Talking about his experiences helped a little but as Pete describes it, “When I first started surfing it was a release for me, it was my me-time.” He said, “When I get in the ocean by myself, I feel like I’m disconnected from the world. I’m more worried about being relaxed and focusing on the waves,” he added.
Pete had been surfing for two or three years he recalls before many of his friends started talking about a bunch of surfers in San Diego who customize boards for veterans. With hesitation at first, Pete applied and was accepted to receive his own customized surfboard.
“I asked if I could make the board custom glass and C-foam green, because that’s the color of the inside of the vehicles I work on,” he said. “The tail has a checkerboard pattern and an old school single fin like typical longboards. I also have a leash loop and on the bottom block instead of the One More Wave logo it’s a nautical theme of the initials CKIV, paying tribute to Charles Keating IV.”
During the winter season, he tries to surf as often as he can where he resides in California. “Being in the ocean, it’s like your whole body is connected to the water, even the water that gets into your nose!” he laughed. He also loves spending time with his family and riding dirt bikes in the desert with his oldest son Colton (11). In the summer, he likes surfing at lunch when taking a break from his instructor role teaching fellow Marines the ins and outs of large Landing Amphibious Vehicles that are nicknamed “the alligator”.
When first meeting Pete, one will immediately feel comfortable around his outgoing and fun presence. It’s hard not to smile because his personality is contagious. Growing up as he describes as a normal upbringing in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, Pete was an avid wrestler. After working for a few years after high school and preparing for military service, Pete enlisted in the Marines at the age of 20 in 2003 as a mechanic. Two years later he was serving in Fallujah, Iraq, as a crew chief with responsibilities of recovering damaged vehicles on dangerous missions.
Pete added another deployment to Al Assad along with numerous training trips during his continued service as a Marine. After the loss of a close friend and experiences in combat, Pete exhibited anxious feelings and signs of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS).
As a family man, the support from his wife Ashley and his five kids; Kinleigh (13), Colton (11), Corrigan (7), Alana (7), and Cooper (4) act as his anchor. He recalled that Ashley noticed a significant but positive mood change every time he returned from the water.
As Pete continues to serve in the Marines, conquer the surf, entertain his friends and family by his joyful attitude, he’s also the Brand Ambassador for One More Wave – which he considers to be like family.