An Inspiring Weekend at Patagonia Bowery

WHERE THE STUDENT BECOMES THE MASTER

Brian Schopfer

by BRIAN

Our recent trip to the Patagonia Bowery shop brought plenty of stoke to lots of people. We packed surfboards, handplanes and skateboards for 3 days of building and shaping. How could it get any better we thought? Then we looked up and found Patagonia ambassador, big wave surfer and environmental activist Ramon Navarro stopping by with his friend, photographer Rodrigo Farias Moreno to visit. They had been on a trip to the Maldives doing beach clean-ups and environmental education and swung by Patagonia Bowery on their way home. We did what we do best, put a spokeshave in Ramon's hands and had him step up to the shaping stand and do some shaping on our new 5’10” Waka demo.

It was a great honor to hang out with Ramon and Rodrigo, but the highlight of the weekend for me was spending time with one of our students, a guy who is not a big wave charger and has not had a movie made about him…yet. Meet Sam...

Samit Guha was born with scoliosis, a deformed left arm and no thumbs. After nine surgeries he gained use of his hands with opposable digits. Growing up, Sam played piano, soccer and taught tennis through his university years. His success in life motivated him to give back and help the next generation of children with birth defects.

Sam picked up surfing while living in Puerto Rico and built our 6’3” Mini Simmons over the weekend. He struggled through parts of the process but worked through it to build a beauty. It felt like a true celebration enjoying a Keg of Patagonia ‘s Long Root Ale to conclude the weekend. The experience left me thinking bravery and determination, and how changing one’s own life can change the lives of others - begging the question…who was the teacher and who was the student?