Although the hub of Brevard County surfing was only a few miles to the south, I sat in crystal clear water without a soul to be seen as far as the eyes could see. Sets poured in. I rode to my hearts desire blasting turns without the hassle and hustle that was taking place a few scant miles down the beach.
When I come in, I made my way up the boardwalk to the backyard and hosed off the salt water.
You got some good rides buddy! My father offered me something to drink. Then the owner of the house chimed in.
I like how you went into the first turn right when you took off. That floater…do that.
I knew when you had a person with the pedigree of Dick Catri giving advice then you should pay attention.
Dick made us dinner. Tomorrow would be a long day for the both of them. Another surf contest. I would be surfing and taking notes.
Dick passed away the other day and the tributes began to fill up my social media feeds. For the sport of surfing, his contributions were huge. He came up as a contest surfer representing Florida and began to shape surfboards. He also made the transition from contest surfer to surf contest administrator and his events provided a platform for countless surfers to gain experience and to earn the money necessary to travel and to make a name in professional surfing.
Under his label of Catri Surfboards, he picked up some kids to surf on his team. For many of them, it was the first steps into the framework of sponsorship and many took the next steps to up the level of their career paths. The biggest was Kelly Slater.
As I line up my turn and pull myself high up the wave face to gain some speed, it will because of some words spoken to me by surfers such as Dick, Pete Dooley, Peter Townend, Rabbit Bartholomew, and Greg Taylor. People who took the time to give me direction that I would use over countless waves and whose words I would recite so often that they would imbed into my being. As a grom will be out at the inlet reciting my words as they remember to pull up their arms to get more lift.
And like Dick Catri and many other important people in my life, I will strive to give and not just take.
The tao of Dick Catri.