The Beach Culture World Championship in Barbados presented by deAction Accommodation & Water Sports.
Words by John Carter
March 4, 2016, Barbados—You have to take your cap off to the visionary concepts of this legendary Barbadian waterman. Blessed by living in a Caribbean tropical windy paradise, Brian has utilized his incredible imagination to reinvent and promote his colorful career in windsurfing, kiteboarding and SUPing that has spanned over three decades. His latest and “biggest ever” project is the Beach Culture World Tour, aims to show off the unique lifestyle of various top level watermen and women, promote destinations, and also include a variety of friendly competition both on and off the water. A fun attitude is the key ingredient to success for the participants. “The waterman or women who have the best time, is the most entertaining and inspirational will emerge as the champion” is the name of the game according to Brian. Each athlete is paid up front to play and part of the way they are assessed by the likes of myself as one of the judging panel is through their ability to work with the media, be the most creative and score the most rad shots. The key to the BCWT is using the media opportunity to showcase the island and support the local community (organic tourism) from the grass roots upwards. From what I could gather, we were even going to judge the restaurants that were supporting us, maybe I could even persuade Brian to include beer and rum-tasting sessions, now there is an idea.
Cast of Characters
FIONA WYLDE (Wylde style)
The fearless nineteen year-old, Fiona Wylde has been a breath of fresh air to the action sport world! Originally from Hood River in Oregon, she moved to Hawaii a few years ago. She soon established herself as one of the best windsurfing wave riders at Ho’okipa, only narrowly losing to world champion Iballa Moreno in the finals of the Aloha Classic last autumn. Her dream is to become the best water women she can and is planning to compete on the PWA and Stand Up World Tours. She is one of the dominating water women in the world, finishing third in Dominican Republic’s Master of the Ocean (windsurfing, kiteboarding, surfing and SUPing) in 2015 against the men; and again beating some of the best men in the world at the Waterman League SUP tour at Sunset, Hawaii. She is presently Beach Culture World Tour Champion, which only has one division (humans).
BERND ROEDIGER (Crown Prince)
From windsurf to stand up paddling Bernd is a charger in any water sport he pursues. Brought up sailing amongst the cauldron of talent in Maui, with the support of his father ‘Norm’, Bernd has never been far from the water and feeding off the likes of Zane Schweitzer, Conner Baxter and Kai Lenny for the level of energy they have for the ocean. Bernd’s ability speaks for itself with multiple Aloha Classic victories against the best in the world at Ho’okipa and plenty of podium results on the SUP world tour.
HOPE LEVIN (Hope)
Twenty three year old Hope Levin hails from the beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands and started kiteboarding at the age of eleven, elevating her love for the ocean and water sports. Hope has competed all over the world on the kite tour and is also passionate about looking after the environment and taking care of her playground, the ocean! She has been inspirational in getting new people into kiteboarding with her colorful personality. She also has one of the coolest events in the Caribbean, “Wind Vibe” in her hometown, Turks & Caicos Islands. It’s all about fun as she integrates all the action watersports with all type of beach activities to create a festival. Hope is 2014 Beach Culture World Champ.
YOURI ZOON (Black fly)
Twenty six year old, Youri Zoon grew up in the Netherlands and was an extreme sports addict right from a very young age. Youri originally learned to windsurf in Holland but decided to switch and focus on kite boarding and compete on the PKRA world tour. In 2006 he severely damaged his ACL and was forced to miss a couple of seasons but came back stronger on his return and went on to be the world champion in 2011 and 2012.
BRIAN TALMA (deAction man)
Brian who is now just over 50, started windsurfing at the age of 17 and was the pioneer of the sport in Barbados. He finished his Bachelors in Business Administration in 1988 and immediately opened up his deAction center at Silver Sands the same year. He entered his first ever PWA event in 1989 and was instrumental in bringing the tour to Barbados in 1993 and 1994 both of which he won! In 1988 and 1992 he represented Barbados at the Olympics in Seoul and Spain while over the next ten years competed all over the world on the PWA world tour. In 1998 alongside his best buddy, Josh Stone, Brian played a significant part in launching the freestyle discipline and helped develop and promote the tour into what it is today. In 2005 he introduced the sport of SUP to Barbados and went onto to be one of the key personalities to launch the sport into Europe. In 2007 he redeveloped his deAction center in Barbados and started promoting his beach culture art, painting and writing his poetry and designs on canvases and wooden signs all over the island. After representing Naish kiteboarding from the late 1990s, in 2009 he formally joined the Naish windsurfing and Stand Up Paddling team and stocked his shop with all their goodies. The key to Brian’s success has been his ability to evolve, be creative with his ideas while always working closely with the media. He may appear to be a laid back Caribbean waterman but when you get to know him you will soon realize that his minds never stops working how to keep pushing himself and promoting his career.
Once settled into deAction Beach House a few miles down the road on Long Beach it was straight back up to Brian’s center for the Beach Culture World Tour opening ceremony.
First it was a walk through the Silver Sands (the kiteboarding & windsurfing location) area with the national flags waving, to the periodical sound of the blowing of conch shells and drumming. We snaked our way through the Silver Sands area, creating a carnival atmosphere. Brian explains that the objective is to bring the community together through the words he coined “Organic Tourism”. This is by promoting the small businesses in the area and exposing visitors to the different local bars & restaurants; promoting them from the bottom up.
Once back at deAction Center, the ceremony continued with each rider planting a coconut tree around the shipwreck that is next to deAction center. Brian gave each rider a piece of paper and pen and asked them to write their goals or dreams. Then he instructed them to place their papers into a conch shell, followed by some bajan cotton from the land and some sea sponge from the sea. They then placed them inside the sand in the boat called the “Dream Maker”. This is a Bajan (Barbadain) tradition in Silver Sands area and you have to wait a week to hear from your dreams—so they say!
BEACH CULTURE WORLD TOUR: Youri Zoon becomes Beach Culture World Champ
Over the week the action never slowed down with constant banter throughout every single one of our sessions on the water. The “Crown prince” had been sick for the first two days but once he hit the water he was having a blast, especially SUPing the waves on the far side of the island at Bathsheba. “Wylde style” spent a lot of time encouraging Brian’s children to surf, which was cool to see. Hope charged hard on her kite, in the surf and even learned to windsurf. Over the weekend the wind did its thing in the mornings and dropped slightly in the afternoons but there was still plenty of breeze for Brian and Youri to take all the freeride gear out for a beautiful blasting session outside the center. Each evening we would vote on a champion for the day: The male or female who had embraced the essence of the Beach Culture World Tour, had the most fun and scored the best shots was voted the winner.
The pace never slowed down over the weekend until it came time for the final results where we all cast our decisions at the final voting session. The atmosphere was tense as everyone handed in his or her slips and it was down to me to work out the winner, the pressure was on! Hope, Fiona and Brian all clocked up several votes but storming ahead to be the Beach Culture World Champion was Youri who’s constant efforts windsurfing, SUPing and kiting were enough to sway the decision from the majority.
EVOLVING: interview with deAction Man!!
So what is the secret to Brian’s success and incredible thirty-year career in water-sports? After retiring from the PWA world tour Talma could have easily faded away but instead he has continued to bring new energy, ideas and concepts to the table and is always in the spotlight of the media. Brian explains: “The key to my success is evolving. I am fifty and still surviving in the business. It is competitive out there and everybody is trying to maneuver. The one thing that kept me alive is creativity. Ideas like my Boat and the BCWT have helped maintain the interest. With the boat I said ‘Ok, what can I do here?’ I know, I’ll make a Brian Talma museum and celebrate my thirty years in the business. I’ll make it something people want to come and see and a landmark on Barbados. I look within myself for inspiration, I was called the “Irie Man” for a long time but then said to myself, ‘Brian who are you? The “action man!”’ I am authentic to who I am so the word Action started up and I moved forward with it. Back in the day I had a budget for boards and rather than spend all my money on new gear I spent some of the money to make music. Everybody laughed at my music but it worked! All the top-level competitors went to the event but I was the one who was invited up on stage even though I was ranked maybe 25th.
All these concepts helped create my fan base and I have always managed to work my way in with the media. These ideas separate me from the rest, that’s my angle! The boat separated me, the music separated me and the Beach Culture World Tour has separated me! Freestyle separated me and for five years while I was in the top ten but then I moved on. I am investing in the Beach Culture World Tour because I believe in it and it is working! It’s a competitive environment so you have to be creative and define yourself. You have to be brave to take these chances but I roll with my ideas and put myself out there. With my creativity I take the same chances as a windsurfer riding Jaws or throwing a fifty feet back loop while kiteboarding around Barbados and getting lost at sea for four hours. I am on the edge just the same as those guys and a lot of people are scared to do something different. That’s fine by me! My brain is continually conceptualizing. Everything I do I want to make better. I never stop. I even wake up at night with new ideas; my brain is never switched off!”
One part of Brians influence around his center you cannot ignore is his amazing artwork. His mother was an artist and took him to view many galleries and exhibitions as a child. When his children were young he used to draw and paint pictures to help them learn and inspire them. “I painted fish, birds and different symbolisms when they were very young to keep them interested” Brian reflects. “In 2007 I started painting the boat and putting all these symbols on it. At the time my son Lion was very sick and I used the boat to help me get through it. It turned out my son was fine but I kept going with the painting. I took my art on tour and sold it all over the world. That art was extremely successful and was just another way I have created another angle to keep the interest going. My biggest art piece ever is the boat. It is a statement of what I have achieved. It is a symbol of my legacy and it brings people to the beach” I’ve used the boat to showcase my development with the action sport world; from the beginning stage of kiteboarding in Maui and around the world. I have the first kiteboard from Naish, “the Pirate” The first board used to SUP Around Barbados, and images and coverage from the international magazines.”
So now the Beach Culture World Tour is well and truly out there. Brian is not messing around with this concept and truly believes more destinations will buy into the idea. As for the athletes, he hopes to create an exclusive club of riders where more riders will want to be a part of the BCWT with appearance fees, top level of media on hand and exotic destinations to explore. Who in their right minds would not want a piece of the action? “I want to create interest for the tour,” says Brian with a wide grin. “Prefessional riders and travel destinations will want in once they see what we are doing; we are creating friendships having fun and promoting ourselves. I truly believe in this and am sure this will grow into bigger and better things.”
BEACH CULTURE WORLD CHAMPION 2016
YOURI ZOON (The Black Fly!)
BEACH CULTURE World Tour……Windsurfing pro
BRIAN TALMA (deAction Man)
1. CHICKEN RITA’S
2. FISH NET
3. LONDON BAR
BEST CAR HIRE
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