HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Gage Gay paddled out into the Pacific Ocean with all the confidence in the world on Friday afternoon.
Then the sea gave him its best Bushwacker impression, sending the 20-year-old off his surfboard and flailing into the water.
Gay was left panting and searching for some air when he finally made it back to shore.
“Man that is tiring,” Gay said about his first time ever surfing. “It wasn’t that hard, but it was a lot more tiring than I expected. Paddling out there against them waves, I felt like I paddled for two miles and then I stood up and I was only knee deep.”
The effort by Gay, Guilherme Marchi, Chase Outlaw and Kasey Hayes left pro surfer Adam Knox impressed.
“The conditions were kind of tough. It jacked up really fast,” Knox said. “A couple of them got up and over the waves, so that was rad. They handled it like champs because it is not that it is scary, but it can really pummel you.
“Everything correlates over from what they do bull riding. You can definitely see they are not afraid.”
Outlaw added, “This ocean, there ain’t no off switch like when you get off a bull. This thing ain’t going to stop.”
The bull riders were also joined by professional surfer Mary Osborne and professional beach volleyball players Tri Bourne and Trevor Crabbe.
The group participated in a brief beach volleyball game before hitting the waves, while also taking some time out of their Friday mornings to hop on a mechanical bull.
“It is a lot harder than I expected,” Crabbe said. “It looks not too bad, but holding onto the rope was pretty tough. It slips right through your hands.”
Bourne added, “That was awesome. It was tough and I was slipping everywhere. I didn’t expect it to be easy. If I got on a real one I would be looking for my exit strategy.”
Outlaw said Friday was a nice chance for the bull riders to relax, have some fun and meet some other professional athletes before competing in the Monster Energy Bulls on the Beach 15/15 Bucking Battle.
“Oh it was awesome,” he said. “It was pretty cool getting to see other professional athletes in their field of expertise. It was pretty awesome getting to see everyone in their field of expertise.”
Bourne agreed with Outlaw.
“It is always cool being able to meet other professional athletes,” he concluded. “We are all kind of doing the similar thing, but in different ways. I mean (bull riding) is much more dangerous than volleyball.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko.
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