Raw Hawaiian power. Just the way we like it. Photo: Oakley/Russ Hennings
Dustin Barca lights up an MMA opponent and a juiced Hawaiian righthander with equal ferocity. But it didn’t take him long to realise the world tour wasn’t for him. Now, beneath the bruises, you’d never guess that this proud family man’s biggest fear is a food corporation turning his backyard into Chernobyl. Among other things, being in the cage has taught Dustin to pick your fights, have a plan, and execute aggressively. His fight? Genetically-modified organisms being engineered on Kauai. The plan? Flood social media with awareness, and rally a defence. And you better believe he’s executing aggressively.
Interview by Craig Jarvis
Stab: I ain’t the brawling type, but professional fighting intrigues me. How’s it work?
Dustin: So, there are a bunch of organisations that organise fights. I fight under different organisations in the hope of getting onto the UFC. I’m currently fighting in the Pro Elite, which is like the WQS of fighting, and my aim is to get onto the UFC, which is like the WCT of fighting. To get onto the UFC you need a good number of wins behind you, and you need a solid image and presence. You’ve gotta win your fights. Once you’ve got a good record of fight wins, you might get to the next level, so there’s no messing ’round, y’know?
You play an aggressive campaign on social media. Who’s your beef with, exactly? It’s like this: I live with my family, wife and two kids aged two and five, on the island of Kauai. Kauai has recently become a kinda ground zero for chemical testing. All these big corporations that are testing pesticides, engineering and developing GMOs (genetically modified organisms/food) come right here in Kauai and start testing. We’re on an island, y’know? These corps, like Monsanto, know full well that if shit hit the fan, they could simply close off the island and contain whatever disaster they’d created. They’re already destroying our ocean, our environment and our water. For me, there’s nothing more important than family and friends. We have to look after our future.
Barca and his family on Kauai.
Your social media presence suggests a detailed awareness of your enemy. I’ve been involved for five years now, learning about GMOs and these corps that put corporate wealth ahead of human health. It took me three years to build up enough of a knowledge base to start working, and talking about what is going down in Hawaii and worldwide, and to be able to back up what I’m saying.
You got no problem calling out men like the Kauai Athletic Club owner, who’s a lawyer and lobbyist for the GMO chemical companies of Kauai. You also called a boycott of his club. I’m pretty involved with some deep organisations with inside ears. We know who’s getting bribed, who’s taking dirt money, which organisations are getting paid off and where they’re hiding the money. There’s a lot of information if you look really hard.
You don’t seem like the public speaking type, but you continually take the mic at rallies? I’m actually not much of a social person. I always get nervous speaking in public, but with this stuff, the more I learn what’s going on and the more I see what the big corps are doing for greed, the more I wanna talk. I’m not much of a religious person either, but I get a voice in my head and it guides me, tells me what to do. It’s like I’m on a mission. With this subject matter I have no shame and just start speaking, using my knowledge to explain what’s going on. I just talk from the heart. I mean, I’m a high school drop-out and a surfer, but I care about this stuff. We have to look out for our kids.
You’ve got pro surfing, pro fighting, activism, two young kids and a wife. How’s your schedule? I’ll tell you what, It affects my sleeping pattern. I surf in the day and I fight, and then I’ve got the kids and got to get everyone fed and put to bed. Then I get going, working, watching videos and doing research online, and it totally sucks me in and I end up having late nights learning about these corporates and what they’re doing to our country and to the world. So I end up staying awake all night.
How does your gal feel about this? She’s right behind me. In fact, she’s fighting this fight with me. She’s taught me so much about health and GMO’s and through her our kids are about 95% GMO free and gluten free. She’s great.
A Drewtoonz cartoon depiction of Kelly Slater and Dustin Barca fighting the good fight.
A few crooks in Hawaii, then? There’s so many of them. Governors, mayors, councillors, senators. They all get paid off. They get crazy money contributed to their political campaigns, and they hide it all away behind their public facades, but we’re coming, knocking. We’re calling them out in public. We know what’s happening.
What’s your strategy? Facebook. Social media is a good point to start and get a message out there. Social networks are so effective. If you’re doing something that’s good, and your message is sound and correct, you can get the world behind you so quickly. It’s simple. Everyone needs to spread the same message. If everyone comes together we have a very powerful voice and we can get this evil like Monsanto off the earth. Corporate wealth is destroying public health, and we’re all going to suffer unless we stand together.
Where’s your surfing at? Y’know, I’m surfing for my soul. I did the tour and it didn’t really work for me. I felt that the tour made me do five snaps to the beach, and it’s not really how Hawaiian surfers surf, y’know? I’m not that sort of surfer. Now I surf and I do the Hawaiian thing, which is big tubes and one big move, one huge move. I’m back to my old surfing approach. Fun plays an important part, and I feel like I’m surfing better than ever.
“Now I do the Hawaiian thing, which is big tubes and one huge move,” says Dustin. “I’m back to my old surfing approach.” We ain’t complaining. Photo: Oakley/Russ Hennings