How many people start something new
thinking that it will change their lives?
That today will be the first best day
of so many to come?
I grew up 45 minutes from New York City, on the south shore of Long Island. I always loved the beach. I surfed at the ocean with my friends every chance I got. We couldn’t drive so we had to take the bus with our boards….it was worth every bit of hassle! Some days we ripped and some days the ocean destroyed us - either way it was glorious.
When I met my wife, Kim, at age 25 I was still surfing and soon after started teaching her. She bought a board and we both spent many days together playing in Long Beach swells.
I never stopped loving surfing, but we started going less and less. Then when my wife got pregnant so she stopped entirely and I somehow decided I couldn’t be bothered. But the ocean never forgot about me, nor I about it…
Fast forward to 2015 when my family got a great opportunity to move to Shelter Island. I was the new kid in town and didn’t know anyone until I met a great friend who paddle-boarded. He introduced me to the sport and I have never looked back!
I bought my first board in early May of 2016. It was a 11'6 foot Sup ATX composite board. In 1 month I logged just over 32 miles. In that 32 miles something very important happened. I tried to make a long run around part of Shelter Island. During this journey (my biggest to this point) I got stuck in a current and could not power through it - I had no choice but to turn around and head for the shore. It would seem that my board was not very good for fighting through heavy currents. A day later I posted my board for sale on Facebook and proceeded to order my first racing board - a 12'6 x 28.375 Lahui Kai Manta.
Naturally my first run was out in open water and back to the same exact route that made me purchase the new board. Happily I paddled right through the current like it wasn't even there. Success! This is when I decided to do my first race.
As luck should have it I discovered the Great Peconic Race was coming up and it was launching from Shelter Island. Perfect! I registered for the 9 mile route (seemed overly ambitious to go for 18miles 2 months into the sport).
For 2 months I practiced the previous year’s route - Wades Beach to Crescent Beach and back. I knew where the rocks were, I knew when to stay near to shore and when to stay away. I knew where I should be after 15 minutes, and when to drink water. I was as prepared as I could possibly be without actually knowing how to train for a race. Nothing could go wrong….
The day before the race I heard that the route was reversed - I felt like two months of training went down the drain. Race day came and my legs were shaking on the board - they never stiffened up the whole time. I ended up peaking too early only to see a hundred people fly by me. I fell mid race. It seemed like a disaster, until I saw that finish line. I crossed it and heard cheering from a huge, supportive community of paddlers. If I wasn’t hooked before I was definitely hooked now.
Long, long, long story short….I actually ended up winning my division (there were only 3 people registered, but I’ll take it!). That day was grueling, but I couldn’t wait to train again and use my experience to rock my next race!
“I don't Sup to add days to my life, I Sup to add life to my days.UnknownLife Quote
“Even on days when I don’t paddle my mind drifts to being on the water. It always feels cleansing to be out there and away from everything on shore - no matter what time of year.”Larry CainPaddle God
“"Surfing's one of the few sports that you look ahead to see what's behind."Laird HamiltonSurf God
“"It's like the mafia. Once you're in - your in. There's no getting out."Kelly SlaterSurf Legend
“When you round the final can and make your way into the beach it doesn’t matter if it’s your first time or your fifth, if you won or brought up the rear – the elation of finishing is exactly the same. ”Annabel AndersonPaddle Legend