PHOTOS: Sean Martin

VIDEO: Sean Martin

LOCATION: Ventura, California

Troy Mothershead’s life is defined by passion. His pursuits are simple and pure, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and his weapon of choice is the timeless longboard.

A natural-born competitor, Troy Mothershead sought to be the quarterback of his high school football team. Balancing the laid-back vibes of surfing and the drive to compete on the field led to one of those small-but-significant moments that came to define his career. He chose to skip football practice to attend a surf contest one day, and that decision became a defining one in a life that’s been full of honest choices. Not many of us are blessed with such moments of clarity, a fact he has never taken for granted.

Longboarding has always been about anachronism and making the most of waves instead of traveling the globe to chase them, and that’s evidenced in the way surfing has informed Troy’s life without consuming it. His style is more inspirational than aspirational—he squeezes joy out of clean turns and walking the nose, skating through the neighborhood and brushing fingers against the things he passes, using boards to wholly engage the world he lives in.

In a world that values authenticity more and sees it less, his lifestyle is refreshing and captivating. The competitive longboard surf scene has fizzled, but he never chased waves as a means to an end. Without the competitive strain of contests, Troy can see waves with the same joy he did as a kid who would go surfing with his dad for fun. And with the hindsight of a stint in professional longboard surfing, he is in the perfect position to constantly redefine what it means to mix work and play.

He chases waves and skates glassy streets with a transcendental purity, as if the way he’s walked the line in pursuing passion and career has given him insight into life’s more important questions. And unlike many of his peers, he’ll be the first to admit that there are things that matter more than surfing.

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