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Glenn Sakamoto
(Thursday) 12.30.10

Donavon Frankenreiter-Liquid Salt Interview

Don­avon Franken­re­iter is a tal­ented Cal­i­for­nia surfer/musician who truly lives the dream. In between surf­ing exotic locales, he cre­ates soul­ful, laid-back music. Once described by Joel Tudor as a “true orig­i­nal,” we caught up with Don­avon to learn more.

What was your life like grow­ing up?
I grew up inland from the beach with amaz­ing sup­port­ive par­ents, and they let me do what­ever I wanted to do. So they got me a surf­board and I prac­ti­cally grew up on it. Any­way I could get to the beach, I would. I grew up rid­ing BMX bikes and being obsessed with surfing!

When did you get your first surf­board?
At the age of 10 from Santa Claus. He is real, isn’t he?

What was the feel­ing you had when you first stood on a surf­board?
It was like no other feel­ing I’ve ever felt! I went faster than I’d ever rid­den on any­thing before, in the ocean, and it was the most incred­i­ble feel­ing. I  haven’t stopped rid­ing since!

Who did you look up to and admire when you were young?
Def­i­nitely my dad—I still do. And when I got into surf­ing, Tom Cur­ren, Occy and Kelly Slater. When I started play­ing gui­tar, I looked up to Jimmy Page, Eric Clap­ton, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hen­drix and many more legends.

How did you get involved in music?
I went on a surf­ing adven­ture with friends. We were at one of my buddy’s houses and he had a gui­tar lean­ing up against his couch. He taught me three chords. The rest is history.

What is your process for cre­at­ing your music?
I have no process at all. It just hap­pens when it hap­pens!  I never plan it. I let the process hap­pen nat­u­rally. Some­times ideas come to me when on I’m on a plane, or a boat, hang­ing out with my fam­ily. My kids or wife may say some­thing and it sparks an idea. It varies from song to song.

You like to mix things up. Tell us about your ever-changing quiver.
99% of my quiver you can see at my Mex­i­can restau­rant in Maui! I have over 100 surf­boards hang­ing up in the rafters and my quiver now con­sists of what­ever Jeff “Doc” Lausch  shapes me—all dif­fer­ent types of boards. Come see my boards at my restau­rant (Don­avon Frankenreiter’s Mar­garita House). Stay a while. Drink a mar­garita. Relax.

Of all the places you have trav­eled to, what place in par­tic­u­lar stands out and why?
Ice­land was really great. I was one of first peo­ple to adven­ture all around Ice­land, many years ago, and surf a bunch of spots that had never been surfed before. I expe­ri­enced ice­bergs, vol­ca­noes, the aurora bore­alis and incred­i­ble waves all in one day!

Who or what inspires you?
Every day peo­ple. Life in gen­eral. And my family.

What is the great­est thing you have learned in your life?
To treat peo­ple with a lot of respect and enjoy every moment because life hap­pens very quickly.

Do you have any regrets or wish you had done some­thing dif­fer­ently?
I have no regrets and I think if there’s any­thing I’ve failed at, it’s a great thing because I’ve learned from it. I told myself at an early age that I never wanted to wake up 10 years from now and say, “Man! I wish I’d done that!’ I’ve had a lot of suc­cesses and fail­ures, but I’ve learned from both. No regrets.

What are you most proud of?
That I’m a father and a husband.

What mean­ing does surf­ing hold for you and how has it changed your life?
Surf­ing has intro­duced me to every­thing I have in my life, includ­ing music. Surf­ing changed my life in every way and is every­thing to me. Surf­ing is my life and music is my religion.

What brings you the most hap­pi­ness in the world?
Push­ing my kids into their own waves and watch­ing them surf into the beach.

Who are some of the peo­ple you feel are shap­ing the path for surf­ing today?
Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Laird Hamil­ton, Greg Long and Dane Reynolds

What’s your favorite meal?
Any home cooked meal that my wife pre­pares for me.

What are you cur­rently lis­ten­ing to on your iPod?
Old Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and some boot­leg Jimi Hendrix

What causes or orga­ni­za­tions do you sup­port?
The Surfrider Foun­da­tion, the Plas­tic Pol­lu­tion Coali­tion, Sur­fAid and any­body who wants to help clean up the ocean! Also, one of my favorites, the Love Hope Strength Foun­da­tion, which is a music-centric can­cer char­ity which pro­vides sup­port for can­cer cen­ters and inspi­ra­tion to those affected around the world. They use funds to pur­chase med­ical equip­ment and sup­plies, raise aware­ness through spe­cial events, doc­u­men­taries and media, build can­cer cen­ters and find bone mar­row donors. I just got back from hik­ing Mt. Fuji with them. It was a group of musi­cians and can­cer survivors—such an inspir­ing experience.

What are you most grate­ful for?
My wife and two kids, and that I do two things I truly love for a career. I am grate­ful that I get to live this life that I live. It’s very dream-like!

What’s next for Don­avon Franken­re­iter?
I’m going to pack up my tour bus and hit the road for the next year and a half to pro­mote my new record, Glow, any­where and every­where that I can!

Find out more about Don­avon Franken­re­iter HERE. Photo cred­its: (1)Brian Biel­mann, (2) Noah Adams, (3) Pat Stacy, (4) Brian Biel­mann, (5) Noah Abrams. Spe­cial thanks to Doug Oswan­del of Q Prime for mak­ing this inter­view hap­pen.

About Liquid Salt

Liquid Salt™ aims to celebrate surfing for what it is: a joyful union between the surfer and the ocean. Part blog and part magazine, its premise is to give voice to those people—surfers, shapers, writers, artists, filmmakers and photographers—who quietly keep surf culture alive. Our mission is to highlight the rich, vibrant diversity of the worldwide surfing community. Make sure to check out the other 100+ interviews that Glenn and Liquid Salt Team have been compiling over the years.

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  • Hughdog

    I heard Donovan will be performing a free concert at the Slidebar in Fullerton this Jan. 19th, 2011. Hope to see you all there!

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