Issue No. 05 Spring 2024

We look out for each other. That's just what we do. We're continuously connected to one another by a shared passion for water that only runs deeper when experienced with someone as equally infatuated. We're fortunate to have the relationship with water that we do, considering most of the world is conditioned by fear to never engage. Dangerous conditions are a relative assessment based on one's level of confidence and experience. A small wave day can be a harrowing experience to someone who is inexperienced and overwhelmed by panic and fear. As such, we knowingly and unknowingly accept a responsibility to not only play, but to keep watch over one another in an environment that can be as equally punishing as it can be pleasing. Each one of us accepts our role in an extended network of safety every time we enter the water and assume responsibility over those around us.

The safety theme found its way into this issue through a sequence of events that started with the Big Wave Risk Assessment Group (BWRAG) coming to Puerto Rico in November. This tight knit band of water safety specialists was formed out of a necessity to protect those in pursuit of the biggest waves the ocean can serve. The safety instruction that initially spread across this big wave community quickly found relevance and value to anyone and everyone looking for more confidence and training in any and all conditions. Many of the people mentioned in this issue were here on the island in support of BWRAG. I had the pleasure of meeting them all which led to a series of stories that needed to be shared.

Greg Long recounts the events of that harrowing day in 2012 when he nearly drowned while surfing a giant swell out at Cortes Bank. The man who revived him is Jonathan Hoover, a fellow BWRAG instructor, who became a life-long friend and go-to safety confidant to Greg for those remote excursions that require additional planning. Following the safety summit, the instructors shot over to the west side of the island to support the burgeoning development of a lifeguard program that for budgetary reasons is non-existant. The crew met up with a passionate group of community leaders who were no longer interested in accepting the status quo level of risk in an area where casualties are felt far too frequently.

Mike Burns takes us on his grassroots journey to create an event that simply celebrates the pure love of windsurfing. A casual post-session hot tub conversation between Mike and two friends quickly manifested itself into one of the largest gatherings of wind addicted sailors in North America. Having participated in the event over the years and knowing what a legend Mike Burns has been to the sport of windsurfing, I knew it was time for him to share his unique origin story.

Our beloved contributor on the Ireland coast is back to talk about the shared understanding and justification of art in surfing through a conversation with his grandfather. Evelyn introduces us to all-around waterwoman Moona Whyte who having made the transition from a long career in competitive kite surfing to wing foiling is now consistently making appearances on the podium. And photographer Robert Benn shares the challenges of documenting sessions in the cold harsh conditions of western Canada.

We certainly hope you enjoy the passion and energy that went into bringing our fifth issue to life. The team here at Session has officially began our second term having inked our fifth official issue that you now hold in your hand. We couldn't be more proud to share it with all of you. Have fun, be safe, and look out for one another.


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