Most surfers only fantasize about endless boat trips, chasing perfect waves throughout the world, but for California surfer Gregg Drude that dream has slowly turned into reality. Drude, along with girlfriend Josie Hudak and two friends, Trent Martin and Eli Mirandon, will be taking off this evening on a three-year journey circumnavigating the globe via a 43-foot custom sailboat. The journey, taking them to the farthest regions of the world, has no goals other than to seek out perfect waves and enjoy all the ocean has to offer.
Drude, a self-taught sailor within the last year, first thought of the idea while traveling in Central and South America six years ago, and never quite let the dream die. When an opportunity arose to purchase a custom boat, the Van Diemen, Drude knew what he had to do. Now, nearly one year of preparation later, the intricately designed cold-molded sloop rig is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.
The plan of attack is to first head south, following seasonal winds and currents through Mexico down to South America, shooting across to islands in the South Pacific, and ultimately making their way to Indonesia, Australia and back home. When asked about the reason for taking such an extreme trip, Drude casually explained, “I’ve been traveling my whole life and it seemed like a logical progression to see everything from a different perspective.” The ship’s cargo, scrupulously organized by Ms. Hudak, includes a voluminous cache of food and supplies, an array of shortboards and Fishes, mountains of wax, cigarettes for trading, along with life vests and boating equipment. To avoid boredom during inevitable flat spells the crew has also amassed puzzles, DVD’s, snorkeling and spear-fishing gear, with which they hope to catch food to grill on their outdoor barbecue.
Drude has funded the expedition by selling his house and most of his personal belongings, focusing exclusively on the adventures ahead. “The difficult part of moving onto a boat for a trip like this,” Mr. Drude stoically pondered, “Is that there’s nowhere for your stuff to go. I’ve rented storage rooms and left items with friends but the logistics were really one of the biggest obstacles.” Yet Drude remains optimistic about the success of the journey as the last few items are stowed and the boat prepares for this evening’s launch.
Leaning against the ornate teak of the ship’s small galley, Drude reflected, “We’ve been really lucky to have such a supportive crew of friends who have been behind us as we planned the trip.” A trip that epitomizes the innate stoke and adventurous spirit of surfing. And as the crew of the Van Diemen is busy scouring a wealth of waves from the Galapagos to French Polynesia on this modern day Endless Summer, we’ll be sure to update their status on Surfermag.com.