This week, a reader emailed me and said he was prepared to die for the Ozaki 8. He was young, passionate and from what I can tell, completely serious. I can see the attraction to that – the Ozaki 8 list is a fascinating concept, introduced in Point Break (2015) as a way of being in harmony with the Earth.
But a funny thing happened with the Point Break remake; the film came and went, but the Ozaki 8 remains. I’ve now fielded many emails from guys who, like the reader I spoke with this week, are convinced they want to try these fascinating ordeals to nature.
Yet when we look closer at this topic we see that extreme sports has relatively little to do with the Ozaki 8 list. And instead of dying young, before even attempting the first ordeal, I want to propose another route for you to explore: give your life for the Earth, your fellow man, and honour the spirit of Ono Ozaki.
The Ozaki 8 and Giving Back
Bodhi tells us in Point Break that the Ozaki 8 is about giving more than you take. While the film is preoccupied with wing-suits and pretty stunts, it’s done with a decidedly eco-warrior tinge to the plot. Early in the film, we see Bodhi and his crew ‘liberate’ a money transport plane over Mexico to an impoverished village before BASE jumping into the Cave of Swallows.
Samsara later tells Utah that Ono Ozaki died in a conflict with a whaling ship – an incident in which Bodhi was the only survivor. Later in the film, Bodhi sabotages a mining operation, right as Utah tries to take him in.
It’s no coincidence who the producers chose to play Bodhi either. Edgar Ramirez started his career not as an actor, but as a political journalist. He’s a well-known activist, and lends his time and clout to Amnesty International, 5 Senses in Action, along with UNICEF.
Patrick Swayze may be the only true Bodhi, but Ramirez was the right man to broaden our understanding of this fascinating character, and make him relevant in the GoPro era.
Make Your Own Ozaki 8 List
The point I’m getting here is that the Ozaki 8 is more than surfboards and wing suits. It’s about acknowledging your place on this sacred planet and doing your part to keep it in one piece.
The Earth is our creator, and home to 7 billion equally precious human beings. We share the same sky, oceans, and elements that beckon you to adapt the Ozaki 8 list you saw in Point Break to your own situation.
It’s not required of you to rob a bank, climb a cliff without gear or leap off Angel Falls. What it does mean is that you can make your own Ozaki 8 list, give back to the Earth, love thy neighbour and devote your life to the well-being of our planet. Do your own risk assessment, and if you’re up to it, that could mean:
1 – Help Your Fellow Man
According to DoSomething.com, half the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day – and many less than that. I’m not saying you can help every one of them, but there is a lot of pain in this world. The Ozaki 8 is a way of living, and charity is one of its underlying principles.
Stand up and help people. OK, so maybe stopping world poverty seems a little grandiose. Try something else – choose a cause that affects you personally.
For myself, I love animals, and I’ve always had a soft spot for people who are visually impaired because I’ve worn glasses (or contact lenses) since I was 7. I can donate time and money – and ideally both – to a seeing eye dog organization to know that I’m at least doing something to earn my space on this planet.
Here’s another idea. You’re reading this because you’re stoked on the Ozaki 8 list and – who knows – you’re probably in love with it so much you think you’d give your life for it. But not all folks are feeling so hot at the moment. Some may be unemployed, unhealthy, unappreciated and just not loving their place in the world.
Maybe you can relate to this.
Ever thought of volunteering for a suicide prevention hotline? Who knows, you could save a life. That would rank pretty high on any one’s Ozaki 8 list – whether it’s in the movie or not.
2 – Fight For the Earth
Our planet needs people like you to stand up and give a fuck now more than ever. We’re in very uncertain times at the moment. Climate change is real, despite what some people would have you believe because it’s easier to ignore it than take the bus and reduce your carbon footprint.
You don’t have to look far to see this in action.
Ono Ozaki was an eco-warrior. He never existed – but I’d argue he’s based on folks like Paul Watson of The Sea Shepherd Society, which take direct action against whaling and threats to the ocean. Granted, they’re very hands-on, and some would say militaristic in how they do things.
Earth needs people like Paul Watson, and Bodhi, and Ono Ozaki, David Suzuki, Rob Stewart, and – YOU.
I’ve always been passionate about shark conservation. My part to help the Earth is to put the word out there about organizations like Shark Truth and Shark Angels, which educate about the dangerous drop in shark populations across the globe because of shark-finning.
Here’s a list of environmental organizations that need your help.
However you choose to fight for the Earth, make it something personal. Don’t jump on the cause of the week. At times, there can be a fine line between fighting for a cause and protesting because you don’t like something.
Don’t complain for the sake of complaining.
Choose a cause that means something to you. Immerse yourself in it and be prepared to defend your position with statistics and irrefutable evidence. Come with solutions and fight for them pragmatically.
Case in point, Rob Stewart, who single-handedly changed how we look at sharks, and quite possibly saved a billion of them in the process.
3 – Get In Your Kayak
OK Bodhi. You’ve now put your hat in the race and committed to your own Ozaki 8 list. You’ve loved thy neighbour and helped the fishies. Now grab some oars and maybe your balls. It’s time to become an Emerging Force.
This is the first trial of the official Ozaki 8 list, of course, and one of the most straight-forward. Going by the books you’d need to do this at Inga Rapids on the Congo River, but that’s a dead man talking.
Only four kayakers have survived Inga Rapids – and we don’t want you to become a statistic.
Action Step: Learn to kayak. Start with a white water rafting experience if you’ve never picked up and oar – in Canada, Wilderness Adventures, outside Ottawa, offers weekend white water experiences and looks like a lot of fun. With time and practice, you can move up to kayaking.
Set a Goal: Mountain Buzz is a white water kayaking forum, from where you can learn more about kayaking, which rivers are best for learning your craft, and how to gradually move from Class 1 rapids to something a little more Bodhi-ish.
4 – Climb a Mountain
Birth of Sky takes you to the pinnacle of the Earth – literally. Going by the official Ozaki 8 list this means Mt. Everest and leaping from its highest point. That’s been done once, by Valery Rozov, who spent two years training for his record-setting feat.
You’re not going to do that for your personal Ozaki 8 list. But you can certainly travel more, learn mountaineering, and pick up the basics of how to climb and survive the task of mountain climbing.
Action Step: Consider doing a climbing tour. Like most of the skills needed on this Ozaki 8 list, mountain climbing is something best done with other people. Please see the Birth of Sky post I wrote last year about a climbing tour I recommend. Note that is an affiliate link.
Set a Goal: Summit Post is a great place to learn more about mountaineering, connect with other climbers, and choose which peaks should be on your Ozaki 8 list.
5 – Go Caving
Awakening Earth is a caving challenge. Well OK, it’s more of a hijack-a-transport-plane-and-BASE-Jump-into-the-Cave-Of-Swallows challenge, but please don’t try that. You’re trying to become one with the Earth, not languish for the rest of your days in a Mexican prison.
Still, while I don’t recommend BASE jumping, spelunking (caving) could be high on your Ozaki 8 list. It can be dangerous, for sure, but a great experience for learning about our planet. Awakening Earth means going underground and seeing a world few ever see – and learn team work while you do it.
Action Step: Take a caving tour. One of my readers specifically suggested Son Doong Cave in Vietnam for its size and similarity to the Cave of Swallows. But you don’t have to travel far to find a caving tour in your area. Google ‘Caves Near Me’ and look for operators who explore them. Heck, use Google’s cave locator and you may be surprised to find one near you.
Set a Goal: Head to CaveChat.org to learn more about spelunking, the latest buzz, and which caves might qualify as ‘The Everest of Caves’.
6 – Hit the Waves
Surfing is an important part of the Ozaki 8 list. Life of Water was the first trial we saw Bodhi complete in great detail, and the only one he did twice. But you don’t need to think 60 foot waves to truly live a Life of Water. Just standing up on a surf board is a great place to start.
Speaking from experience, there is no feeling on the planet like connecting with a wave as it takes you to shore.
Action Step: Go surfin’ bud. If you live in Australia, and have never tried surfing – or want to get better – I highly recommend these three Australian surf camps by Mojo Surf. Note these are affiliate links and I’ll receive a small commission if you book them, but I don’t recommend anything unless I feel it packs a lot of value and a lot of fun.
They’re a lot of fun, and a great way to meet other sexy young surfers, and always remember where you learned to surf.
Set a Goal: Magic Seaweed is one of the best surfer forums. Head to their travel section to learn which breaks you can aspire to surf as you gradually become a world-class surfer.
7 – Grab Your Snowboard
Surfing ain’t the only board-related extreme sport on your Ozaki 8 list. Snowboarding is the other, done in Point Break on a ‘beautiful and unrideable line’ high in the Swiss Alps.
Like all of the Ozaki 8 trials, you’ll need to adapt Life of Ice to fit your skill level and risk you’re willing to take.
Heli-skiing is an option, like Bodhi and Utah did in the film, but it’s expensive and – let’s be honest here – not the most environmentally friendly way to honour the Earth with the skill of your snowboard.
Action Step: Hit the slopes. You’ve probably tried skiing at some point. Do it again, either with friends or on an organized snowboarding trip. Please don’t go out of bounds. Focus instead on some of the easier runs and work your way up.
Set a Goal: Go to SnowBoardingForum.com to talk snowboard, goals and how to design a icy challenge for your Ozaki 8 list. Also, be sure to read my post about Life of Ice. Corbet’s Couloir would be an awesome snowboarding goal to train for – assuming you’re up for it.
8 – Commit the Act of Ultimate Trust
I had to think deeply about Act of Ultimate Trust. You know how this played out in Point Break – Bodhi and Johnny Utah climbed Angel Falls with no safety gear, from which they jumped into the river below.
Please don’t try that.
So what is the Act of Ultimate Trust? In Point Break, it means putting your life in the Earth’s hands. For you, it means doing what the reader that inspired this post said he was ready to do when he emailed me last week. Here’s what it means:
Give your life for the Earth.
Let me clarify that a little. ‘Giving your life’ in this context does not mean cliff-jumping, flying a wing-suit, BASE jumping or trying something you know may not end well. Extreme sports can be part of your Ozaki 8 list when done safely and with training, but ‘giving your life’ here means devoting your life to your own Ozaki 8 list.
Not as done in Point Break. YOUR Ozaki 8 list. You – the dude (or woman) reading this post.
The Ozaki 8 is a way of living. The Earth is its foundation. It is my job, and yours, to give time, energy and well-being if required to fight for it. Earth needs people like you. That could mean conservation as your life focus, a job in eco-tourism – whatever and however you think you can make a difference.
Earth is our Creator, our mentor and home. Devote your life to the Earth and talk with it. Our planet will tell you how you can complete your own Ozaki 8 list, make a difference, and reward you in ways you can’t yet imagine.