Suffolk surfer living the dream alongside boyhood heroes
- Credit: Mark Seaney
A Woodbridge windsurfer is living the dream by working and surfing alongside the very heroes he had posted on his bedroom wall as a child.
London-born Darren Herbert has had quite a career since escaping the buzz of the city.
He has taught people to surf in Australia, rode the waves of Hawaii and even drove ambulances during the coronavirus pandemic.
Now running his own company helping men and women experiencing hair loss, there is one thing that always stays on his mind – the sea.
Having picked up windsurfing through his father as a youngster, the 37-year-old has travelled the world - pulling off flips, spins and loops on the high waves of some of the best beaches on earth.
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Now, he is in regular contact with his childhood heroes in the sport – Robby Naish and Francisco Goya – and even surfs for their companies. He is also part of local team Kachina.
"I just love windsurfing, or any board sport really," Mr Herbert said.
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"I don't feel comfortable when I'm not by the sea.
"I grew up during a dangerous time in London, with gang members living in our road trying to recruit young people.
"My parents would take me to St Osyth on the weekends to get away from it all.
"I remember me and my friends sitting on our bikes watching the windsurfers and thinking: 'Wow, I want to be like them.'"
The then-teenager quickly became a big name on the local scene, before moving to Australia to teach tourists the sport and make his mark on a bigger stage.
But the world of competitions and turning professional were never high on his radar.
"I've never really been interested in the competitions," he said. "I just love to surf.
"I've got to know my childhood heroes – the same people whose pictures I had on my bedroom wall as a kid. It is such an amazing feeling.
"They call me out to go to places like Hawaii to test our their new products. It is brilliant."
Mr Herbert added that the sport has great benefits for his mental health, and he always keeps an eye on the weather forecast to get out on the waves.
"If you're creating a bucket list, these sports should definitely be on there – it is just such an amazing experience," he added.