Former Steamboat Springs resident George Danellis will provide a glimpse of far-off culture at 7:30 p.m. today at Olympian Hall with a multi-media presentation on Salani Surf Resort.
Danellis came to Steamboat Springs in 1988 and remained until 1997. Working at restaurants and in a variety of departments at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Conference Center. He had learned to surf at the relatively late age of 20 while attending the University of California-San Diego.
"I just threw myself out there and surfed and surfed and surfed," he said.
Through contacts in the surfing industry, he was invited on a packaged surfing trip to an island of Sumatra, and the idea of combining his experience in the hospitality industry with his love of surfing clicked. Today he is an investor in Salani Surf Resort on the Samoan island of Upolu and works as its managing director.
The resort never accepts more than 14 guests and no more than a dozen surfers, Danellis said.
Guests at the resort are ferried by boat to offshore breaks where large barrels are common in season. Danellis is frank in saying that this is not the trip for beginners. The waves break over a coral reef in shallow water and the heavy surf is challenging. Safety is a serious issue for the expatriate surfing guides who lead each boat.
Danellis said his presentation will be about much more than surfing. It will begin with a traditional Samoan prayer and he will give an overview of Samoan history and culture. He will also talk about what it takes to develop a resort in a small Samoan village, while trying to respect its traditions.