Musings on Sail to Surf

Want to Sail Around the World and Surf ? Yeah right.

About 7 years ago now, three young friends came up with this great idea. They were going to sail around the world in small boat and surf all the best waves in the world. The idea began to germinate in their fertile yet partially frozen/incapacitated minds after yet another freezing surf during the middle of the Canadian winter. “Sail away to the promised South Seas, where the surf was always pumping, the water warm, the locals friendly and the wind always blew 10 – 15 knots” -ahhhhh..

For arguments sake, let us call these three young fellows Hugh, Ryan and Bryson. They spent many nights sitting indoors, hiding from the winter storms, scheming all the waves they would find and how they would surf the best swell at each spot before moving on to the next world class location. They even got so far as coming up with an itinerary of countries they were going to visit: Mexico, Gambier Islands, Tuamotu’s, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, The Andaman Islands, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Seychelles, Madagascar, South Africa, Namibia, Brazil, The Entire Caribbean Sea and the whole western seaboard of North America. They sat , and schemed, and planned. 100 – 110 nm seemed a fair daily distance covered total, tropical storm seasons seemed easily scheduled, and sailing books provided all sorts of lists about equipment and supplies they should buy. In their highly educated opinion, they would be able to spend 3 days surfing for every day sailing. Fantastic -What a great idea !

Fast forward 7 years.

Bryson and Hugh are sitting in the middle of yet another 3 week long passage from island to island. Over the past two months, they have spend more time sailing than touching solid ground (let alone surfing) and have not scored a decent swell since sometime in March in Mexico. There is nothing for the two of them to look at but the endless horizon, the ocean and each other. Sitting back, they laugh about their naivety. Over the past three years they have come to realize and understand a few constant rules about sailing and surfing:

1) Sail boats go slowly and the world is big. Seriously big.
2) Sailing seasons and surfing seasons are generally exclusive of each other.
3) Sailing around the world in three years may not be the best idea.
4) They would have got more surf if they had stayed at home.
5) Always smell the thawed chicken in the ‘freezer’ before eating it.

However, as these two ‘hardy explorers” try to avoid each others’ gazes, they cannot help but reminisce about the unexpected lessons and waves they did score along the way. Lists of exotic locales and un-namable names are not too deep in the memory. The memories of multitude incredible sessions and waves they enjoyed, with just the solitary company of Khululas’ crew, will always be deeply etched. They also realized that some of their initial idealistic thoughts about the sailing to surf are completely true in this world:

1) There are thousands of empty and perfect waves still unexploited in the world.
2) If you never want to surf with other people again in your life, buy a boat and leave. It is possible.
3) Locals around the world are friendly unless you are unfriendly or stupid.
4) Sometimes the bend in the reef just around the corner is surfable and all-time.
5) Shallow water is just a frame of mind. If your fins aren’t hitting the reef then it is deep enough. (Note: We are looking for about 8 Right Hand M5 fins if anyone has some.)

So as these “tough, weather hardened”(read: weak, tea drinking) sailors head home, they would like to offer this advice to folks who would like to sail and surf their way around the globe:

1) Don’t sail around the world
2) Buy a catamaran
3) Take 7 years
4) Stay in the South Pacific and Indian Oceans
5) Take up reading as a passion because you will do more of it than surfing.

Oh yeah and one last thing; Be aware this may change your perspective on ‘crowded’ surfing locations, more than 10 people means the surf is so crowded it may not even be worthwhile.

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