When Vanity Fair sent reporter Michael Lewis to shadow Barack Obama for six months, the man went everywhere—from the White House to the basketball court to Air Force One—to get a deep, unique look into what makes our president tick. What did he find? Well, a lot of things. But one thing stood out: That in spite of being an East Coaster these days, Obama hasn’t lost his Hawaiian surfing roots:
"Aboard Air Force One, I’d asked him what he would do if granted a day when no one knew who he was and he could do whatever he pleased. How would he spend it? He didn’t even have to think about it:
When I lived in Hawaii, I’d take a drive from Waikiki to where my grandmother lived—up along the coast heading east, and it takes you past Hanauma Bay. When my mother was pregnant with me she’d take a walk along the beach. . . . You park your car. If the waves are good you sit and watch and ponder it for a while. You grab your car keys in the towel. And you jump in the ocean. And you have to wait until there is a break in the waves. . . . And you put on a fin—and you only have one fin—and if you catch the right wave you cut left because left is west. . . . Then you cut down into the tube there. You might see the crest rolling and you might see the sun glittering. You might see a sea turtle in profile, sideways, like a hieroglyph in the water. . . . And you spend an hour out there. And if you’ve had a good day you’ve caught six or seven good waves and six or seven not so good waves. And you go back to your car. With a soda or a can of juice. And you sit. And you can watch the sun go down …"