Clay Marzo and Asperger’s syndrome: Outside Mag article hits close to home

30 Sep

Recently I read an article in September’s edition of Outside Magazine about surf pro Clay Marzo.  Clay suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism.  It’s a condition that’s often characterized by awkward social behavior and near-obsessive focus.

The article resonated with me especially since our 4 year old son, Coulter, was diagnosed with Asperger’s last year.  Meadow and I knew Coulter’s personality and mental processes were unique since he was a baby, so the diagnosis didn’t come as a surprise.  It was actually a relief to finally have an answer.

Coulter looks and sounds like a normal kid, but his Asperger’s becomes more apparent the older he gets.  Meadow and I constantly wonder how best to manage it.  Believe it or not, the hardest part is helping others understand his behavior.


My Coulter

There is no medical treatment for Asperger’s.  Prescription medications can only mitigate some of its symptoms, and at this point we consider that route too risky.  The best way to manage it, it seems, is by informing ourselves about the condition and adapting our parenting to it.  We can also help Coulter train himself.

Back to Clay Marzo.  The brilliantly-written and insightful piece highlights both the difficulty of living with Asperger’s syndrome and the ability to turn its proverbial lemons into lemonade.

Marzo channels his focus on surfing and has become arguably one of the world’s best at the sport.  He was was featured in a short documentary surf film by Quicksilver, his sponsor, titled Clay Marzo: Just Add Water.

Check out the trailer for the film below, then head over to Outside Mag to read the article.


Posted by on September 30, 2009 in Random Musings


4 responses to “Clay Marzo and Asperger’s syndrome: Outside Mag article hits close to home

  1. Forrest

    September 30, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I found your blog when looking for info about Clay Marzo. I am 35 and was finally diagnosed with Aspergers at age 30. I was really touched to read about Clay in the Outside article and relate to him on so many different levels. I kinda get focused on snowboarding and photography like Clay does with Surfing. When i was younger my obsession was the space shuttle. I write a blog too and also am from utah. If you ever have a question about whats going on inside your son’s head, dont be afraid to ask, I can probably give you some much needed insight. There are so many things that parents should know that are not told by doctors or in any books. Thanks for the post, its makes me feel like good to know people with kids with Aspergers are trying their best to understand.

    • bonnevillemariner

      September 30, 2009 at 5:29 pm


      Thanks so much for commenting! Coulter’s focuses have been pirates and Star Wars (the picture in the post is of him at the Jedi Training Academy at Disneyland last month).

      Tell me, as somebody who has lived his entire life with Asperger’s, are we wise to feed Coulter’s obsessions, or would it benefit him for us to steer him toward a variety of interests? I appreciate your insight.

  2. Forrest

    September 30, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    Send me an email at forrestgladding@gmail and we converse via email instead of the comment section. I dont mind having some of my personal life out in the open, but lets not put everything out there.

  3. Forrest

    September 30, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    PS, my sisters name is Meadow!


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