Merging Forward!

“What can take place without change?” – Marcus Aurelius

Some 10 years ago or so, I discovered Stand Up Paddling.  I was a die-hard expedition sea kayaker, and I was at a regional paddle symposium learning how to roll my boat with a long, skinny Greenland paddle and learning about leg-drive and how it improves your paddling efficiency. My first glimpse at a sup board garnered the following reaction: “WTF! Why? Either you kayak or you surf. What’s the point of that??” 

Fast forward a year and I could hardly wait to buy my own board.

Naturally, after I purchased my 11’6” Naish Nalu, I wanted to learn everything I could about my new sport. Like most newbies, I went to The Google.  Not much popped up. But there was one site. It was filled with great information on how to choose the right board, how to care for it, how to travel with it, how to be safe with it. Then, through the Mullet, I found information on how to train to be a fitter, better paddler. and through posts written by Katie Elzer-Peters, I learned how accessible sup paddling is. And dang! The Distressed Mullet was local! Based just two hours away from me!!! Bonus!

The Distressed Mullet site, to put it simply, stoked me up on standup paddling.

About the same time, I started working at a local branch of a large, national outdoor gear co-op. I think I might have been hired simply because the store manager at the time was also stoked up on sup.  He encouraged me to do my first race, the Cold Stroke Classic, and then the Carolina Cup. Once again, I turned to the pages of Distressed Mullet to get ready for those new experiences.

Those races connected me to a community I never knew existed. A community made up of people who love the water, the ocean, who love being out on it and who love introducing it to others. Sup enablers, if you will.

Then, that community expanded to include prone enablers, downwinding enablers, sup surfing enablers and outrigger and even surf ski enablers! All of us realizing we are connected by water.

And we are connected by the fun that is paddling. It’s very rarely about who is faster, better, more skilled. It’s about having fun together!

When I had to spend nearly a year in Arizona, tending to my aging parents’ failing health, that community rallied. The support, in the form of messages, cards, letters, care packages, and even midnight talks from people I’d never met in person but knew only through paddling social media groups, got me through the most difficult time of my life.

That community became my family. My ohana.

The Distressed Mullet continued to open doors for me, taking me on as a contributor, then editor. It continued and continues to connect me to even more amazing paddlers. It gave me some of my very best friends, in John Beausang and Larry Cain, and Suzie Cooney and Joel Yang and Jeremy Riggs, Sarah Westbrook,Tony Galang, Dottie Hodges, Dana Bittenbender, among many, many others.

To say I am grateful – grateful for the friendship and support, the opportunity to write about the thing I love the most, to share the stoke, is a great big fat understatement.

Times change.  The sup industry is morphing. Racing is changing. There are new “toys” out there that are catching our attention (I’m looking at you, foiling and wing foiling!)  But most if not all of my ohana is still paddling.  There are plenty of folks who want to be better at it, who want to go faster or who just simply want to do it better so they can stay on the water longer.

And that’s where Paddle Monster comes in.

Anyone who wants to be a better paddler (notice I did not say paddle racer) or who wants to use paddling to stay fit, or to paddle longer without injury, can benefit from what Paddle Monster offers.

By merging the two sites, one that was the brainchild of John Beausang, the other that was a collaborative effort between John and Larry, it will be much easier to provide the great information and content that’s been available on the Mullet all these years.  It will enhance the information and experience for folks who are already Paddle Monsters. And personally, and perhaps selfishly, for me, it lets me continue my role as a columnist, reporter and reviewer AND help provide paddlers with great instruction and coaching.

Same great, fantastic content, geared for ALL the people who paddle all the things for all the reasons.  Just more of it, and in a bright, new looking package.

So, to underscore some of what John has already said elsewhere, the info and the focus is not going away or changing. Except that we will be able to do more of it.  And that, my ohana, is exciting!

All that said, it is a little sad to see the Distressed Mullet moniker sunset. It was, after all, a super cool name and the logo rocked. But take a good look at the Paddle Monster logo….it’s pretty sweet too!  This morning, I put a Mullet sticker on a new skateboard deck, honoring the past which got me to the place where I can move forward to the future. And on the other end of that deck, there’s a new Paddle Monster sticker.

As they say in Hawaii, Imua!! Move forward!!! It’s going to be fun, y’all!!