Interview with the rider of the week John Afshari

Who is John Afshari? Tell us your story!

I’m John Afshari, 43 years young & native to San Diego California. I grew up at the beach and had encouraging & supportive parents who saw surfing as a positive outlet for me.

Photographer: John Rathwell

When was your first time on a surfboard?

My first waves standing & riding were around age 5 on a Morey Boogie Board. After that, I began getting used surfboards from family friends who saw how much I loved surfing.
I grew up in Ocean Beach, CA, and when I wasn’t surfing myself, I was watching the older guys, like legendary Skip Fryee surf the sunset cliffs & surrounding reefs of that zone. Observing the classic style and use of longboards or “gliders” for connecting sections of waves defiantly shaped my style & how I approach wave riding. One of the main things I enjoy about SUP is the ability to connect sections that a surfboard may not make, and I feel like sup surfing has given me such a fun way to express this.
I am so blessed to have some really cool companies, like NSP, who recognize my love for surfing & SUP. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be an athlete & share my love for waves and the ocean with others too. It’s truly been my dream for as long as I can remember to be paid to do what I love.

What is your daily routine?
My life’s goal is being in service to Special Needs Individuals. I operate my own business focusing on all aspects of life like social skills, job development, fitness, money skills etc..
Surfing & SUP are also a big part of my Special Needs work. It’s “fun fitness” and can be a great way to relieve stress and effect behavior in a positive way. Check out my IG @socalspecialneedssurfing for pics & vids.

Do you have other passions?
In recent years I’ve added yoga to my physical fitness routine, and have moved away from classic gym/weight workouts. I find that SUP along with Yoga is perfect for my needs & has so much more benefit.
Distance paddling provides me with cardio, core & resistance work.
I took up yoga thinking I’d be benefited in my physicality & flexibility etc, little did I know that it was the breath work that would be the biggest asset. Balance is in the Breath. I like to practice hot yoga & also find that pre surf hot yoga can lead to some truly inspired surfing.

Photographer: John Rathwell

Where is your favorite spot?
My favorite surf spot is Swamis, a right hander point break break just about 2 miles north of where I live now in Solana Beach.  I enjoy the atmosphere of that zone as much as the waves in fact. There is a meditation garden & church which overlooks the wave. It serves as such a reminder of the spiritual aspects of Surfing along with the athletic.

What makes you feel a billion times better?

Surfing, SUP & just wave riding in all forms is beautiful and interesting to me. I came to really love and appreciate stand-up paddle boarding due to the core strength development. I used it to rehab myself from back injury & found myself almost totally recovered. I also love paddle boarding for distance due to the reflexive time & feel like to supports good mental health. It’s just good medicine.

For you what makes NSP so unique?

One thing I really enjoy about supporting NSP is the diversity of product for the surfer or paddler. I have really enjoyed the Kym Thompson retro surfboard shapes & really like the Dale Chapmen Surf SUP shapes. The construction is strong and durable as well as light weight. I rode the 10′ SURF X almost daily & when I distance paddleboard it’s always on my 14′ Ninja. Thanks NSP for supporting my passion for wave riding & all things ocean.

Photographer: Chris Christie

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