Last October there was a world cup event in La Torche, France on
the western coast. I was in Europe visiting my best friend in France,
and we decided to go out to see it. The closest cheap accomodations we
could find was a youth hostel about 20k away in a town called Quimper.
During the weekend the event attracted around 30,000 people, so it
was no problem for us to hitchhike from the start of the highway
to La Torche. Five minutes with our thumbs out and bingo.
The event ended on a Monday, and my friend and I went out to
see if there would be any sailing, and maybe some competitors would
be selling their equipment. A lot of the competitors had already
packed up because the competition had been a complete bust.
For five days there had been no wind. They couldn't hold a wave
competition, and only two races were completed. After about an
hour of walking around the tents looking for Phil McGain, we decided
that we had had enough, and it was time to go back to the hostel and
continue our travels through France. We walked out to the exit to
hitchhike, and for about a half-hour nobody picked us up. Then we
saw Robby Naish and his wife go by, so we started to wave our thumbs furiously.
I guess he thought we were cheering him on because he just smiled
and waved back. About 30m down the road a young boy with a sailboard got
Naish to pull off the side of the road to autograph the board. I told
my friend to ask Naish if he would give a ride to a couple of needy
Americans, so my friend ran up to ask, and Naish replied, "Huh? You
guys want a ride? Sure, get in." His wife cleared out some space in the
back, we hopped in.
We talked about this and that. The one thing I remember him saying was
that he didn't bother bringing his racing equipment because the prize
moeny was too small. Mostly chit chat, but Naish struck me as a very
nice and patient guy. Perhaps not a big deal to some of you out in
Netland like Ken Winner, but it made up for a sucky week of sailing.
I would also like to say that the French are fanatics of sailing, much
more than Americans. Also, that the area of Brittany (where the event was) is absolutely beautiful and has some terrific sailing, so if you are out that way,
try and get your hands on some equipment and sail. Unfortunately
I didn't get the chance.