God Winks & Recognizing Your Passion When It Finds You

I remember the exact moment I committed to Ocean SF. You know the sound that those mosquitoes zapper machines make? It’s that buzz-buzz noise as the mosquitos meet their destruction. I was on a sailboat talking about designing better sailing apparel. I had just started sailing and loved everything about it except how cold I got when I would get wet. I wasn’t really part of the initial conversation, but overhead a few key words. It was like my head was on a swivel and as I turned I heard that sound.

From then on I was hooked, and I became passionate about staying warm on a sailboat even when you can’t stay dry. San Francisco is not the Caribbean and when you get wet you can be extremely miserable. And, it’s impossible to sail well worrying about getting wet.

Whenever I feel like quitting and giving up on Ocean SF and trading in all of this hard work for a real job in the city where I get a real paycheck I remember that moment. Not that day, but that exact moment because it was unforgettable. I recognized it at once and I knew it was my path.

Six years later we are still going strong. Last year was our best year to date and we were in a pandemic, so I’m hopeful for the future. I’m excited to move into other markets and drive our message of sustainable and ethical outdoor clothing. In the months ahead I will be looking for my next set of summer interns. What I loved about last summer was that I could transfer what I teach to my post grad leadership students at UC Berkeley to my under grad interns. It was amazingly gratifying to be able to influence this beautiful group and their futures. We also had a ton of fun. My daughter Paris made it possible by project managing the whole crew. I’m looking forward to another great summer in 2022.

People often have difficulty finding their passion. Never had I had an experience like I did that day on that sailboat, but I knew it meant something. We are often given what my friend Cameo calls “God Winks” and we miss them. Becoming an outdoor clothing designer was an absurd idea at the time. Many people did not believed in me, but I proceeded because I believe in myself. After my husband died of a sudden heart attack following my dream became not only important, but necessary because where are we without our dreams?

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Sydney is an entrepreneur, writer, artist and teacher. Founder of oceansf.co, a sustainable sailing apparel brand, see sydneychaneythomas.com to read more.

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Sydney Chaney-Thomas

Sydney Chaney-Thomas

Sydney is an entrepreneur, writer, artist and teacher. Founder of oceansf.co, a sustainable sailing apparel brand, see sydneychaneythomas.com to read more.

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