For All The Wrong Reasons.
On a road trip. Heading north. Sun still buried below the ocean. Coffee aroma filling the car. And the voice of Gary V screaming through the speakers.
As I listen to Gary provide business strategies, social media tips and lessons on living a good life. A comment he makes stops my caffeine fueled brainstorming session.
"Why do we do things?"
The answer is never a simple one. Especially when it comes to life. As we all have a laundry list of reasons on why we work at the job we do not love. Stay in the relationship that doesn't work and so on.
But this post isn't about that.
It is about the sport. For the last eight years of my life. Has provided me with a dream life. And as I sit here today. Watching some of the events that I love dwindle into nothing I needed to put this out there. Picking up on my two previous blogs and Facebook Lives, Is Stand Up Paddleboard Racing, Dying and The Demise of Stand Up Paddleboard Racing.
When I first started paddling. I wanted nothing to do with racing. I was over competition. Being a life long athlete. It was time to enjoy an activity for once. However the universe had a different idea. And after being convinced by Ned Johnson of Paddleboard Orlando to attend a fun event at the beach. It all changed.
During this change I found my self training. Researching stroke technique. Picking the brains of endurance athletes and coaches. Becoming a student of the sport. Something my analytical, engineering brain loves to do.
Along this journey, I also found myself resorting back to my roots of wakeboarding. And seeking out sponsors. The difference, I was 31. Not 16.
This pursuit came with a dream. A vision of false hopes. And one that I see as the major issue, we, the paddlers are succumbing to.
The reason why I started racing. Was simple. It was fun yet a challenge. An adrenaline rush. A sense of accomplishment. Alongside friends. But as I became more involved and saw others with stickers on their boards. I wanted more. And my mindset changed from just paddling as hard as I can and for me. To. How can I get more sponsors than that person.
During this transformation. There was something looming behind the scenes. A passion to teach and share. Not just from the race side. But yoga. Just three years after starting paddling. Teaching SUP Yoga entered my world. However it never truly received the attention that it deserved. It was always second fiddle. Even though this was what I loved.
The reason it was overshadowed was simply because of my personal greed. Trying to become a top racer in the world, which was far fetched and not going to happen. And to show people who doubted me that I could.
Horrible reasons. To pursue a passion.
Right around this time. My career path and role in the industry was shaken. I stepped away from my role with a brand. And found myself with one sponsor. Living off of credit cards. Racing started to lose its momentum in my world.
I can remember the moment on when I knew I needed to make a change. An adjustment in my mindset. I was training for the Pacific Paddle Games at Doheny Beach. And as a group of us paddled out we were heckled by a group of surfers. And I found myself engaging in a verbal war. Insults went back and forth. Threats. The whole nine yards. And later on that week I found out the person I was screaming at. Like a crazy person. Was in there late 60's or 70's. I was embarrassed beyond belief.
Not knowing what to do I resorted back to my yoga practice. Spent countless hours in the studio. And writing.
Coming home from a yoga class and sitting at my desk. I saw the writing on the wall. It was time to start over. To reconnect with the sport. The way I started. Helping teach people how to get on the water and enjoy it. St. Croix was the place to do just that.
As I fast forward to today. Teaching is reemerging in my world. Helping to rekindle that love for paddling. Training for me is a bit different. Showing up at the weekly race leagues we have here in South Florida. Paddling to stay fit, blow off steam and enjoy the time with friends.
The reason I wanted to share this story is simple. When we pursue things for the wrong reasons. The results follow suit. If we attend races solely to make the money. And we lose. We leave feeling like the entire trip was a loss. We miss the interaction with friends. The connections with new people. And the possibilities of a business opportunity that could be right there before our eyes. Because we were blinded.
We are not alone in this misguided adventure. Many of the races that focus on money and fame are also feeling the same issues. And the fall of PPG was a great reminder of this. Massive stages. Big prize purse. And now a thing of the past. The events with parking lot parties and coolers filled with beverages. They are seeing a push in attendance. The reason is simple. It is why we all started paddling. Good fun. And camaraderie.
My intention of this blog is not to call anyone out. Rather to share a story. One that hopefully reminds us why do we paddle?
For the love of it.