Surfers of the Month

January 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Surfer of the Month

January 2010 “Surfers of the Month”

Jim & Jimi Goodlett by Jackie F. Richardson. Photos by Joey Wilson

This month I asked Jim and Jimi Goodlett to be the “Surfers of the Month.”  They are widely known in the Savannah community for their generosity.  I recently spent time with Jim and Jimi at the Georgia Eastern Surfing Association  banquet  where they presented this year’s scholarship awards.  Later this past month, I asked them the following questions.  Here are their replies in their own words.

1) Where were you born? Upon the wiles of coastal Texas, in a land called Houston, which was but an hour something from the beach if you were taken by parental units and a good bit shorter if you were on about it with your mates! Jimi was born in the wiles of West Texas where water was a premium and large bodies of water only appeared after torrential downpours.

2) When did you start surfing? It all depends on how one defines surfing…I was born in 1962, and one of my first memories around the age of two was sitting atop a rubber floatie whilst my Dad pushed me alongside the shore break waves all the way to the beach…I would holler during the ride and scream till I was taken back out to do it again…my Mother tells me that leaving the beach was quite the ordeal for me as a toddler…after that it was all downhill…that said, we moved from Houston to become landlocked in several distant locales till we returned to Houston when I was 14…during those landlocked years I progressed from wood skateboards and steel wheels, to metal boards and urethane wheels, back to thin ply wood boards and bigger urethane wheels, doing side walk surfing as if it were waves beneath my feet…later when we returned to Houston round the age of 14, I’d steal away with friends who had both surfboards and whose parents’ beach more downhill commenced!

3)  Where was the first place you surfed? From the first part of the answer above, it was Galveston Texas, upon the rubber floatie…but really it was upon return a decade or so later that I first learned to surf at spots like Surfside pier/jetties as well as Jamica Beach some 25 minutes to the east…

4) Where have you surfed and where is your favorite place to surf? In the US of A, quite a volume of the hot spots (and not so hot spot) areas of the three coastals – from Virginia Beach to Miami on East Coast, from Sea Rim State Park near Loiusana border to Padre Island upon the Gulf Coast, and from Pismo Beach outside of San Luis Obispo to Mission Beach in San Diego for the left coast…Internationally, I have been fortunate to do swaths of Mexico, along Baja down to K38/K40, and as well El Mezquite which faces the ocean across the way from the Laguna Madre…further south, I have spent good time in Costa Rica (Playa Langusta, Playa Tamarindo, Playa Negra, Playa Grande, Witches Rock, Olie’s Point, etc.), and with a short jaunt into the southern reaches of Nicaragua…of all of these places, Playa Tamarindo was my most favored as it had a river mouth break that on most days was a perfected 6 to 7 foot right that seemingly peeled for days with crystal clear water
flowing below your board…on the worst of days, it was chest high mush burgers that would take you for 100 meters to the shore break simply magical!

5)  Has Jimi tried surfing? Jimi has been on several of my longboards and most recently on the custom 8’4″ mini longboard that Jim Stephens shaped for her as a birthday gift I got her…it should be mentioned that Jim let her partake in the adventures of crafting that smarting board…the zen of what he does and how he let her be a part of it, was a great experience just in itself…since then she has gone out a couple of times more with me and enjoys it un-repentedly!

6) Where in the world would you like to surf if you had the opportunity? Since I have had the good fortune in my life to travel the world over for both business and pleasure, and at the same time surfed in some mighty fab places, with fabber waves and even fabbest better surfers than I, I would have to answer this question by saying I would surf anywhere where the vibes were good, the stories after a day of surfing were gooder, and those out surfing were goodest…more pointedly, for me it is simply that I could be surfing in the midst of friends which could mean here at Tybee Isle to any other place in the world that had similar kind of atmosphere…

7) What is special about surfing at Tybee? Though I am not a native, but have lived and surfed here since 1992, I find Tybee to be a great mix of surfers and waves alike, and suspect it has been so since day one…when I first moved here, there was no grand pier like we have today, and even the sand dunes were not availed as the waves on a high tide, slapped against a sea wall that was actually the parking lots sidewalk…though its seemingly a well kept secret, come hurricane season, you can catch 3-4 foot overhead (Hurricane Bill provided the latest onslaught that was vivaciously attended by all!) and I have surfed waves from double outside nearly all the way to the beach…!…come summer we get good swell when the tide is right and the gods shine in our favor, and the rest of the time it is just a good vibe with the locals…but mainly, I enjoy being out with all the incredible talent we have and have had over the years…Tybee is just simply pura vida…

8 ) How did the idea of the scholarships come about for the Eastern Surfing Association? Now nearly 4 years on, within months of each other, two influential people in my and Jimi’s life exited stage left…Jimi’s Mother, Josephine Meuse (Joe as she was called by friends) died of the horrific disease, Pancreatic Cancer…in her life she had accomplished much – playing sports (basketball and track for goodness sake) in her youth when young women were NEVER to do as such…she also excelled in academics, and later in life when the kids were grown, Joe went back to work and eventually worked for some highly influential Congressmen on the Hill running Congressional Committees as an administrator, and because her skills were so valued, worked for both Democrats and Republicans alike which is the rarity of rarites…in total she valued the education she received mixed with the tenacity she learned in sporting endeavors and encouraged all her kids – especially her daughters – to follow the bloodline.  My Father, James Goodlett Sr, was similar in kind, as he was quite a gifted athlete in many sports that required speed, agility, precision, and most of all brains – from raquetball to tennis to golf (nearly turning pro as a young man of 17) to table tennis (NY State champ), and a plethora of other sports that he could seemingly pick up with ease…he also was a well studied individual who saw education at every level, as needed stepping stones that created vast opportunities to those that strived for excellence in their academic endeavors…his well storied business career running technology companies in the airline vertical, was simply proof positive that with a strong education and the mental/physical tenacity to compete, you could do anything… So to make a long winded story succinct, Jimi and I decided to honor our parents and their athletic prowess/scholastic guidance by creating scholarships for young men and women who managed to excel at both competitive surfing and scholastic academic achievements, simultaneously…because of what the ESA Georgia District has accomplished under the stellar leadership of Tara and Jeff Mosley, it was an obvious choice for us to work with them…the two cash award scholarships – James C Goodlett Sr Memorial Surfing Scholarship and the Josephine Meuse Memorial Surfing Scholarship – are given each year to a young man and young woman determined by the total points derived from their year long surfing competition points, then multiplied by their year’s GPA in school…we count ourselves honored to have been able to award these scholarships to exceptional athletes who are also exceptional students!

9) You and Jimi have a heart for seeing young people do well in school and sports. What sports have you all played and continue to play now? What message would you like to impress upon young people about the importance of both? Since I have discussed more of the education part above, I’ll split this answer into two…for me, given all the sports I have partaken upon – from surfing to kayaking to motorcycle track racing to off-road motorcycle racing to mountain bike racing to road bike racing to speed blade racing to skateboarding to having a laugh with friends playing bocce – I can easily say that surfing is the one I would be hard pressed to do without…surfing provides instructive lessons on life in that no wave is the same, every condition demands quick thought processing as to what one can do with either an incoming wave or one under foot, there are times to go for it, and times to let one pass, as well as, it’s as much about the wave as it is about the people in the surround…in total, a metaphor for life and competing in it! For Jimi, her main sports are tennis (she plays in two competitive leagues) and year round soccer (two seasons indoor, two seasons outdoor, and multiple soccer tournaments regionally), though she also plays softball, as well as runs and does Crossfit every week…these sports have opened doors for her with athletic ability but also in business, socially, and with all the non-profit boards we are on…in total, sports are about competition, but also are conduits to other important pieces in her life! So if I was to sum up the message, I would say that the combination of excellence in sports AND within education can make us as much a formidable competitor as they make us well rounded in what we can do with our lives and for our communities! Our son, Josh, has been a recipient of the Jim Goodlett Award for the three years he was eligible. We’re so appreciative of Jim and Jimi’s contribution to our surfing community.

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One Response to “Surfers of the Month”
  1. Jim Goodlett says:

    Jackie, we are humbled by your generosity in giving our scholarships voice upon your media platform…thanks to you and the Tybee Times, our community is richer for the ways that the good word is spread…

    Thanks again for commitment to Tybee, our surfing community, and to raising such an outstanding young man who already contributes back in many ways…we are honored to have presented him with the numerous scholarship awards he has achieved…

    high regards,

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