Graeme's Open Road

GRAEME RAE

Chief Scientist
Surfline

“Maybe you just haven’t figured out which little road you’re going to take. But I don’t think it matters which one you take, honestly, because they’ll all end up being the right one.”

INTERESTS:

Action Sports Engineering Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Focus Hobbies & Pastimes Pressure Determination Desire Planning Instincts Passion Exploration Talent

TAGS:

academics, career, color blind, curiosity, hope, maps, military, Navy, obligations, ocean engineering, optimism, problem solving, productivity, security, self taught, ship building, ships, staying busy, submarine, surfing

BIOGRAPHY:

Chief scientist of Surfline.com Dr. Graeme Rae’s advice for success? Do the dishes. Sound small? What he means is, get the little things out of the way. If those distractions aren’t bogging you down, you’re free to focus on the big things. For Graeme, that meant staying busy and following one road after another, even if he had some nagging doubts or setbacks. As a kid, all he wanted to do was join the Navy. A diagnosis of color blindness at age 16 derailed that dream, so he turned to studying Naval architecture and ocean engineering, and got an offer to start designing submarines in Florida. Soon he was building maps to predict ocean currents for Navy ships, but he started to notice a funny thing: his students at Florida Institute of Technology were using his maps to figure out when they should go surfing. So he started tracking the surf on the side, but soon got an opportunity to move to California and go all in. Some people thought it was silly—why waste a Ph.D., the pinnacle of science and engineering, on some folks who just hang out at the beach all day long? Graeme himself had some doubts about leaving academia behind; but now, using the high-tech maps he makes, people can get up in the morning and say, Yeah, I’m gonna go surf. And now, his work puts smiles on people’s faces. Graeme’s boundless optimism shines through. If you work hard, he says, you’ll end up where you want to be. It doesn’t matter which road you take, because they’ll all end up being the right one.

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