My Dad bought me my first bodyboard and fins for Christmas when I was 10 years old, it was a cheap foam board from a dodgy seaside surf shop, the fins were long diving fins, my Dad had no idea what he was doing. I scored my first barrel on that board and the froth set in, real deep. Move on 30 odd years and that same stoke hits me every time I’m headed for a wave.
I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t lost for a while. I moved from Durban, South Africa to the UK over a decade ago, long before social media gave us a direct link to others also hooked on the stoke of riding waves. I didn’t get in the water for almost 10 years, my wardrobe also changed, gone were the days when the shelves were stacked with t-shirts emblazed with logos from Viper, Custom X, Churchill, Morey and so many more. T-shirts that I was proud to wear because they tied me back to something special, something that I was a part of.
One day I stumbled upon a Facebook post from someone selling a board, fins and wetsuit for really cheap. I bought it immediately without any thought, I live 3 hours from the ocean. A week later I loaded my wife and dog into the car and headed to Croyde, Devon. Squeezing my dadbod into a very snug 3/2 suit was the most exhausting thing I’ve ever accomplished. I paddled out and experienced my first foamy ice cream headache, my lungs were on fire and my calves cramped almost immediately. I caught one wave that day and the froth came flooding back. I was buzzing the entire 3hour journey home and for weeks later.
It didn’t take me long to start looking at my first international bodyboarding trip, and a reasonably priced ‘All Inclusive’ holiday to the Canary Islands was a pretty easy sell to my wife. She wasn't so keen when I acquired a new board and fins though.
I’ve been privileged enough to rack up a few more international trips since then, Morocco, South Africa, France and Indonesia all included. My board quiver is also looking healthy. I’ve joined the Welsh Bodyboard Club and met some awesome lads, pulled into some cold-water, 'jam on top' Devon barrels and had my pasty smashed at some Cornish wedges. There is just one thing missing, a stack of t-shirts in my cupboard that proudly says, ‘I’m a bodyboarder’.
Slab Bodyboarding dreams of filling that gap, giving bodyboarders apparel which proudly links us to the culture which we are a part of.
I am a bodyboarder.