A Barbadian Professional surfer , no such thing and was an improbable accomplishment (still is ) , however this changed significantly in the early 80's and became an option when Bill Thomson (1949-2017 ) one of the fathers of modern competitive surfing not only in Barbados but the region and of whom also shared the role of my personal "Surfing Dad" along with Peter "Corbs" Corbin and Michael " Spock" O'Dowd showed me the way in every sense , coach, physical trainer ,manager , sponsor ,motivator, body guard ( that's another story) , most importantly he/they made me "believe " so when I heard the news of Bill's passing earlier this week tears flowed freely. "Thomo" as I affectionally called him , made the Barbados National Surfing Champion a prestigious title , this modern era started in 1981 at our premier surf location Soup Bowl with Bathsheba local Joe Gamble taking the Open title with that iconic Lay back tube ride that commanded loud cheers from the beach and Paul Bourne winning the junior division , I was eleven years old and not even allow to surf anywhere except Burke's Beach.
The athleticism surfing interest and crowd participation was here to stay , therefore Thomo and a group of local surf guru's that included Corbs , Spock , Edmund "Rat Race " Oliver ,Andrew & Carl St. John got together in 1983 and re-formed the Barbados Surfing Association , the governing body for surfing on the island. Barbados was represented the following year at the 1984 World Surfing Championships in California, the first time since 1972 (previously 1968 & 1970 )
Thomo , with Corbs & Spock enrolled James Blades together they played an integral part in the next two very important decades of competitive Surfing's development ,placing the island on the international map while shaping the surf community to its very successful state of which it's in today. In 1985 They brought international surfing to Barbados , conceptualizing the Caribbean Cup with the successful 1985 Orchard International , 10 teams from around the region & world descended in the Bathsheba village bringing surf tourism to the island before we knew what sports tourism was, the event was held in maxing #soupbowl