March 15, 2021 3 min read
I’m Eric Santos (he/him), I’m a 28 year old person that spends a lot of my time in the ocean and rubbing up on rocks in the desert.
How did you start climbing?
I first climbed as a scout, or well tried to. I was a pretty anxious kid and couldn’t really handle the heights or the stress of failure. I started climbing at Hangar 18 at the end of high school and got a job belaying little humans so I could sustain the habit. Looking at how expensive gyms are in the LA area currently, I’m very thankful for that situation as I probably wouldn’t have stuck with it if things were different.
What impact has climbing had on your life?
Oh man, this is kind of open ended. In short, it really improved it, but it has always been a complicated relationship. I, like I think many other weird kids without much else going on, turned to climbing as a personality. In my head, I was “Climber Eric”. Everything I did revolves around it. I eventually got hurt doing some indoor bouldering and was faced with my life being really one-dimensional. I realized that I needed to do other things to make myself happy, especially since climbing isn’t 100% sustainable. However, I’m still living in my tiny-ass van trying to get as much time out as possible so it’s still a huge part of my life.
What are some other things you do that you find most fulfilling?
I surf a lot, especially in periods of my life when I’m working. Based on where I’m at currently it’s easier to get a few hours of time in the ocean before work. I also play bass and synth for a few creative projects (Godrus, Morning Synth, Fiddly Dookus)
If you could tell the world one thing, what would it be?
Don’t take yourself so seriously and make an effort to care for people.
Favorite thing about Dynamite Starfish?
I’ve always felt DS is everything I love about climbing. It gives off this “yeah I’m a weirdo but I’m having a good time” vibe and Leslie has always been such a caring, giving person. As far as I’m concerned those are my core values too.
Image of Eric Santos by Tom Evans
Is there something you're working on that you'd like to tell our community about? We love a good story.
Recently I’ve been focusing on mental health by going to therapy and physical strength by training and eating well. It’s kind of wild how closely the two are linked for me. Historically, I won’t take care of myself if I’m not feeling stoked on life and my performance usually suffers from it. It’s getting easier and I totally recommend anyone having trouble to reach out for help.
You can find Eric on Instagram at @sandytofu
Want to get to know more of the climbers in the amazing Dynamite Starfish community? Check out our archive of Climber Interviews here.
We hope you have enjoyed these sneak peeks into climbers' lives. We're on a mission to share diverse stories about rock climbing. Let's push the boundaries of who we know as climbers. Let's use our energy and passion for the outdoors to love our environment and inspire one another.
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