I absolutely love surfing and have a massive respect for those who can make a living off of this great sport and also have the skills and talent to prevail through the tough conditions that surfers often must conquer.
I’m not one who would ever rush up to a pro surfer after a heat, like the groups of vulture like surf fans typically do at places like the U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach. I’d rather find a way to encounter them at time when their not surrounded by an influx of people and feel claustrophobic. That’s why I was excited for the autograph signing that RipCurl recently hosted up at their store in San Clemente. It was an organized place where fans could come in and get a chance to exchange a few words with some of the top surfers in the world and also get an autograph. I’m also not one who typically is celebrity obsessed and standing in line for autographs, but these surfers have skills and talent and aren’t just known for the silver spoons they were born with.
I got to the autograph signing an hour early as I was trying to prevent being stuck in a huge long line at the onset. As I was standing there for that hour I was listening to people in front of me talking about where they were coming from and I was thinking in my head what I wanted to say to some of these amazing surfers who I look up to in amazement.
When I got up close in line to some of RipCurl’s elite team, I started getting a bit excited and wanted to get my photographs in so I wouldn’t have to mess with a camera when I got their autograph. Typically the surfers sign posters of themselves or surfboards/fins that people bring in, however since pro surfers inspired my Surfer Boys song and I think some of the girl pro surfers their would appreciate my Surf with Amigas and maybe I’d Rather Ride a Wave song, I thought I would have them sign my Friends with Benefits album.
The first surfer I encountered was Matt Wilkinson and I think he was a bit confused at first as to why I wanted him to sign my CD. I asked him, “is that weird” – ha. He then just asked me what pro surf event inspired my Surfer Boys song and I told him it was the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach about 5 years ago. (It was actually I think the one 4 years ago that Kelly Slater was in but I didn’t want to bring up his name because it was really inspired by pro-surfers overall, however that was the first pro event I ever saw an air during, which is just so much different and more exciting live than in some edited surf video perfection). Anyway, I thought it was cool that Matt even asked further about what specific event inspired my Surfer Boys song. It just goes to show that surfers are the coolest, they actually listen and are curious.
When I gave my CD to Mick Fanning to sign he seemed a bit curious too and even turned the CD around to look at the front side, ha! I told him great job on his heat victory the previous day (you know, then one against Kelly Slater with the infamously debated 4.17 score – I do think Kelly deserved a higher score on that wave, but Mick did definitely deserve the overall heat win!!). He said thanks and then I told him that I loved following them on the Search GPS app and made sure he noticed the RipCurl Search GPS watch that I was wearing. I know I’m just making up things on my head, but I found it cool that he logged a Search GPS session that next day – so inspired and influenced by me, right – ha! Mick seriously is now one of my fave surfers, he just seems like such a cool, down to earth guy, and he has balls!! I’ve heard he grew up in a rougher area as a kid, had the misfortune of losing his brother who had hoped to be on the WCT with him, and came back to win the season after a potentially career ending injury that literally tore his hamstring off. It takes raw dedication and pure balls to survive and come through how Mick has, I hope he wins the whole thing this year, I mean what a movie that would be, his life is already an inspiring movie…..just like Bethany Hamilton’s, another shark attack survivor. I found it interesting that two of RipCurl’s Elite team members were shark attack survivors, that’s probably a bad and good thing – bad luck maybe, but good thing as they are survivors!!
Bethany Hamilton was there as well and I actually gave her and THE OTHER SURFER GIRL Nikki Van Dyke? My CD to have as well as my copy to sign, as I think the girls might actually have a chance at listening to my music, as I really don’t think my style of music if the surfer guys type of music. But hey, if they got jealous that I gave my CD to Bethany and Nikki, they can always borrow it from them and rip the songs off for themselves – ha Bethany was super cool tool and talking with someone about how amazing the weather was right now and I was trying to chime in too with regular conversation talk (instead of typical fandom hysteria) and say how the water was ALMOST as warm as Hawaii now, almost!! I then told her how I backed her upcoming film she is making on Kickstarter and couldn’t wait to see it. Obviously things have been delayed since she became pregnant and gave birth to her first child, but maybe she’ll take a listen to my CD and want to use a song or two in the film, I’m offering my songs up for free placement right here and now
I also got up close to Gabriel Medina, last year’s WCT winner and first Brazilian winner ever. I’ve seen him in interviews and his English is great, but I can see he is in his comfort zone when he starts talking Portugese after, when he’s speaking for friends/family at home, so I thought I would thank him in Portuguese by saying “Obrigado”. I’ve never met a shy Brazilian before but he seemed a bit shy that day. I’m sure it’s because it was him being a professional surfer business person, as he’s not on tour to make friends but to win!!! I feel ya Gabe, sometimes ya just gotta go in and get the job done – no distractions like me, ha!
Owen Wright was also there along with his sister Tyler Wright. I think Owen found some entertainment at my initial excitement of seeing all those hot pro surfers just sitting there, waiting for me (as you can see with the expression on his face in this photo), ha! I was bummed I didn’t realize Tyler Wright was in front of me when I was having everyone sign my stuff as she didn’t seem to look up, when I was in front of her so I couldn’t tell who she was . Oh well, there’s always next year. Next year I will already have my autographs and will be able to squeeze in some more exchanges of words, as that’s the thing. We get so obsessed with getting the photo with the person or getting the autograph, that we sometimes miss out on the chance of getting to truly interact with someone, which could leave a bigger impression on them than taking a photo with them ever would. However that won’t keep me from trying to snag a photo bomb type of selfie shot if I ever see one of my fave surfers again, ha.
Surfers are the best, surfer boys, surfer chicks, they keep it real and are mentally and physically tough – I think the sport of surfing and the World Surfing League (aka WSL) should at least be as big as the NFL, as surfers do not have any protection on them typically when they go out and face waves with the force of an entire football team!!!!
Go World Surf League and Thank You RipCurl. It was a great event, with a raffle generating funds for a great charity, and they provided delicious Wahoo Taco’s and Banzai Bowls for free. I definitely feel the added value for my RipCurl Search GPS watch now. Thanks again!!!