NIXON HIGH TIDE HOLD 'EM: Getting Acquainted On Day Two

It’s pretty damn easy to be cynical about a trip like this. I know I’m
just as guilty as anybody. I mean, really, who wants to hear about a
bunch of pro surfers and celebrity types hanging out at a plush island
resort, living the easy life, surfing perfect waves by day, clinking
glasses by night. I know it’s the kind of story that never would have
sucked me in. But now, after being on Tavarua for the past couple of
days with this eclectic crew, I guess it’s safe to say that my
attitude’s changed for the better. It doesn’t matter where you are, or
what the waves are like, or who’s funding the adventure, at the end of
the day it’s like any surf trip. You have some good laughs, learn a
bit about yourself, and learn a lot about the folks you’re traveling

Take Aamion Goodwin for example, I’m sure you’ve seen countless
pictures of him pulling into pits at Pipe or styling through another
Cloudbreak section, but what most people don’t realize is the guy’s
more of a waterman than just about any of us could ever hope to be.
This morning I found him out on the deck overlooking Restaurant’s
building a Fijian sling with an old bike tire, some wire, and a rusted
old steel rod. He then proceeded to explain how diving with sharks
“isn’t that big of a deal, unless their in the middle of a feeding

Or Tito Ortiz, he may not be the most avid surfer, but he’s a world
champion ultimate fighter who overcame more than his fair share of
adversity, and I never would have known a thing about him unless we
got to hang out on the island. Growing up in Huntington Beach in a
fairly dysfunctional household, in high school one teacher had the
audacity to tell him he was “never going to amount to shit.” His
autobiography hits bookstores in June, so I won’t spoil the surprise
too much, but it is safe to say he very easily could have been a
statistic rather than a success story.

The point of all this rambling is that surfaries, whether with friends
or complete strangers, afford you the opportunity to learn and gain
insight into the lives of others. During that down time when the wind
is blowing or the tide is too low you get to delve below the surface,
find out more than just where somebody’s from or what their favorite
cocktail is. Throw away all the trappings of the surf industry, the
media’s portrayal of certain characters, or all the other bullshit
that surrounds everyday life, and it becomes so obvious that when you
get right down to it, there’s really nothing better than a good surf