As many surfers know, Florida’s surf is on the smallish side more often than not, but as we also know, Florida seems to produce surfers who are absolutely unafraid to tackle the solid stuff – from hard-charging ‘90s pro Todd Holland, to four-time World Champion Lisa Andersen, and of course 11-time World Champion, the extraordinary Kelly Slater.
Well, we can add our latest guest group to this hard-charging hall of fame, because when GT’s roared to life (and boy does it roar) this group of Floridians did not take a backward step.
And so it was that six Floridian mates (and one cameo Kiwi) kicked off proceedings off at four-foot Max’s Left under sunny skies with good winds. GT’s turned on mid-trip – uncrowded five-foot barrelling perfection, followed by ridiculously fun Pinnacles. The swell tapered towards the end which saw us heading to The E.R – that trusty swell magnet.
Let’s say g’day to our ripping trippers.
Neal Butcher. // Butcher by name, carver by reputation! Neal probably took out most daily ‘best on ground’ awards, and probably logged up the most surf time of All. GTs standout and uncanny positioning at Max’s Left.
Francesco and (Uncle) Leon Camarda // Both property developers, these two legends showed uncanny synchronicity. During out Telo tour they both managed to slip over in front of the whole village on not one but two separate occasions! A slapstick routine they could take on the road if they tire of the property game. Both fellas absolutely charged.
Ken Richter and Tom Balding // The veteran surf travellers who sought out the waves less sessioned. With experience comes patience, and these cunning devils would surf the left when the crew were on the right, and vice versa. Ken’s got excellent touch on his longboard, and Tom, (who has an excellent head of hair on him, despite the Balding surname) is a deft switchfooter.
Nathan Flanders // Just one of those fellas who’s a pleasure to be around: always pumped, not scared to have a go, and got his best waves at The E.R and Max’s Left.
Tony Pexton // Cameo Kiwi fella! Salt-of-the-earth builder by trade. Fond of the odd scooter-burnout on the Telo Tour, and was always first in and last out even if his arms were jelly. Might have even topped Neal for hours spent in the lineup. Legend!
And that’s about it. Sick waves, charging crew, lots of laughs and good times. One memorable moment was a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on 24th April, approximately 87 kms away, and a subsequent tsunami warning which saw us scoot up our tsunami hill at 3:00 am. All part of the adventure! (No tsunami eventuated.)
And finally, TIL’s prestigious “Acrobatics Anonymous” award goes to Uncle-and-Nephew super-duo Fran (top) and Leon (above) for their commitment to the fine art of leaping, somersaulting, slipping over and generally having the best time possible. It’s what life’s all about.