The story of how British windsurfer, Vickey Abbott, ended up scoring endless perfect waves on the trip of a lifetime, with the best Goya/Quatro riders in the world, and how YOU could do it too...
Image credits Jason Diffin and Phil Bennett.
‘Somewhere out there in the vast nothingness of space...
Somewhere far away in space and time....
We're marooned on a small island, in an endless sea,
Confined to a tiny spit of sand’
The story continues on page two...
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Normally at this time of the year I wouldn’t dream of leaving home, being lucky enough to call Sal, Cape Verde home it would be pretty stupid to leave the buzzing Atlantic BUT ‘the grass is always greener’ as they say, so when asked if I fancied a trip to the Marshall Islands naturally my mouth replied before my brain engaged. Sometime later my brain managed to compute the severity of the situation and it dawned on me that I’d just signed up for a wave riding adventure right across on the other side of the world and alongside some of the best in the industry with the Goya and Quatro team.
‘Ermm .... right ..... what was I thinking? I guess it was at this stage that I realised so long as I could make it out alive, well hell bring it on!’
So after three days travelling from Cape Verde to Maui, a mere four days on Maui to ‘recover from jet lag’ then another three flights, including a delightful kip at Honolulu airport (yes apparently even the greats of our industry rough it out in board bags) we can flash forward to touching down in paradise with a crew of seven highly excited, albeit bleary eyed, windsurfers.
‘Hey Levi err do you know which atoll we’re going to?’
‘Alien Lap Lap’
‘Sorry did you just say, Alien Lap Lap?’
Find out more on page three...
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I look at this guy, whom I’ve known all of 24 hours, to check whether he’s playing a prank on me which would result in this pesky windsurfing kook getting locked up by immigration. But no the loud stamp on my passport suggests I’m actually just heading off to something out of Dr Who.
‘Ok guys weigh in time, we can only take as much equipment as the plane can physically carry and that includes your persons’ Martin Daly (the owner and brains behind the Marshall islands set up) is busy running around shouting instructions at us, the ground crew and the person on the other end of his phone; thank God somebody has this circus organised. He’s trying to get all the equipment, the supplies and us onto the local plane (minus some seats so we can squeeze in more gear) for the 45min hop to his part of paradise. The swell is pumping and it’s important to him that we get some waves under our belt today.
As we touchdown on a tiny strip of dirt (which requires a vivid imagination to call a runway), then off load the plane ourselves, I start to get an idea of what’s to come. As Martin has wasted no time getting us out to the first reef pass I feel it my duty to oblige him. Thus I leap off the boat into the crystal clear, warm water and paddle into perfectly peeling glassy right hander’s whilst watching the sun sinking behind some gently swaying palm trees as the darkening sky assumes that typical pastel orange hue of a tropical sunset.
I guess you’ll all be really disappointed to hear that the next 14 days are spent in similar bliss; surfing and windsurfing various perfect empty waves. The waves are predominantly right hand breaks, breaking into reef passes with moderate side – side offshore winds.
Despite my initial apprehension about tagging along with such a talented and knowledgeable group my fears were quickly a laid, first of all there was no time to think about it, living in such close proximity to everyone there isn’t much room for being self conscious. As I leapt out of my bunk each morning poor Bernd had to dodge my footprint being stamped on his head and I had to put up with a group of smelly men and their gaseous entertainments. Secondly the loud and encouraging whoops and cheers that emanated from the line up were good enough to get everyone frothing.
For those of you thinking: well that all sounds lovely but ‘I’m not into big waves’, ‘I couldn’t take the family’ or ‘it sounds like a logistical nightmare’, think again.
Are the Marshalls for anyone? Find out on page four...
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The boats are moored up to a pier on Martin’s island which provides perfect conditions for flat water free riding right off the dock or a four minute sail up wind for some onshore jumping and riding. The down days are filled up with diving on perfect pristine and vibrant reefs, big game fishing, SUPing or simply chilling out with a book and a cold beer on the island.
Even better Keith and Martin have come together to ensure that there is a good setup of Quatro and Goya equipment ready and waiting (Windsurf, SUP and Surf). I must also make a special mention at this stage to ‘Magic Mango’ the extremely talented chef who kept our bellies full with his sublime cooking, three exquisite meals a day prepared to perfection down in the ships galley (I’m cooking up a plan to steal him away for my own kitchen!).
Martin himself is a larger than life Australian who back in 1998 pointed a finger at a map and said I believe there are waves there. With that he created a dream destination of outstanding quality where his frenetic energy gets everyone buzzing so never a day is lost, whatever the conditions. Of course it goes without saying that the most important thing of all is that there’s not a sole in sight, the breaks are empty and it was just the seven of us blissfully disconnected from reality with the simple daily objective of lining up for yet another set to arrive.
For more information on how to book your trip to paradise check out www.marshallwaves.com