Guest Editor Bernd Roediger gives us the day’s report.
Today, we ran heats. A lot of them, in the usual succession that is common in competition. This is the way of things, Its fun for the competitors, especially the people that win! But it sometimes struggles to bring people in from outside the scope of the sport, as all surfing sports are difficult to follow, the local community fails to connect with what’s happening. This time, however, we had Brian Talma, the Action Man, a microphone in his hand and a wild mind full of madness planned! Yes, today was different, the same stark itemization of heats that so stacks up the waffle walls of mundane competitive surfing, were lathered thoroughly with a certain, sensuously sweet, syrup. This illustrious nectar that we so joyously gorged upon, was the stuff of lifestyle! The stuff of Bajan culture, and Beach Culture, the kind of fun Brian Talma produces.
You see today, the International Windsurfing Tour and the Beach Culture World Tour came together to compliment each other in the most harmonious of ways. While Amateur heats ran, Brian busied himself on the beach, coordinating activities like Cricket and Conch Blowing competitions! The beach was bustling with people totally unaware of what windsurf competition even looked like, they were there for the beach, the brews, and the babes. The fun, the real action happening between human beings as they frolicked in the sand and played games and enjoyed Beach Culture, good food, blasting music, a Saturday. “And, oh, what’s this? Windsurfing?” I’m gonna be straight up here and say, we didn’t have amazing conditions today, but most of the people watching had never seen a windsurf contest, and were amazed at the display of skill, passion, and ocean-mindedness out there. That was the real win, the inspiration supplanted into new minds, connected to a fresh set of eyes, normal people. Not the same group of windsurfers, watching ourselves do our sport, and then spending the rest of the day, recounting what we had all seen, parroting it back to each other! We might’ve enlisted some new windsurfers today!
And I want to be clear, contests are super hard to run, and I give Sam Bittner, and her whole crew of hard working staff, a ton of props! The idea that they can coordinate an event full of rowdy windsurfers, get it to run from beginning to end, with everyone so stoked, so in love with the sport, so ready to come back, is a massive win for the IWT! They do this every stop of the tour, its amazing. The Beach Culture World Tour was simply able to add an additional facet to the day. Where Brian might’ve struggled to get that many heats done, on his own, whilst still keeping the energy off the water alive, he tag teamed with the International Windsurfing Tour. This is what created the massive impact of the day, two separate engines working in unison to drive a single machine forward, one is made of color and vibrance and frivolity, and provides the short bursts of energy, the other powers through the substantial workload and gets the job done in a way that is beautiful and elegant, requires no praise, but quietly turns like the workings of a Swiss watch. This is, simply, how I saw the day.
As the event continued, we traded windsurf heats with kitesurf and paddlesurf/surf heats, so no one was excluded, and every local rider could come to the beach! We saw a lot of cross-migration this way, and co-mingling of the sports, as surfers of all disciplines made their way across the sands to uncover a sport they had never really affiliated with, only to find that they are all just different sides of the same coin.
As the conditions died away, one last magnanimous effort was at hand. A parade! All the athletes from the IWT, and all the spectators, took to the Beach Culture banner and paraded around the streets of Silver Sands, with amazing music and dance, collecting locals from their homes, walking arm-in-arm, these complete strangers shared a unique moment. And, Brian’s vision of Organic Tourism came to life, as the local community embraced us, the travelers, and gave a unique, authentic, experience. This was what made the day, we shared our sport, our love, and lifestyle, with real people. And in return, those people fed us, showed us new places, new customs, maybe even new ideology, the things we seek as we explore our world. I couldn’t have asked for a better day of competition, a better day of Life Upon Earth!
Text by Bernd Roediger and photos by Si Crowther