Windsurfers and supporters who recently visited windsurf events all over the world had a good chance of running into Brian Talma, the 42 year-old windsurf legend and beach culture guru from Barbados. He simply cannot be ignored.
His joy of living and his typical looks immediately catch the eye. It’s his trademark.
Born and bred in Barbados, the middle-aged windsurfer now travels all over the world to spread the spirit of his beach culture. Talma’s beach culture is not only embracing windsurfing; it’s a way of living in which all kinds of water sports form an important part.
“We live in the islands, but need to look abroad; go global!” stated Talma in his unadulterated Bajan English during the Pro Kids Worlds last August in Bonaire. Except for the demonstration of his skills in tricks and jumps in the classic windsurfing competition, Talma often was to be found on the media trailer on Sorobon beach, the event’s action spot, where I was able to steal a bit of his time for an interview.
“I’m very excited to be in Bonaire. The island has it all for windsurfing, but… don’t take it for granted. In this world certain elements will not stay the same and you have to think well in advance and anticipate. That’s why I travel a lot and stimulate others to do the same. Traveling is education, it revitalizes!”
In his hometown, Silver Rock on the west coast of Barbados, Talma created De Action Beach, where he has his shop and teaches. “My primary focus is on windsurfing, but also on kite surfing. Kite surfing is around for a long time, but in the last few years this spectacular sport is becoming safer, better known and wider spread. There are many jobs around the sea that we successfully can pursue!”
Talma also started a TV show called “Beach Culture World Tour.” “In this show I introduce the basics of the water sports I teach, my music, and all things around beach life, like creating driftwood furniture and making necklaces out of seashells,” he says. “I travel to famous surf sites in South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Trinidad & Tobago, Germany, and Austria and show all particulars.
“There’s so much around the world. You get refreshing new ideas and stay updated about new trends. Like Stand Up Paddle Surfing, shortly called SUP. SUP isn’t that hard to learn…unlike normal surfing, you can learn to do it on almost any body of water. To start with, you will find standing up on the board and paddling at the same time will be the trickiest part. If you already surf, then the wave riding part should be pretty familiar, except that you will be riding for longer and more often! It’s a great opportunity for windsurfers working in tourist centers, because almost everybody can do it and at the same time see fishes and turtles. It’s a cool sport, not like kayaking but it really is connected to windsurfing,” Talma contends.
In the last weekend of September, the UK played host to their first ever Stand Up Paddling Championship at Watergate Bay, Newquay. With SUP events proving popular in Hawaii (the origin of SUPing) this was the first official SUP event in Europe.
“Events like this and like the Pro Kids in Bonaire are very important for the next generation windsurfers,” Talma says. Next year, for the fourth edition of the Pro Kids, he surely will be back.
Els Kroon is a Dutch former teacher who now lives and works as an award-winning free-lance photojournalist on Curacao.