I decided to learn how to surf after I'd had recurring dreams about wave riding for at least a year. This decision required that I learn how to swim, which I did, rather quickly and uncannily well. In August of last year, I took my first surfing lesson. I loved it. In February, I happened upon a girl who was looking to unload a longboard. I picked up the board from her apartment in the Village, and carried it for about 20 Manhattan blocks to Penn Station, where my chariot awaited. I'd never made so many fast friends in my life as I had that evening.
Right now it's too cold to surf in my neck of the woods as far as I'm concerned, but I know of one place where the surf's always up and the water's always fairly warm: Robertsport, Liberia. I've made mention of Robertsport a couple of times. The most recent mention was here. The first was to share with you the film, Sliding Liberia, a film about an American kid who "discovers" world-class breaks in the gloriously sleepy fishing village where my father and his father spent their boyhoods, as students at a boarding school perched on a hill overlooking "God's country." Much of the film is dedicated to the story of Alfred Lomax, a young man who becomes Liberia's first surfer after a harrowing turn of events.
I didn't get to meet Alfred during my recent pilgrimage to Robertsport, but I did get to catch up with his brother, whose name-- I am very embarrassed to admit-- I've forgotten. He was a dashing, gracious young fellow, and kind enough to let me capture a few snapshots. He surfs for hours on end everyday, but what he really wants to do, he says, is finish school. He hopes to become a computer engineer.