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Surfing the financial wave of Wall Street

Finances, especially those in the stock market, are like an ocean where anything can happen at any time. One minute you can be up surfing a wave on top of the world, the next moment you can be down after a wipeout, trying to reach the surface.

New York is largely recognized for being home to many of America’s top-money people who have not only survived in the sea of finance, they have flourished. Jeff Proster is one of those people. What New York is less recognized for is having a strong surfing community; Jeff Proster is also a surfer. What follows are a few words from one of New York’s most successful traders, and also a proud member of the New York surfing community, Jeff Proster.

Willis Bros.: Good morning Jeff, what is it exactly that you do for a living?

Jeff: I work for a private brokerage hedge fund group now and what I do is trade from our own account and it helps support other traders so they can make more money so then they can go out and work on their surfing.

Willis Bros.: Do you want to mention the firm you work for?

Jeff: No I don’t, because they are super, super private. They do not like people knowing everything they do because then everyone will start doing what they do.

Willis Bros.: Obviously you are very successful, you live in Chelsea, New York, go on international surfing trips and stay at the best hotels like L’Auberge in Del Mar. How did you get into surfing in the first place?

Jeff: I think about 10 years ago I met Milton Willis, for surfing, I don’t remember quite how I first connected, they have a lot of friends out there and somehow we hooked up. Milton said it was karma that we met and he was to teach me surfing. I had been surfing before and it was torture up until that point. After surfing with Milton, everything came together and I learned to have a lot of respect for surfing and have kept surfing ever since.

Wills Bros.: How has the surf been in New York?

Jeff: The East Coast is hit or miss, it only gets good when there are tropical storms or hurricanes out here. When it’s breaking, sometimes the waves can reach heights of double overhead near Brooklyn. Lately it’s been real flat and the weather has been really really hot. I’ts been in the 90s for the past few days.

Willis Bros.: Who would you say are some of New York’s best surfers?

Jeff: I do not know their names right off the bat, but there are some surfers sponsored by Zoo York who are really good. There are good surfers up near Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Willis Bros.: Who are the top financial guys in New York?

Jeff: There is a guy who started a hedge fund called Amaranph who surfs and is very successful. He works with billions of dollars and he surfs every chance he gets.

Willis Bros.: How about that guy Michael Bloomberg?

Jeff: Michael Bloomberg is the mayor of New York. He does not surf. He is a pilot so he probably flies now and then. That guy is worth billions and billions of dollars.

Willis Bros.: How does surfing affect your work in finance?

Jeff: Surfing helps to relax me. It helps keeps me calm. Working in the market can be very stressful and surfing keeps me mellow. Plus you know how the waves are? The market is sort of like the waves, you learn to predict what’s coming just like the tides. This helps me do my job better.

Willis Bros.: Are there surf shops in New York the fashion capitol?

Jeff: Sure, surfing is big in New York! There is Pipedreams on 95th and York, which is really good, and there is another one out in Long Island Beach in Long Island called Unsound.

Willis Bros.: You have traveled to many exotic surfing locations, what is a surfing career highlight for Jeff Proster?

Jeff: I think last year surfing with Milton at Dog Beach in Del Mar. I caught some really long waves with Milton. I felt so high, the waves were nice and smooth and breaking almost perfect.

Willis Bros.: How about your coworkers do they know that you surf?

Jeff: Yes and they are sooooo envious!

Willis Bros.: Any inspiring last words for our readers?

Jeff: Catch some waves and stay mellow. Do not let the stress of the market bother you.

(Note: Though not known for surfing, some of the world’s best surfers came from New York, including Rick Rasmussen and Eric Penny. Michael Shermeyer also came from New York along with Californian transplant Hank Byzak. They have well-deserved reputations for shaping high-quality surfboards.)