Dr. Ally enlisted the help of a local surf coach named Kimo on Oahu’s famous Waikiki Beach. From the minute he paddled out into the Pacific, it was love at first wave.
“I immediately felt a sense of calming, healing and processing,” he says.
For the next six or seven years, Dr. Ally met with Kimo two to three times a week, learning the sport from the ground — or shore — up.
“It became an essential part of my life. We would talk about life. I learned a lot about Hawaii and the culture of aloha and what that means, and I learned about the surf community,” he recalls. “It was a way for me to process and manage the stress and anxiety that would show up in my blood. I had to play many roles as a physician, father and husband, and this was one thing I was able to do for myself.”
Dr. Ally retired from the Army in 2017 and moved to San Diego, his physician wife’s hometown, to be closer to her family and nurture her medical career. He joined the Scripps Clinic team in Oceanside.
While he may be on a different Pacific Ocean coast, one thing has remained the same: his respect for the culture of aloha.
“Aloha means being true to yourself, paying it forward, being kind, loving one another and loving yourself,” he says, adding that it’s a culture he is proud to role model to his daughters, ages 7, 10 and 12, whom he is also teaching to surf.
He even shares his love of the sport and the spirit with his patients, whom he sees at times on the water — a place that remains his destress sanctuary.
“There’s a power within the water. It allows me to calm my mind and be with nature,” he concludes. “We’ve been blessed to live in this amazing place and be at these beautiful beaches, surrounded by dolphins and beautiful sunrises. I start the day with a bolus of energy, and I don’t let anything else derail it. It allows me to love my day.”
This content appeared in San Diego Health, a publication in partnership between Scripps and San Diego Magazine that celebrates the healthy spirit of San Diego.