Surftech HQ – CA

A couple of days ago I officially joined a company and a family that I love. I am honored to say that I have officially joined Team Surftech. And with that big announcement, it seemed fitting to talk about my history with the sport of paddling.

It seems like a lifetime ago. I didn’t realize it at the time, the path this sport would take me down.  I knew how much I enjoyed paddleboarding but I didn’t  know how much it could actually help me with some of my injuries.

After getting seriously injured in a car crash several years ago I was unable to do a lot of things I wanted to do.  I was forced out of my career early due to my injuries.  My life changed, my routine changed and things I really wanted to do were just out of reach. My body is constantly in pain and at the time, it crushed me mentally.  I had a very long road ahead and a full recovery wasn’t in the prognosis.  I was determined to deal with the pain and recover as much as I could and try to move on.  I would go out and paddle before the accident and after verifying with several doctors that It would be ok to continue, I got back on the water (the doctors actually recommended it- saying that it would help me combat stiffness and pain from immobility as well as strengthen my core which in turns helps the rest of the body.)

Crossing the Tampa Bay Channel – Paddling out to Egmont Island with the crew

It’s funny because people often look at paddleboarding as a sport that would be tough on the body.  I have found it to be the opposite.  It is a non-impact activity and is far better for the body than a lot of other cardiovascular sports such as running.  Paddling has helped me battle through the daily pain, just as any sort of physical activity does.  The biggest difference between paddling and other physical activity is that I have so much more fun.

Paddle Against Cancer Event in Florida

After a while I started paddling every week with a small group in Florida.  Whether we were paddling out and around a large island or just down the coast for 8 miles, I had a blast.  If the wind was right we would paddle a few miles off-shore and ride with the wind.  I was getting my cardiovascular training in, building endurance, strengthening my core, working on balance (which helps every muscle in the body and prevents further injury) all while enjoying an amazing view of the Ocean.

From left to right:  Jeff Walton -Cowboy, Marc Shen -Shendo, Rob Miller -RobO  & Bubba Ellis-The Moose

My favorite part was the crew I paddled with.  A group of amazing guys that don’t know or understand the word “quit.”  I always enjoyed my time with them and over time I got better at a sport that helped me fight back against the pain.

Training session with Kelly Margetts and Urban Kai
Karen, Lacie, Mike and I at Urban Kai King and Queen of the Bay a few years back.

Paddling to me, isn’t just another thing to do.  It offers a different perspective and outlook to my life.  To me paddling is something I can do to both escape the reality of the world, and the pain I deal with every day.  It helps me stay in good shape without risk of further injury.  It helps me zone out, calm my overactive mind and connect with some of the most beautiful places and bodies of water.  I love it and it has changed me for the better.

Paddling an old Bark 10’6″ on a cold windy day.

Note:  I enjoy paddling two different boards – Stand Up as well as Traditional (also known as Prone). They are both very different from one another and both offer advantages.  I encourage you to try either.  It took a few times before I truly fell into it.  I love it.

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