miami beach, fl
ocean paddle surfing, yoga, offshore sport fishing, photography
lululemon active wear, raw elements sunscreen, cold brew coffee
from swimming in the winters in miami to guarding and protecting the narragansett beaches in the summers, this lifelong ocean lover has always found a way to be in, on and around the water. we spent thirty (and put it together in ten for you) with waterman, yogi and founder of raw elements usa to find out what’s given him his inspiration to keep pushing.
he told us how he keeps in shape, who’s inspiring him and how his day job is more of a lifestyle and doesn’t feel like work. and when we asked how he’s achieved so many things he enlightened us with:
letting go of fear and judgement when it comes to fear of my own personal goals or processes has been a big part of my successes.
we can easily put limitations on ourselves. its’ not as easy to realize that those limitations are self imposed. and if you can detach from the fear while still behaving responsibly, i think that’s where you can make some great strides and achievements.
how did you get into ocean stand up paddle surfing?
i started paddling years ago but over the last few years and i have done a lot more with it and started racing myself. it’s a great all around workout. i love being on the ocean so this is a great way to get out there to do competitive stuff or even take a leisurely stroll.
what attracted you to this sport in particular?
our lifeguarding team is really a competitive racing team. within the squad, were always looking for new ways to challenge ourselves and compete against each other so yeah, it’s kind of all encompassing. this past summer we did a nine mile paddle. it was our longest. every time you plot out a course, it takes on unique challenges. i also started a big event, the waterman eco challenge five years ago that’s also kept me active.
tell us more about that.
it takes place in narragansett town beach, road island on saturday july sixteenth this year. it started as a three mile paddle race but has grown massively. now it also encompasses a one mile swim race and beach yoga component to end the day. i started it right around when the sup scene was really coming on strong. the event is based around raising awareness towards ocean and sun safety but is also a fundraiser for a very special woman in our community who we lost a few years ago, janice causey and her scholarship fund.
it is a race but there all different skill levels. some are beginners or have only been on a board a few times, some are ultra competitors. we get people out onto the water and provide an opportunity for them to try something new or if they’re competitive to be able to race.
have you personally faced any challenges between the surfing and paddling groups out in the water?
as a lifeguard i’ve definitely had to find ways to manage and have both surfers and paddlers co-exist out on the water at the same time. i don’t really surf but i think as long as everyone really knows the lay of the land and understands the rules and the unspoken rules then it evens itself out. i know that a lot of guys on traditional boards are itching because the guys on the stand up boards are getting into the waves sooner and taking up space. i think it’s one of those things where, new styles new equipment and new technologies will always be around, you just have to learn to deal with it.
where do you get inspiration to keep challenging yourself from?
i would say that becoming good friends with garrett macnamara over the last six or seven years. he’s one of the greatest watermen and has challenged me to push myself on the water, to be better and to learn to do more things. definitely the guys i lifeguard with. some of us have been lifeguarding together for fifteen to twenty years. we’re definitely always pushing ourselves and each other.
some of our raw elements brand ambassadors like my buddy john dornellas. these guys are all incredible watermen. being around them, learning from them, being motivated by them has definitely been a huge drive for me.
tell us about raw elements and how that’s tied into your everyday life?
everything seems to circle back to lifeguarding. it’s really been the backbone of my whole life. through that experience, i really began to learn about the issues with chemical sunscreens and i began looking for natural alternatives for myself and for the team and i was never really happy with what was available. i continued to do more and more research and eventually, this drove me to develop my own. that’s kind of how it all started. now, day to day, it’s obviously my life. it’s grown into a pretty big business.
over the past few years, yoga has become a really big part of my life too and it’s really cool because the brand and the product fits so well into the ocean, but being natural and organic, it’s really been accepted and embraced by the yoga community. two aspects that are really important in my life; the brand and the product that i live exist in both. it’s really been a genuine and authentic day to day experience for me. the people that i work with are all good friends and are really important in my life.
it doesn’t feel like work, it’s just my life.
you’ve had a lot of successes over the last few years. you seem to be on a track that you’re constantly challenging yourself to find something else to accomplish. what would you say is something that motivates you to stay on that track?
my competitive nature. i have an insatiable competitive drive in me and when i feel challenged in something that i’m interested in or something that i want to get involved in, that’s really more of what motivates me. any time i see a new opportunity to make some waves or make something happen that i couldn’t do before. if there’s other people that are doing it and i feel like i could do it or do it better, that really motivates me.
we’re pumped to have spent some time with you, see you on the rhode island beaches this summer. until next time…
Stranded on Land