Tyler Stanaland: Journey To a New Perspective

Is a Broken Phone the Literal Worst?


hose days when you drop your phone and break the screen and you feel like that is the worst thing that can possibly happen and why does the universe hate you so much and it must be because Mercury is retrograde or something, stop, take a breath and think about what’s actually the worst thing. It took a brush with the actual worst thing but Tyler Stanaland got there. Tyler’s a former pro surfer—riding with Team Catch Surf in The World Soft Board League (WSBL), realtor, all around nice guy and somebody who you will find in “US Weekly” from time to time as the future Mr. Brittany Snow.

He’s adjusting to life in New York, where as you’ll learn in the above he’s moved with his fiancé. But that’s not the main point of the video, presented by our friends at Urban Armor Gear (although their nearly indestructible cases do come in handy when you are juggling your board and your phone and a bag containing your wetsuit on the subway platform on the way from Rockaway and you drop your phone on the platform). The video tells the story of the surfer getting back in the water after a serious illness that brought his life into perspective.

We talked to Tyler Stanaland about getting busy living, taking the Subway vs. the 405, and dropping your phone in the toilet.

Took that wrong turn at Laguna…

What was the first day back in the water after your illness? How long was the process from when you were rushed to the hospital to do things like surfing again?

Tyler: The first day backing the water felt damn good. I could hardly paddle, let alone stand up but just being in the ocean again without an ostomy bag on my stomach was such a relief. From first surgery to last was about 11 months but it was pretty much a full year out of the water and then about 6 more months until I felt close to 100 percent again. After so many surgeries laying flat on my stomach comfortably took a while.

It really makes you cut the bullshit and focus on what’s important.

What was the best thing about the worst thing that happened to you?

Tyler: The best thing that happened because of getting sick was the immediate shift in perspective I felt. One minute you’re fine, next minute you might not make it. It really makes you cut the bullshit and focus on what’s important. You realize how much you take for granted. You start seeing the world with a new pair of lenses and whole new appreciation. That’s why when I was better I was so eager to hit the ground running and get busy living.

What is the most heartbreaking way you’ve broken a phone?

Tyler: Hmmm… I’m pretty good at breaking phones. I lost one to the porcelain throne once. That one felt pretty dumb. So did fishing it out.

How do you like surfing Rockaway compared to your home break in Laguna?

Tyler: I actually really enjoy surfing Rockaway. It kind of reminds me of Newport Beach back home but maybe better? The craziest thing surfing Rockaway for the first time was the planes flying over head to JFK. It’s a strange dichotomy that felt very fitting to New York. Laguna is a pretty fickle stretch of reefy coast that has its moments but not often. Having a reasonably consistent beach break in the new backyard has been fun.

Worst thing about hauling a board on the subway?

Tyler: The worst thing about hauling your board on the subway is usually the way back. You’re probably still wet, sandy, a face full of sunscreen and your backpack is now 15 pounds heavier with a wet wetsuit. It’s really not that bad though. It beats sitting in morning rush hour on the 405 any day.

Does Brittany surf with you?

Tyler: Britt hasn’t surfed with me yet but her first wave is just around the corner. We’re taking a little tropical vacation somewhere this winter for her big debut.