The Wisdom of Chouinard: An Excerpt from ‘Some Stories’

Just north of Santa Barbara lies a little surfing Shangri-La. It’s the private Hollister Ranch, 14 miles of pristine Southern California coastline with many of the best waves in California. To get in, one must own property. Plenty of wealthy people have bought parcels, with Land Rovers driving on the beach, and exclusive compounds hidden in the hills. Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard owns a little slice there, and, rumor has it, he can be seen puttering around the place occasionally, not in a shiny new Land Rover, but a busted-up old Subaru, surfboard strapped to the roof.

Seems like it would be true. Chouinard comes across as a man who is uninterested in new and shiny, far more in tested and dependable and—despite his millions—dirtbag.

One gets the feeling Chouinard, who has lived the adventurous person’s dream life, knows how good he’s had it, and still appreciates the little things above all else. Lived experiences, no bullshit, deep appreciation for life and living and natural spaces. That all comes across in a new collection of his writing over the decades, Some Stories: Lessons from the Edge of Business and Sport.

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