A conversation between Dane Gudauskas and Hydro Flask:
Hydro Flask: You guys are some of the most positive people on the planet – what fuels your stoke for life?
Dane Gudauskas: Growing up we were lucky to have great positive influences surrounding us. Our mom and dad were always really supportive and encouraging for us to explore new adventures and embrace challenges which I think has laid the blueprint for where we are today. Now, it’s our passion to share that stoke with the future generation. I think all three of us feel eternally grateful for all the lessons this journey has taught us and it continues with each new day.
HF: Tell us how Positive Vibe Warriors began?
DG: The Positive Vibe Warriors began as a mantra more than anything. I guess after spending so many years growing up on the road and living out of a suitcase, one of the main things you learn is how to be flexible and to adapt. Nothing ever seems to go to plan, whether it’s your boards not arriving in time for your event, food sickness, new locations, cultures, and languages, sometimes no waves or maybe it’s even too big, all while trying to surf and compete at a high level and qualify for the world tour with the best surfers in the world.
You end up losing a lot more than you win. But, over the years and through all those experiences, you realize that there are lessons to be learned in each challenge you face. In reality, you aren’t getting weaker as a result of overcoming things you didn’t think you could, but you are becoming stronger as a person. A positive mindset kept us going in the hard times. It was our internal source of belief that we could wake up and be the best we could be.
HF: Does the name have any special meaning to you and your family?
DG: I like to think of it this way:
Positive: A state of consciousness that lets you see the world with no limitations.
Vibe: An energy you share with others.
Warriors: The ability to face the adversities of life.
HF: What is the goal of the foundation?
DG: The goal of the foundation is to assist communities with ocean education and youth water safety programs. My brothers and I, with the support of Vans and our sponsors, put on free youth surf events called “Stoke-O-Rama.” They provide entry level groms the chance to experience a day centered around community camaraderie and fun. These events serve as fundraising opportunities for the PVW Foundation and the funds raised for each event go back to assist youth water safety programs in that specific community.
HF: How did the Stoke-O-Rama events come about, and where have you done these events?
DG: These events came about while my brothers and I were thinking back to when we were that age and what really would have made us STOKED! It’s basically a free day for the groms to come hang with all their friends, cheer each other on, and everyone, win or lose, walks away with a full bag of goodies and prizes. The format is non-elimination and there are prizes for sportsmanship, cheering on your friends, and for being the most stoked! It rocks! We are entering our 7th year of Stoke-O-Rama in San Clemente, two events in Huntington Beach, and one event on Oahu’s west shore at Makaha Beach.
HF: What do you envision for the future of PVW and Stoke-O-Rama?
DG: We just hope to keep spreading the stoke! Two years ago, we did a board drive through the foundation to assist the emerging surfing communities of Jamaica. After traveling there and seeing the incredible desire to improve their surfing, but being heavily limited by equipment that was not readily available due to heavy taxes and high costs, we had to get involved. Over two hundred boards were raised from the California surfing communities. The boards were shipped down and we flew to Jamaica and distributed them all over the nation. Since the board drive, the self-empowerment of the youth has been unstoppable with one of the groms Ivah Wilmots being featured on the cover of one of the East Coast’s biggest magazines ESM, blasting the tail out above the lip on one of the donated boards. It was a very special experience.
We just launched our second board drive in September 2017 for the surfing youth of South Africa, working alongside the Waves for Change and Surfers Not Street Children organizations, so that is going to be very exciting.
HF: How does someone donate to the foundation, and what do the funds go toward?
DG: You can donate and get involved at www.positivevibewarriors.com!
Recently we donated surfboards and funds to Waves For Change and the Surfers Not Street Children organizations in South Africa that provide safe spaces, caring mentors, and a provision of weekly surf therapy sessions to give vulnerable children the skills to cope with stress, build healing relationships, and make positive life choices.
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