But if you had to choose between being an international singing sensation or a noted wrangler of big waves which would you choose? Of course the two are not mutually exclusive. Makua Rothman, son of North Shore strongman Eddie, for example has conquered both worlds but it is exceptionally rare and, to be honest, I don’t know if you have the necessary double threat skillset.
Adored by fawning audiences whilst crooning or sliding down the face of monsters?
Well, British singer-songwriter Sam Ryder came to the aforementioned crossroads and chose the microphone. In a stirring interview with the BBC, the Eurovision musical contest runner-up declared that it was a horror surfing accident in Hawaii that guided his destiny.
“I was surfing in Hawaii and my board snapped. Then I got hit by a wave and I very nearly drowned,” he told Auntie. “It pushed me down so far into the water. And the turbulence of the water, the power, is incredible. Fighting against it, you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus.”
The terror left him bed-ridden for a week, pondering what to make of his life.
“Obviously, the golden rule in surfing is ‘never underestimate the sea,'” he continued, “but until it goes wrong, you can’t fathom it. You’re like, ‘I am insignificant in this body of water’. But that day was important to me because I wanted to be very good at surfing and ride the big waves – but [the accident] put me back on my true purpose. I was like, ‘You can’t do the thing you love most, which is music and singing, if you’re at the bottom of the sea.'”
A wise determination.
Ryder, who has luxurious long hair and soft beard, went on to amass more than 14 million TikTok fans, a record deal and Eurovision success.
As an American, I only really know of the business from Will Ferrell’s very funny Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.
Worth a watch.
Also, though, are you sad not to be able to watch Ryder on the World Surf League’s Big Wave World Tour?
Something to think about.
Only one Makua.