Erik, the oldest of 4 children, has been the director of the NEVER QUIT message his father left him. His tireless efforts constantly kept all that know him, captivated and energized, and his vision is always focused on helping others and educating them as to how to avoid what happened to his amazing father.
After his father, Gerard, suffered a stroke and brain bleed, many doubted that he would be capable of making any positive progress. Fastforward 2 ½ years and due to Gerard’s go get-um attitude and the eternal optimism and drive of Erik and his family, the remarkable progress just kept coming.
The two words, NEVER QUIT, perfectly describe the every day life and attitude of Gerard, his wife Reidunn, and children, Karina, Sonya, Paul and Erik.
He moved with his family to the Canal Zone at the Isthmus of Panama when he was just 7 years old, where his father would become a Panama Canal ships pilot.
Erik’s world revolved around his father, his mother Reidunn, the ever loving home maker, his brother and sister and his new surroundings.
Erik lived in the most beautiful place on earth, a jungle town called Gatun, as well as the surrounding American Canal Zone and country of Panama. His life was one of exciting travel and adventure. He was constantly in the jungle, exploring caves, enjoying ship adventures with his father as well as surfing, fishing and diving.
At 17, Erik took off on his own journey around the world, spending time in the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe where he went hiking, surfing and adventuring. Each year Erik would spend roughly 8 months in Panama and 4 months traveling around the world seeking new adventures.
At 18, Erik was introduced to the newest family addition, Karina. From the beginning, Karina was introduced to the same exciting adventures the family was so fortunate to experience every day. While in the Canal Zone, Erik and his business partner created and managed the largest and a highly desired clothing company supplying apparel to the US Military exchanges, Panama Canal employees and the Cruise Lines.
In the year 2000, just after Jimmy Carter and the U.S. Senate illegally gave away the U.S. Panama Canal and Canal Zone, Erik and his family moved from the American Canal Zone and split their time between both Atlantic Beach, Florida, Australia and in countries around the world. During these years, Erik and his family has treasured coaching his sister Karina in surfing and taking her on wild outdoor adventures. Also, from 2000 onwards Erik created media campaigns for the action sports and mainstream companies and has played an active role in promoting and educating Americans about our Constitution and Liberty.
Of all the amazing roles that Erik has enjoyed, he has treasured most spending time with his parents and traveling around the world. He thrived being around his driven and dynamic father prior to his stroke, and also how driven and loving his father was once he came out of his coma. Erik was able to have 3 years and 3 months by his fathers side in his recovery after his brain bleed in May 2006, until his father moved Home December 31, 2009 after his final brain bleed December 31, 2009. It was during this time that Erik learned the most in life, learning so much from his father, even when it was difficult for his father to communicate to Erik. This is when the Never Quit message was brought to a large audience, so that all could learn to avoid hypertension, get active and take on their own Never Quit message.
Erik has traveled to 48 countries, speaks fluent Norwegian, English, and some Spanish. He is 6’ 4”, blond and tan, fitting the profile of the typical surfer and free spirited traveler. Erik would be the one to guide you around the planet in search of that next adventure as he himself is an accomplished surfer & traveler that has circled the world many times in search of his own explorations…in search of his own escapes.
- Born in Oakland California.
- Moved to the Canal Zone to the townsite: Gatun
- Cub Scout, Webelos, Boy Scouts
- Cristobal High School
- Panama Canal College
- Bible College, Queensland Australia
- Created a clothing line for military Exchanges with$ 500 that grew to $1 million in store sales in 2 years 7 months from the original $500. Largest volume of sales for all U.S. Military Exchanges outside the Continental U.S.
- Main provider of shirts for the following cruise lines: Royal Caribbean, P & O, Holland America, Crystal Cruise Lines.
- Photo and video campaigns for: Roxy, Quiksilver, Oakley, Sobe/Pepsi, Point Conception, Simple Shoes, Vans shoes, Electric Visual, Estee Lauder, Oceana, Aloe Up, Flojos Sandals, Smith Optics, Gravity Board, Body Glove, Salt Life, and others.
- Have shot for the following magazines: People, US, Teen Vogue, Vogue, FHM, Surfing, Surfer, ESM, Australian Surfing Life, Girl’s Life, Surfer Girl, Surfing Girl, and others.
- Coached and managed Karina Petroni from 9 years old until she became the #1 U.S. surfer and the most covered female by the time she was 18 years old.
- Created and director of: NEVER QUIT
- Created and the director of: NEVER QUIT Wold Tour. The world’s largest free events worldwide for deployed U.S. Armed Service members, prompting health and a Fit to Fight message.
- Motivational speaker
- Created marking/advertising projects with: USAA, 3M, Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute, Oakley, Johnson & Johnson / ACUVUE, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force, Mountain House, Ford, Subaru, GMC, Pepsi, Food For Life, Home Depot, G-SHOCK/Casio, Winn-Dixie, Publix, Navy Federal, Stahls, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Safe Reflections, Sony, RCCL, Crystal Cruises along with others.
- Created and managed recruiting events for all 4 U.S. military branches and for Special Operations.
- Super Brochure for Ron Paul (Largest grassroots media project in history lifting Ron Paul in the polls by 20%)
- 2nd Amendment Brochure creation http://www.superbrochure.com
- Traveled to 48 countries
(Erik taking Dad out of the hospital into the fresh air each day)
The original NEVER QUIT writing that Dad wrote to me when I asked him to tell me what was he would tell me if he could talk.
Dad (post stroke & brain bleed) looking at a replica of Capt. Cooks sailing ship) 2009
Tarpon fishing down the Chargres River with Hunter Tiber and Cliff Frank
Dad and I were down in St. Augustine on an adventure looking at all the old forts and the boats and his legs became weak, so I put Dad on my back and carried him. When I was a kid I would always ride on Dad’s back and steer him by pulling the ear lobe in the direction I wanted to go. One day, before dad could speak again, I felt his hand slowly reach up to my ears and he pulled it ever so kindly in the direction he felt it would be nice to go. My heart was ever so warmed. These walks with dad on my back are by far the highlights of my life.
(Taking Dad for daily walks to help him regain his strength. Some of the happiest times of my life, encouraging Dad and growing so much closer to him. We would sing our favorite song; That’s Life by Frank Sinatra while we would go for these long walks. It was raining this day in Florida and I found a bit of cardboard and made a roof for dad’s head. Atlantic Beach Florida. July 2007)
Speaking at NEVER QUIT. June 2010
(Surfing at Vanos on Fort Sherman, Canal Zone)
As dad was a Sea Captain we often traveled to where Dad was working or training. Here Dad and I are going for a beach run in Fort Lauderdale while he was waiting for his ship. 1974
Speaking to high school students on the principles to love others, care and respect your parents and how we as sons and daughters can help our parents avoid hypertension, strokes and get them healthy. In addition we talk about the importance to take on a positive Never Quit attitude in all that we do, with a cheerful attitude and smile.
Here were are singing the Frank Sinatra song, “That’s Life” This was Dad’s favorite song as the entire message talks of that no matter how great you can become, you will be brought down. But, we must always pick ourself up and get back in the race. We end each school presentation where all the students sing this song and as entire group we also rehears the poem, “IF” By Rudyard Kipling.
Family photo. June 2, 2009 after the first Never Quit
(Fishing in Lake Gatun at the Panama Canal for Peacock bass. One day we caught 250. With the warm sweet jungle air, giant ships passing by and howler moneys in the trees with toucans flying in the thick jungle, it was pure paradise).
At the 1st NEVER QUIT Beach Fest, June 2009. Due to Dad’s first stroke and brain bleed, Dad was unable to walk on his own, so he held the stroller and we would push for sections of his run so he would not fall over. He was always smiling. He passed away from his final stroke and brain bleed 6 1/2 months later, after the above picture was taken.