I read a quote the other day that some obviously deep and poetic girl had found on the Internet and put on Instagram that read, “The cure for anything is salt water; sweat, tears or the ocean.” Of course, I immediately double tapped my phone sending a like and sat back to consider the meaning of this prophetic post. While I can’t vouch for the first two salty things helping with anything, I can say that the ocean does have some type of calming effect. I then realized that my Instagram friend had perfectly summed up what the Oakley team's trip to the keys was all about; after a summer of sweating it out in contests, demos and photo shoots, crying through losses, hangovers and loneliness, George Daniels, Ryan Wolfe, Aaron Katen, Jack Blodgett and I were heading to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to bath in the ocean and cure ourselves of the grime the summer circuit can leave on one's soul. We were going to end the season salty.
I am always excited when I get the opportunity to bring people down to the Keys to show them my hometown and the different way of life that comes with being on an island. This trip was no different and luckily through some help from Transworld Wake and some motivation from Oakley, we were able to not only have an awesome time on this trip, but also get some good riding and “work” done. The Keys in October are not the calmest place in the world to ride but we were fortunate enough to get a really good day of riding behind the boat and thanks to our friends Matt and Kyle at the Keys Cable were able to do some laps at the park and get hooked up with some rails that we could tuck away from the wind. I hadn’t had the opportunity to ride with George Daniels in a few months and anytime I get to watch him ride I’m blown away. He is one of my favorite riders and having the opportunity to ride doubles with him in the bay where I learned all my tricks was pretty surreal.
Aside from all the riding we were also lucky enough to be able to take my family friend Henry Danzing’s boat, the Bodacious, to the Bahamas for a day of spear fishing, sightseeing, lobstering and fishing. My Dad is the ultimate watermen and he and Henry showed us a great time and some mind-blowing things that don’t exist anywhere else but in the Bahamas. I was lucky enough to spear my biggest grouper ever with a little help from my Dad. The highlight of the trip and maybe of my life was pulling the 50-pound beast onto the back of the boat to the surprise of everyone. After we returned to the dock and got the fish and lobster clean, my parents invited everyone over for a fish fry. Being surrounded by family and old and new friends made me realize just what a success the trip had been. I had been able to show the Oakley team my world and show my friends and family that I really do have a job! I can’t speak for everyone, but after that last night I fell asleep without a shower, smiling at the sticky feeling the salt made against my back and the sheets. We had ended the season salty.