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Force of Nature
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Laird Hamilton is known as the guiding genius of crossover board sports, and he is truly amazing in the water. His size--6'3," over 215 pounds--makes him seem indestructible. Laird is the elder son of sixties' surfing legend Bill Hamilton and is a throwback to that time when surfers prided themselves on being all-around watermen. His mother, JoAnn, gave birth to him in a "bathysphere" with reduced gravity as part of an experiment at the UC Medical Center in San Francisco. JoAnn was also a surfer and decided to move the family from California to Hawaii when Laird was just a few months old. They lived on Oahu's North Shore and later in a remote valley on Kauai, not far from one of the world's best surf breaks. He learned to surf between the ages of 2 and 3 on the front half of a surfboard; and at age 8, hi father took him to the 6-foot cliff at Waimea Falls, where Laird looked down, looked back at his dad, and jumped. "He's been bold since day one," says Bill, "and hell-bent on living life to the extreme." He lives in Hawaii and California with his wife and three daughters.

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