I live in a place where you can surf 176 days in a row. I know this because I have seen it done…by younger fellows, whose shoulders can withstand that many days of punishment consecutively.
In this video, the boys tell me the story of how their dad, Conrad, set out to surf as many days in a row before having to go to the States for business. The boys started to join in the fun and before you knew it, the South Africans were on dawn patrol at the surf break every day of the week…for months. Kian hit 176 days in July 2022 and had to stop when he got COVID. This month Tristan also hit that record, and decided to share the title with his brother, rather than take it from him. A family that surfs together stays together.
Kian in front of the WSL banner
Conrad prepares Kian for battle at Soup Bowl
Kian and his competitors enter the water in the U12 at Soup Bowl
I learned to surf a little over two years ago. Conrad, Lorena, Kian, Tristan, and Luca learned just a couple of months after me. A few weeks ago, Kian and Tristan surfed Soup Bowl in a youth exhibition as part of the WSL world-class competition. Soup Bowl is known world-wide by surfers. It is a favorite surf spot of Kelly Slater, who was here last November in the biggest waves I have ever seen.
I am known to be a rather fearless surfer, but I would not have had the courage that Kian and Tristan did. The waves were BIG and messy. Talk about bravery. In the surfing final, Kian and his fellow competitors were all no more than 4 feet tall, making these waves double overhead. I knew many people in the crowd that day, and we were all cheering those boys on, so proud of them.
Surfing is a sign of true grit.
Surfing is a lifestyle and a meditation.
Surfing is a community and a belonging.
My life changed when I came to Barbados. When I learned to surf, something inside me clicked and I felt contentment like I had never known.
Boosy gives some up-front instruction at Drill Hall
We managed to get a surf lesson in with Boosy before Cole got sick
My surf instructor, Boosy, played a big part in that transformation. He was always encouraging, and he celebrated “the power of a woman.” Monday, I entrusted him with my cousin Shawna and her son Cole. While they are here over the next few weeks, if they can experience a fraction of the freedom and peace that surfing has brought me, then they are blessed.
I live in a place where you can surf 176 days in a row, surrounded by friends and a support network. A country where time-on-the-water can translate to surfing world-class waves if you can show some grit and perseverance. And often where we sit on the waves, waiting for the next set, brushing our hands through the clear water, and tilting our head up to the sun to give thanks and exclaim, we live here!! Barbados is magic.
Easter Monday with my favorite people: Conrad & Lorena, Erin & Darren
Easter Sunday with my fellow Canadians: David (and his Mom), Jenna, and new baby Isla