Tara Rock Big Island

Teva Explorer Tara Rock reflects on what she’s learned from her home beach break: always changing, evolving, and far from perfect. Words and Photos by Tara Rock.

Our home break has been our safe space not just this year, but for as long as I can remember.

This is the place both my husband and I have spent most of our lives surfing, where we’ve spent the last several years raising our son, and an escape from the mediocrity of our everyday routine. Having access to the beach and ocean has been our greatest joy as a family.

Hurricane XLT2 Sage Green

Tara wears the water-loving Hurricane XLT2 sandals in Sage Green.

My family and I have been very fortunate during the pandemic. Our location, lifestyle, and privilege has allowed us to feel relatively safe throughout the last year. Don’t get me wrong—we’ve had our personal struggles. Most of the year I have spent out of work and my partner Tyler, as a first responder, is constantly put at a higher risk of exposure.

With the current climate of our world, we’ve been living between uncertainty and absolute familiarity— we don’t know what is going to happen in the world around us, but we have found comfort in our bubble.

The big island of Hawaii

We have relied a lot on our outdoor spaces to help balance our lives.

Through our time spent outside, we’ve developed a personal relationship with this specific landscape on the Big Island of Hawaii. This place has been my teacher over the years and even more so within the last year. On a surface level, I have always thought of places in the context of their landscape. But more recently, I am learning to embrace spaces in the same regard to my relationship with other humans.

This beach, whom I will refer to as My Teacher, gets its character by working symbiotically with the weather. The river mouth feeds into the ocean and is constantly changing the dynamic of our outdoor experience. We’ve had wide, expansive beaches one week, only to be met with torrential downpours and nothing but river rocks the following week. All the sand gets pushed out into the ocean to create a sandbar and eventually makes its way back in and reshapes the beach for an entirely different experience.

Hilo beach

I am in my element when I am near or in the water. On a scientific level, there is an abundance of negative ions (which are ironically very good for you) found in natural spaces. When we absorb negative ions and it starts flowing through our blood stream, there is a very powerful chemical reaction, an increase in serotonin, a relief of stress, and overall positive mood shift.

You could almost say we have the ability to become a part of nature if we really immerse ourselves in it. When I am surfing, I can become the water and waves. I am not only in my element, but I am my element. This scientific chemical reaction is a true measure of my relationship with the ocean.

Hurricane XLT2 Honey Mustard

Tyler wears the Hurricane XLT2 in Honey Mustard.

The Rivermouth at Tara Rock's Home Break

“The river mouth feeds into the ocean and is constantly changing the dynamic of our outdoor experience.”

This beach—My Teacher—a flexible space, always changing and evolving, not always beautiful, and far from perfect. It is constantly adjusting and transforming but always feels very familiar.

I’ve always had certain expectations for my life. If things don’t turn out the way I’d hoped or planned, I am left disappointed—especially when I am pursuing my creative passion and/or shooting photos. Even shooting these particular photos and writing this story has been a learning experience for me! We were met with weeks of rain and unpredictable weather that left me feeling little to no creative control. We’ve rarely had a chance to go surfing or spend time on the beach. I had such a different idea of how this was all going to go.

Hurricane XLT2

The Hurricane collection for the whole family: made for the elements so you can be in your element.

Hurricane XLT2 for mom and son

But I really had to let go and allow the natural flow of events to play out. What will be will be. And I have to accept that whatever the outcome is, it’s going to be beautiful. We have to accept that nature is going to keep doing its thing and we have no control over it. The one time we went down to the beach as a family we got rained out. This was also an opportunity to teach our son to roll with the changes. We can just laugh it off and run for cover, no big deal. He can learn to change and evolve just like the beach does.

My husband always reminds me that my expectations are too high. But I don’t need my husband to tell me that. My Teacher has taught me that over the last year—to find stillness and calm not only in the monotony of life but also in the change happening all around us that we cannot control.

The Big Island

Hurricane XLT2 for all terrains

Life, especially more recently, can feel very messy and unplanned. I’ve stopped waiting for perfect moments. The nuances of nature, the pandemic, and motherhood are all intertwined in this imperfect balance and I just have to go with.

I want to encourage others to go outside and develop a relationship with nature. Find your teacher. Being outside has healing power and can be your mentor during these times. I am still learning and growing. Through all of this, my greatest teacher has been the place I have always felt the happiest and at peace.

Hurricane XLT2

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