Issue No. 03 Fall 2023

As we go to print southern Arizona is experiencing a 30-day heat wave with temperatures over 110 degrees creating atmospheric conditions hot enough to liquify asphalt, kill cactuses, and melt the tail light off your car. At the same time, southern Florida's coastal water temperatures are soaring into the triple digits bleaching out and killing the already fragile coral reef systems in the Keys. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that global ocean surface temperatures hit a record high for June, which marks the third-consecutive month where ocean surface temperatures broke a record. We've all heard the warnings, we know the planet is in trouble, and the signs are continuing to show.

One of the groups that's doing amazing things to de-risk the threat of coral extinction is the team from Reef Renewal USA in the Florida Keys. I got an invite in early May from my friend Tom Myers to pay them a visit and participate first hand in some of the work they're doing. As I rolled up to the residence of Ken and Denise Nedimyer I was immediately greeted by the man himself who was eager to get in the water as the weather was clear, the wind was light, and he had a pile of work to get done that day. "Yeah, nice to meet you. Are you ready to go??" I could see the slight tap in Ken's foot exemplary of a guy who's constantly got too much to do and never enough time. I threw on my wetsuit, helped load the boat with tanks, tools, and coral fragments, then rode with Ken and Tom to the boat ramp a few blocks from the house.

Before long we were 10 miles off the coast and floating above the Tavernier nursery where Ken and his team were planting and managing hundreds of elkhorn and staghorn coral trees. Elkhorn coral is one of the most important corals in the Caribbean providing the necessary habitat for fish and other animals who are critical to the reef's broader ecosystem. Ken and his team are completely and genuinely self-motivated to protect these reefs from becoming an environmental casualty. I was in awe of the selfless pursuit and extreme dedication day in and day out to preserving these life systems. Their daily agenda is simple and effective by design - find the most resilient coral strains possible then grow and plant as many as you can. I knew I had to help tell this story which led me to a friend of Tom's and a marine biologist in his own right. I'd like to send a big thank you and huge shout out to Dr. Steven Shepard who did an incredible job representing the value and impact Ken and his team are making in his article "Saving the Reefs, Saving Ourselves."

Resiliency could be considered a theme for this issue once you read through our story about the heroics of freediver Alex Llinas. Alex is a multi-sport endurance athlete, underwater stuntman, and surfer/windsurfer who's overcome a huge amount of trauma to land him on the world stage as a competitive freediver. Born in Colombia with a strong connection to the ocean, Alex found his serenity in the water when confronted with childhood and health-related adversities channeling his beginnings as a waterman into the professional arena of breath holding apnea divers.

Dylan Stott is back and dives deep into the heart and soul of a surfer’s relationship to their shaper. We all need one - not just for the bespoke hand-made craft to be created, but for the motivation, the coaching, and the grounding we all need when soul-searching for the board we think we need but don't know we need. You'll all want to pack your newest shape and head to this little iconic island off the coast of Portugal once you see it through Evelyn's eyes as she explores the majesty and surf of Madeira. A "can't say no" opportunity to join a crew of professional surfers, wingers and foilers was just too hard for her to pass up. This was especially the case following a meet and greet Evelyn had the week before with legendary author William Finnegan. Finnegan is the author of the best-selling memoir "Barbarian Days" which details the writer's surfing life in extraordinary detail, finishing with his particular love affair with the waves and lifestyle of Madeira.

Our "On the Water" gallery is fully saturated with stunning images from the most recent down wind events in Maui and Hood River where standup foiling saw a huge step up in numbers. Steve West reminds us of the value of our beloved photographers who spend a fortune on expensive equipment and dedicate themselves to putting it all in harm's way to get the shot. I couldn't be more excited to share an insane shot from photographer Brad Sissins who captured the first airborne Hobie Cat since the historic "Flying Cat" image  that helped launch the catamaran lifestyle back in 1969.

Finally, I want to send out a sincere thank you to you, our reader, for taking this time to slow down, sit back, and crack the cover on our latest work. As you'll no doubt notice as you leaf through the following pages, this magazine is largely reader-supported by people just like you. We're extremely grateful for the opportunity to offer advertising space to our collective ocean guardian nonprofits who have dedicated themselves to protecting our greatest asset. As we think about all the ways we benefit personally from our connection to the water, let's be conscious of the value the ocean and its tributaries bring to our wellbeing and be mindful of the ways we can all contribute to its preservation and health.

With gratitude,


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