My career of surfing followed this cycle: A really good result in which the confidence was up, which was then followed by a string of close calls and losses. I was coming off of a decent result and of course the next event wiped away the glee…and my finances. The only high point was that I did have a sponsor who was paying me to run his surf team and he gave me his word that he would reimburse me for half of my expenses. So I scraped up enough money for a plane ticket and some other items and was off with a friend to Barbados for a big contest.
Check Please! (of Reality…)
When we arrived, we were told of a massive swell that was on the way. The locals looked a bit spooked which did not give me a boost of a confidence of what was about to occur. When we awoke the next day, we ventured down to explore the island and to find where the breaks were at. We were staying in an area of Bathsheba known as “Cattle Wash” so it was a bit of a hike to Soup Bowls. As we walked, Alex looked at the sea and had that look like he knew he was in far over his head.
When we came along the cliff, Soup Bowls came into view. “Ummm…how big do you think those waves are?”, asked Alex. I looked and watched and then gave him my best opinion.
“That is about the size of medium Sunset Beach, I guess”
Alex did not seem thrilled by guesstimate.
After watching some people catch a few rides, we decided to eat some sandwiches. Everything was going great until the bill arrived. Seemed a bit pricey I thought.
So this began I cycle of surfing, eating, and losing money. The problem was that the money was not in abundance.
Two Days to Go And…
The trip was winding down, I had ridden some mammoth-sized waves, and I now had only enough money to pay and tip the taxi guy and to pay for the tourist tax to leave the island…and a few spare dollars. We then got a call that we were surfing on the west side of the island so I grabbed my board and then grabbed an extra surf shirt and my other pair of Quicksilver boardies.
During our break, I met some local teen age kids and I showed them my shirt and my boardshorts. They eyed them enviously. “This is all yours if you can get some food for me!”
When I came in, the kids were there and they looked a bit sad.
“All we could get from home.”
A big paper bag was put in front of me and inside was a giant block of goat cheese, some soda, and a big bag of saltines. This would have to do.
So until I boarded the plane, I just gorged myself on the cheese and crackers. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and every snack in between.
After decompressing for a few days, I ventured back to the surf shop. The owner and I talked for a while and then I asked him about the money. He seemed upbeat and he told me that at the moment he could not pay me. I was not worried because the boss always paid me.
A few days later I received a panic call from a friend.
“The shop is empty!”
A Complete Waste of Time
After reading this story, you probably think that I had a completely crappy time. Well, my friend and I always have agreed that this was a trip of a lifetime.
- I spent my days hanging out with some of the best surfers in the world.
- I rode some of the biggest waves on the smallest board and survived some full on beatings.
- I perfected a method of backside tube riding that I had only previously been tinkering with.
- I met some great people who I still consider to be good friends.
- I have a story to tell for the rest of my life.
Just Do It!
Everyone has doubts and fears. Everyone has a passion, a dream, and talents. Sometimes in life, you just have to go out on a limb and do something you feel passionately about. If you love to sing for example, taking the stage at Karaoke night will not guarantee that you will ever be a winner on American Idol. However, you could meet some new people or maybe even join a local band. Or maybe, it could lead to a funny story that is good enough to be a subject in a blog.