surf at Mavericks that I didn’t get pounded. I came away completely unscathed from that experience and I got two good waves. And the truth is I was completely unprepared. I mean not completely; I was a good surfer and I had some experience and I had been training. But relatively speaking, looking back, I would’ve been in trouble if something bad happened. And if something bad happened, which happens very quick in the ocean, my life could be completely different right now.

Kelly: [0:21:44] It’s interesting that we always with our kids, trying to break off enough experience where they get the full stoke, protecting them from the corners so that they want to do it again. That’s an interesting piece that you had a good partner who was really watching you, put you on good waves, and you had two waves in four hours, which does speak to the fact that you were being careful about what was appropriate and you were out there, you guys weren’t alone in the lineup. There must have been a lot of people out in the lineup, yeah?

Luca Padua: [0:22:13] There was a fair amount. I’m lucky too, it was a smaller, local crowd that day. And when we first got out there, I was sitting on the sidelines, we call it sitting in the channel. I remember these big, beautiful waves breaking unlike anything I’d ever seen before, and slowly, I’d say about every half hour, I would creep a little bit closer to the lineup, creep a little bit closer. And before you know it, I was sitting shoulder to shoulder with my friends. And then I was like, oh, I’m just going to sit here and get up close and personal and watch. And then the line came.

Kelly: [0:22:47] Amazing. That’s 13. You now find yourself as a sponsored surfer, which is in today’s world, very rare, very hard to make a living as a surfer. I think the internet has blown up surfers making a living as a surfer, in my understanding of this is because the world has just changed.

Juliet: [0:23:09] Well, and especially big wave surfers.

Kelly: [0:23:11] Especially big wave surfers. Where was your progression in terms of thinking, hey, I want to pursue this, I still have to graduate high school, theoretically? What does that look like from age 13, you’re starting to get more serious, you’re hanging around other people asking questions, thinking this is something I want to do with my life, but maybe there are a bunch of big wave surfers down in Santa Cruz who are probably carpenters and run regular jobs and own businesses and surfing is their sideline. Where does your brain go at that early age and who helps shape you into saying, hey, if you’re serious about pursuing this, this is what you have to do next?

Luca Padua: [0:23:51] So when I was 14, I had a good season out at Mavericks. That was the next year. So I had all summer to train and I started getting some good waves and a little bit of press and a little bit of notoriety and the small-town high-fives. And I was getting some attention. So then I went, well maybe I can do this, maybe I can be a professional surfer and make a living. And at the time, still laugh with my dad about it, but I thought $100 was a lot of money. I saw $100 was like this guy’s got something going. 

Kelly: [0:24:24] You know how much surf wax you can buy with that?

Luca Padua: [0:24:25] Yeah, exactly.

Kelly: [0:24:27] How many burritos. It’s so many burritos.

Luca Padua: [0:24:28] Burritos. Burritos. Exactly. So 14, I had a good season. And I started surfing and hanging out with a gentleman, a waterman, named Jamie Mitchell. And so he started coming to Mavericks and staying with me at my house. 

Kelly: [0:24:48] Wait, just so we’re clear, the legend Jamie Mitchell starts staying with your house when you’re 14, is that right?

Luca Padua: [0:24:54] Yes.

Kelly: [0:24:55] Okay. Just checking. 

Luca Padua: [0:24:56] It actually all started, one day I was in the harbor, I had just met Jamie, I didn’t have a ride home. I mean granted, I could have walked in 15 minutes, but I ran up to Jamie and asked him if he could drive me home. So Jamie drives me home.

Kelly: [0:25:09] Solid play.

Juliet: [0:25:10] Good play. Good play.

Luca Padua: [0:25:11] And he started staying with me for that season. And it was a generally, it was a prolific year. We had a lot of surf. And he started supporting me as far as connecting me with sponsors and potential sponsors and folks who could help lead me down the right path as far as the beginning of a career goes. And so definitely Jamie helped me a lot in the early stages of experience. 

Juliet: [0:25:43] So you mentioned that once you decided that you wanted to be a big wave surfer and you’re going to take this seriously and stop partying on the weekends, that you started training. And I’d love to just talk to you or have you tell us a little bit about what was your early training like. And I assume it was a mix of, you mentioned the gym, so you’re doing stuff in the gym and also surfing a lot, I’m assuming. But what did that look like? And the tee up to that is in a little bit I want to ask you what it looks like now and the evolution of that because I know it’s a big part of how you prepare, both in the water and out of the water. 

Luca Padua: [0:26:17] So immediately, I went, okay, I’ve got to train hard. What do I know how to do right now? I know how to go down to the beach and run until I can’t anymore and then swim until I can’t anymore and then run until I can’t anymore. So I started doing these beach runs and swims and pushups and air squats out of just desperation doing anything I could. And then eventually a friend of ours, he had a little home gym built in his garage. And he had a pull-up bar and he had a rack of dumbbells and he had a Schwinn Airdyne. So I had a little bit of guidance from some of the boys that were training and I started going to my friend’s garage a few times a week and doing Tabata drills on the Airdyne and pushups and pull-ups and a little bit of lifting, having zero idea of what I was really doing but really just-

Kelly: [0:27:13] I’ve got to just jump in here. You think that the Airdyne’s going to make you a better surfer. You literally are on the assault bike and I can’t believe you didn’t quit surfing right away. You’re like if this is the gateway out of this, this torture bike. You must have been, whoa, I had no idea that this torture bike is part of surfing. This is crazy.

Luca Padua: [0:27:30] I had no idea. And by the way, everyone always told me, man, you’re in killer shape, you’re an athlete surfing Mavericks. And I went and I did my first full round of Tabata sprints on an Airdyne.

Kelly: [0:27:43] Nope.

Luca Padua: [0:27:43] No. You’re not in shape. You’re cramping and dry heaving.

Kelly: [0:27:48] There may be some holes.

Luca Padua: [0:27:49] On the ground.

Juliet: [0:27:50] In four minutes. It’s just four minutes long.

Kelly: [0:27:53] Okay. So I’m standing here, believe it or not everyone, my parents are standing right to my left here. They’re hanging out, they are visiting town. And I subjected my parents to horrific ski crashes at high speed. I subjected them to so many races where I’d be like no, no, no, you’re going to walk on these train tracks through this active tunnel, and you’re going to hang out at this waterfall, and don’t worry, when people go out on backboards, that’s totally part of it. And they did that for so many years. How do your parents start to understand this and start to worry with oh boy, we’ve lost him or how do we shape that? What happens to your parents during this time because I think everyone can picture their young kids-

Juliet: [0:28:34] I mean we are parents of teenagers so I’m sure their reaction is of great interest to us.

Luca Padua: [0:28:41] Well, I actually started off strong by banging my head on Thanksgiving. I apologize, I can’t remember if it was the year, I think it was the year before I surfed Mavericks for the first time. Skateboarding on Thanksgiving. Mom says, “Wear your helmet.” I bring my helmet out of the house and then I throw it in the bushes. And I hike with my brother up to the top of the hill, bomb down full speed, I crash bad, and I wake up in my dad’s car. And so I ended up going to Stanford. I had two fractures in my skull. My brain was internally and externally bleeding, concussion, the whole experience. And so the good news for me was that was a bit of a peak as far as my injuries have gone. And so I got that out of the way early, got my parents pissed off early. And then I reeled it back in after that.

Kelly: [0:29:31] Did you tell them your helmet had flown all the way from the hill into the bushes?

Juliet: [0:29:34] Into the bushes?

Kelly: [0:29:35] Lisa’s shaking her head because she has a nascent emergent young skater shredder who is-

Juliet: [0:29:40] I’m sure he’s already done that.

Kelly: [0:29:41] Fire on a skateboard.

Luca Padua: [0:29:42] I believe I didn’t do very well hiding it. And we hiked two miles away from the house to find this one specific hill the older guys were riding. And my helmet was sticking out of the shrub in front of the front door.

Kelly: [0:29:57] You were unconscious for a minute.

Luca Padua: [0:29:59] Yeah. It wasn’t good.

Kelly: [0:30:00] That’s amazing. Okay. So your parents are like, okay, we have a boy, he likes to go fast, this is normal. What is the progression then because you’re not that old now, you have found yourself living in the basement in the training camp of a pretty good big wave surfer? How does that relationship go and how does that change your surfing? It sounds like you’ve always had tutelage and mentorship in a real way. I mean it’s cool that this generation of surfers has said, wow, there’s a young kid with talent and drive and is willing to put in the work. What leads to way? What piece goes to the next piece?

Luca Padua: [0:30:36] So just like you said, I’ve always had a lot of mentors and big brothers and good influences in my life. And when I was 14, I started hanging out with one of the guys who’s still one of my mentors and good friends and has always had a big impact on me. But he started teaching me in Half Moon Bay about eating healthy and, same thing, about not misbehaving and where misbehavior leads to and where solid, healthy behavior leads to. And this is fast forward a few years now, 17, he moved down to Malibu. And so I didn’t get to see him for a few months and I came down to Malibu to visit my friend and just through the mutual Malibu connections I ended up going to do Gabby’s High-X Circuit at a friend’s house. So I go and I’m banging some iron with the ladies. And I got to meet-

Juliet: [0:31:40] That’s one of my favorite things to do when I’m down there. 

Kelly: [0:31:42] Raise your hand if you’ve done High-X with Gabby.

Juliet: [0:31:44] Oh my God. I love it. I love it.

Kelly: [0:31:46] She walks over to you and hands me always heavier kettlebells. She’s always disappointed in my performance, always.

Juliet: [0:31:53] We’re terrible at it.

Kelly: [0:31:53] I know. 

Luca Padua: [0:31:54] Mandatory.

Juliet: [0:31:56] Hey guys, we just wanted to take a little break in this podcast episode to actually tell you about one of our own products and that’s our Ready State Virtual Mobility Coach.

Kelly: [0:32:05] Yeah, the app literally is the first place you should go if you’re trying to feel better, if you’re trying to solve an old movement related problem, if you’re trying to not be as sore from your workout.

Juliet: [0:32:17] There is so much going on in this a pp. we have a mobility test that is comprehensive and designed by Kelly Starrett himself.

Kelly: [0:32:25] It’s pretty good.

Juliet: [0:32:26] So you can figure out what your biggest limitations are and start to work on that. There are sport specific mobilizations if you want to try to lift more or-

Kelly: [0:32:33] Fact.

Juliet: [0:32:33] Run faster. There is a pain area. And we even have a ton of bonus content you can do, challenges around squat and ankle and a bunch of other specific body parts so you can just generally get more supple and awesome.

Kelly: [0:32:46] JStar, you’re killing it. You should talk about this app more often. We started the original Mobility Project back in 2010 trying to help people solve problems for themselves. We think that every human being should be able to perform basic maintenance on themselves and we want you to be able to engage in some basic self-care in a really reasonable, responsible way. One of our favorite parts of it, daily mobility. You have a 10-, 20- or 30-minute follow along with me if you just have a ball on a roller, think you want to feel better, move better, play along. I mean we really feel like that’s the base camp practice, then you can add in what you need.

Juliet: [0:33:18] We’re really proud of this and what we’ve created here and we think you should give it a try. Head on over to and use code Pod20 for 20 percent off your first month. And just FYI, including your two-week free trial, that’s literally six weeks for $11.99. You can’t beat that. There’s so much amazing content to help you feel better and move better for $11.99.

Kelly: [0:33:43] In the words of our podcast producer: bananas.

Luca Padua: [0:33:47] But I got to Gab’s Circuit. So I came down to visit my friend and I was surfing and I met Gab and I went and trained with them and did her Circuit and she said, “Oh, well, you’re a big wave surfer, maybe you should come up and meet Laird and come train in the pool.” For me that was the first pool training experience. I’d like to remember exactly how it went. So I do remember this: I was probably 10 days before on Instagram and I was scrolling Instagram and I saw this video of Laird before I met him swimming with a giant weight vest on doing this drill that’s called King Cardio, which I’m well versed with now.

Juliet: [0:34:29] You’ve done that, haven’t you?

Luca Padua: [0:34:30] You’ve done that.

Kelly: [0:34:32] I may or may not have done that.

Luca Padua: [0:34:33] So I see this video of Laird Hamilton swimming and jumping. I mean kind of just drowning with this weight vest on and I was like that looks crazy, I don’t know about all that. And probably 10 days, two weeks later, I was-

Juliet: [0:34:49] You were doing King Cardio

Luca Padua: [0:34:50] In the water doing King Cardio, just gasping for air and splashing.

Kelly: [0:34:54] So everyone knows, what ends up happening is when traditional training in the pool, you’re holding on weights, you hold things, you swim across. And at any time, you just put it down. And already, that’s a big step for a lot of people, just hey, I’m on fire, that’s the greatest thing. You always have control enough to put it on the ground. You’re always teaching yourself that when you think it’s bad, you always connect somehow. But King Cardio is you actually strap on somewhere between 20 and 50 pounds of weight in a vest; like it actually has belts. And suddenly, the psychology of that completely changes. And it does. It only takes a few seconds to take it out. But your brain is very different when you are wearing that vest, I’ll tell you that. Everyone turns and faces the pool the first time so you can grab the edge. And I remember the first time, I was like, I’m going to do it, I’m going to turn my back to the wall with the weight vest on. Laird was like, ooh, bold move. Because it is with the psychology. So that’s your first day in the pool. How’d that go?

Luca Padua: [0:35:50] Just same thing. Another slap in the face. You’re like I’m in shape, I’m training, I’m banging iron. And you go to the pool, you get a 20-pound dumbbell, you’re like what am I going to do with this feather? You jump in and panic, or don’t, because Laird’s watching you.

Juliet: [0:36:04] Yeah, I know.

Kelly: [0:36:07] And more important, Gab is watching you. 

Juliet: [0:36:08] Yeah, forget about Laird, he’s nice. No, just kidding.

Kelly: [0:36:11] Laird divides everybody right away. He’s like, you’re in, you’re going to play or you’re not going to play, and he just turns away, and he’s cool. He’s not malicious. But Gabby, man, you get the stink eye from Auntie Gabby, whoo, you don’t want to let her down. 

Juliet: [0:36:24] So I just had to go back in time. So you’re 17, you’ve done High-X and then Gabby’s like, “Hey, you should come up and train at our pool.” Are you like holy crap, I’m about to go train at Laird’s pool with Laird? Or have you already spent enough time with enough big wave surfers that you’re like, okay, cool, here I go? So that’s number one. And then if you could actually, since I don’t want to assume everyone listening to this actually knows what pool training is, I mean you just explained King Cardio, but what’s the thinking? Why are people doing it? Why is Laird doing it? 

Kelly: [0:36:52] And how has it helped your surfing?

Juliet: [0:36:54] I know that’s a five-part question.

Luca Padua: [0:36:57] Well, I’ll start with for me, anyone who’s real in this game of big wave surfing knows that Laird is the king of all kings of the sport, the greatest to ever do it. And that’s not even an arguable phrase there. So for me to be up there and training with him, might be a cliché to say life changing. But get this: When I first went surfing at Junior Lifeguards, I’d maybe been surfing for a couple months, school started, fourth or fifth grade I went into the school library and I got first surfing book I saw on the shelf, and I opened it up, and Laird’s on the front page. So Laird was the first surfer that I actually ever knew of. So for me to come full circle and be able to be at him and Gabby’s home and be training in the pool, that was, the first day was a special day for me. Three years in, I wake up every morning is a special day for me. So we’ll start there. 

And then pool training is a system and a lifestyle that Laird Hamilton and Gabby Reece have developed. And what’s amazing… Well, I’ll start with this: The pool training came out of Laird’s necessity. He needed to train for big surf. And so I believe back in the day they just started running with giant stones under water and started cultivating a relationship with these movements and ultimately Laird built this giant pool in his backyard and they went into a decade of trial and error and a lot of it I know you participated in, Mr. Starrett. And so the idea behind pool training is we call it controlled drowning. So you can put yourself in an environment where your body is full of CO2, screaming for oxygen, and you’re getting used to these uncomfortable feelings and positions, and blood gases that you’re going to experience as a big wave surfer when you’re stuck under water, and being able to simulate that in an actual controlled environment. So it’s all about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Juliet: [0:39:18] And it makes total sense to do it for training for big wave surfing. But also, a lot of people who aren’t big wave surfers are doing it. And what’s your thinking or understanding around why it’s not just beneficial for big wave surfers but for schlubs like me and Kelly?

Kelly: [0:39:32] Besides it’s fun.

Juliet: [0:39:34] And it is fun. It is fun. Scary and fun.

Kelly: [0:39:37] We may or may not have made our pool as close to Laird’s pool as we can. It’s like basically live in a concrete diving board, like a diving pool It’s straight down. People are like, whoa, I’ve never seen a pool in a backyard this deep before. I’m like, oh, you should see my friend’s pool. 

Luca Padua: [0:39:50] What’s amazing about the pool is in one end of the pool I could put my grandma; in another end of the pool, I could have an NFL player or NBA player and everyone’s doing something productive and safe. So the water is supporting you. It’s an environment where you can express force and create power without all this e-centric pounding. So everything feels amazing. Your joints doing feel beat up after you lift, jump, swim, run, throw, carry. And for the athletes from any type of sport, it’s amazing because it gives them, again, this environment where they can go through these certain duty cycles and movements and not get beat up.

Juliet: [0:40:39] You know, in my own experience being there, it’s amazing. The first time it’s really scary but I think within minutes I realized what a welcoming environment it was and how ultimately so scalable it was. I’m always in the shallow end just kind of doing some random stuff. But it’s also such a community. I mean one of the things that I loved so much about that experience is the community piece of it. I mean every time I’ve gone, I’ve met new people and we’re all trying to do different feats in the pool or hanging out in the sauna. And I think that’s another amazing thing that they’ve created and we’ve been so inspired by in our own lives. What’s that been like for you?

Kelly: [0:41:19] Latigo Canyon is a space station.

Luca Padua: [0:41:20] It’s a space station. I think there’s a little bit of a misconception about that, just the pool training and the sauna and the ice, it’s just all these extreme environments and how hard are you and go until failure. But what Laird and Gabby have created is not about failure at all and it’s all about creating successes for each and every individual. And just like you said, the pool is scalable. And it’s also just, what they’ve created is an amazing opportunity to be courageous in a controlled environment. 

Kelly: [0:41:56] Oh, I love that.

Luca Padua: [0:41:57] In a world where we are so protected at every step of the way, the pool is a place where you can get scared and get uncomfortable and push yourself.

Kelly: [0:42:08] And you don’t have to manufacture.

Juliet: [0:42:09] It’s a nice way of putting it.

Kelly: [0:42:11] I was just at a conference and there was a teacher there who teaches a lot of close quarter contact hand to hand stuff and cars and small situations. And he’s like, look, this is not a real fight, but I can promise you an honest experience. And while it might not be a gigantic triple way of hold down at Jaws, it’s an honest experience. And it’s there every single day. It doesn’t matter; you show up and do it. It’s a pretty extraordinary experience. You’re here, you’re training now, gotten some jobs, you’re traveling, surfing, how did, for example, big wave surfing be impacted by your time in the pool?

Luca Padua: [0:42:48] Most notably, the first experience I had that I really noticed the impact of the pool training and the recovery work and the breath work was 2019. So maybe it was three months after being here and training with Laird and Gabby. We went to Nazare, Portugal. There was a week at big swell. And I ended up finding myself in a pretty hairy situation neck deep in foamy water getting submerged by the turbulence and what I would consider a large wave coming down on the top of my head. And in that moment, it was actually the second wave, so I had gotten pounded, and I came up, and I had maybe five seconds before this next wave was hitting me. And everything slowed down, I couldn’t hear anything besides Gabby’s voice in my head saying, “Slow down, get control, here we go.” And it was just this, I kept hearing her say this in the pool and that played in my head in this five seconds. Slow down. And I was able to make a good decision and get a nice controlled breath. And I got my ass pounded by this wave and came up smiling. And then the next wave pounded me and the next wave pounded me and every single wave was hitting me and I was underwater for a significant amount of time and I was coming up and I was feeling good. And so after that, I really had my own personal experience with the benefits of pool training.

Juliet: [0:44:23] So just to put it in perspective, when you say a large wave coming down on your head, how big is that wave?

Luca Padua: [0:44:288] It could be argued. There’s a great saying: Big waves aren’t measured in feet and inches, they’re measured in increments of fear. And when you’re sitting there neck deep in the foam-

Kelly: [0:44:39] That’s an old Russian saying, Lisa, just so 

Luca Padua: [0:44:41] Forty, fifty plus feet. Hard to put a number on it. But big enough to where you’re sitting there and you’re like, mmm, this could go either way.

Kelly: [0:44:51] I’ve seen these photos and I remember thinking, mmm, so glad that’s not me.

Juliet: [0:44:58] So what I want to know because I know that people would want to know this, is what’s a day in the life of Luca, both when there is surf and when there isn’t surf. And what I mean by that is what are you eating, what time are you waking up, what kind of habits… what are your key habits that you’re doing on those days?

Luca Padua: [0:45:20] A pretty regular day for me so far, we’ll start with this summer. So no surf; this is what I would call the off season. We surf during the Northern Hemisphere winter. So I wake up while the sun’s rising, maybe slightly before and go out and just get some nice natural light, usually try and get some cold water, a little bit of cold exposure to start the day. And then this summer I’ve been following a program that I created with Mr. Mark Roberts. He helped me out structuring out my training. So lately, it’s been wake up, natural light, cold water. And Monday would be a lift. So some kind of compound movement before phased workout, and then I do some recovery work. So go in the sauna, breath work, smash my quads, which I need much more of.

Kelly: [0:46:15] Welcome. Sorry, not sorry.

Luca Padua: [0:46:16] Sorry, not sorry. And then so as far as movement goes, wake up, train first thing, little bit of recovery work, then transition into the later half of the day. Eat midday. And then I’ve actually been most of this summer working with an athlete in the afternoon. So I’ll have some sort of coaching of my own going on to finish out the day.

Kelly: [0:46:42] Now that you’re feeling you’re in this really interesting place because you’re a relatively young person in terms of the experiences you’re having. Where do you think the opportunities are for let’s just say not just surfing athletes but adventure athletes? Our old model was just surf, surf, surf, surf, surf. Hopefully it works out for you. And maybe that wasn’t a complete practice to make you as durable and resilient as you needed to be. And we’re starting to see the real sophistication of nutrition coming in. Travis Rice talks about diet is so important to him. Where do you think the opportunities still lay in transforming and getting the most of the surfing because right now, we’re seeing that you have to… The time changes are crazy, you’re flying around the world a little bit, you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice for these incredible huge events, these surf events, these wave events. What are the opportunities to get better as a group or as a set of athletes for that?

Luca Padua: [0:47:40] Well, I’d start with this: How many days of the year do we actually get to ride big waves? Significant days? Ten, 20. If it’s a prolific season, maybe 30. So then let’s just say you have upwards of 300 plus days a year that you’re not riding big waves and what are you going to do to stay busy, stay healthy and stay ready for when the surf gets big? So pretty early on in my development, even before I came down here, I just started getting less and less inspired by surfing all the time. It just became this… Even though the ocean is beautiful and it’s a healing environment, it just became this monotonous activity where I don’t want to go surf every day just to get some reps in or go and surf when it’s one to two feet and the wind is blowing and it’s just not productive. So for me, starting to focus more on training and nutrition and recovery, these different modalities, it gave me something to focus on and keep my blade sharp throughout the rest of the year when we weren’t surfing big waves. And then coming down here and spending time with Laird, who is the most obsessed surfer of all time. He will even say there’s more to life than surfing. So just to have different always be trying to be willing to try something new and learn something new and have other things to sink your teeth in because just being a surfer is, one, not sustainable; two, for me personally, boring; and three, you’re not going to make a career out of that.

Juliet: [0:49:24] So I think that’s so interesting. And I guess is your approach more common amongst the big wave surfing community at large or are you still doing your own thing and most of the other big wave surfers are mostly surfing? 

Kelly: [0:49:40] We’re talking about international.

Juliet: [0:49:41] And not necessarily cool training or whatever specific training you’re doing but focusing on diet and sleep and strength training and mobility work and all these other things that you’re incorporating into your life on a daily basis. Has this pervaded the whole big wave surfing community or are you unique in that? Or you and Laird?

Luca Padua: [0:50:01] I would say for the most part I’m an anomaly. There’s a handful of guys who they do train and they focus a little bit on these modalities. But for me, the past two years, I didn’t traditional surf for six months. Winter ended; I didn’t touch a surfboard. I did other things: foiling, paddling, went in the ocean and swam and did these other things. But I don’t surf for six months. And then my first surf session of the year is back out at Mavericks when the season starts. And I focus that six months on training and education and coaching and just trying to stay sharp in these other fields.

Kelly: [0:50:45] How does that approach work? When you get back on the wave for the first time, just so everyone knows, you are paddling and you’re foiling and you’re doing a whole bunch of other things in and around the water. It’s not like you’re like oh yeah, surfing, I remember that sport.

Juliet: [0:50:58] He’s a waterman.

Kelly: [0:50:58] That’s right, you’re a waterman. Do you feel… What happens on those first days? Do you feel like, oh, I needed more touches, or is this approach showing to be you’re still back out there, holy moly, it’s still all there?

Luca Padua: [0:51:09] It works for me. Holy moly, it’s still there. For me, I’m just trying to do what inspires me when it inspires me. And there is a good part of the year where just going out and surfing, like I said, is not inspiring. And so for me, just leaning into training and education, that’s what’s inspiring and I think it’s a lot more productive and inspiring to do that than to be if I was just surfing all year round.

Kelly: [0:51:36] So true question, moment of truth, are you as grumpy when there’s no surf as Laird is grumpy when there’s no surf?

Luca Padua: [0:51:43] The best person to ask this question to would be Gab. I think she would say I’m pretty close. Definitely a runner up.

Kelly: [0:51:53] You do model the people around you. Man, that guy-

Juliet: [0:51:55] You’re a podium finisher.

Kelly: [0:51:56] He needs some waves.

Juliet: [0:51:58] Okay, I’m going to take this in a little bit of a different direction. So I’ve had my own in water large animal interaction situation.

Kelly: [0:52:05] Everyone, Juliet was attacked by a hippo in Africa on a canoe trip.

Juliet: [0:52:09] On the Zambezi. So I can’t help but ask have you had any in water large-

Kelly: [0:52:13] I don’t mean just like close encounter with a hippo. A hippo attacked her.

Juliet: [0:52:15] Yeah. But I’m just, I have to know for people who spend time in environments and they’re uncontrolled and there’s wildlife, and I know Laird has definitely had some kind of crazy animal-

Kelly: [0:52:27] And there are Great White sharks out at Mavs.

Juliet: [0:52:29] Animal interactions. I’m wondering have you had any and what were they?

Luca Padua: [0:52:33] The answer is yes. Mavericks is a super sharky place so my friend Tim who took me out to Mavericks for the first time, maybe before I was born, he got attacked by a shark out there. And he’s okay. Bit a big chunk into his board. Personally, we’ve seen a few great whites out there on a few different days. I’ve never been attached or had a physical situation with one. The hairiest situation I’ve ever gotten into with a large animal was at Mavericks and it was an elephant seal. 

Kelly: [0:53:05] Oh yeah, that’s terrifying. 

Juliet: [0:53:05] Do tell, do tell. They can be mean. 

Luca Padua: [0:53:08] It was a dreary, just gray, ugly day in the end of October, few years ago. And there’s days where you’re out on the water and it feels sharky. It’s not every time, but there’s days where you go-

Juliet: [0:53:24] Feels sharky.

Luca Padua: [0:53:25] I’m going to stay on my toes. And I rode this wave, and as you guys might know, at Mavericks you’re surfing on these giant rocks and a big reef pass. So low tide, all the rocks are exposed, the entire reef in the lagoon is exposed, and you’re surfing within maybe 60, 70 yards of these big rocks. So I rode this wave and I kicked out of this wave and I was sitting on my board and out of the corner of my eye I saw a giant splash. And I said here we go. I knew it was sharky out here. That was a giant animal. And so I was scanning in that direction to see if I saw a fin or had seen anything. And a giant elephant seal popped up probably 50 yards away, 60 yards away. And I was staring at it and it was staring at me. And I was in relief that it wasn’t a giant shark and it was pissed off that I was staring back at it. And so it started puffing its chest out of the water and barking. Giant, the biggest elephant seal that I’ve ever seen. And before I knew it, the thing was charging at me. And these are giant, giant fat creatures. If you’ve never seen an elephant seal, look it up.

Kelly: [0:54:39] Think of your couch with fins. 

Luca Padua: [0:54:40] Your couch with fins that somehow swims like a speedboat. And so I’m lucky I didn’t have a deer in the headlights moment. I said it’s time to boogie. So I turned around and I started paddling into a place where on any given day at Mavericks would be a terrible place to go to — straight in front of the rocks in the surf zone. But I just figured that was my safest option when this giant creature with fins and fangs is coming for me. And I’m paddling, I’m sprinting as fast as I can. Same thing, I thought I was a good paddler until I was looking over my shoulder and I saw this giant seal gaining on me. And I look over and it’s like, okay, it just gained another 10 yards. And I sprint and I sprint another 15, 20 seconds and it’s double what it just gained. It’s even closer now. So I’m getting in closer towards the rocks and I turn around and the thing is probably 15 feet away from me and it’s going way faster than me clearly. And by the grace of God, there was this tiny little ripple of a wave, it was actually more of a little bit of wind swell that broke because it was a windy day, and I paddled as hard as I could, and I caught this little two-foot wind wave. And I turned my head around and the elephant seal had caught the wave too and it was riding, gaining on the top of the wave with its mouth open by my feet. And I’m laying on my surfboard, and again, like I said, I’m lucky the wave was so small that I was able to carry the momentum and the elephant was so heavy it fell off the back of the wave.

Kelly: [0:56:30] Story of my life. 

Luca Padua: [0:56:31] Rode it into the rocks and ran with my tail between my legs.

Juliet: [0:56:36] Oh my God, that’s an amazing story. So I have to know if on those days out at Mavericks when everyone does see a shark, is everyone like, aagh, gets in the boat and it’s the end of the day, or everyone’s like, hey, shark, and such hard humans they just stay out there?

Luca Padua: [0:56:50] It’s funny you ask this because last season on the better day of the season, there was a shark, swam through the lineup and was hanging out right there in the channel. Like a stone’s throw away. And so my friend came ripping in on the skein and said, “There’s a shark. There’s a shark. The waves are good.” 

Juliet: [0:57:09] That was my question. I was like do you guys all just stay out there.

Luca Padua: [0:57:13] The waves are good. Sharks are in the ocean.

Kelly: [0:57:14] It’s probably I don’t know which one’s more dangerous, honestly. Which choice is more dangerous?

Luca Padua: [0:57:20] I get asked about sharks a lot and it’s funny because when the waves are 50, 60 feet, you’re not concerned about big fish.

Juliet: [0:57:28] Yeah, I mean you’d obviously have something else to focus on.

Kelly: [0:57:31] Yeah, when your house is on fire, you’re not like, ah, do I need gas, you don’t think about those things. am I hungry? Are we going to have a good surf year? Is it going to be flat? Can you even say because I don’t want you to be jinxing the situation, but what does this look like? What do the bones say?

Luca Padua: [0:57:45] We’ve been in this La Nina cycle, this weather pattern which isn’t great for big surf. Storm production is down. Last year wasn’t a very good season. There was a few moments that made it memorable. But again, the season before that was forecasted to be a terrible season and it was one of the best of all time. So it’s hard to say. Just try and maintain the low expectation, low disappointment mentality and just stay ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Juliet: [0:58:14] So obviously if it’s good you’ll go to Mavericks, but where else will you go? What are your other favorite spots?

Luca Padua: [0:58:21] Hmm. Definitely go over to the islands, go to Hawaii and surf Jaws. That’s a very perfect wave. Between Mavericks and Jaws, those are my two main focuses, just because the quality of the waves is so great. I probably will go to Portugal. I’m not a huge fan and I argue with anyone that the quality of that wave when it’s really big is not actually that good. It’s fun, exciting, and dangerous, but you have to take risk versus reward into consideration. And I don’t think the ratio over there is very good.

Kelly: [0:58:58] But great food.

Luca Padua: [0:58:58] Great food, great people.

Kelly: [0:58:59] Portugal’s great.

Juliet: [0:59:01] Lot of spectators. There’s a lot of spectators.

Luca Padua: [0:59:02] Yeah. It’s like the Coliseum; it’s a beautiful place.

Kelly: [0:59;06] Luca, what are you looking forward to. I mean Big Wave is coming up. You working on anything else? And then tell us where people can find you and start following you and follow your exploits because you’re really fun.

Luca Padua: [0:59:17] Big Wave season is coming. I’m training. I’m having fun watching some of the gentlemen I worked with who just started their NFL season so I’ve never really cared about football until last Sunday, I was yelling at the TV. And other things that are inspiring me, I’m chipping away at my movement and Mobility 101 course. And I’m on Instagram @lucapadua, that’s where I occasionally put some fun photos of Laird and myself just misbehaving.

Kelly: [0:59:51] Last question: You are sometimes known as The Rook. Does that mean rookie? Is that what that’s about?

Luca Padua: [0:59:58] The Rook stands for rookie. It’s funny, I think there was a misconception about that too, talking about Laird calling me The Rook and sending me out first and him not knowing much about the game of chess. But The Rook doesn’t have anything to do with chess. I got that nickname actually from Joakim Noah. He started calling me The Rook when I was first coming around the house and it stuck. 

Kelly: [1:00:20] Sign me up. When I’m at the house and I’m hanging out, even in the kitchen with Gabby, I’m happy to be the rookie. 

Juliet: [1:00:28] It’s a good place to be a rookie.

Kelly: [1:00:30] It’s a great place to be.

Luca Padua: [1:00:30] Absolutely. That’s what it’s about. That’s what it means to be a rookie is just always be, again, willing to pay your dues and always be willing to learn and try something new. So just try and hold that line.

Kelly: [1:00:43] Excellent. Hey man, thank you so much for chatting us up. I can’t wait. I hope there’s a generation of young athletes who think they want to be superstars listening to this because it’s a lot of work and you’ve set a really nice path for people to follow, man. It is great to see you. We miss you guys.

Luca Padua: [1:00:58] I appreciate you guys. And hopefully we’ll get to hang out in the deep end sometime soon. Thank you.

Juliet: [1:01:03] Thanks Luca.


Kelly: [1:01:10] Thank you for listening to The Ready State Podcast. If you like what you’re hearing, check out all our episodes here or at And be sure to subscribe and leave a review on iTunes to help others find our show. 

Juliet: [1:01:21] Check us out and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @thereadystate.

Kelly: [1:01:26] Until next time, cheers everyone.


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