If you take a look at my life and career, you might think I’ve done it all. From writing dozens of critically acclaimed records, to touring the country with the Beach Boys, to winning the hearts of millions of fans, I’ve seen a lot of my dreams come true. But so far, one dream has remained unfulfilled—an ambition that has dwelled in the back of my mind ever since I started playing music with my brothers Dennis and Carl and the rest of the boys: my lifelong dream to go on a surfin’ safari.
But now, I’m happy to report that, after 71 years, it’s finally happening! That’s right, this time next month I’ll be surfing my way through Africa on my very first surfing safari, and I couldn’t be more excited.
I’ve set aside the time, made my reservation, and I’m all set to head out on an all-inclusive 10-day guided safari, with meals and a surfboard included. We’re talking a full week and a half of surfing from morning to night, seeing the Serengeti’s most amazing animals in their natural habitat. Heck, I’ve already packed a bag with all the surfing safari essentials: sunscreen, binoculars, and plenty of surfwax to help me keep my footing as I photograph the stunning wildlife while riding my board.
I have to say, ever since my travel agent booked my ticket a couple months back—after I explicitly told her I wanted a surfing safari and not a standard one—I’ve kept myself up just about every night envisioning my first day out there hanging ten among the herds of giraffes and zebras. Just leafing through my surfing safari company’s brochure gets my heart racing. They say that on an average day of surfing, you’re likely to see elephants, hyenas, and even rhinos. I can’t believe that’s going to be me surfing alongside those majestic creatures in just a few weeks!
What really gets me going more than anything else, though, is imagining myself surfing next to a real, live lion! I mean, just picture it: There I’ll be shredding on my surfboard, when I suddenly spot a lioness and her cubs lounging in the shade of a nearby acacia tree. Or maybe I’ll ride a killer wave right past a stately, full-grown male with a big bushy mane. Wouldn’t that be unbelievable?
They say if you’re quiet, you can even surf right up next to them!
Of course, I’ll have to be incredibly still and keep a safe distance around these stunning, wild beasts. The last thing you want to do is startle or splash them and send them running in the opposite direction than the waves are carrying you.
Now, at this point, you might be thinking how surprising it is to hear that I haven’t been on a surfing safari before, given how ardent I am about going. But the truth is that back in the Beach Boys’ early years, my old man forced us to practice and record around the clock, rendering my hope of going on a surfing safari little more than a pipe dream. And, boy, did that ever eat me up inside. I remember I’d sit down on the tour bus or in the studio every chance I got, flip through the latest National Geographic, and just stare in wonder at all those pictures of people going on surfing safaris down the Amazon or in a Kenyan wildlife reserve wearing their board shorts and pith helmets, the whole while wishing that was me.
I was captivated by the thought of going. And if you look back on it now, I think my passion to go on a surfing safari even came through in my art.
And as you might know, I had some personal troubles and went through a bit of a dark period for much of the ‘70s and ‘80s. At that time, I was really in no state to be going out to the African savannah and shooting the curl among the world’s biggest, deadliest game.
But now that I’m in a better place mentally and have more than enough financial resources, I’m ready to put down $5,000 for a top-of-the-line surfing safari. I’ve done my research, and I know the key to a great surfing safari is hiring an experienced guide, like a longtime local or a surfing Maasai tribesman, who knows the best watering holes to surf to see wildebeest and cheetahs, and who can find those out-of-the-way waves that take you right among the hippos. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do: reward myself for all those years of holding back by splurging on a private, customized surfing safari package with a knowledgeable guide, premium McTavish-brand longboards, luxury beach tents—the works.
Plus, my daughter Carnie is coming along with me. She’s already got her wetsuit and her boogie board and she’s vowed to stay out there on the waves below Kilimanjaro until she spots a leopard! It should be some great family fun.
So there you have it. In just a few weeks, I’ll be paddling out on my board under the African sun to finally begin the surfing safari that I’ve been dreaming about my whole life. I can’t wait!
And I’m sure it’ll beat another boring vacation down in Kokomo.