Tom Burt was the Captain from Santa Cruz, CA to San Luis Obispo, CA.
What can I say about Tom Burt that probably hasn't already been said. He's a legend through and through. A snowboarder, mountain man, father of two, surfer, adventurer, climber and full on enthusiast for "doing shit!"
That last part is the most special influence Tom has had on my life. Besides Tom's effort in helping me find a different way to snowboard when my eyes went, he has really been a good example of someone who uses their time well and gets after it.
Jeff and I were staying at Tom's friends house, Gus & Cheryl, in Capitola when he drove down from Kings Beach to start pedaling. Right from the get go it was on. We went surfing at Pleasure Point as soon as he arrived and then caught better waves the next day at Wadell Creek up the road.
It really seemed like Tom brought the good weather and the good surf with him. It was literally 85 everyday and head high waves until the day he left. We stayed in Carmel with Tom's friends Chris & Bev Sanders. (Damien Sanders older brother.) Chris started Avalanche Snowboards back when snowboards were really becoming boards. This was back in the beginning with Gnu up here in Washington and Avalanche down in Tahoe. I was in heaven listening to Chris's stories! There is so much history in Chris Sanders head. He did a lot of great things for the bike trip as well. Like making us B3 stickers, t-shirts, and giving us a plastic skull to mount on the front of the bike. Oh yeah...and the waves were super good at the Carmel Beach break and we walked there from Chris and Bev's condo.
Everyday from then on out was awesome. I don't say that lightly....really, everyday was great. We would cycle these gnarly hills through Big Sur country, look out over the bluff, see head high glassy waves and say.."Should we stop and surf?"...of course we stopped. The weather was almost too good. Those of you who know me understand that I like sunshine, we were getting hammered everyday with rays of vitamin D. I almost went from brown to burnt. Almost. We surfed Fullers and I will forever be grateful to tom for his efforts in guiding me down the trail.
It's a skinny goat trail about 700 vertical feet down to the beach. My eyes have a much harder time seeing on the down slope than the up. To me it always feels like nothing is below me on steep slopes down. Tom was super articulate the whole way and we made it no problem. However, I was feeling really light headed because I was so tense and sweating. I lost most of my days calories and had to eat my snacks that I was saving for the rest of the days pedaling. It all worked out, we caught fun waves at Fullers. I was stoked that the only local guy surfing called me into my first wave. Tom had paddled over to him and told him about my vision. He was stoked, and gave me the next good set wave. I tried my best and gave it a good back whack to make my crew proud...I was stoked to make a few good turns after stumbling and fumbling down a stressful trail.
Tom caught great waves everywhere we went. The most striking place we stayed was in the southern section of Big Sur, under a giant Oak tree on a beach called Carpo Flora. We had three great surf sessions there and Tom caught some of the best. It was amazing, just the three of us. I will never forget sleeping under that tree, eating ramen after a sunset surf where we stayed out in the water past dark and all the crazy laughing we did. It must have been the energy, or just how stoked on the private beach and surf....for some reason we told the lamest, dirtiest jokes those two days. Details not worth mentioning but we laughed and laughed and laughed. I had so much fun, we were like three little kids, surfing, telling dirty jokes, eating candy, surfing some more, laughing and laughing.
The waves died when Tom was about to leave, but we surfed anyway. Then we took the fins off a board and rode down this giant sand dune hill. It was sad to see him go but I look forward to the next adventure! Yeah Tom Burt!