John Chao Vision Quest

Sam Grossman
slept in the back of his beat-up van on the side of the road. 
I almost felt sorry for him but,
I knew better.  

His van was filled with antiquated windsurfing equipment. That was the tell-tale sign. He was a windsurfer.

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Peggy & Sam Grossman congratulating Teresa Heinz at the 2004 convention in Boston

Sam Grossman


YEARS LATER, after befriending him through Senator John Kerry, I came to find why Grossman slept in his van. “I was too cheap to pay for a $30 hotel room,” he said over breakfast at his Maui beachfront house.

What no one knew in those early years, (what no one really cared), at the end of the weekend, after sleeping in the van for two nights, Grossman would sail “one-last-session” stuff his wet gear into the van, drive to a nearby airport, park the van and, reluctantly, walk to his awaiting Gulfstream and jet back to reality.

CROSSING PATHS in my Colombia River Gorge home. A long awaited visit by the Senator to go windsurfing during the 2004 Presidential campaign. It was Grossman who introduced the Senator to his future wife Teresa Heinz, a close family friend from Sun Valley, Idaho.

For years, our paths would cross. Sadly, they’ve diminished with age but delightfully, they’re been replaced by visits from his son Jimmy and grandson Buey.

I miss his stories. Tales of beach bum days surfing in Waikiki. His rags to riches recollections. His awakening to the world of responsibility, a dingy hotel room in New York City staring at a “beautiful wife and newborn son”.

I wanted to do a story on Sam Grossman for American Windsurfer, he would always graciously declined.


1980’s DECADE

INDULGING DEFIANCE: Photography gave me wings but also a sense of boundless creativity. This was a decade of independence, anti-establishment. It was a decade that avoided entrapment, both stylistic and accomplishment,. an era of exploration and renaissance.

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YEAR OF AWAKENING my vision quest became a source of visual revelation. I stepped into a symphony of synchronicity…

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It may not be Art but it's a collectable!
John Chao Vision Quest
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