It was 1994 and I was a wide-eyed, 22 year old Bodyboarder on a 3 month backpacking trip traveling through India. An experience that forever changed my life.
We had slowly made our way down to the small fishing town of Anjuna (Goa) about 250 miles south of Mumbai and a grueling 11-hour trip. However, it is all worth it when you get there. Anjuna is a palm-fringed paradise, a melting pot of colors, counter-culture and relaxation.
We decided to do some exploring and rented scooters to make our way down to Harambol beach which lies in the North District. It’s a harrowing experience on a scooter dodging cows and people with apparently very little regard for personal safety.
We finally got there in one piece and to my amazement there were waves; an epic little shorebreak with not a soul in site. Although Sri Lanka has some epic surf to the south and it lies in the Indian Ocean, India is not known for its surfing destination, so I was stoked to say the least. I could finally get some unexpected wave time. That's when I realized I didn’t have a bodyboard or anything for that matter to ride.
What's water man to do? Head out for a bodysurf!
I wasn't going to let good fortune of an empty break deter me, and I spent the rest of the day having a blast getting waves all to myself in paradise.
That evening on my way back to Anjuna still stoked and salty from that days wave adventures I ran into two fishermen. I knew I wanted to craft some sort of wave riding tool for my next wave adventure so I asked them about a piece of wood they had lying around. It happened to be a piece off a broken paddle. They were a little bemused as to why I wanted a broken paddle but they where more than stoked to hand it over. I found a chunk of old rubber inner tube to use as the handle. I couldn't wait to try it out the next morning. That day with my new toy was so much fun, I was hooked!
I spent the next 20 years surfing with that old broken paddle. I was gifted on the beach that day. For many years, I have been the only bodysurfer out amongst surfers and bodyboarders at my local spot here on the French Riviera.
Today I see the community and sport growing and spreading worldwide. I am so stoked to be a part of it and to share my story of how a simple wave tool changed my life. My next surf trip I will be putting the old girl up on the mantle to spend the rest of her days relaxing and using my Slyde Handboard. It is so much lighter than my old paddle I cannot wait to get out on it. It's going to be my next revolution.
Sebastian currently resides in Nice on the french Riviera where he continues to bodysurf and love life
follow your personnal legend
The colorful wears of an amazing place: Bangles in a market in Anjuna. India ,Sri Lanka and Indonesia are a must on any travel surfers bucket list