What happens when three regular men get the opportunity to break free from ordinary life by accepting a series of challenges and adventures in Hawaii for 10 days?
Bumps, bruises and possibly a few tears, thanks to local legends Dave Kalama, big wave rider and SUP surfing pioneer; Archie Kalepa, renowned big wave surfer and ocean safety waterman; Bear Woznick, champion tandem surfer and author; Kimi Werner, champion spearfisher; Buzzy Kerbox, tow-in surfing pioneer; shaper Bret Marumoto and raw surf talent Tamayo Perry.
The show’s purpose: take three regular guys and push them through days of adrenaline-filled adventure brought on by activities that range from underwater rock running to skydiving. The “regular guys” are stay-at-home dad Chase Penny, MBA-holding bartender Luke Rodgers and pharmaceutical sales representative Steven Helmkamp, all notably young and handsome, but men who question their purpose in life upon the premise of the show. Despite the financial comfort their careers or lifestyles afforded them, the three men carried an emptiness that sent them on this epic journey, which would test their limits in hopes of finding satisfaction in their everyday lives.
“Men in this day and age have really lost themselves . . . keeping up with the Joneses,” explains Bear Woznick, who served as a kind of spiritual guide throughout the journey. “Men have had a problem finding what they really want to do or what’s really important in their lives. They get caught up in the grind. So the whole concept was to help men have a fresh perspective.”
Woznick says that you have to “crack open a man’s soul by bringing him to the end of his endurance,” so that was exactly the plan–to bring the three men to their breaking point.
“That’s where we get the clean break,” he laughs. “These guys got to turn their backs on temporal things and each one came away with a breakthrough. They were transformed people by the end.”
The three men experienced that eternal feeling that rests in a surfer’s soul, according to Woznick, who recently authored a book on the topic, Deep In the Wave: A Surfing Guide to the Soul.
“[Surfers] are not rebels, we just don’t care about what’s behind us,” he says. “All we care about is the next wave, what’s on the horizon. The most radical thing you can do in life is to be true to yourself.”
Finding his truth was exactly what brought stay-at-home dad Chase Penny on the Clean Break adventure. As a lifelong gymnast and athlete, Penny missed the competitive, adrenaline-seeking part of his life, which had been retired to the daily regimen of dishes, cooking, and taking care of his daughter, Violet, while his wife Summer pursued a successful career as a hairstylist.
“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wake up thinking I’m fortunate to be with my daughter every day,” Penny says. “But it’s about finding the balance of the other parts of you. That’s what I came back having learned: balancing priorities with passions–and not feeling guilty about my passions, which is a conflict within myself all the time.”
After a ruthless beach workout and standup paddle session with Dave Kalama on Maui, the two bonded over fatherhood.
“It’s one of those things where if you haven’t gone through it, it’s hard to communicate the significance,” Kalama recalls. “No matter how much of a father you are, you have to be satisfied with yourself to be a good father. [Penny] was looking for that balance.”
While Kalama says he was fortunate to find something he loved, had the opportunity to pursue it and then get good enough that people wanted to pay him to represent them, he told Penny and the others that they had to find something they love and do it purely because they love it.
Kalama, who had real jobs and understood the value of a dollar before he became a pro surfer (he washed dishes, bussed tables, and was a carpenter) says his bank account isn’t so fat, but living his lifestyle is invaluable, and adds that having a job doing what he loves feels like winning the lottery.
“What you love might not make you a lot of money but if you love it and can find a way to do it every day, that’s a win.”
Catch a vivid look into the aloha spirit through the touching exploits of these soul-searching men on Clean Break, Wednesdays at 11pm ET/8pm PT on FUEL TV.