San Diego rad dads: Joel Tudor, surfer
Note: This is the fourth in a series of five “rad dad” stories that will run on DiscoverSD.com leading up to Father’s Day.
The Surfer: Joel Tudor
World champion surfer and owner of the Ju Jitsu gym, Studio540 in Solana Beach.
Kids: Tosh, 10; Judah, 5
While many people in the surfing community have heard of Joel Tudor, many may not realize that he was a legitimate child prodigy. I first heard of Tudor through the San Diego surf hero, Skip Frye. Frye had returned from surfing Cardiff and told all of us about a 12-year-old boy with long blonde hair who was as good of a longboard surfer as he had ever seen. We were instantly envious. Tudor spent his teens, 20s and most of his 30s traveling the world for surf contests, sponsor events and marketing shoots.
It’s all about family
In the decades that have followed since I first met Tudor, he has become a torchbearer for the older generation of surfers who embraced him and bestowed their history and knowledge upon him. He has also become a father to two young sons who are following their father into the sea, into the skate park, and onto the Ju Jitsu mat. “It’s about my family first, second and third. Without them, nothing matters. My kids are everything to me,” Tudor says. As a young surfer, Tudor was always at the beach with his parents, posting up at Cardiff Reef and surfing with his dad Joe. It’s there that he learned the value of family and how important the support they provide truly is. Today, he passes on that tradition to his children and the whole group, all three generations of Tudors, can be found on the sand most weekends at their beloved surf break of Cardiff Reef.
Pro dad tip: “If your kid wants to go skate the local elementary school parking lot at 9:30 at night, put on a head lamp and take him. You’ll never get that time back.”
Parenting is no easy feat. So this Father’s Day, give your dad a big hug and, if you’re new to the parenting game, take some notes from five of the coolest dads in San Diego.