One of the things we've been hoping for in the International section is the opportunity to profile riders from more obscure places. Not necessarily famous in any way, just shredding their local like anyone else - but a local that we're not too familliar with. this has come through in 'spades' when a rider from Guam got in touch. Defo not one of the places usually featured in mags, please sit back, relax and let yourself be taken to the sweet, sharp reefs of this tropical paradise. A very warm Australian welcome to John Barber:
Doc: Hey John, you’re from Guam, can you tell us a little about where it’s located, the place itself and the culture there?
JB: Guam is a small island located in the Western Pacific and is the most western territory of the United States (I guess that puts us under USBA). If you were to look at a map we are located at 13* N 144* E. Like most Pacific islands Guam is your typical paradise. Beautiful beaches, lovely scenery, and the most wonderful people.
The rich culture here strongly reflects that of the original inhabitants of the island, the Chamorro people, with Spanish, American, Filipino, Japanese, and Micronesian influences. Also like other cultures found in the Pacific region Guam has very strong ties to the ocean. If you are from here or even just stopped by a beach here you’ll know what I mean. Doc: what mix of Prone and DK are you riding?
JB: I would say I ride 90%prone and 10%drop knee.Doc: What boards are you running in your current quiver and what are your current faves?
JB: Right now I am rocking a Toobs Eastside 41. I actually bought my first eastside last year and decided I liked it so I got another one this year. Before that I was using a Hubb 41.5 and that board is sick. Doc: What dimensions and core compositions are you finding hot for your riding at the moment?
JB: At the moment my 41” Toobs w Polypro Stringer seems to work good. Doc: And how about accessories – leash, fins and wetsuits?
JB: I almost always use V-5 viper surf fins in medium. Bluntcuts work well too. Any leash works for me. As far as wetsuits... we don’t use those here. Too hot.Doc: D.O.B height and weight?
JB: 12/31/87 124 lbs 5’7”Doc: What can you tell us about the waves in your country?
JB: There is huge list of spots on our island but most of them don’t often work except during winter. I guess you can say Guam can be inconsistent especially during the summer. However, when it does work waves can be world class. The best waves come when we get a good typhoon swinging past us.
The localism on Guam is pretty heavy at some spots. All I can say about that is it’s always best to respect the locals wherever you go.Doc: Fave breaks – local and elsewhere?
JB: All the spots down south on a good typhoon swell. Left Side Boat Basin, Ricks Reef, Marine Lab. There are so many more….. dont wanna be banned from the lineup.
So far I have only surfed Guam. I hope to someday surf elsewhere. Ive always been dreaming of hitting up a sick beach break. Almost all the breaks on Guam are shallow reef breaks. It would be nice to try some friendlier waves. Doc: What would be the biggest wave you’ve taken on?
JB: The biggest wave I’ve taken on would have to be at Boat Basin Left side. Left side can really hold size. I’m really still waiting for that big one.
I also got a big one down in southern Guam. I think it’s the same spot where Damian says he got his worst wipeout . Sickest waves there.Doc: And what’s the toughest wave to ride you’ve hit up?
JB: Ricks Reef has always been the toughest ride for me. It’s a pretty long break and some of the sections there are just way too fast and shallow. I got coral stuck in me there too.Doc: Do you have a crew you hang with in the water?
JB: These past few weeks Ive been doing solo sessions because of my school schedule. The usual crew I chill with are the boys that are making up the next generation at boat basin. Me, Matt Mendiola, Ryan Mesa, Coy to name a few. Over the past year Ive also been fortunate enough to board with Brian Cruz. Hes a sick ripper who is always pushing it out there and representing Guam. I learn so much from just watching him out there.Doc: What’s the maddest roadtrip you’ve been on and what made it crazy?
JB: The last roadtrip we did around the island was sick. We were actually giving the Hawaiian boys from Iration a tour around the island. The waves weren’t really working but they had the beer and munchies covered the whole way. We went around the whole island and stopped at places I haven’t been to since I was a kid. To top it all off we got to chow at Jamaican grill for dinner.Doc: Best boat trip?
JB: I havent been on a boat trip yet. Im still waiting for that one.Doc: Who are some of your fave photogs?
JB: JR Manuel. He’s one of the few guys always out taking photos of the surf on Guam. Danny Black from Bodyboarders Hawaii is sick. There are a lot more out there that are my favorites I just don’t know the namesDoc: John I’ve seen little vid clip you threw together from some old footage – would you mind banging the link in here so the BB’ers reading can have a froth at your local?
JB: I guess I can share it. I’m hoping to make a better one soon. This is at Boat leftside.
Filmed and edited by John Barber:
(Guam) Eye Candy Part 1:http://www.flickr.com/photos/24274984@N07/3464234885/
(Guam) Eye Candy Part 2:http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnbarbs/ ... otostream/Doc: Board history – any chance you can remember and name the boards you have had under you over time? Fave ride ever of all of them?
First started out with used boards. My first new board was a BZ XRT 41.5. It was a great board but it didn’t last that long. After that I got a Hubb. That board helped me bigtime. After that Ive been using the Toobs boards.Doc: Scariest moment on the boog?
This would have to be at Boat Basin Easter Sunday 2008. There was this one wave I went for and wiped out on that my buddy Ryan said it looked like a chopes wipeout. I was paddling for it and decided to pull back because I thought I wouldn’t make it. By the time I tried to pull off the wave the lip was already throwing and I was going with it. I got caught with the lip and it felt like the longest drop ever. Thank god I didn’t hit the reef. This was the first time I really felt that life or death feeling. Hopefully the last. I also got chased by a shark right before that.Doc: What do you love most about the BB culture?
Meeting new people, forgetting about all the worries in the world, and the fact that we all share that same stoke.Doc: What do you reckon BB needs most at the moment?
I have seen a lot of young talent. On Guam we need to welcome the younger guys. We also need more people out there getting shots for the bodyboarders. Not much bodyboarding footage of Guam.
Also I think we need more people involved in the bb community everywhere. Promote bodyboarding!Doc: What would you like to say to the other boogers around the world reading this?
Much respect to all the bodyboarders around the world. I look up to all you guys.Doc: Who would you like to give a shout-out to?
I would like to give a shout out to my family, the whole boat basin crew, all the lab rats, and all the o.g. surfers. Jr Manuel for sharing all his surfing and bodyboarding photos with the world. Guahan Napu for representing surfing and bodyboarding on Guam. And a big shout too all the riders and boarders from around the world.Doc: And finally do you have sponsors we can give some cred for supporting you?
No sponsors yet. I am kind of getting tired of paying my way into comps. Anybody here wanna help.Thanks so much for your time John.
Thanks for the interview DocOk – time for the pics. We have some sweet shots of John riding on file, but we’re waiting to hear from JR, pretty much the only boog photog on the island, to make sure we have permission to put his frames up.
In the meantime we’re going to feature a series of pics by John himself. John’s second passion is photography. As you know we like to feature as many aspects and sides of each rider as we can, so I’ve asked JB to bang through a selection of his shots. From Guam lifestyle to art to crewshots, please welcome the works of John Barber:Shots from John Barbs