My Life – Pre Infection and Heart Surgery 1. (pre 2001)
Born October 23, 1970 in Cape Town, South Africa.
I shared an amazing childhood with a wonderful mom, 2 brothers and a dad (Keith Bertish). He loved the ocean and enjoyed and taught us sailing, waterskiing, windsurfing, canoeing, surfing and exploring from a very young age. He passed away when i was 25 yrs old (from a heart Attack at 59), but not before instilling all his MAGIC, into my brothers and I.
I was Not the best student during my early days, and more a jack of all trades, master of none in the school team sport department. Soccer, Rugby and Pole Vault at school and Surfing, windsurfing and watersports on the “outside”.
After school I did 1.5 years in the Navy as part of national service. I Travelled the country as a cameraman and sound guy, making movies, flying in helicopters and doing shoots on different ships and boats. Awesome experienced, that matured me drastically. This is where I realized I could do things better than most people , if I really wanted too.
Then in 1990 I travelled overseas to Europe, where I worked as a river guide in France, a street poster and then toy salesman in London, and also found my love for Snowboarding & the Mountains in Austria. I returned home to complete 3 year Diploma in Retail Business Management, and started my first business Dri- Lite rainwear with my mate Paul Stafford. A stint in the USA as an exchange student, and lift operator/snowboard bum opened my eyes to other people, places and travel.
Next I started a seasonal street vending business (Trade Link) , selling woollen caps, gloves, rain wear and umbrellas in the streets of Cape Town and the surrounding Townships. My love of travel had bitten,and my new Cash & seasonal business funded my addiction and I travelled for 2 to 3 months most years, mostly to do seasons in the mountains, snowboarding, surfing and travelling the USA and Mexico.
Beach vending on the prestigious Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches, became a very lucrative and seasonal cash business for the next 10 years ( 1996- 2006), with stands and vendors selling cold drinks and ice creams and then renting umbrellas and deck chairs to tourists. This allowed me to fuel my passions in the snow and on the water. It also allowed me to jointly start up and run True Blue Travel. www.truebluetravel.com, the first Surf & Island Travel Tour Operator in Africa. (specializing in International travel to the Indian Ocean Islands and more)
Joining Clifton Surf Lifesaving Club as a voluntary lifeguard in and around this time- 1996, I was involved as a team competitor and Barman, then Club Manager, Club & Team Captain, Chairman and now President ( which I have been for 4 years).During this time I Started surfing and towing BIG waves in and around Cape Town and Africa on a more regular basis with Dave Smith and my Brothers.
Operation 1. ( 2001) – Came as a surprise and knocked me for a six. READ HERE
I Survived and took a year to recover, both mentally and physically. In some cases there has not been full recovery. Psychologically and physically this operation knocked me and has permanently effected my speech, concentration, athletic conditioning and mental behavior, mostly negatively. However i have taken positives from the experience and have recovered and do see this world in a better light, and its enabled me to focus on more important things, like this site.
I Bought out my partners in True Blue Travel. And then sold 50% of the business to The Club Travel ( Uni-Palm Group).
I Started www.www.all-heart.org to assist persons dealing with trauma and medical hardship resulting from heart and other related Operations, diagnosis, recovery etc.
After a year I returned to competition and sports. And Now ,as a HEART PATIENT, I Won Gold at WP Lifesaving Champs in Board Rescue and represented Clifton Surf lifesaving Club at many team, Club and National events. I Won club Victor Ludorium for excellence in Competition and service to the Lifesaving Club.
I Continued my pursuit and love for surfing bigger waves.
In 2004, I Founded and set up the SHARKSPOTTERS program. (a non profit, community based program) www.sharkspotters.org.za A world first and the only Shark detection, protection and warning system of its kind in the world. This was eventually picked up by the City of Cape Town, and The SOS Save Our Seas Organisation, and has been extended to cover 8 areas in the Western Cape. I remain as Chairperson and adviser.
Re infection and Surgery 2 – READ HERE
This Surgery could have been avoided. Due to mis management and poor care from Doctors, I became infected again and was misdiagnosed for over 8 months while the Bacteria ravaged my Heart Valves again. Moral of the story, know your body, believe in yourself and always get a 2nd and 3rd opinion.
I recovered again. I still ( nervously) Traveled extensively, lived part time in Ozz while having a long distance relationship with my wife to be Tracy Heard, and traveled to Indonesia and Madagascar surfing many perfect waves.
I Started the sport of Stand Up Paddle Surfing ( SUP) in and around 2008.
Married my beautiful wife, Tracy Heard in Yserfontein South Africa on 29 March 2009
I Was a Nominee for Raw Courage Big wave awards 2009 ( Biggest wave ridden 2008/9)
I Won the Coreban SUP Summer Series Event 2008/2009 and 2010
I won the Core SUP series 2009 ; 1st place in Downwind SUP Series 2010, 1st in Primi Naish Race Series 2010; 1st in Down Wind Dash 2010; 1st Battle of the Bay 2011
Kodi Rifle Bertish born 22/01/10
I Won GOLD at 2011 SA Champs Lifesaving – Masters Surf Ski
In 2011 I Started www.oceanriders.co.za ; the first online Stand Up Paddle Board company in South Africa, offering lessons, rentals, sales and info.
Ryder Bertish Born 29/01/12
I Represented South Africa at the 2012 World SUP Champs ; 16 th in the Marathon; Finalist in the Surf Racing, 3rd with my Brother Chris in the Team Relay, and over all Bronze Medal Winners, Team South Africa.
Soon Launching: www.surftravelguru.com ; www.balibeachaccommodation.com; www.binginbeachaccommodation.com; www.islandtravelguru.com; www. langebaanlagoon.com
The future awaits – its exciting.