Wednesday, January 21, 2009

dolphins & rainbows

I went to Florida last week for the January Surf Expo Show. I usually don't attend that show because of the one I go to in September. The reasons for going were twofold; one to see what I could learn that would help the business, and two I really wanted to go surfing with Tom Price and his family in Melbourne.
The show was cool and I got to see some new gear and old friends, as well as meet some new ones.
Last fall we ordered a new line of sandals for the shop from a company called Olukai. I met the E.V.P of the company, Dan at the show. In addition to giving me a really cool pair of new flip flops, he gave me a Makau. The Makau is a bone fish hook, and is the Polynesian symbol worn for safe passage over the water, strength and good luck. While just a simple token, I believe there is something to its power.

I used points off the shop credit card to pay for my airfare and hotel. Since I was on a budget, I booked an inexpensive hotel at the north end of I -Drive. When I arrived at the hotel I was told I had been given an "upgrade", and that I would be staying in the Rosen Shingle Creek. For those that don't know, the Shingle Creek is one of the newest, and nicest hotels in Orlando. Two hot tubs, multiple pools, beautiful rooms, and a killer dinner and breakfast buffet. Score one for the power of the Makau.
I spent some time on Friday hanging out in the Naish booth. In addition to seeing Charlie and Nick from the US distributor(I missed seeing my buddy M.J), I finally got to meet Naish product manager Michi and was also able to spend some time with Robby, and former Annapolis boy Andy (Birdman) Church. It is hard not to be in awe of somebody like Robby, but he is a really nice guy, and I appreciate him taking the time to chat. Robby, you still da man!

After visiting with the Naish crew, I went to the Surftech booth to get the lowdown frow Drew on the new boards. The first thing I saw was this very cool looking yellow board called the the "Greek Shorty". It is sort of like a 9'6 longboard except that it is only 8' long. Love at first sight. Yeah baby! Now it is mine, and it is now living in Melbourne Florida with Tom.
Between appointments, I cruised around the show and ran into Robert August (of Endless Summer fame) and talked to him for a few minutes. He had just returned from surfing in Costa Rica, and he is still as stoked to surf today as he was more than forty years ago. Thanks for sharing that stoke with me.

It is fun see all the people, the gear, the swimsuit models, and visit with friends.

Saturday morning, I stopped by the show for a bit, grabbed my new board and drove over to Cocoa to meet up with Tom and his son Dane. We waxed up the new board and headed into the water. It was cool by Florida standards, but we were all comfortable in 3/2 wetsuits. I actually managed to catch the very first wave I went for on the new board! Talk about stoked!! I missed a whole bunch of others, but I did get a few more rides and had a great time watching Tom and Dane show me how it is supposed to be done.

On the way down to Melbourne, we stopped at Balsa Bill's Surf Shop. Bill still makes boards the old fashioned way out of balsa, and if you are ever down that way you should check his shop out.

Tom and Janet fixed up an excellent dinner and then we went over to the beach to see the night launch of a satellite from the Kennedy Space Flight Center. Unfortunately the launch didn't happen, but seeing the stars from the beach was still pretty cool.

Sunday morning, we ate breakfast and headed to the beach for another surf session. Tom got more rides than anyone in the water and looked good doing it. Dane was one of just a few people on a shortboard, but he was getting his fair share of waves too. While waiting for a set to roll in, I had a dolphin swim close by, and I took that as a good sign. Moments later a perfect wave pitched up, I paddled hard and I just missed it, but as the spray blew back off the lip it created a rainbow over my head. Dolphins and Rainbows, how cool is that? Mostly I just tried to stay out of everybody's way, but I did get a couple of rides on the new board. I paddled until my arms pooped and went in and watched from the beach for a while.

After the surf session we picked up the rest of the Price crew and went to Da Kine Diego's for lunch. Thanks to Tom and Dane, There is now an East of Maui sticker joining many hundreds of others on the wall.

We left Da Kines and went to the Cocoa Beach Surf Company to see their Classic Surfboard Collection. Bing Copeland was on hand for a book signing and Balsa Bill was strumming away on the ukulele. It was a good time and there were some pretty sweet old boards on display.

My time with Tom and the family was too short, but I had to get back to Orlando for my flight home. I can't wait to get back to see them, and you know what....... I have a really sweet surf board down there just waiting for me! Cool.

The flight home was uneventful, I even got on an earlier flight ( I think the Makau was at work again).

Monday morning, I got up and loaded my snowboard gear and went to Whitetail. The snow was awesome. To be able to play in the unfrozen snow on Sunday and then on the frozen snow on Monday was a dream come true.



1 comment:

Anne said...

Hey - this is your little sister. I've been checking out your blog now and again. You seem to have a super fun life. I would love to come up and go sailing.... when? We finally got SNOW! All the pics and all the inaugeration footage sure made me homesick.