Jimmy Buffett’s account of his first tanker excursion:
“I first saw James Fulbright and his tanker surfing buddies as a lot of folks did in the film ‘Step Into Liquid.’
As novel and bizarre as the whole idea appeared to my surf buddies who were with me, I was having a sense of “Deja Vu” as having grown up on Mobile Bay. I and my teenage surf pirates had attempted exactly the same thing but with smaller ships and little success. You see Mobile Bay has a ship channel than runs the 20 mile length of the bay to the port facilities on the Mobile River. It was along that channel that I spent many summer days of my misspent youth assaulting tankers for waves, since the only other source we had on the Gulf Coast was hurricanes, and the math just made sense. There were a lot more ships that passed through these waters than storms.
We, of course, were unsuccessful as we had no idea what we were doing (we were trying to surf the aft wake behind the ships propeller-smart right?). That was all cut short one day by the Coast Guard so I never got to surf a tanker as a teenager. Once I saw the Houston ship channel and James on those long rides in the movie, I knew I had to make a connection and fulfill an adolescent dream.
So a few years ago, while we were on tour in Texas and about to play Houston, I had my trusted assistant Mike Ramos contact James. We had two days off before the show and off we went to Galveston. I had no idea what I was in for, or how much fun “the chase” is even if you don’t catch the wave, and then when you do, it is a surfing experience you will never forget.
First of all, you will never have the opportunity to ride a wave for that long (mine was 4:21 seconds). If that alone doesn’t make you pick up the phone or drop an e-mail to James, I don’t know what will. It was one of the rides of my life and I would say that any serious surfer who is looking for adventure and waves, best point their boards in the direction of Galveston and James Fulbright and go chase a supertanker for the day. Oh yeah, make sure you have a video camera.”
After meeting James at the Los Angeles premier of “Miles to Surf” it was my mission to go Tanker Surfing. After some planning, the dream became a reality and WOW what an experience we had! Surfing most of my life I thought I’d seen some great surf, but after my day with James and 15 miles of surf under my belt I left knowing the true meaning of “Tanker Love.” I will tell you this — it’s a MUST if you’re a true surfer!
- Cris Borgnine, surfer, actor, filmmaker
“Dreams DO come true . . . and sometimes in the strangest of places.In the middle of the Houston Ship Channel, I surfed the longest waves of my life!In one day with James, I logged more wave time than the previous five years!A completely unique surfing experience that left me with smiles and stories that lasted even longer than the endless rides!Thanks James – Can’t wait to come back!-Jimmy Redmon-Founder/Liquid Force WakeboardsMay 27, 2011I was VERY fortunate to get a last minute ‘homey hook-up’ invitation to join James on a tanker surf charter yesterday. He had a couple of late cancellations and was seeking to fill his boat with alternate surfers.
As most of you know, I’ve been tanker wave surfing on G-Bay now for about 5 years, having gone on 30+ adventures (it really is an adventure vs. just going surfing every time). I am absolutely hooked on it! Yesterday was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had out there for the following reasons:
(1) James knows where the waves are BETTER THAN ANYONE and he will get you on them in the right spot EVERY TIME
(2) James runs a FIRST CLASS operation that includes literally everything you need for a trouble free day on GBay except your own board shorts: surfboards are provided (just tell him in advance what your preference is or let him recommend sticks – he KNOWS what works and what doesn’t), drinks, snacks, shade, great tunes, great vibe + a very fast, brand new boat that is perfectly rigged for this sport!
(3) The ’super duper homey bro hookup program’ - James is developing an “A” list to text or email when he has open slots. $175.00 gets you a FULL DAY on GBay (the regular, advance booking fee is $200). Depending on how many surfers are on the boat, you could be on virtually EVERY WAVE too – I was yesterday!
While the conditions were not ‘epic’ yesterday, Jame’s pulled out all the stops and the bay went calm by around 3PM. Boat traffic was very high and James hooked us up BIG TIME.
Please email James directly via firstname.lastname@example.org and mention my name if you would like get on the TankerSpankerTribe A-list.