Thanks to all of those Rusty Surfboards and On Surfari fans that showed up last weekend to the world premier screening of On Surfari: Haiti! Over 250 people rallied in the back lot of Rusty Del Mar for a fun filled evening consisting of two On Surfari episodes and a massive raffle to benefit the people of Haiti. If you missed out on the screening keep your eyes peeled on Fuel TV for all of your favorite On Surfari episodes.
Check out this interview with team rider, Shayne McIntyre, featured on Fuel.tv:
Click for more images and the full feature article at Fuel.tv
Shannon and Shayne have lucked into some kind of perma-honeymoon, except rather than egocentrically living for themselves on their incredible adventures, the McIntyre's use their celebrity to better local communities. Surfing through rarely explored regions of Indonesia, Liberia, Nicaragua and most recently Haiti, the couple uses their "On Surfari" fame to bring tales of journey and excitement to living rooms around the world. Through unique escapades, philanthropic efforts and of course beautiful footage of untouched peeling waves, Shannon and Shayne hope viewers feel compelled to visit these places that seemed so previously unwelcoming. Assuring me that "these places are safe," regarding Liberia during a recent interview, Shayne's words are nothing short of persuasive. Watching Liberia's first class left go unridden during an ultra grass roots premier at Rusty Del Mar in San Diego, I can't help but wonder if these places are truly what they're cracked up to be. Nearly swayed by the waves on screen alone, I dove deeper into the world of Shayne McIntyre to find the thoughts behind the journey.-Jenna Klein
So you've just screened "On Surfari" Liberia and Haiti, two places very different from where you've gone before. With all the fear surrounding Haiti before and especially after the earthquake, how did you manage to show such a different picture?
We really tried to find something beautiful in Haiti and I had no idea if we were going to be successful with that. We wanted to see if there was more than destruction and we really found a different story in Haiti. I wanted to show that these are beautiful people with a rich culture, and that there are people living with dignity and to the best of their abilities in Haiti, fully enjoying life. A lot of the country wasn’t affected by the earthquake directly and we saw homes made out of mud and thatch about 2 hours away from Port Au Prince that weren’t even harmed. There was a lot of coastline that was fully accessible for surf and people were out there, just living their normal lives. It’s only 90 minutes from Miami and I fully encourage people to go for a quick little surf trip. We had a great time and were never in any danger, the greatest challenge are the roads and there isn’t really a ton of restaurants, but we figured it out and had an amazing time.
We mostly see you surfing and in the villages, but where do you stay on trips?
In Liberia we stayed in these cool wood decks on stilts almost like a safari tent but lifted up, and in Haiti, the two main locations we stayed in were hotels. The buildings were still standing and completely out of the earthquake zone, and for the most part weren't affected at all. We didn’t sleep in tents or cars or anything like that, we fully had access to accommodations and everything else.
When's the last time you saw a wave this good with no one on it? Shayne probably thought the same thing. Photo: Sean Brody.
I don't know many people who would bring their children to places like Liberia, yet you brought Banyan and Coral and they seemed to love it. How has having them affected your travels?
Traveling with Banyan and Coral, who are five and two right now, is definitely more of a challenge, but at the same time it’s totally possible. We do our best to pick kid friendly locations now. What’s changed is that we used to travel on foot with backpacks and cruise from spot to spot, and the kids may slow that down a little bit, or maybe you sleep in a little more [laughs], but we were really at a stage in our life where we felt ready to have children, and it's been great. Now that we travel with them it really opens doors. When you travel with kids, people know you’re there to enjoy the place and it shows the people you trust them. When you bring your children somewhere like Liberia, you’re really honoring someone’s country, because they know you feel safe there.
Traveling this much, you must have an airport story or two...
Surprisingly we have been very lucky, but when we went to Liberia the plane time was crazy. It was Puerto Rico to New York, New York to Belgium, and the kids are on the plane trying to throw food behind them or pull the hair of the person in front of them, and one’s always awake while the other’s asleep.. So we land in Belgium around 3am, and we have to crush up these malaria pills in Coral’s Nutella, and she threw up all over herself then all over me. On the plane, the bags are checked, and you’ve wearing throw up clothes on a 12 hour flight from Belgium to Liberia. That's a pretty classic airport horror story if you ask me.
I can't remember the last time I saw groms actually chearing someone on for surfing their spot, Liberian kids know what's up. Photo: Brody.
We always see acts of charity on the show, but Haiti is still in need of so much more. How did it feel to help the kids there?
It was the most rewarding experience that we had while we were there. Just to see the joy and life and vibrance the kids and young adults had, despite the circumstances, was truly inspiring and gave me so much hope. There were such beautiful kids there and when I looked at them, I saw so much of my son and daughter in their faces, in their eyes. It definitely hit home for me and felt a lot more rewarding to help than to just be out there surfing, but we also wanted to show people that they can go there and help or surf. There is still such a huge opportunity for tourism in Haiti, and we really hope to show that through our show there.
You've been to so many places, how do you choose?
It’s always varied. In Liberia, the dentist that you see in the show sent me one Email, and without him, I don’t know if we would have ever gone. He really gave us the confidence we needed to go there. He lives there with 2 young children and his wife and painted this picture of how it was, even though I kept saying 'that’s not really what I see on the internet,' but I had a lot of faith in him. With Haiti, we live in Puerto Rico which is the neighboring island, and I told myself I just don’t wanna go there, it’s just somewhere I don’t want to go, and it was funny because when I closed myself off to it, things started coming to fruition. On Facebook I asked where we should go next and the number one feedback was Haiti, and same with Fuel. They said you live close and you should just go, but everytime it’s different. Since we’ve done warm places I think we will try to do somewhere colder next time..
So where is this cold spot?
Let’s just say we're gonna need good wetsuits.. but if you follow us on Facebook I might give out some little hints…