When I wrote my Publisher’s Note for the Spring 2020 issue of Standup Journal, I had no idea how appropriate it would be for these days. It was meant to be a reflection on recent lessons learned, and offered, in the midst of some controlled chaos and relevant life choices.
With the recent release of the Spring 2020 Issue of Standup Journal, I reread my note to our readers and find myself thinking again about the importance of acquiring new skills in the face of uncertainty. COVID-19 has locked down our world, many people are restricted from access to the water, and our life is currently on hold. And yet, there is the sense that, if we do the right thing (#StayHome) and follow the protocol (wash hands, sanitize, physical distancing, masks, etc.) we can perhaps ride out this storm to the other side.
Standup Journal is not advocating that we take to the water right now to paddle. We understand that people are in jeopardy, and our health care providers depend on our isolation to flatten the curve and protect our communities. We ask everybody to please take care.
I am reprinting the Spring 2020’s Publisher’s Note below so that you can share in the reflections of individuals who managed to rise their above fears to find success and of what skills may be required in order to remain safe and be of service during this in human history. We look forward to seeing you on the water this summer & will keep you updated on the news from around the globe, one paddle stroke at a time.
Publisher’s Note: Spring 2020
“How do you conquer fear? You acquire the technique and skill set to put yourself in that situation and know how to manage it confidently.” – Ian ‘Kanga’ Cairns
On our SUP Vets Retreat to Punta de Mita, Mexico (read P.30), legendary surfer-turned-pro-surf-coach Ian Cairns said something profound to me. In casual conversation, he stated that people can’t just ‘get over’ fear. Instead, they have to replace it with something else. We were talking about surfing, but as in surfing, so in life. Kanga explained that the way to conquer one’s fear in the ocean was to develop the skill set surrounding the challenges that create anxiety. Then, we learn how to manage the fear with confidence, thus overcoming the fear.
My own journey of buying and publishing Standup Journal has been one of learning to lean into the fear (of the unknown, of uncertainty, of not wanting to fail) in order to accomplish one small task every day that leads to the publication of this quarterly labor of love you hold in your hands. We can either learn through fear, or we can run from it. As a motivator or an excuse, fear creeps into our daily lives and mindset. Unless we develop strategies to combat it, we run the risk of missing out on opportunities that – from afar – may look scary, but up close and in the moment are actually a matter of pulling ourselves forward one paddle stroke at a time.
The first time I paddled through Hell’s Gate on the East River here in New York as part of the SEA Paddle NYC, I remember looking up-river, taking in the swirling, boiling torrent of water in from of me and saying, “Head down. It’s one stick and pull at a time. Don’t look left. Don’t look right. Eyes in front of you, body low and just keep moving forward.”
Stick and pull. Stick and pull. That water was gnarly (understatement!) and my fear was that if I fell off I would somehow be sucked under. One stroke at a time and with total focus, I made it. And that’s pretty much how we roll to this day.
So much of this Spring Issue of Standup Journal 2.0 is about overcoming fear in order to accomplish a goal or achieve a lifelong dream. Inside these pages, you will read how (P.46) Red Bull Heavy Water 2X Champion Casper Steinfath learned to override his fear of the ocean in order to become a world championship SUP racer. There is the rich telling of conquering the Mississippi River (P.72) in a solo, 2400-mile expedition told by New Yorker LouAnne Harris. You will dive deep into the important nature of camaraderie and community which allows our United States military veterans to decompress and reconnect in a recap of the first ever SUP Veterans Retreat to Punta de Mita, Mexico (P.30). Listen to pro -surfer-turned-graphic-design-icon David Carson on overcoming his reluctance to learn how to fly the innovative eFoil made by Lift Foils (P.56). “It was the most fun I can remember having in a long time,” he said when he could just as easily said no and decided to forego the entire experience.
We overcome. We lean into it. We learn to love the fear as a sign we’ve reached the end of our comfort zone and are about to embark on something new, unfamiliar and possibly risky. But, as Kanga says, when we are confident in our skill set, we see things differently. Only then are we able to meet the challenge with courage, and face fear with grit.
We hope you enjoy this issue of Standup Journal on rising above the voices of fear. We hope, like us, you are inspired by this amazing people doing radical sh*t on the water and who meet a different part of themselves on the other side of fear. As on the water, so in life. We hope that you, too, can rise above and go for it.
To Our Readers: Stay Safe & See You Soon
Please remember to reach out and stay connected to each other in this time of social isolation. Call your friends, share some laughter, pix and wisdom. Our community means everything to us and we want you happy, and well, every stoke on the journey.
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