Action Man or Irie Man as he is known, was born Brian Herbert Hamilton Talma. A Barbadian icon and a windsurfing legend, Brian's contribution to the promotion of Barbadian culture and water sports has been phenomenal.
I sit with Brian on a Saturday morning after I have had the pleasure to have been tossed about by a kite for about 2 hours. No less than 10 people from different nationalities and walks of life grace the porch of "De Action Shop" checking out the kite surfers and just "running bare talk". In the midst of the madness, Brian announces he is going to be doing some "homework" with me, the crowd hushes and we get down to business.
His eyes are a captivating shade of crystal blue, one that almost looks like he has some sea water left inside of them from being in the water for way, way too long. His contagious smile and laughter only adds to his distinct allure. His "joie de vivre" has everybody listening intently as he discusses his opinions on the subject he has coined "beach culture," politics and of course, being part of the "action."
In his booklet "Beach Culture: A way of life", Brian recalls his first memory in the sea as riding on his father's back. At age eight he began bodysurfing, however becoming a merman was not his only passion. During his adolescence Brian excelled in golf, but when the Barbados Golf Club closed and the golf scene moved to Sandy Lane, Brian realized he could not pursue both passions and gave up knocking balls for chasing the winds and waves.
'Action Man' would later move to New York to pursue his studies and from there he continued to excel, graduating with his BA in Business administration from a University in Florida. In the 1980's Brian competed in several world events such as "Mistral Worlds" in Gran Canaria, the Olympics in South Korea and in Spain as well as the Professional Windsurfing Association's Tour (PWA) and the Hawaiian Breakout.
Brian soon became one of the top ten in his league and from there on gained international recognition for his talent. In 1992 Brian moved temporarily to Maui to train for the pro circuit where he would later tackle "Jaws", a 50 foot wave that many surfers have tried to conquer but failed. In 1998 Brian, along with other international windsurfers, guided the PWA into creating a freestyle tour, one that would change the face of professional windsurfing forever.
Brian's international acknowledgment gained him the Service Star from the Barbadian government as well as a position as an official Barbados Ambassador in 2003, in recognition for his contribution to the promotion of the island. Virgin Atlantic Airlines would soon sponsor Brian as a promoter for their airlines because of his great public influence. Is there any sport that Brian is not good at? "I am not so good at Kite surfing," he coyly responds. His humble answer I courteously ignore, as his extremely perfected performances have been well-documented.
"Action Man" smiles a toothy grin, as such an accomplished icon, one might assume he would be greedy but this self-acclaimed "beach bum's" interests at this point revolve around his family, further developing "De Action Shop," working on his line for Chiemsee clothing and continuing his beach culture world tour. In 2000, Brian along with David Kirton created the song "Irie Man Action", which allowed him to use another one of his well-honed passion, poem writing.
When asked about his feelings towards Barbadian politics and the disappointments some felt towards the recently hosted World Cup Cricket and the PGA tour, Brian is blunt, "Barbados is Paradise!" He continues on to express his delight with Barbadian development meanwhile disparaging the misconceptions others may have. He leaves me with the true meaning of the word "action" which he uses every other breath. "We are all searching for passion," he notes, "with life if you don't have passion, you are not living."
Author: Brett Callaghan