I just climbed out of the water here at Ditch Plains, Montauk, NY. It was 3-4 foot, onshore, stormy surf. There was no one else out with good reason… and I can’t keep this sh*t eating grin off of my face.
I think we can all get lost in performance, expectations and demands. I know I do. But what I love about surfing, SUP surfing and paddling is that it connects me to something much larger than my own ego: the sea. Arriving back at my car, dripping wet, a gal eating breakfast in the parking lot asks, “How was it?”
Looking back at the sideways swelling ocean, with ravaged peaks and windswept faces, I say, “It was awesome.”
Because sometimes, it’s not about the head high, reeling righthanders - don’t get me wrong, I’m all over that! - but about sticking my face in the ocean, or bay or whatever, and coming back to a deeper sense of self and happiness that arrives whenever I’m around water and water people. An overused word, to be sure, but it’s about the stoke.
Welcome to the Winter 2020 issue of Standup Journal, unofficially dubbed the ‘Stoke’ issue. Within these pages, you will find plenty of that untenable, irresistible flavor, the value that comes from being on the water, not as a world class athlete but as a water lover and someone who needs to stay in touch with the flowing, glassy or stormy, ever changing experience of being connected to large bodies of water. It’s all about the stoke.
Within these pages, you will read about ‘Semi-Pro’ Ben Gravy’s unique achievement of surfing all 50 states within the continental U.S. What started as a laugh and a pipe dream, became a mission that transformed his life and the lives of his 70,000 Nub Nation viewers, or daily YouTube followers, who laughed and traveled along with Ben through his quest to the culmination of a dream in Anchorage, Alaska.
Get ready to have your breath hitch at the images of Daniell Bohnhoff and words by Michael Walther in “The Great Route”, a fantastic tale of stand up paddle activists traveling into the deep north of Greenland in order to witness first-hand the crushing impact melting arctic ice caps has on local livelihoods and the environment.
You will take a ride with Windsurfing Pro Maria Andres on her tour through El Salvador in order to develop her SUP surfing skills. Maria’s story is not about achievement, but steady improvement, challenging oneself in new ways to move from one level of performance to the next … and being content within the process. Progress, not perfection, is the aim.
Enjoy the sights and smells of mystical Sri Lanka in a great photo journey by Cory Leis and his wife Karine as they explore, cook, surf and surrender to another way and pace of life on this tiny island in the North Indian Ocean. Gorgeous in its imagery and rich in humor, Cory and Karine are an example of what ‘living the stoke’ is all about.
Additionally, you’ll find Gear Reviews on the new eFoil by Lift Foils and Red Paddle Co’s Compact 9’6 inflatable SUP. Challenge yourself by learning Kelly Huck’s Side Arm Balance in our SUP Yoga feature and read the Spotlight on books we think inspire others to get on the water, and take care of our environment.
We are inspired by all of you. Thanks for keeping the vibe high and the good times flowing. We welcome each of you to this tribe of troubadours and enthusiasts seeking daily libation in the community of water lovers. We enjoy and need you all here. If you would like to share your thoughts about the magazine with us and share YOUR stoke, or suggestions for greater improvement, please email Standup Journal at firstname.lastname@example.org.