After a rough start to the year and finding myself stuck in the middle of Johannesburg during the winter season in KZN, I was forced to find my feet again, wallowing in financial ruin with a heavy heart to boot, while all my friends were getting pitted on a daily basis in clean offshore conditions at home. I was severely depressed and had chosen to remove myself from society for a while and take refuge with my sister Hayley in Bromhof.
JHB is a long way from the banana trees and fine points of the South Coast – © Travis Lupick / Flickr
A few months prior to this, a friend that I had not seen in over 10 years sent news of his engagement and asked me to be his best man. The wedding was being held on the historical, mystical island of Cyprus and it meant a combination of buffalos and leopards would need to be sacrificed to accomplish this honourable request. Gareth contacted me at the peak of my depressing state and wanted to confirm that I was going to take the stand. I couldn’t answer him – there was no way I could afford it and as much as I wanted to live this special moment, I didn’t see a way how.
After a week or two of writing letter after letter to him trying to explain the dark tunnel I had found myself in, I eventually got the message across. I felt like a complete failure as a human being, never mind a best friend. But a few days later, Gareth called and said a family friend had offered to pay for all my expenses as a wedding gift to the soon-to-be-wed couple. I accepted this gracious offer and prepared myself for a trip to a land unbeknown to me except for the history presented in our dinosaur school days.
The Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea that lies off the southern coast of Turkey and the western shore of Syria, and has a mixture of Greek and Turkish inhabitants that have shared the island after many years of political controversy since before World War 1. Being an absolute amateur at visualising where everyone belongs on the map of the globe, I couldn’t even tell you off the top of my head where the hell I was headed. I just knew that there were no waves there and it’s a long flight from SA. So I packed my suit and a few clothes and didn’t take anything as much as a wax-comb with me.
I spent five amazing days there with my old friend of 22 years, and on our last day Gareth’s mother had convinced us that there were waves close to the hotel that they were staying in, a 45 minute taxi ride from Paphos where the wedding was held. We took a chance and went searching for something we had no idea was going to be there. We met some really cool local guys at this break. They had some mals and logs and kindly hooked us up with boards. We spent the entire morning getting shacked until it was time to pack and head to the airport to fly home.
Mongoose gets slotted in Cyprus
In a land that has a background of mystical Greek Gods and a history of biblical tales, I believe we were blessed by Aphrodite (Lady of Cyprus or the Roman goddess Venus) who was the daughter of Zeus and Dione. Some say she rose from the sea foam onto the shores of Cyprus, so surfing goes back quite a way in Cyprus if you think about it. Although they used very large clam shells back then judging from the historical artworks you’ll find that document these tales.
If it weren’t for Steve “Muddy” Mudd, Gareth and Lisa Wall, Les and Ollie, Philios Sazeides, Akis Chrysostomou, Panayiotis Mavrokefalos, “Mike” – and the rest of the local surfing community I may not have mentioned here – this amazing trip would not have happened for me. I came home a changed man, I moved back to the coast and found enough work to keep me going, I re-united with my girl and I have been getting waves every day since. It’s experiences like these that can put things back into perspective for you even when you feel you may be at the end of your tether – which is why it is important to never give up. No matter how dark the tunnel, and at some point, if you hold on long enough, you’ll be spat out and realise that you’ve just had the ride of your life.
Goose is back home and enjoying the ride.
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Check out the footage shot by Project Nadar of Mongoose and his buddy Gareth enjoying some cyan barrels in Cyprus.