Bryson Robertson Biography

(Posts by Bryson)

Twenty-five years ago on November 22nd, just as the morning star was fading with the dawn, I arrived in a world that was changing fast. Born a third generation Rhodesian, I became a Zimbabwean overnight as the country had its name changed with a new government. Four years later, my parents made the decision to move to South Africa for a few years to make the money necessary to raise and educate four children in Zimbabwe.

We made our home in a big old house in the wonderful seaside resort of Gonubie, where the distant noise of waves and often pounding surf was a constant in our lives. Nevertheless, as a hitherto land-locked five year old, the waves were monsters and scared me witless. I remember pleading with my Dad to ask the senior lifeguards not to send me out into the surf during my junior lifeguard training….. The day arrived when my brother, Ryan, decided it was time I learned to surf and took me straight to the backline. After scaring me witless, he conceded to my pleading and let me play in the whitewash – small beginnings for a sport which has changed, shaped, enriched and dominated my life ever since. By the time I was 9, I was a fully fledged beach bum out of school hours – as were all my friends.

The day my family decided to move to Canada, I was sure it was the end of the world. As everybody knows, Canada is a frozen wasteland filled with nothing but huskies and igloos and has a distinct lack of surf. Determined to allow me to continue to passion, on our first long weekend, the family packed up all the camping gear and headed to the beach town of Tofino. I spend three days freezing half to death trying to surf the 1ft slop. I was as happy as could be but still was skeptical of getting any decent surf in Canada. I had a surprise awaiting me once winter and the great pacific storms started to roll in…

Canada was about to teach me a lot more about surfing than just riding waves. I discovered that surfing in Canada is a unique experience. It is a completely different sport to surfing in California, the Gold Coast or any of the highly publicized mecca’s. It is as much about getting there as being there, and surviving there when you are there. It is about frozen feet, thick wetsuits, foggy grey seas, soggy rainforests, long drives or trips in questionable flotation devices, eagles, bears, solitude, fitness, improvisation …. I believe that this is where my spirit for adventure began and was nurtured. Searching for waves up and down the west coast of Vancouver Island is not easy …eight hour midnight hikes in thigh deep mud, paddling down remote rivers, depending on GPS systems to find our way, outsmarting boats that don’t want to float are just a few of the extra-mural excitements when you surf on the west coast of Canada.

Are we guaranteed waves at the end of this? Not a chance.

That is part of the adventure. I decided to continue my education at the University of Victoria, due to both its high academic record and its’ proximity to the ocean. While at UVIC, I became very aware of the repercussions of our society on the environment. We are all to blame of the amounts of garbage and chemicals at end up in our oceans. We, humans, are slowly killing our home…

I have two goals for this voyage; I hope to be able to research, study and educate myself and others as the effects of society on the great oceans of the world. I will be working in conjunction with Queens University to study the world’s reefs, their health and the waves that break along their contours. This will involve helping out with community efforts to rebuild after the great tsunamis of the past few years and other natural ocean disasters, documenting the reefs via the use of hyperspectral photography and putting on presentations as schools, sailing clubs and anywhere we can generate interest…

My other goal is to go in search of adventure. Something that is very rare in our world of plastic wrapping, safety rails, reality TV and antibacterial. We go not only to search out the world’s most remote waves, but also to try and learn from each of the cultures and peoples we meet along the way; To try and become part of their society and learn from them, if only for a brief period.
Maybe these sound like rather lofty and idealistic goals, but I truly believe in each and every one. I believe I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to learn about and hopefully educate others throughout this voyage…

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