SUP Magazine - - Foreword - — WILL TAY­LOR

A short, sun-browned man ap­proached as I was loading­ing up after a re­cent Sup-surf ses­sion at San Onofre, just south of San Cle­mente, Cal­i­for­nia. He wanted to talk cars. But what caught my at­ten­tion was the mas­sive tat­too that read “San Cle­mente” sprawled across his chest like heavy-gauge chain link. This guy ob­vi­ously loved where he was from.

I can ap­pre­ci­ate that kind of ded­i­ca­tion to a place you rep­re­sent. A place that shaped you. I’m de­fifinitely even a bit jeal­ous, since I’m not tech­ni­cally a ‘lo­cal’ any­where. I’m from a town on the south­ern Ore­gon Coast that cer­tainly gen­er­ates proud lo­cals—and I’m cer­tainly proud of grow­ing up there—but I moved away at 18 and thus lost the priv­i­lege of ink-on-chest cred­i­bil­ity.

Any trav­el­ing pad­dler can un­der­stand that it’s hard to rec­on­cile the de­sire to put down roots with an urge to keep mov­ing. In years of trav­el­ing and call­ing difff­fer­ent places home, I’ve been the brunt of bad lo­cal­ism, the clas­sic “get-the-hell-out-of-my-surf-spot” en­coun­ters. But more of­ten than not, lo­cals have wel­comed me with open arms. There’s some­thing spe­cial about standup pad­dling—a kind of no-ego trib­al­ism that cul­ti­vates open­ness. I’ve been guided down hairy white­wa­ter in the Sierra Ne­vada, shown se­cret surf spots in Tahiti and taught the in­tri­cate paths through reefs while down­wind­ing on Maui, all by pad­dlers who were will­ing to share what they knew.

That give-re­spect/gain-re­spect brand of lo­cal­ism is one worth cel­e­brat­ing. And it’s how we’ve al­ways treated our travel con­tent—rather than keep­ing se­crets and clos­ing offff the best the sport has to offf­fer, we work hard with lo­cals to re­spect­fully share knowl­edge as a way to open doors and pro­vide ac­cess to new ad­ven­tures and pos­si­bil­i­ties.

When SUP stafff­fers Jack Ha­worth and Aaron Sch­midt went to Puerto Rico, they took that ex­act ap­proach: stay­ing hum­ble, lis­ten­ing and wit­ness­ing the peo­ple and the pas­sion for their home and this sport. They flflew back from the is­land with more than a fea­ture on re­cov­ery from Hur­ri­cane Maria (read it on p. 54). The ir­re­press­ible pad­dlers they profi­filed did not turn their backs. In­stead, they opened their homes, shared their waves and ex­posed them to a new way of see­ing life and en­joy­ing the water.

In that vein, we profi­file the eight con­tenders of our 2018 Pad­dle Town Bat­tle on p. 44, the fi­fi­nal­ists de­ter­mined by pas­sion­ate pad­dlers from SUP com­mu­ni­ties around the world. If you’re search­ing for places to be­come a lo­cal, these are good places to start (and if you al­ready live in one, you’re lucky).

Some­day my wife and I will set­tle in and re­ally be­long to a lo­cal com­mu­nity. Un­til then we’ll keep on re­ly­ing on the friendly strangers and warm com­mu­ni­ties of fel­low pad­dlers will­ing to share a taste of theirs. Thanks for the hos­pi­tal­ity.

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