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Practical Homeschooling® :

Surf 'N' Homeschool

By Carol Wickwire
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #63, 2005.

Homeschooling and the ocean combine to make a fulfilling life.
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Carol Wickwire

Can you imagine exploring caves in Mexico along the famous Baja Peninsula, tasting the bitter Kava drink during a native ceremony in Fiji, or cooling off in breathtaking waterfalls in Samoa? How about horseback riding in Costa Rica, holding a baby lion in Africa, or sailing in a yacht around the warm, crystalline waters of the Fijian Islands? Maybe your dream would be living, surfing, and fishing your days away while traveling the Caribbean to secret locales aboard Quiksilver's "Indies Trader" boat. If you would enjoy meeting new people from every walk of life and every exotic place you visit, then you would enjoy the kind of life that sixteen-year-old Adam Wickwire lives many months of each year.

Adam is a competitive surfer who has traveled all over the world since he was ten years old. He has been home educated since the third grade. His lives in Satellite Beach, Florida, with his parents, his older sister Amanda, and their two Bichon Frises - Poki and Lani. He has two other sisters, Angeli and Amber, who are both married.

Adam started surfing at the age of five with a waterlogged Morey Doyle surfboard in the shallow waters of Cocoa Beach. He began entering local surfing contests at the age of eight. His first two years of competition were spent coming in last place, but he persisted and eventually went on to win a total of three National titles by the time he was eleven.

Dylan Graves and Adam Wickwire
Adam's dream was to travel, and he modeled for two years, saving his money, until he could pay for his first surf trip - traveling solo to Loma Del Mar, a Christian surf camp in Costa Rica. The camp owners were shocked upon meeting Adam at the airport. Due to some breakdown in communication, they did not realize that he was only ten years old. They cautiously made the best of things, keeping a close watch on him, but Adam held his own in the big surf which Costa Rica is famous for, and they have invited him back many times since then.

Adam has since made a name for himself. He currently is a three time National Champion, a four time East Coast Surfing Champion, a four time Florida Southeast Conference Champion, a three time Competitor in ESPN's Surf Cross (placing second this past year), and most recently, Adam won his first pro event. He was also named #17 in Surfer Magazine's Hot 100, and was chosen to participate in Honda Element's Chasing Hurricanes Baja Surf Road Rally - a two week journey down the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

Adam has been on numerous surf trips since the age of ten, to destinations such as Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Outer Banks, Hawaii, California, Mentawai Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and South Africa, as well as a few treks up the eastern seaboard.

Adam is currently sponsored by Quiksilver, Channel Island Surfboards/ Al Merrick, Reef, Smith, Gorilla Grip, and Freestyle. He is under management by Boardsports Management, and he has his own website which can be viewed at www.adamwickwire.com (inactive).

One of Adam's worst experiences was arriving alone in South Africa, where his contact failed to make his flight and never arrived to meet him. He had no idea of where to go, or whom to call. After calling home from a pay phone, his mother made numerous calls to California where his sponsorship is based and all was eventually straightened out. A car was dispatched to pick him up, but only after six long hours of worry and loneliness.

Adam's favorite memory is his first surf trip to the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, for the simple reason that this was the best surf he had ever experienced. This was the location of the barrel (surfing completely encased inside of a curling wave) which became the cover of the Surf NRG's surf video Solar Energy. Adam traveled aboard the "Nusantara," a 65-foot custom power catamaran. Native boys paddled their homemade canoes out to the surf charters and traded hand carved statues and bows and arrows for sunglasses, watches, and anything else which might be offered up.

Adam is homeschooled using a combination of eclectic, interest-based, and unschooling approaches. He has always kept a journal and brings this with him on his travels. Adam is also a very gifted mechanic and has worked on his own dirt bikes for several years. Motocross, fishing, and golfing help pass time when the surf is flat and he has taught himself to play guitar, which he practices for hours at a time. His goal is to become a photo-surfer for a few years and eventually to surf in WQS (World Qualifying Series) events in the hopes of qualifying for the WCT (World Cup Tour). A homeschooling lifestyle of learning has taught him that specialization, motivation and determination are the keys to success.

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