Do you dream of downing your 9-5 in favour of life on the road? How do you take a step back from the daily grind and embrace the uncertainty of a nomadic surfer?
Caity Griffin, California ripper who sure as hell won't be tied to one spot for too long, spent four years on the road. For Caity, chasing swells isn't the be and end all of a trip. Sure, it's going to sting if you get skunked after days, weeks, months of meticulous planning. But for Caity, a trip is more about connecting with culture, engaging with locals and pushing that FOMO aside in favour of immersion in the here and now.
With that in mind, we thought we'd crack open Caity's mental larder, uncovering how best to survive a life spent travelling while imparting little wisdom nuggets over the next couple of minutes.
First up, how are you doing? Where are you right now?
I'm pretty well, thanks. I'm back in my hometown, Cardiff By The Sea in San Diego, California after a while away. I've been eating a ton of burritos and hanging with the family. I sunbathed at Cardiff beach today, it was nice. It's been ankle-knee high and cold here.
Remember last year, your edit 1,000 days away from home dropped featuring stints in Indo the Maldives and Mexico. That's near on four years away from home. How did you hack the system to make that work?
I was very lucky to be have been able to work in the Maldives at Hudhuranfushi resort as a surf guide for a couple seasons, and the last few seasons I worked on a boat there with Global Surf Adventures. Also, I picked up odd jobs, lived frugally, and had a lot of support from DK Sunsport Sunscreen. Here's a tip; pass up the hotels and Air B'n'B and try to connect with locals for knowledge and accommodation.
I think everyone on the day-to-day grind has those notions of wanting to down tools and hit the road. But ultimately life and bills get in the way. Do you think that's an excuse and how easy is it to just go?
I think most everyone fantasizes about dropping everything and traveling around. Traveling nowadays is really easy, but what's hard is giving up the stability and security of having friends and family close, a certain job or plan for life. It's precarious, there is risk, and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. I've been fortunate.
What are your top tips for surviving life on the road?
Here are my tips for surviving on the road; Be minimal: bring less and acquire on the way; Have respect: act like a guest and you'll be shown hospitality; Be thankful; Be fully present and receptive to each new moment.
Any equipment you would say is absolutely crucial or lifesaving?
Bring boards of all different shapes and styles to keep things interesting and a good book is always necessary.
Are you a swell hound? Bound by where the next one is going to hit, or more focused on people and culture, or a combo. What drives you?
I am pretty mellow and don't really care if I miss a swell. If you're always hounding and FOMOing you're gonna miss out on a lot and be real annoying. But yeah, it for sure sucks when you go somewhere and the waves are shitty or you just missed 'the best swell of the season'. I am driven by wonder. I try to immerse myself completely in every new wave, place and culture I come in contact with.
There's a huge emphasis on lifestyle portrayed through social media, such as the use of Instagram. How important is it to keep on top of current social trends – and do you think a freesurfer/traveller could survive without Insty?
Social media can be annoying. It's also super cool to see what everyone else is up to in the world. There's plenty of free-surfers you'll never scroll past, doing just fine without it. It isn't necessary, it's a supplement. For sure we are all addicted, but I think dosage and balance are key.
As for young girls trying to make it onto the surf scene nowadays, it seems like promoting yourself on social media and getting your name out there is the best way to attain sponsors. I think if someone has something special or interesting to offer other than bikini pics and posing- like charging crazy waves, or being a yoga guru goddess, an inspiration for healthy eating or living, an activist for change, sustainability, it can give you an edge.
Talk us through some of your favourite places you've surfed/travelled? What's your favourite wave?
Probably my favourite wave is Cokes in the Maldives. I lived there for a while working as a surf guide and try to visit as often as possible.
I spent a long time becoming familiar and close to that wave, but also, there's something to be said about novelty and the excitement of the new. Morocco is really such a special place for me. I get a sense of 'being home' there, as the locals are some of the kindest, most giving people I've ever come across.
Remember that edit dropping of you in Morocco, scoring an absolute drainer – one of, if not, the highlight from that swell. How was that wave?
That wave I got in Morocco was such a thrill for me, I'd still say the best of my life. Morocco is a magical place, and it has an incredible energy to it. I think we privilege the beauty of blue and clear tropical waves and whatnot, but there's an intense, raw beauty to waves such as that one.
So what, or where, is next?
This summer looks like lots of long boarding in San Diego. Fingers crossed we will be sent some good warm south swells this summer!