Story by: Joey Melroy
Surfing speaks to people in many different ways no matter what land we are from or what language we speak. To some people it is a sport, to others just a fun activity to do on the weekends, but to most it is a total lifestyle and a bit of an obsession. This was impressed upon me fully recently when we had 8 deaf surfers aboard D’Bora. These guys were totally keen and experienced surfers and we were fast friends in sharing our common obsession with the ocean and the surf.
Apparently the world of hardcore deaf surfers is very small and they pretty much all know each other. This group of eight all met at the last two deaf surfing championships in Japan and in Hawaii. Friendships were formed and when group organizer Chris’ long time coming plan to do a Mentawai boat trip finally came to fruition, the boys solidified their brotherhood in some beautiful Mentawai surf; experiences to last them a life time.
The mid-May time frame for this trip still found the Mentawais pretty quiet as the other boats and camps seemed to be nonexistent. We rarely surfed with more than one other boat. The highlights were two magic days at Macaronis with a solid run of southwest swell. It was funny because many times we would drop the anchor somewhere and there would be a few boats around and the ocean would have a little morning sickness or be really lully and slow. As soon as the other boats left it would go offshore and totally start pulsing and we were left with some uncrowded and very good surf. This happened too many times to not take notice. It would appear that luck would be on the side of this bunch of surfers.
I hadn’t had the opportunity to hang out with many hearing impaired people so I was stoked to have them on and to learn a new language. At first I just tried to talk clearly because most of the guests could read lips. Then one of the guys named Chris talked with me and said we speak by using our hands. Then it dawned on me and became fun to try and act out everything I wanted to say using all my limbs and facial expressions to try and get my point across. It made for some hysterical moments, but I was learning from them. If it wasn’t happening then we would write some of the more important things down like, “If the wave breaks here, don’t be there.” The crew of D’Bora had a great time with this group as well because where as a lot of the time the crew couldn’t speak great English and communicate with guests, now they found themselves being able to speak their own brand of sign language and having conversation too. I think it was fun for all.
Out here there really is never a dull moment. Every trip is totally different because the swell direction and size, wind direction, tides, where all the other boats and land crabs are hanging out and surfing is in a constant state of change. Then you throw into that a new group of surfers coming out all with different personalities, desires and abilities and it makes things very interesting. It is nothing short of magic when all this things line up to make for some great surf sessions together and Book your own D’Bora adventure! Click here.
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