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  • Writer's picturejvaine1

Thankful: Family, friends, paddling and this life.

To be Thankful.

A day which we all are reminded why we are thankful.


As I sit here writing this could not be more true. Just shy of a year ago I packed my things up. And left my cozy Southern California residence. Leaving behind friends, memories and three years of life lessons.

It was a challenging decision. But one year later, still missing the people, places and memories. My world has changed for the better. And this past month showed me how.

Debris from Hurricane Irma.

A month on the road.

The past month opened my eyes. To being exactly where I am supposed to be. Living back on the East Coast. After a five year sabbatical.

Since 2012 I’ve traveled all over this continent. And the past month followed suit. With the trip to Chattanooga to start it all off. Then family time in Siesta Key.

Off to Lake Okeechobee for a week of fishing.

Red Bull Privateers Rookery Bay Clean Up.

Awesome crew from Red Bull for the clean up of Rookery Bay National Estuarine.

Last week I jumped back into the stand up paddling community. Two days. Two events.

Heading south to Naples I met up with a good friend and my Surftech Teammate Meg Bosi. Saturday we joined a 100 others for cleaning up Rookery Bay. Thanks to our friends at Red Bull, we were able to help remove a massive amount of debris from the heavy hurricane season.

Two 40 foot dumpsters were filled to the brim. And then we piled more into two trucks. I’m not sure the amount we removed but we put a good dent in what was scattered throughout the area.

It was a radical experience to see so many people willing to crawl through the mangroves. Paddle below branches and spider webs. To remove debris. And help clean up our waterways. However there always is more work to be done.

305 954 Paddle Battle.

Stand up paddleboard race in Fort Lauderdale. Photo by Rick Iossi.

Sunday was the second event on tap for the weekend. Leaving Naples, I made my way across the state to Fort Lauderdale. Here I joined about 50 other paddlers for a the area code battle. 305 vs 954 SUP Battle. The area codes of the Fort Lauderdale Miami regions. But to my surprise and a few others, the crew from Jupiter came down adding 561 to the battle.

Packet Casey and Melina Cherry organized the event. Setting up a challenging course with two distances, 3 and 6 miles.

And also added another SUP community, give back experience. Donating money raised from the day to families in San Juan, Puerto Rico who have been impacted by the Hurricanes that hit the Caribbean this past fall.

After leaving the event, I found myself sitting at an outdoor restaurant having lunch and a celebratory beverage with many of the paddlers from the day.

A fun day of racing and even more fun catching up.


As I sit here. It is hard not to smile, simply because of the people who make this life what it is. The two events from the weekend. Then two days in Jupiter with AJ Deflippis and his family. Seeing the crew at Blueline Surf and Paddle Co. And now about to have Thanksgiving dinner with total strangers, who I rented my Airbnb from.

So often we are bombarded with the negativity of the world. But for today. Look for the good. It is all around us. Just waiting to enter into our worlds.

And I am thankful for it finding its way into mine.

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