Taylor Knox ProfileRiviera Magazine 2011 - Shelby Stanger
22016
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For Carlsbad’s Taylor Knox, pro surfing is a state of mind

The laws of aging and its effects on the human body being what they are, Carlsbad surfer Taylor Knox should be sipping boat drinks in a palapa by now. The average age of pro athletes is around 25, but the big-wave specialist is currently ranked No. 31 in the world at the age of 40 (his highest finish was No. 4 in 2001). “It’s inspirational traveling with young guys like Mick Fanning,” says Knox, who was recently inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame and deemed one of the “Most Powerful Surfers Ever” by Surfer Magazine. “You never master the sport so you’re always learning something new. I’m more stoked than ever.” As for how he’s kept his body in Father Time’s good graces…

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Your secret? I’ve been an avid trainer since I was 17, but I’ve also been studying meditation for the last 10 years. I think the meditation is why I’m still on tour. There are physical aspects, but the mental side is what makes a great athlete.

And you went mental here in S.D.? At the Kelee Foundation in Oceanside, started by Ron W. Rathbun. Oprah’s new book includes four quotes from him. The coach of the Australian rugby team has the entire team doing it.

When did surfing hook you? I was 9 or 10 when I moved to south Carlsbad. I still live in the neighborhood.

How has the surf industry changed? The prize money has gotten bigger, the level has gone up and people are doing crazy moves in the air. You have 16-year-olds making more money than guys who competed in the early ’90s—and good on ’em.

Experience on your side? It helps when the waves get bigger. Also, that emotional roller coaster being on tour takes it out of you. When you are younger, you’re thrown off center pretty quickly.

You met your wife on a surf trip, right? In Cabo. We both live in San Diego, but we’d never crossed paths. I proposed in San Sebastián, Spain. At sunset, I saw a beautiful church in the middle of the city. I dropped to my knee.

Where were you when you heard about Andy Irons?
In Puerto Rico. I think there is a lot of goodness, though, that will come from his passing. He had a degenerative heart and that’s hard to detect. You wouldn’t expect someone that fit at that age to have a heart problem. It just reminds you to appreciate every day.

Local hangs? I am digging Paon, a new restaurant in Carlsbad, and I love I Trulli in Encinitas.