An introduction to ‘The Core’ – because what lies beneath the surface of bodyboarding is just as interesting.
There is much more to professional bodyboarding than meets the eye. ‘Dream tours’ are dreamy for a small handful of riders (who have the bucks), while it is more of a drag for others who have funded themselves through hours of laboring, blood and sweat. It isn’t a profession like surfing and we need to talk about it openly and honestly. ‘Warts and all’ as they often say.
‘The Core’ is my way of sharing some of the real stories of bodyboarding by interviewing some of the sport’s biggest (and not so big) names. Not a negative rant, no way. In fact, it is more of a celebration of what the sport is really about and questioning the longheld quest for fame and fortune that has dominated the professional discourse for decades. What ‘The Core’ is about unlocking the essence of the sport – a passionate prone protest.
But maybe I have gotten a little ahead of myself. For the generation of riders who only became acquainted with the sport 10 years ago there is probably some head-scratching going on right now.
‘Who the hell is Joshua Burguete-Kirkman and why does he feel the need to ‘educate’ me about anything?’ some might rightly ask…
The short answer to the question of who I am is the following.
I was you, but back then. I was a young, salt-encrusted grommet who worshipped professional bodyboarders and wanted to be one at any cost. I competed in every competition I could and even won quite a lot of them. As I won events as a youngster my idea of my future potential was only reinforced, and momentum continued as it should.
At one point I made that big leap from competing against guys my own age to mixing it up with the guys who I worshipped. It was thrilling but came with costs, most notably the loss of my ‘heroes’ as competing against them and (sometimes) beating them meant that they treated me differently and I them, more often in the negative. I’ll never forget the look on Ben Player’s face when I, as an ambitious 15-year old finished ahead of him in 3rd place at the Morey Pro back in 1999 (or was it 2000?). From that moment on he was no longer my hero, and it hurt.
Teenagers are meant to look up to the heroes of the sport, not go toe-to-toe with them. But that wasn’t the path for me. I wanted to be the best, right now.
This ambition saw me qualify for the world tour and begin battling it out with even more of my heroes. On the podium at the Shark Island Challenge in 2004; 2nd in the Qualifying tour final at Pipe with Jeff Hubbard, Winchester and Johno Bruce. All great things until disappointment, burn out and a rapid departure into thin air…
The promise of a bigger contract down the line, or the world tour landing that one big sponsor to save the day always front of mind as I borrowed from my future to pay for the present. A part of me knew by the age of 21 that this wasn’t sustainable and by 23 I was gone.
But now I’m back. I lived another life for a decade (that was awesome and for another article one day) and now bodyboarding forms a part of my experience again. But I’m not just back to pretend like it is all rosy and things are cool. They’re not.
I hope you enjoy learning about what’s beneath the surface.
Thanks for listening to ‘The Core’.
You can listen to the first episode of ‘The Core’ with Jared Houston Below: