50-year-old Sean MacPherson is a surfer and hotelier, among them The Jane, The Bowery, The Maritime, and The Ludlow. He’s also the father of two young boys, Maxwell and Dashiell. He grew up in Malibu, was introduced to surfing by his mother, did long summer jaunts through Baja, chasing waves, camping on the beach, engaging in all things ocean. His wife, Rachelle Hruska, is a founder and CEO of GuestofaGuest.com. They live in New York City.
My boys are only one- and three-years-old and still aren't master swimmers, so I haven't yet pushed them into any real waves. But I have taken them both SUPing to get them used to being in the water and on a board.
Anyone with real intimacy with the ocean has real respect—and fear—of its power. I really want my boys to become very strong swimmers before they really start surfing.
I rode my first waves before I was born. My mom, Janet MacPherson, was on Dewey Weber's surf team and was the New Zealand women's champion. She's always been extremely adventurous, so it was natural for her to surf while pregnant with me almost up to my birth. From the time I can remember, I grew up on and around the ocean, with my first post-birth waves being body surfing. I started body surfing as an infant, moved to boogie boarding as a toddler, and finally made the leap to surfing at about age ten. We lived at La Costa Beach in Malibu, which is basically a giant fast, steep closeout. I spent an entire summer eating it every single day before I finally learned. I suppose the silver lining was I sort of mastered the super-fast take off and bottom turn—an ability that serves me to this day.
More than becoming surfers per se, I hope my boys are lucky enough to develop the same connection with the ocean I've always been lucky enough to have. The joy of surfing, to me, is almost a beautiful byproduct of metaphysically connecting with the ocean. To paraphrase Churchill, the ocean has given me much more than I've given it.