Most dads wouldn’t pull their nine-year-old out of school for an impromptu camping trip in Mexico. But Jack Rose isn’t most dads. His son Jon, now 40, remembers “sleeping on the beach, just totally winging it and having no plan…it’s not surprising that I created a very similar lifestyle as an adult.” That nine-year-old grew up to lead a nomadic life as a pro surfer, crisscrossing the globe in pursuit of the best waves.
In 2009, Jon was hunting swells in Sumatra when a 7.6 earthquake struck, decimating the coast of Indonesia. It was by chance that Jon had brought along the vague idea for a charity—called Waves For Water—as well as ten ceramic water filters. Watching those filters in action at the Red Cross, Jon found his life’s purpose.
Before the earthquake, Jon had lived what he described as an aimless, “very self-indulgent lifestyle,” and his father had encouraged him to try giving back. Jack’s fatherly advice wasn’t idle talk: he’s a carpenter who had built rain-catchment systems in Uganda and Kenya. His passion and dedication are at the root of Waves For Water, where he works today and which helps communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Haiti, Brazil, Indonesia, and Africa.
In celebration of Father’s Day, this radical duo reflects on their love for adventure and their unshakeable bond.
Beautycounter: Jack, what’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received?
Jack: The best Father’s Day [gift] I ever received was catching my son Jon when he was born at home. It was like catching a football; I crossed the finish line.
BC: What do you admire most about each other?
Jack: What I most admire about Jon is his consistency and his integrity, and how strong he is for standing for what he believes. But not in a showy way. It’s more behind the scenes. It’s like the root of a tree, where it’s there, it’s solid, but he’s not trying to get any attention.
Jon: It’s really hard for me to say what I admire most about my dad because there’s a lot of things, but I think the key piece since I’ve been a kid is just to really stay adventurous. At a very young age, he was showing me a lot of unorthodox adventures and experiences. I look back now, and I can see that they were really different choices for a parent to make. I’ve carved a different path for myself as a result, and when I have a family, I will probably do the same for them.
BC: Tell us a little about your father-son work dynamic.
Jack: If we have a really big decision to make in our life, we run it by each other. We don’t ask for an immediate response. It’s just like, meditate on that. We totally trust each other, so it’s great to get that reflection and feedback that perhaps is better than you can do for yourself.
Jon: Our transparency is so deep-rooted and embedded that we don’t even have a conscious system, it’s just the way we are. Like he said, we run every big decision by each other. We are partners in crime, you know—we have been forever. And that goes across the board, heavy times, light times, we’re just there to keep each other honest.
BC: Jon, what makes your dad a Counterman?
Jon: My dad is definitely a Counterman. Counterculture in the best way. He has carved his own path since day one. He’s got a very special way of looking at things. It’s very creative. Very expansive. And I’ve learned a lot from that.
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