When I was 19 years old I met a woman, aged 30, who fast became my idol and role model. An English bird by the name of Jane, she was a cross-discipline surfer, longboard skater and snowboarder. She glowed gorgeously with good health, was a talented painter and graphic designer, and had a hot boyfriend. I was smitten. And now I find myself around the same age Jane was then and finding the reverse: looking back in admiration at the strength, grace and determination in our latest Talking Story heroine – Caity Griffin. A sleek, bronzed Californian girl of 20, with an appetite for big surf and the balls to go with it. Caity, we salute you. Here is her story….
How did a young Californian native end up working in the Maldives?? My dream has always been to work on an island in some tropical place far away and get paid to surf. I met Amy Kotch in the waves when I was 13 or so, we kept in touch over FB and I started stalking all of her amazing pictures. I emailed her asking how I could get a job doing what she does…everything fell into place and here I am.
Too easy! How does your job description roll…My day job is more like playtime. I`m at the Watersports station on the island by 9am, signing surfers up for the boat trip, leaving at 9.30am, and arriving at our destination by 10. We all surf together until noon then head back to the resort. At 3pm I do it all over again ending the day at 6.30pm. It`s hard work…if I`m not on the boat I`m guiding the snorkel tours, which is amazing here, or playing on the jetski.
Paradise is how the Maldives appears to the average tourist yet it is still a Muslim nation with it`s own political, cultural and environmental dynamics. What are some of the experiences you`ve had living amongst this backdrop? Right before coming here there was a (military) coup going on. I had friends and family in my ear constantly telling me to be careful and worrying me. I think Americans are fed a false knowledge about Muslims and I really had no idea what to expect. However, these people are some of the most kind, gently people. I haven`t met a Muslim who has tried to preach their beliefs to me – which isn`t the case in America with some religious groups. I`ve met people here who share similiar life stories and are more like me than most of the people I was surrounded by my whole life. As for the environmental dynamics, it`s definitely hard having to drink out of 3 plastic water bottles a day and throwing them away knowing that they`re not going to be recycled.
What are your plans post-Maldives? I just want to keep surfing whether its back in California or off to some new remote location. I`m just going with the flow of life. I know more amazing opportunities will arise – I don`t know what but I`m excited for what the future has in store.
How do the waves here differ compared to home? The swell travels so far to get here so the waves are just groomed to perfection. They almost come in mechanically. At home the waves are fun because there are A-frames and little spots all up and down the coast so you have plenty of options. I prefer the sea foam green, crystal clear, warm water Lohis waves over anything in Cali though.
Favourite surf spot? My favourite is Jails, it`s about 25 min south of Lohis. It`s a fun righthander that breaks in front of the local island, Himmafushi, which has a jail that overlooks the wave. This island gives off a cultural little Mexico vibe. I love it. The people I`ve come into contact with from this island are lovely. When you get a good swell here, the wave peels from the outside peak for so long. It`s a rippable wave that every so often barrels flawlessly.
What`s one piece of advice you`ve been given that resonated with you?
You attract and manifest whatever corresponds to your inner state.
I try and live by this daily, I definitely think it`s a personal goal to emanate positivity and love to every single person I meet. It`s really important to me because there are so many people in this world and so few that we come into contact with in comparison.
- Headphones and music
- A few options for boards
- Little wetsuit
- Good book
- Ding repair
- Camera and video camera
- Tonnes of bikinis
- The “surf until I`m too tired to do anything else” mentality