Discovering kelp was never the plan, but I'm damn glad we did. Of course we didn't "discover" kelp, but when my surf buddies and I ran out of food during a hurricane and were forced to find safety on a remote island in New England, it saved our lives.
Back up. How did we get here?
As a professional skier, I've spent much of my life exploring deep into mountain ranges and breathtaking backcountry landscapes. For the better part of a decade, I was able to explore the Canadian and American Rockies along with the Greens and Whites of New England. Sleeping in trucks, on couches and camping whenever possible, my friends and I made memories that will last a lifetime.
As an East Coast surfer, I spent the rest of my time in the ocean and quickly realized a deep love for its power, mystery and resilience. During adventures along varied coastlines with my brother and friends, we’d spend our days camping, fishing and riding all kinds of waves. These experiences, coupled with the constant pull between ecosystems, cultivated an insatiable passion for nature and the unknown. They also offered a front row seat to a changing climate and the human effect of betraying our natural playgrounds.
When a crash in 2020 at a Freeride World Tour event destroyed my ankle, and the global pandemic synchronously foiled my plans for ski and snowboard-centric film projects, it was time to evolve. Swapping setbacks for solutions, a couple of friends and I decided to chase an ambitious dream: an aquaculture focused surf and sailing adventure.
Our goal was to document an approximately month-long experience by attempting to simplify our lives and learn from our Atlantic backyard. We were eager to dive into the world of farming kelp, seaweed, oysters, scallops and anything else we floated up on. A shared belief that our future would rely heavily on these innovative and regenerative aquacultural techniques fueled our fire. This education would hopefully be absorbed among an abundance of empty, offshore waves.
Two weeks into the trip, the three of us found ourselves on a tiny remote island, surviving on wild sugar kelp and riding out a hurricane that was angrily blocking us from the mainland. Luckily, we had been able to navigate swift currents and a rock riddled bottle neck onto this island, but having only provisioned for a short time on a passage that was meant to last just one day and one night, we were in a precarious position.
Thankful for our survival among the storm’s continued presence, I spent the next morning diving with my speargun in search of fish. Having no luck, I realized I was swimming through dense forests of kelp. With no true knowledge of kelp at this point, and a goose egg with the fish, I decided to cut it off the holdfast and eat it. This process would continue for the next couple of days for all three of us. Our last resort changed our lives and lifted our spirits. Fast forward, the storm passed and our adventure continued.
Wanting to learn all as much as we could about kelp and kelp farming upon our return, we reached out to regenerative aquaculturists, sustainable farmers and coastal conservationists who all welcomed Ben, Spike and me with open arms and centuries of knowledge. Kelp, however, was always the inescapable thread weaving its way through each encounter into one final epiphany.
One day I was floating thirty miles offshore, aimlessly sifting through thoughts of the month past: my health, my ankle and my burning desire to enable positive impact. Then it dawned on me, or more so, it smacked me across the face. I was going to create a convenient and transparent way to improve our daily health in connection with honest environmental action on behalf of our community! I called this company Veerfar.
After a few more weeks researching kelp, its many edible forms, and what would be most applicable for my vision, I landed on dry, pulverized sugar kelp from the coast of Maine; the same kelp that had sustained our lives during the hurricane. In this endeavor, I’m proud to work with a local couple from downeast Maine who grow the most delicious, certified, organic sugar kelp I’ve ever tasted.
It's truly difficult to explain everything we learned on this journey, but I know the person who came back to the docks after that hurricane was not the same human who had set out over a month prior. I learned a lot about the sheer beauty of simplicity, letting go of what you can’t control and connecting with nature in a primal, seamless manner.
Veerfar is a way for everyone to simplify their daily nutrition routines while connecting with nature, appreciating its relevance in our longevity and playing a part in its restoration. The sky's the limit with this kelp-based beverage! As more people learn about and use Veerfar, we can continue to plant kelp forests that sequester carbon and help mitigate climate change. There is nothing better than your daily nutrition meeting environmental action.