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 a bit of his MAGIC, into my brothers and I.
I was Not the best student during my early days at Ronderbosch Boys High school. I was a crap student. I was shy, suffered from Acne and had little to no self belief. I was 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 18 months in the Navy as part of national service. I Traveled the country as a cameraman and sound guy, making movies, flying in helicopters and doing shoots on different ships and boats. An Awesome experience, that matured me drastically. This is where I realized I could do things better than most people , if I really wanted too. I learned my “street smarts” during this time. I learned to think out the box, how to bend the rules, and change perceived reality.
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 a 3 year Diploma in Retail Business Management, and started my first business Dri- Lite rain wear 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 woolen 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
To read about my recovery and achievements as a Heart Patient/Survivor, POST my first & then Second Surgery – CLICK HERE