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Just Keep Paddling

We did it! Lauren and I celebrating our finale on Imperial Beach.


A week ago today, I witnessed one of my ideas come to fruition after two years of scheming.

For seven days, my team and I stand-up paddled nearly 80 miles from Califia State Beach north of Trestles down to the Tijuana River by the Mexican-American border in San Diego- that’s the entire San Diego Coastline plus some.

The first day of the trek was by far the most grueling…20 miles fighting onshore winds, which meant paddling the entire time on the left side. As a relative newbie to Stand Up Paddling (the longest I’d paddled prior to this was 6 miles in a protected bay), I was nervous about this first day. However, at the end of it, when we pulled into Oceanside Harbor, I was craving more.



Kristian and a friendly local who joined us for a bit on our glassiest day near Cardiff Reef.


Throughout the rest of the week I began concocting new schemes. My favorite one being training for the infamous Molokai Race, which several of my hardiest friends just completed this past weekend (Yay Morgan Hoesterey & Leane Darling! Just a heads up- I might be joining you next year!)

Before, during, and after landing on Imperial Beach on the final day, the hooting and high-fiving was in full effect.

It was a satisfying moment that I never would’ve experienced without the coordinated efforts of a multitude of people all working together towards one common goal: keeping San Diego’s coastal waters clean and beach goers healthy.


Kristian, Sandy, & Jared (From left to right)


That’s why I teamed up with Below the Surface on this project, co-founded by my good friends and colleagues Kristian Gustavson and Jared Criscuolo. We all share the idea that encouraging people to get outside and explore will motivate them to take care of our natural world. The folks at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believe this too and partnered with us on the expedition, as did the team at the US Geological Survey (USGS).


Ben at his finest!


Our core team was a blast to work with:

Ben: Your whit and sarcasm never left a dull moment. Except during your occasional disappearances for lengthy periods of time :)

Isaias: My board-putter-together homey and expert fin-inserter, we never would have gotten on the water in the mornings without you.

Amy: Your energy and spunk kept things moving full steam ahead, especially during the planning phase!

Sandy: Better known as “Momma Trestles to TJ” (stole that from Amy)- you were the backbone of everything. There’s no doubt in my mind we would’ve lost someone without you!

Danny: You were a steady presence that anchored the team, always ready to help wherever needed and crack jokes at the perfect moments.

Lauren: Best paddle buddy ever! Without you I would’ve been fighting the onshore winds with terrible form and no handy cross-bow maneuver. Such a joy getting to know you!

James: The almighty Eco-Warrior. You kept us on our toes. It was always comforting knowing you were somewhere miles ahead, and we’d soon be there too.

Dave: It was brilliant seeing you get so chuffed when I mocked your Palmy accent. Ha. But seriously, you were the best social media guru and behind the scenes media man a team could asked for!

Kris: As Sandy pointed out in the comment section, you were a constant source of humor and you toughed it out on that tiny surf stand up! So glad you could paddle with us!

Rory: Even though you were only with us for two days, your spirit lived on! Next year you’ll be on a SUP and no sinkage will occur!


Thanks Jodie!!


In addition to the core team, a whole host of people were responsible for making Trestles to TJ a success, who I’d like to be sure and thank.

First and foremost Jodie Nelson & Paddle With Purpose. Without her generosity we would’ve been paddling on water-logged beater boards instead of the sleek Bark Dominators she supplied the team.

Also Cliff Bar, the Lazy Hummingbird & Regent’s Pizzeria for fueling our bodies.

D Street Bar & Grill and The Belly Up for donating proceeds to the cause, and finally Pear Sports, Keen Footwear, QuickbladeSupCore, Namaste SUP & WiLDCOAST for all the support and gear.

A BIG Thanks to EVERYONE involved…and rumor has it we’ll be doing it again next year- so stay tuned!


Yep…you heard right!


PS. Check out the post-paddle interview by Serge Dedina at WiLDCOAST.

7 Responses to “Just Keep Paddling”

  1. Sandy bishop says:

    Lol…don’t forget about crazy Kristopher Allison of Pear Sports. He’s the goofball in your last pic. He and Danny were good at keeping the mood upbeat and fun.

  2. Good call Sandy…I knew that might happen! Think I’ve got everyone now…Rory too :)

  3. Hunter says:

    Good goin’ Shananananannon! It’s really awesome that you made it happen. Next year, I go with you? My board will have flames painted on it and probably a sail.

  4. heather says:

    Congrats!!!! So rad!

  5. Lauren says:

    Stoked for what lies ahead Paddle Buddy!!!!! Enjoyed getting to know you on the water as well. Beautifully written. moving poetry :)

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