Exploring those who influenced the surfers who influence us.
The older Beschen brother has been influenced by a lot of people, but none more than Mom and Dad.
People influence us. From day one we watch others—on the street, in school, on television, in books, in our house—and they all have a hand in shaping us. A few of those leave more striking impressions than others. Some lead us into the gutter, some lead us to glory. Some simply push us to go farther than we might have without their example.
Thirty-one-year-old Shane Beschen has influenced plenty of surfers worldwide during his decade and a half in and out of the fickle surf-media limelight. An entire generation tuned in to his explosive freesurfing spectacle and his rise through the competitive ranks with progressive, judge-confusing ripping. Shane wholeheartedly unleashed the guts of a new era of surfing in the early and mid 90s. Who influenced Shane? “Growing up in San Clemente, I had a lot of influences: Mike Parsons, Jim Hogan, the McNultys, the O’Connells, a bunch of guys—they pushed me to surf well, to compete well, but mostly they were all teaching me how not to be a punk. There was such of crew of the boys. It gave life an edge, there was that energy from the crew,” Shane relates. But other strong imprints, from a source closer to him, made “the boys'” effect on Shane seem minor in comparison.[IMAGE 1]
“My parents, Mike and Sue Beschen, are by far the biggest influences on the type of person I am. They are responsible for the foundation of who I am today. It’s pretty much Ten Commandments-type stuff—don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t cheat, ya know? I try to have respect for everyone, and my mom really taught me to not care what people think about me. I’d come home from school and be all ‘This kid said this … ” And she’d say, ‘So what! Who cares what they think?’
“And they both also gave me a strong work ethic. My dad’s done construction for 30 years, and he brought us to work and made us work when we were kids, and my mom always had us doing stuff around the house. At the time we hated it, but I think it definitely taught us not to be spoiled little brats.”
Now married with a young son, Shane sees more closely his affect on the people around him. “I hope that I influence them in a positive way,” Shane ponders, “to strive for whatever they feel is important. The worse thing that can happen isn’t to fail, it’s much worse to not try and never know. You can always keep trying and learn from your mistakes. But to never do it and always have that question lingering in your head, I think that’s one of the biggest shames of mankind.”—Aidan Gray