Montauk celebrates Rell Sunn

By Moira Bailey
When legendary surfer Rell Sunn died of cancer in 1998, Montauk surfer and businessman Roger Feit was inspired to organize a surf competition to both celebrate her life and raise money for cancer awareness. On Aug. 2, the 16th Annual Rell Sunn Surf Contest will draw surfers of all ages to Ditch Plains beach in Montauk to continue the tradition, one that’s evolved to help local families navigate the financial rip tides of cancer and serious illness. The funds are disbursed through the East End Foundation, co-founded by Feit, often in modest amounts that can still make a “huge difference,” whether to bridge a mortgage payment or cushion the loss of a job.

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And because it’s a local effort, Feit can describe exactly who the money raised this year will help: a widow whose husband recently died of brain cancer;  a man out of work for a stretch while his wife’s been fighting cancer; two children who’ve just lost their father; a single mom whose son’s battling cancer.  Feit works with Alice Houseknecht, an East End Foundation director,  on “due diligence” to assess each situation, often brought to their attention by friends or neighbors. Through the years, Feit guesses they’ve raised some $300,000.

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“Montauk is a special place for a lot of reasons,” says Feit, 68, who credits a connected community for the event’s success. “There’s a lot of goodness in the people,”  he says. “The community has been coming together for years and years.” For kids in the annual surf competition, especially, Feit says there’s fun but also a reminder “it’s really benefiting somebody.” That, plus they see family and friends working on the event, from selling T-shirts and raffle tickets to cleaning up the beach after. And Feit’s seen some happy outcomes: one boy, a cancer patient whose family home was saved by donations years ago, is now “completely healthy.”

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This year’s surf contest starts at 8 a.m.  and features events in various categories  (long boards to paddle boards to “whatever you want to ride or wear”) for both children and adults. “The little kids get into it,” says Feit , who guesses some 60 to 70 surfers will take to the waves this year. Activities on dry land include a raffle (with prizes donated by local merchants including The Atlantic Terrace, Gosman’s Dock and Yoga Lila), T-shirt sales,  and an auction featuring works by local artists.  “It’s a celebration of surfing,” says Feit. “It’s a celebration of life.”

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For more information: http://www.gofundme.com/Rell-Sun-Surf-Benefit or https://www.facebook.com/rellsunsurfcontestbenefit.

TO ENTER, DOWNLOAD THE ENTRY FORM HERE

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Special thanks to Jesse Anthony Spooner and Tyler Brueur for announcing this year’s event!

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Jesse Anthony Spooner with surf student Logan Tarlow, @spoonsurf

 

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Tyler Breuer of Smashsurf @smashsurf

 

 

 

 

Kauai Proper – living the life of a local Pro Surfer…well, almost

While I don’t like to pick favorites, there is no secret that I feel incredibly lucky to have Surf Pro Rochelle Ballard and her company: Surf Into Yoga (SIY) as one of my clients. Surf, nature, sweet gear, massage, amazing natural foods, Hawaii…what more could you need? From the moment she told me she was moving from Oahu’s North Shore to reestablish SIY Wellness Adventures from her native Kauai, my bags were pretty much packed while I waited for the green light.

That green light to come and check out the new digs in Kauai came in July when I anxiously boarded a plane to spend 16 days in Kauai working, brainstorming and ‘testing’ (wink, wink) all the experiences SIY Kauai Wellness had to offer.

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Napali Coast view from the North

Aside from the obvious perks of this arrangement, add in a refreshingly humble world-class athlete who generously offers tips on the Hawaiian approach to health, nutrition and local wave knowledge and you pretty much have the perfect Hawaiian experience. Couple that with the the fact that she is who she is, a surfing legend who truly helped pioneer the sport for women, and you can imagine that the experience of jaunting around her favorite local haunts, surf breaks, camping spots and excursions is that much better.

BETTER WITH A LOCAL LEGEND: CASE AND POINT, SURF LESSON WITH ROCHELLE
On the first day Rochelle took me out to surf the very break she learned on, I was shown so much Aloha from the locals paying their respect that you might have thought I was in Blue Crush and not her. Not one dirty look, not one negative word – it was all positive and powerful energy of encouragement as I paddled into waves twice the size of my comfort zone. I know Hawaiians are super friendly but, I’m not naive. I’m aware that much of this welcome reception had to do with who I was paddling out there with and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

Not only did I get countless smiles and thumbs up from perfect strangers who made me feel completely welcome as I struggled just to stay put in the line up on her Joel Tudor single fin (about 3 feet shorter than any board I’d ever actually stood up on) but they lovingly launched into a joint hoot of booming cheers and whistles when I finally caught my first ever short board ride allllll the way into shore (albeit on my belly-foot-knee-belly-butt). It was an unbelievable experience I will never forget. In between receiving tips from Rochelle on how to position myself, how to breathe, where to put my toes, how to open my stance, I sat in awe as she paddled outside to the larger sets and gracefully demonstrated why she is a champion of the sport.

The itty bitty Joel Tudor single fin I rode/tried to ride my first day out on a short board.

The itty bitty Joel Tudor single fin I rode/tried to ride my first day out on a short board.

Day two of surfing went a little smoother once I got back on the comfort of a long floaty board.

Day two of surfing went a little smoother once I got back on the comfort of a long floaty board.

What is so cool about what Rochelle is doing on Kauai is that she is aiming to share that priceless insiders-only experience with visitors right there on the very beaches that she grew up learning to surf at. The experience is about understanding what it really means to enjoy the Hawaiian lifestyle, to value nature and family and to live with a strong sense of community, health and service to others. Surf Into Yoga has now successfully relocated from Oahu to Kauai and has expanded into an outfit offering lessons, day packages and full multi-day wellness retreats to include anything and everything from Surf, SUP paddles up the Waimea River, Napali Coast Boat Excursions with Snorkeling to Private Yoga and Massage or Ayurvedic Wellness Consultation. Like any good researcher would do, I had to try all of these things myself before I could sign on and approve. The verdict: AMAZING.

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Rainbows abound daily on Kauai. This is, in fact, a double rainbow!!

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Breathtaking views of the Napali Coast cliffs from the boat during our excursion – this view is an actual Windows Screensaver, for obvious reasons. And yes, those are dolphins!

The experience one can have on Kauai surfing and exploring the far less touristy west coast is unparalleled and the waves, well, no complaints here. Yes, the North Shore of Kauai is spectacular and beautiful but the west is magical in its own special way and for so many reasons. Most notably, its proximity to some of the most amazing sights and adventures on the island of Kauai. Nestled right at the base of the Waimea Canyon and 30 minutes below the majestic hiking territory of Kokee State Park, the west coast also offers direct access to Napali Coast Boat Adventures where you can cruise the sights of the pristine northwest cliffs and beachfront inaccessible by road.

An experience on the west side guided by Surf Into Yoga allows you to explore the island as something more than just another tourist and to get a sense of what is truly the Hawaiian way of life sans the overcrowded and overpriced restaurants, souvenir shops and marked up coconuts you will find in the more resort-focused areas. The accommodation options, ranging from converted plantation style cottages to private beach bungalows, are nestled among beachfront communities where you are more likely to stumble on family potlucks than bars and very likely to be greeted as though you are a neighbor rather than a foreign mainlander.

During my stay, we surfed, camped and hiked up at Kokee, paddled at sunset up the Waimea River, boated up the Napali Coast, snorkeled, bodysurfed, practiced surf-specific yoga, did an outdoor massage, talked a bit of Blue Crush history, ate gobs of fresh lilikoi, avocado, mango and payapya right from the trees, sucked down buckets of Mate (a miracle green tea), ran, planted some trees, did some work in the garden, caught every sunset and almost every sunrise, did a little off roading, ate some killer fish tacos, had a campfire, experienced a run in with local bulls and pretty much wore our faces out smiling.

My experience was so epic that the final days of my trip consisted of me looking at potential rentals for a more permanent stay along this lesser traveled coast in what is arguably one of the most magical places I have ever visited.

I returned home nourished, tanned, toned and so excited to start sharing my experience with friends so they too could see what a special thing she has going there on Kauai’s west side with Surf Into Yoga.

Contact: Visit SurfIntoYoga.com for info or email info@surfintoyoga.com or call 808.343.0616 for custom package or booking options. Be sure to mention FOND for special rates and preferential treatment 😉

Mahalo to Rochelle for hosting me, to Aura and her other friends and family for amazing food and hospitality, to Nukumoi Surf Shop, Hanapepe Naturals, Brennecke’s Deli, Napali Coast Adventures, Michaelle of Manayoga.com.

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Sunset overlooking the valley on my final day on Kauai.

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Early morning view from my tent atop Kokee State Park where we spent the day hiking along rivers and waterfalls.

The original SIY sign finds a new home in Kauai.

The original SIY sign finds a new home in Kauai.

Overlooking Waimea Canyon on the way up to Kokee.

Overlooking Waimea Canyon on the way up to Kokee.

I think we saw dolphins everytime we were in or near the ocean - so beautiful.

I think we saw dolphins everytime we were in or near the ocean – so beautiful.

My makeshift massage table where I was treated to bodywork by Rochelle, a Licensed Massage Therapist for over 20 years.

My makeshift massage table where I was treated to bodywork by Rochelle, a Licensed Massage Therapist for over 20 years.

More stunning views from the Napali Coast Adventure.

More stunning views from the Napali Coast Adventure.

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Closing out the day with a perfect sunset moments before the 'bull incident'.

Closing out the day with a perfect sunset surf moments before the ‘bull incident’.

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Quick swim in the river after a nice hot hike in Kokee.

Quick swim in the river after a nice hot hike in Kokee.

Reforesting Patagonia and the Patagonia Ultra Marathon

5 REASONS WHY WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THIS RACE, THE CAUSE AND 2 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED

On September 28th, FOND will be down in Patagonia to race an Ultra in one of the most pristine destinations on the planet and to help reforest the region of the Torres del Paine National Park in the process. Take a read on why we are super stoked for this race and ask yourself whether you might want to join… or perhaps just plant a tree (which you can GPS track) for just $4 and pick up some happy earth karma.

WHY WE LOVE IT:

1. IT’S IN PATAGONIA. Contrary to popular belief, Patagonia is more than an awesome gear company – it’s also home of some of the most incredible natural beauty in the world. Because it’s a bit of a hike for us here in the US, a race is a great excuse to get down there and give back. From sailing to sheep shearing, Patagonia is home to lakes, forest and breathtaking glaciers, including Grey Glacier, which is part of the Southern Ice Field, the largest expanse of ice on the planet after Antarctica and the Arctic.

Patagonia Runners

2. THERE’S A RACE LENGTH FOR EVERYBODY.  The race is comprised of a 63k ultramarathon, 42k marathon, 21k half marathon and 10k. The run starts and ends in the Torres del Paine National Park and is a point-to-point run. The event offers runners of all abilities a distance to choose from. 2013 marks the second year for the event and the first year for the 63k ultramarathon.

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3. IT BENEFITS REFOREST PATAGONIA . The event, organized by NIGSA, continues to support the mission of calling the world’s attention to the conservation of Chilean Patagonia and contributing to the sustainable development of the region. For every entry, a tree will be donated to Reforestemos Patagonia, a campaign with the goal of planting 1 million native trees in Chilean Patagonia. What’s cooler, their advanced GPS and mapping technologies will record the exact coordinates where each tree will be planted. Along with a digital Certificate of Reforestation, each individual who plants a tree will receive the coordinates of their tree, as well as a geo-tagged link showing them its location on Google Maps.

Patagonia forest

4. IT’S A NEW RACE. The Patagonian International Marathon is the first of its kind in the Torres del Paine National Park. Because it is a new race, it will be fairly small and will offer an excellent chance to meet other dedicated runners/conservationalists/travel enthusiasts from around the world.  In spite of its youth, the race has clearly been organized by experts as is apparent through the wealth of information available on the Patagonia Ultramarathon Site. The smaller entry pool also means much greater chances of placing well. Small competition = healthy competition 🙂

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5. IT’S A CUP-FREE EVENT. Perhaps one of the coolest innovations in long distance racing, the remoteness of this event combined with the mindfulness and foresight of its organizers led them to the decisions to eliminate the needless piles of waste associated with most endurance events. This means every runner is required to carry with them their own water hydration system- handheld water bottle or bladder system. It’s about time!

TWO WAYS TO GET INVOLVED – ONE EASY, ONE FUN!

1.  GIVE A TREE!  for only $4 and help reforest a precious part of the earth. This small step will leave you feeling good for several hours – possibly even weeks and will give you a nifty Facebook share opportunity to prompt your friends to also plant a tree. Together, we can help reverse the devastation of the forest fires that ravaged this area.

2. RACE! As we mentioned above, there is a race distance for every runner and plenty of accommodation options available near the park ranging from camping to luxury. What an amazing destination to put on your calendar for fall Travel than Patagonia! Also, as far as races go – the fact that the Ultra is less than the NYC Marathon is pretty epic. If you sign up, be sure to let us know so we can brag about you on our site and say hello while down there.

We hope to see you there!

FOND

RACE DETAILS AND REGISTRATION
FAQ

Digital Detox: Summer Camp For Adults

BY HILLARY KAYLOR

Color wars. Village communities demarked by wildlife flags. A reveille bugle to wake us every morning. The 325 of us, ranging in ages from 19 to 67, were warned. We were prepped. But it was only when we stepped deep into the cover of 80 acres of cool redwoods in Anderson Valley (three hours north of San Francisco), into a 1970’s boy scout camp straight out of Wes Anderson’s wildest dream that we realized, finally, where we were.

Camp.

And not just any camp. A camp for adults. Without electronic devices, computers, phones, lights, heat, or watches. We were not to speak about the “W” word (that would be work), what we did for a job (hereto forth to be called “fun” or “play”), and that revealing our names or ages would result in severe punishment (pulling out one another’s hair, strand by strand for each offense). We were asked to hand over our bags of iPads, Kindles, iPhones, Blackberries, digital cameras and a jumble of cords. Mine alone weighed 15 pounds and was giving me a lopsided walk; just one of the many reasons I had signed up for this experience. The offending devices went into a paper sack and were unceremoniously locked away as the campers (again, mostly me) whimpered softly.

As our tech lifelines were stripped, we couldn’t help but wonder what a Digital Detox meant. After the initial withdrawal, we were promised special connections with each other, a slow release from our wired selves; a disconnect to reconnect.  And a whole lot of good feelings, spirituality, and ultimately, a freedom we once knew as kids but had forgotten now that we were drones in the world. We were also promised that after just a few hours of sing-a-longs, we’d rid ourselves of the nasty urge to grab our phones to document the experience or share with someone who was not there. Because at this camp, the only people who mattered were the ones you were speaking to face to face. Something that I personally had forgotten how to do at least three years ago.

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Greeted by enthused counselors with names like Bricky St. James, Prow Prow, Golden Bird, Honey Bear, Topless (a jovial tea-master who claimed not to have worn a shirt in six years) and our saintly, mustachioed director Fidget McWigglesworth, we soon dragged our packs to our open-air bunks, geared up in shorts, face paint, and with mouthfuls of chocolate chip cookies, decided upon our own nicknames.

Mine was Lil’ Ripper. My best friend; Magenta.

We sipped woody tea and strolled the landscape before the others arrived from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Australia and Canada. We went to the Wonder Woods, to the Magic Bus where many a late night party would be spent swinging in hammocks and playing music, to the yurt-cum-tea room alight with romantically strung Christmas bulbs and carpeted with Oriental rugs and Indian tapestries. We ran to the flagpole, the main field.  We stumbled upon vistas and the hollowed out trees seemingly tailor-made for Tarot card readings. Creative stations. Rock walls. Typewriters to post messages of hope and inspiration to one another strung along a wall titled “Human Powered Search Engine.” Questions were asked, questions were answered. Legos were assembled and Frisbees were thrown.

Playshops during the day included hip-hop dance class, archery, meditation, non-violent communication (my favorite), partnered yoga, river walks, and more were on sign-up sheets where we handwrote our preferences. We raised the flag and hugged one another, sang songs, served one another vegan meals and water, and took one-inch photos of each other by holding up our hands and making tiny boxes as viewfinders, forever imprinting what we saw into our memory banks.

“Internal-Gram!” Proclaimed a counselor, before we rushed off to campfire talent shows, jam sessions in dark pockets. Inspirational signs and spirit sticks abounded:

YIELD TO THE PRESENT

TODAY YOU ARE YOU. THAT IS TRUER THAN TRUE. THERE IS NO ONE ALIVE WHO IS YOUER THAN YOU.

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The Kumbaya was infectious. In Sun Fire’s outdoor meditation, I tearfully told him an internal struggle I’ve never told anyone. He kept my gaze, squeezed by hands and thanked me for sharing and reinforced how proud of me, and of the moment, he was. Later when I spent three hours making a fire with Condor, who literally lit it out of nothing more than two sticks, a piece of rope, whispers and intentions. Then he ran back to his backpack to gather his stone peace pipe. We stayed so long it began to get dark, and he told us of how to speak to the fire, release our problems to the non-judgmental flame, and then burn our pain away.

At the end, I held his shoulder and thanked him for the amazing experience, and true to counselor form, he deflected gracefully. “Thank you. Because the amazing thing here, is you.”

There was sleeping under the spiders and the stars, grass stains and field rashes from Capture the Flag. Wild costumes. Skinny swimmin’ and streaking through the 80’s themed prom. Outrageous contests that resulted in me diving my face into a pie plate of flour to find a piece of bubble gum to chew, blow a bubble and then pass on. I coughed up enough flour to make a batch of scones, but we did place second. There were haircutting contests where scissor-wielding amateurs treated volunteers to choppy services. And then? The scraps of hair on the ground were swept up by the final competition: the best beard contest, where girls and boys alike literally had the floor-hair glued to their faces.

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We pranked each other, we danced like maniacs, and we never knew what time it was or where we had to go. We moved as a group in tune, as a flock of birds or wave. We whispered into the wind and had a silent candlelit dinner under the trees. Many people choked up. When we were finally allowed to speak again (and eat), we devoured our gluten-free mac and cheese and mustard greens like a Thanksgiving dinner. Then many of us ran to the port-a-potties, as few were accustomed to our body digesting so quickly.

It was exhausting, it was a social experiment; it was a beautiful experience that brought me back to life. Consciousness. Living in the moment. Being free from cubes and screens and judgment. It has ushered in a new revolution between all of us. No Facebook for a month, we swore. No texting for six, we exclaimed. No answering emails and instead inviting meetings to be in person. Easy to enact in Anderson Valley, perhaps not as much in midtown Manhattan, where I “play” for “fun.” We wrote each other’s real names down in our booklets and promised not to look until we’d left. We put our numbers in and promised to call. Just like when I was twelve, I left sunburnt, sweaty, with an infected tick bite, and full of simple purpose.

There’s too much philosophically to speak of in terms of the backlash to this wondrous world of technology that has saved us in so many ways and may very well be destroying us in others. But even with this incredible camp experience and detox, we struggled intellectually how to bring this back to our lives in the “other world” in a meaningful way. We talked about many things, as there was nothing to do but talk and to act: about life, God, love, the universe.

Eventually, the topic switched from what dreamed to finally, where we were from so we could spread the word at home about this mini-revolution. When I said, “Brooklyn,” the painted fairies around me seemed shocked.

“How did you hear of it?” They wanted to know, entranced that I was not a Californian like them.

I spoke in wonderment back. “How did you hear about it?”

“A Bay Area e-blast,” one piped in.

“A forwarded Eventbrite from a friend in the Castro,” said another.

“We heard it on Twitter,” I motioned to Magenta, since she was my source, who’d gotten it from an Arianna Huffington tweet. “You know they have the Internet in Brooklyn, too, right?”

Get More Information on Other Digital Detoxes near you, right here: thedigitaldetox.org/

Post by Hillary Kaylor – to read more on Hillary, click here.

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