How do I go about explaining my five-day stint on the Billabong Right Coast Tour? While it was a blur of fun and excitement, it was also a learning experience and a chance to live it up “Hampton style” on Billabong’s tab. Yes, I was a stowaway on the Billabong bus for a few days, and one thing about that rolling party on wheels is that fun follows it like a donkey follows a carrot. The tour started with a brief stay in The Hamptons, which if you didn’t already know, is the favorite destination for deep-pocketed celebs like P-Diddy, Paris Hilton, and Steven Segal.
Billabong was gracious enough to plan the world’s most amazing lobster bake on the beach in the Hamptons, and (say this with a snooty accent) “Darling, you just had to be there.” I personally polished off about ten pounds of fresh lobster and a vast array of other crustaceans. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the real reason I was there: to study and document the behavior of some of surfing’s best as they adapt to the Right Coast way of life. Shane Dorian, Benji Weatherly, Geoff Moysa, and a guy who is already very adapted to the Right Coast, Sam Hammer. It was a great experience to be part of such a great group of men as they brightened the eyes of many women and warmed the heart of many a surf grom in the northern New York area.
Of course, Billabong again deserves the thanks for picking up check after check of hearty meals and thick bar tabs. Yes, the Bong team members are treated like kings, and the media surrounding them (me) is somehow obliged to mooch off the system and join right along in the fun.
After a few days in the Hamptons, we made our way down south toward NYC for a shoot-out. Here’s where the hunting theme comes in to play. On many stops of the Billabong Right Coat Tour, the pros challenged the areas surrounding shop owners, employees, and teamriders to a full-blown paintball war. I was only present for the first war and to see Shane Dorian charging up a battlefield screaming, “Let’s go, blue team!” while popping off round after round of paintballs is an awesome sight. Benji took a nice clean shot to the head as did I, and it stung like an angry wasp.
After a few short days, many long nights, and a three-hour paintball fiasco, my time on the Billabong Right Coast Tour was done. My tour of duty left me shattered, tired, and bruised. As I waved good-bye, I noticed Benji wave with a small tear in his eye, it wasn’t because he was sad that I was gone, it was because Sam Hammer had just slapped his forehead on the exact same spot where a young shop worker from upstate New York had just plugged him from 40 yards.
To be continued …