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Interview with Mike Stewart: Wave Riding Champion

Lucy Callender

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Mike Stewart, nine time body boarding world champion, joined us at Parker School for a school wide presentation where he spoke about his career, gave advice, and answered many questions from the eager students. Stewart attended Parker School for one year as a teenager, and he returned as a teacher for the day, inspiring all of us to think outside of the box and commit to our dreams. After his presentation, I had the privilege of meeting with him for a private interview, to get more insight into his unique and exciting career.

How is it coming back to parker school?

Its really neat.. it’s a really interesting experience to come back after sitting in these classrooms back in the day… I look at certain buildings that i have particular memories in, it wasn’t this big back then. There were 8 people in my grade, so it was pretty small

As a high school student, how did you find the balance between doing what you love and completing your school responsibilities? 

It was actually a pretty good balance, I treated my wave riding like you would treat a scholastic sport. Instead of being on the football team, I went to the ocean. And actually back then, for PE, we could go down to the ocean

Who was your biggest mentor?

Through time there were a lot of people who helped me through different parts of my life. Getting a job at Tom Morey’s in Kona was one of the most important relationships I had. He ignited my creative thought process with product design and that type of thing. I owe a lot to a lot of people.

As a high school student, we feel a lot of pressure to find success or take a path that is successful. As a teenager, was there a way you approached success that differs from the way you do now?

I think these are paradigms that they set up for you, you know? Like, how do you define success. Is it reaching a certain monetary level, is it success in a particular endeavor, like competitions, and winning a world title. Its that definition that we get hung up on that end thing and don’t focus on the journey to get there. I think the value and the joy comes from that.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in pursuing a career like yours?

Continue to follow your passion. work smart. set a plan for yourself. You can allocate a good portion of time to planning and making sure that you’re on track. More emphasis on the planning stage.

Stewart’s advice is universal for any teenager searching for their passion and hoping to make a living doing it. He is a down to earth person who perpetuates self reliance, organization, and creativity. It is important to remember that success is what you make of it, and Stewart exemplifies that. Stay tuned for a full length interview coming soon! Many thanks to Mike Stewart for taking the time to meet with me!

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Interview with Mike Stewart: Wave Riding Champion