Ambassador Spotlight: Darcy Denney

The Deej - Thursday, February 20, 2020

Darcy was born to be on the water. Growing up in always-sunny Florida, she relished in the plentiful opportunities to make her way outside, feeling the warm breeze on her face as she dove, swam, and bathed in the warm salt water. As time passed and life took her to new places with exciting opportunities, she found her way to North Carolina where she found herself land-locked, hours away from the happy place she knew as a child.
During this time though, she discovered a brand-new passion- yoga. As she continued a daily practice, growing in wisdom and strength through every new pose, she felt a calling to spread her knowledge to others in her community. Through this outreach, her sights began to set on her original love- the water. With this idea in mind, she decided to combine yoga with SUP, thus finding the perfect balance between her two callings.
Then, in 2012, SUP-Pines was born. Classes began in her local body of water, where she offered beginner lessons on the boards and SUP yoga classes in the water. The people in her community began to see the benefits of practicing the gentle poses, energizing their bodies all while feeling the calming currents underneath the board. And as a consequence, her business began to grow.
Evolve took notice, reached out, and decided to offer an Ambassador position to Darcy. With our Roots board, we provide yogis with a perfect, stable platform, with a soft cork mat made by Yoloha Yoga. This combination of stability and comfort provides yogis with the ultimate tool to take their poses to the water.
After a few smiles, a look at our boards, and a palpable excitement shared on both sides, we welcomed Darcy to the team! She is the perfect addition to the Evolve team! So, if you are ever in her area in North Carolina, we implore you to check out her classes! And if you want to visit her website, be sure to check it out here.
1. Reasons I love SUP & Yoga: My love for SUP began in Sunny FL where I grew up, never far from the beach I was born a water baby! After moving to NC in 2012 & being land locked, a few hours from the beach, I yearned to get back on the water. I was in the process of becoming a yoga teacher so I decided I could create a company that offered SUP-Yoga here locally & began the process to get this secondary certification, from there SUP-Pines was born! Fusing my two passions & sharing it with my community has been such an amazing experience! Its a great way to get moving outside, explore new lakes, unplug & a welcome challenge to any yoga practice. Surrounded by nature & connecting back to mother earth is so necessary in this socially stimulating society we live in. Oh & the savasana. It’s the most grounding experience you could imagine...under a sunset, birds chirping, rippling water, warmth on your skin, the stillness, the vastness…
2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke & spread aloha’ is: Continue to bring SUP Yoga to a community that has very little water sports, watching some conquer their fears of “getting wet” during a session, finding their edge & seeing my students smile as they paddle back to shore!
3. A goal that lights me up: Currently manifesting a retreat center that has access to water, a chef’s kitchen for plant-based eats, surrounded by nature with morning meditations & afternoon hikes! Throwing it out into the universe!!
4. Words to live by: May you find a stillness in your mind that allows you to focus on creating your dreams, may your words be impeccable towards one another as well as to yourself, may your heart be filled with joy, may it know peace, be filled with love & spread that love to the world around you!
5. My guilty pleasure is: Almond butter filled dates with dark chocolate drizzle!
6. My favorite paddle place in the world is: Hawaii so far! I have New Zealand on my list of places to paddle in the near future!
7. Some little known things about me are: I am a Plant-Based Chef! I am currently working toward opening an all plant-based cafe with my sister where people can learn more about conscious consumption & ways to incorporate more plants into their meals, all the while sipping on a house made nut milk latte with a full belly after nourishing their body with one of our nutrient dense meals!
8. What I love most about my work is: Connection hands down! Connecting to people & connecting back to mother nature.
9. One BIG audacious goal I'm working on is: My next big goal for SUP-Pines is to take the current teacher training module I am creating on the road to a retreat destination where students can have down time to relax & replenish as well as learn the art of teaching SUP yoga.
10.Three things I can't live without are: Movement, Food & My family for sure!
11.To me, my 'practice' is: Rolling out my mat or dropping in my board, letting go of my day, my worries, doubts & fears. Moving in a way that feels authentic to what my body needs allowing my practice to evolve in the most supportive and nourishing way possible. Creating space within my body & within mind to move through this life with a little less force & a lot more grace!

Ambassador Spotlight: Jason Howell

The Deej - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Meet Jason Howell. He has quickly become a key figure in the ever-growing family of Evolve spreading his stoke across the Eastern Shore area. A true lover of nature, yoga and surf, Jason can be often spotted down at Assateague Island, scoping for the next set of waves or on his yoga mat, deepening his practice. 

Evolve first became aware of Jason through the local race circuits he was participating in. It was not only his skill which stood out, but his love for the sport. His passion radiated through every stroke he took before reaching the finish line. With our attention captured, we knew we had to add Jason to the team. 

With the purchase of our 14'x25'' Evolve Killer Bee, Jason officially became a member of Evolve. From there, he started riding our boards in local races such as the Bay Bridge Paddle, Return to Goat Island, and others. As his experience has deepened and his skills have matured, his passion for the sport has not dampened. Jason has quickly become a prominent member of the Evolve team. If you see him at any local races or scouting surf down on the shore, be sure to start a conversation, ask some questions, and get to know him as well as the products we have to offer.  

1. Reasons I love SUP and Yoga:
Paddling is my source of meditation & an escape from stressors in life. It’s just me, my board and the water. It helps me turn off the chatter in my mind for a short time and stay fit while being on the water. Yoga too, has become almost a daily practice. I love to take a break with a mid-day yoga session to regroup before getting back to work. 

2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke & spread aloha’ is: Sharing stories while in a group paddle session or catching up after races, lessons or surfing. Everybody’s face seems to light up when we’re on the water or around the water. 

3. A goal that lights me up: I want to build power & speed while paddling my race board, advance my yoga practice & spend more time on a surfboard. 

4. Words to live by: Be authentic to yourself and have fun. We only get one time around on this roller-coaster. 

5. My guilty pleasure is: Ice cream. I could eat a carton of it right now if you put it in front of me. 

6. My favorite paddle place in the world is: The Annapolis and Kent Island area are my current favorite places; but I’ve been to Costa Rica and seen what it has to offer so that’s at the top of my paddling bucket list. 

7. Some little known things about me are: I’ve been married for 12 years and have two beautiful little girls. I race with an Outrigger Canoe team (mostly OC6). I love to play golf. I played D3 College Lacrosse. 

8. What I love most about my work is: I have autonomy & the flexibility to be there for all of life’s biggest moments with my wife/kids & be active when I want to. 

9. One B​IG ​audacious goal I'm working on is: Paddle a race in Hawaii whether it be on a SUP or in an Outrigger Canoe. 

10. Three things I can't live without are: My family; the water; sunshine. 

11. To me, my 'practice' is: Being out in the open water, pushing myself & learning to appreciate the present moment.

Ambassador Spotlight: Angela Thomas

The Deej - Thursday, February 06, 2020


Angela Thomas is owner and operator of Overboard Paddle and Fitness located in East New Market, Maryland. Angela has been in the health and wellness industry for over 15 years, helping to guide individuals to their happiest and healthiest selves. In the beginning of her journey she started teaching classes on land eventually setting her sights to the water- her other deeply ingrained passion. 

Setting her sights on this new playground of opportunity, she reached out to us at Evolve Boards in regards to getting a fleet of boards to begin holding beginner SUP classes on the creek near her location. Participants around her area began to fall in love with the water as much as Angela did as she routinely filled her classes with excited beginner paddlers. Keeping her sights set on the future of the sport, Angela became aware of the sister companies' FlowMotion Big Buddha yoga pod and mats. 

Implementing the new toy, she started to hold classes on the creek using the new Big Buddha and mats. Students fell in love with the activity. Word got out about the interesting and new class and within no time, her Big Buddha groups became popular. Angela has been an incredible asset to the Evolve team by spreading awareness of the brand, what we have to offer, and always being willing to get newbies involved in the sport. In addition, she is certified in RYT 200 Hour, Group Fitness, Les Mills BodyPump, Kickboxing, Spin, PIYO, Pound, Pilates, STRIDE, and PaddleFit Level 1 and 2. 

Be sure to contact Angela about her upcoming classes and find out more about her by reading her answers below!

1. Reasons I love SUP and Yoga: I love water and exercise! The two together are magic!

2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke and spread aloha’ is: on the FlowMotion Pod!! I love to see everyone's face during/after their 1st session!! They are normally hooked!!

3. A goal that lights me up is: Wellness! I have been teaching fitness/yoga for almost 15 years! I love to spread wellness!

4. Words to live by: Always be kind! and "Move it or lose it"

5. My guilty pleasure is: Anything chocolate!

6. My favorite place to paddle is: Cedar Grove beach! At the end of my road, my friends have an amazing beach at their house! It's sandy and there's so many directions to SUP from there! It's beautiful!

7. Some little known things about me are: I lost 75 pounds!! I ate my way through my son's Fragile X diagnosis!

8. What I love most about my work is: It's not work! I love what I do inside and outside the gym and with my SUP/Yoga business!

9. One Big Audacious Goal is: To open a SUP/Yoga studio in Dorchester on the water!

10. Three things I can’t live without: Family, Faith, Fitness

11. To me, my practice is: Very Spiritual! My SUP is a form of therapy and my Yoga mat is like a magic carpet! I can escape and unwind! 

Ambassador Spotlight: Corrine Banks

The Deej - Thursday, January 30, 2020

Corrine is an Easter Shore native. Over the years she has added immense value to the people living in Ocean City, MD through her business entitled Balanced 4 Life Fitness where she offers personal training, life coaching, and health and wellness tips to her clients and friends. Over the years she has gained prominence in the paddling scene through her success in racing. Through her own training and never-quit attitude, Corrine has become a staple on the podium for numerous local races. Due to her personable style and visibility in the racing scene, Evolve decided to bring her on-board as a part of our Ambassador program. 

Most people see her at her favorite spot in Assateague Island. It is there where Corrine finds her peace and a chance for solitude. Whether it be sliding effortlessly down the face of a wave, or paddling long distance on the bay riding atop a custom Evolve race board, she always has a smile on her face. Lately, she has back away from the racing scene to concentrate on raising her daughter and focus on her own mental and physical well-being. It is through surfing, on her Evolve SUP surf or Evolve long board, where Corrine finds her deepest expression of love for the sport of paddling and nature. If you see her packing up her boards on her blue Jeep in the parking lot, feel free to ask her about the best surfing spots on the island and what board would make the best fit for you. Her knowledge and willingness to engage with potential paddlers is boundless.

You can find more about Corrine at her website here. Be sure to check out her blog where she offers tips, tricks and health information in detail and if you are looking for a personal trainer, drop her a line. She is certified and has an immense amount of experience guiding clients to be the fittest, happiest, and healthiest versions of themselves. In addition, her life-coaching has changed the life course of countless clients by creating a positive atmosphere combined with a goal-oriented mindset where she helps people accomplish small goals that lead to larger ones. We are beyond happy to have Corrine on the team and cannot wait to see what she has in store for the New Year. 

1. Reasons I love SUP and Yoga:
Both SUP and Yoga provide an invaluable way for me to get out of my head and live joyfully in the moment re-centering myself no matter what is going on around me.

2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke & spread aloha’ is: Happily share information about the Evolve boards I’m surfing on whether it be prone or SUP by the many people who stop me to ask on the beach.

3. A goal that lights me up: Living each day to the fullest while slowing down to find the big and small child-like joy that you can only appreciate if you make a conscious effort to do so.

4. Words to live by: More regrets come from neglecting to do what you really love versus what you feel obligated to do.

6. My favorite paddle place in the world is: My back yard of Assateague island thus far.

7. Some little known things about me are: I have been a self-taught surfer for 27 years and counting and it is the only sport that has kept me passionate. The only things I knew I wanted to do in my post-high school years were to be a beach bum and a mom so you could say I am living my dream! I daydream about living the #vanlife or taking a year to be a traveling nomad. It remains a daydream as I am still a single mom raising a teenager so it isn’t practical at the moment. I love what I do personal training however, if I have an opportunity to retire, I would in a heartbeat as I have so many hobbies and not enough time.

8. What I love most about my work is: Helping people reach their goals hands down is what I love most. I have been in points in my life where I was winning a lot of big races and still hearing about small victories in a client's health and self-esteem that I had a part in helping people to achieve gets me more excited than my own victories.

9. One BIG audacious goal I'm working on is:
That question 3 or 4 years ago would have been one of the race goals I had. But, I set and obtained them all twice and no longer care about competition. These days my only goal is letting go of everything that is not really important and prioritizing time with people that I love and things that I am passionate about such as the time at the beach and surfing.

10. Three things I can't live without are: My daughter. The ocean. Me time.

11. To me, my 'practice' is: to workout through play. I choose what I feel like doing each day. Which lately has been surfing, mountain biking, playing tennis, running, yoga, short strength workouts, road biking, swimming, hiking, and paddling.

Ambassador Spotlight: Johnny Bmore

The Deej - Friday, January 24, 2020

Meet John Mikulski, or as he is better known around Ocean City, Johnny Bmore. Johnny is the king of stoke, never letting an opportunity for a good paddle, a set of waves, or a sunny day go to waste. He first appeared on Evolve's radar during the Christmas season a few years ago, when he wandered into a local SUP shop asking about purchasing a board for his wife. Little did he know, this small act of kindness would kick-start a passion for the water which lay dormant in him for years.

After a few false starts, different board trials, and getting to know his own body in regards to getting onto the water, Johnny became obsessed with the activity of SUP- even going as far as paddling 365 days straight, and 418 days in total! Evolve followed his journey, along with his friends, on social media, cheering him on when he found himself paddling through snow and even icy waters. Through his trials, tribulations, and his ability to push himself farther than most people, Johnny quickly became a competent paddler in all areas of SUP- surfing, racing, down-winding, even teaching his young daughters how to stand on a board. Because of his attitude, his excitement for the sport, and his willingness to get others involved, we invited Johnny to partake in our Ambassador Program.

Johnny has created countless content for Evolve in the form of pictures and videos. Be sure to give him a follow on Instagram @johnnybmore and be on the lookout for his fun video edits on Facebook or YouTube! Outside of videos and pictures you can find Johnny at Assateague Island, eagerly looking for the next wave! 

1. Reasons I love SUP and Yoga:
Meditation- being able to lose yourself in the moment. Connection to the elements and nature- allowing you to understand your balance. Fitness-SUP brought me back from a very dark place and I never thought I could be this active again, maybe more than I ever have! Of course the pure energy and adrenaline of fun waves!

2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke & spread aloha’ is:
Helping others learn to enjoy sup especially in the ocean

3. A goal that lights me up:
One day being able to proficiently ride nasty shore break barrels.


4. Words to live by:
"Let the world be" focus on here and now while helping those around you.


5. My guilty pleasure is: 
SUGAR ... I have a bad addiction

6. My favorite paddle place in the world is: 
Assateague Island... so many fun places but I love my home!

7. Some little known things about me are:
I have broken over 40 bones, I have been in over ten films you can find on DVD (Get to it). Out of all the things I'm passionate about, being a father is my favorite.


8. What I love most about my work is:
Freedom and knowledge, I have an amazing schedule and work 80% from home, allowing me to be very close with my family as well as my passions. My work allows me to learn and develop skills that are extremely important to me.


9. One BIG audacious goal I'm working on is:
I'm not far off! ..More freedom to travel and share the stoke with my family and friends! Maybe one day not have to think about anything else
!

10. Three things I can't live without are:
Family, Waves... and ummmm FREEZIE POPS!

11. To me, my 'practice' is:
Paddle Surf and Downwind ARE LIFE!!!

Ambassador Spotlight: Misty Marcum

The Deej - Thursday, January 16, 2020

In this modern age, owning a business is no longer just about sales, it's also about connection. Through the use of social media, electronic mail, and person to person contact, owners are able to see in real-time how their products reach people across the globe. And as a growing paddle board company, we not only want to sell boards, but create a community of like-minded creators to flourish alongside us.

One way of doing this also happens to be one the most exciting aspects of creating the Evolve Paddle Boards brand. Through our Ambassador Program we are able to cross promote each owner's small businesses alongside our brand in a shared connection of growth and profound love of the sport. In continuation of our program on evolveboards.com, we asked our current ambassadors a few questions about themselves in order to understand who they are and their background. With that in mind, we would like to introduce you to Misty Marcum.

Based out of Michigan, Misty is owner and operator of Luna Moon SUP Yoga, where she guides students through beginner paddle lessons as well as SUP yoga classes. Being certified in both SUP yoga and fitness, as well as holding a yoga teacher certification, her credentials give Misty the knowledge to guide paddlers and yoga-enthusiasts through any practice regardless of experience. During the summer, you will find Misty holding classes on the serene setting of Sylvan Lake in Ferndale, Michigan. And as anyone in the Michigan area knows, the frigid temperatures of the northern part of the country push her classes inside at the Waterford Kettering Pool where she holds classes on our Evolve inflatable boards in the swim lanes. In addition, she owns a line of lip-balm products made from all-natural ingredients and packaged in eco-friendly containers. To see her teaching schedule as well as her line of products visit Misty on her site: mistymarcum.com. And be sure to check out her answers below to a few questions we sent our ambassadors in order to get to know them better. And if you are ever in her area, connect with Misty to experience her wonderful classes on our Evolve boards!
1. Reasons I love SUP and Yoga:
I love being on the water, the feeling of being on it and outside in nature. It's freeing and most times I feel more like myself after being out. Others have even noticed I'm in my element when teaching on the water. It lights me up.
2. My favorite way to ‘share stoke and spread aloha’:
is to invite others out for a paddle. Also meeting new people when I go out on the water.
3. A goal that lights me up is:
To grow myself and share knowledge. Building the connection with others and sharing it with others.
4. Words to live by:
“Keep it natural and exciting!”
5. My guilty pleasure is:
Having fun – love to hang out and talk either around a campfire, on the lake or a boat ride. Walks are great too!
6. My favorite place to paddle is:
It’s a toss up between Lake Michigan & Lake Tahoe. I love them both and don’t see them often enough.
7. Some little known things about me are:
I’ve always loved the water and animals. Especially marine life, earlier in my life I did want to study Marine Biology. I just wanted to be outside in any way possible.
8. What I love about my work is:
Seeing people make it through challenges. Stepping up to challenges and on the water coming back to land with a huge smile, feeling accomplished, refreshed and relaxed. Huge inspiration to me.
9. One Big Audacious Goal is:
Getting my lip balm brand more recognized – Each year it has built up and it keeps going but always looking to expand.
10. 3 Things I can’t live without:
Love – Connection – Inspiration
11. My practice is:
always growing. To be my true authentic self and allow room for more growth.

Board Profile: Roots Yoga SUP!

Ron Gossard - Saturday, April 07, 2018


In case you haven't heard, practicing yoga on a SUP board has boomed over the past few years. Paddlers and yogis alike are flocking to the water with the ability to paddle to a quiet, private spot, surrounded by nature, underneath the sun and revel in the beauty of practicing yoga in nature. It has transformed the power of their practices and has led many devotees to not only participate in as many classes as they can but also expand their knowledge by undertaking their own teacher training. As the movement increased so did our line of yoga boards. 

Our original Roots SUP yoga board featured a Yoloha Yoga cork deck stretched a little farther than our standard boards in order to give yogis a natural surface to practice on as well as added room to make those poses more comfortable. With its pink rails and green center color, it quickly stood out as one of the best yoga boards on the market. But what also set the Roots SUP apart was the ability to comfortably paddle in any condition as well. 

Measuring in at 10'6''x32''x5'' the Roots SUP doesn't sacrifice paddling for specialty. Most other board brands who create a yoga board do it with the specificity of yoga in mind. They tend to make either a shorter, more square board or a larger, box board. They do this to give the illusion to the paddler that they are still standing on a wide, flat deck, to mimic how yoga feels inside the studio. These boards are often too short to paddle long distances or too big to comfortably maneuver in and out of the water. Well, we at Evolve didn't feel like this was a good trade-off. Most people do not have the extra cash laying around to buy multiple boards so we set out to produce a board that was great for yoga but also amazing to paddle. And that is what we did. Not only does the Roots board come with a flat deck, but it also keeps the supreme paddling dimensions of the Padillac intact, thus ensuring our yogis will be able to transition to paddlers with ease. 

As the popularity of SUP yoga grew so did the interest in our Roots board and with it the requests for more gender neutral colors and options. Which is why we decided to expand our lineup to include a blue/green combination and a white/bamboo combination to fit every paddler's needs. With these styles fully entrenched into the lineup, we started to see more male paddlers participating in classes which is a great expansion to see not only for yoga but for the SUP world as a whole. And with this expansion we also decided to include an inflatable board to the lineup for ease of travel. The inflatable also features a full deck pad, unique styling, and the added benefit of being able to roll it up and store it in a back-pack which will be able to be checked by any airline. That's right yogis, take your Roots on the road with you!!

As we move into the future of SUP you can count on Evolve to change with the industry. We are always looking for innovative ways to please our customers and provide top quality boards as well as customer service. We think we have done just that with our Roots SUP lineup of boards. If you have any questions or would like to contact us for any reason, feel free reach out to us and we can answer any and all of your questions! And most importantly, we can't wait to see you out on the water transforming your practice from downward dog to full headstand on our Roots SUP!


365 Days of SUP

The Deej - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

“I want to thank everyone for the support you all have shown me over the past year,” Johnny said to the group standing underneath the blue and white cursive Walk on Water sign outside in the parking lot.


“It's been a great year of being on my SUP, and I would not have been able to accomplish this goal without all of your help.”


A chorus of praise and congratulations drifted through unseasonably warm March winds. He had done it. John Mikulski, known affectionately by his friends as Johnnny Bmore, is a man who a year ago had not even known what SUP was, had completed an entire year, 365 daily paddles, without taking a break. He had connected to an old love, that being the water, strengthened his existing ones with his family, and made a brand new set of friends in the SUP community through this challenging, exciting, and trying idea of being on a board everyday for a year.




Reflecting on how his life had taken this circuitous turn towards a new passion he didn't even know existed, he could not help but allow his mind to haphazardly drift to places and events which shaped the man who stood laughing with friends on this beautiful, warm day. Without choice, his thoughts took him back to one of the biggest events in his life. 



“What happened?” he asked himself.


A moment ago he had been in complete control, swiftly gliding over the blacktop on his bike, performing stunts he had done many times before. But in an instant, it changed. Pain began to root through his foot, up his leg and into his body, seemingly spawning from the ground he lay upon. He felt around for the damage, incomprehensible at this moment of collision. He had been through this drill before- broken bones, bruises, scrapes, blood, and the long process of recovery, but this time, it was different, and he knew it.


Since the age of 18, Johnny began to ride motorcycles, receiving an old 500 street-bike around this time. He enjoyed the freedom the road possessed and the feeling of being alive. And from these deep springs of truth he knew to be flowing in his body, he began to push his limits, incorporating tricks into his riding. Wheelies, burnouts, stoppies and other various acrobatic stunts came to be staples in his basic, but still very dangerous, bag of tricks.


From there, he began to collect videos and tapes consuming every bit of media on the subject. Constantly feeding his obsession, he knew he was not alone, and this was going to grow. And so he practiced. And he began to attend motorcycle shows, competitions, produce and distribute his own DVDs, meddled in adding YouTube videos before it became popular, and riding the streets of Baltimore proudly displaying with his friends what they were able to do on these metal machines. This was his life, and he was happy to be a full participant in it.


Almost eleven years had passed from when he started in 1998 to the fateful day in September of 2009 when just moments ago he was gearing up to be a part of a stunt documentary directed by a well-known film maker out of Canada. The script was the same- collect new footage, interesting angles, chop it up into an interesting video and distribute it to the growing community of motorcycle stunt fanatics.


It had started the same way, with meeting the crew, lining up the shots, and choreographing what stunts to execute. It was all familiar, until it wasn't.


In an instant not calculable by the human brain, Johnny found himself lying on his back, his bike listlessly folded onto its side down the road. The crew, seeing what had happened, knew to get Johnny into a hospital as soon as possible, the damage had been done.


Johnny's wife, Wendi, a practicing nurse herself, upon hearing what had happened, rushed to make sure he was alright, and to find out how badly he had been hurt.


“Mr. Mikulski, your leg needs to be amputated from above the knee. The damage done to the bone and joints in your knee and foot are far too extensive. You will be in tremendous pain for the rest of your life if we try to keep it attached. This is the better way,” the doctor calmly explained.


“No,” Johnny solemnly stated, “I am not giving you permission to cut off my leg.”


“I understand your hesitation, but I can assure you Mr. Mikulski, the amount of pain you will be in for the rest of your life because of this accident will most likely be unbearable. It's either you get it amputated now, or possibly in the future.”


Lying in his bed, Johnny tried to recall the accident in his mind.


“What happened?” he asked. This simple question now haunted his every thought.


He saw the beginning clearly in his head. He was performing a simple wheelie maneuver of which he had executed gracefully countless times. And then...confusion. It all transpired so quickly. In less than an instant he was fine, and immediately after he found himself rolling uncontrollably down the street, waiting for the momentum to halt his tattered body. Without knowing what had happened, he tried to stand up, oblivious to his pain. But his body wouldn't allow it. The damage had occurred. And it had left him shaken.


“No,” he told the doctor, “I am going to keep my leg as it is.”


Upon being discharged from the hospital, it was immediately apparent how debilitating Johnny's injuries actually were. He could not move without help, he could not dress himself without help, he obviously could not walk, and relied heavily on the strength and boundless compassion of his wife Wendi. She and Johnny's daughter, Haley, became his metaphorical and literal crutch. Without them, his rehabilitation would have never happened. They also helped him conquer a much deeper result of the accident- depression.


Johnny had lost his passion, his purpose for being, and because of the enigma of the accident which left him crippled, he did not see himself continuing down the path of which he had previously found so much fulfillment. A part of himself had died that day. And it was replaced by doubt, anxiety, and depression. If he did not know who he was any longer, what could he do with his life? The invisible scars of his decline into mental obscurity were in some ways much more difficult to overcome than his physical ones. Fortunately, the answers were surrounding him everyday of his recovery.


He decided to become a better father, a better husband, and to pursue a new career in which he would be able to use his media and production skills in a way in which would allow him to be present for his young children and his wife. He had discovered a job on the eastern shore of Maryland, and was determined to keep the thoughts of the accident in the past, where they had already taken place.


A new, fortuitous turn had taken place in Johnny's life and not only because he had a new job. It was also because it allowed him the chance to reconnect to an old love- the water. As a child he had grown up around the water with his father, around sailboats, and loved the serene calm of the waves gently collapsing onto the beach. With his mother, he would often spend days exploring calm tributaries and canals, kayaking among the sea grass beaten down by the wind. And with the reemergence of this love, he began to think of ways to reconnect to the water in his present life.


“Johnny, do you want to try paddle boarding with me?” Wendi asked in the spring. “It might be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy the water that we both can do.”




Without much thought put into it, he decided to tag along. Heading into a small rental place in Ocean City on the bay, Wendi and Johnny rented a couple boards and paddled out. For Johnny, the obsession started slow. He fell in. Many times. His body hurt as his balance had still not recovered from his injuries. His leg seared with pain, his shoulders burned when he paddled, and somewhere along the line of his many crashes and injuries, he had developed seasickness and motion sickness from the amount of unhealed head injuries he had sustained. But, he thought to himself, there was something about the feeling of being on the water, the way it glided through the open bay, underneath a warm sun, splashing along a rough eastern shore beach, that made Johnny feel alive once again.


A few months had passed since he had been on a SUP, but he had continued to rent boards with his wife from a local shop in West Ocean City called Walk on Water. With each new time stepping onto the hard surface and gliding into new possibilities, he felt his life expanding. SUP had allowed him the doorway to a new possibility, one he thought had long since passed due to his injuries. It gave Johnny a new hobby, a new way to enjoy the natural space he was surrounded by, and after a few months he found himself standing inside the shop, trying to justify the purchase of his first board ever.


Was it too much money?


Would he use it enough?


Would it sit dormant next to his house, decaying from stillness, a wasted purchase of which he could not take back?


No, he thought, this was something else. This was the first time he sat on a motorcycle, the first time he landed a trick, the first DVD he produced. It was the same feeling all over again. One that he knew he needed to pursue.


With money saved from a good year at his job, he purchased two Evolve paddle boards for him and his wife for Christmas. And as the weather began to turn in spring Wendi and Johnny began to paddle more frequently. They explored new possible spots around town, finding themselves seeing their home from a new perspective on the water. And Johnny's balance began to improve. The pain in his leg persisted but it became manageable. Flexibility began to return to his shoulders and he began to just keep going. He became consistent in his actions. And through this consistency he began to see major improvements.


With his body beginning to alter, his depression also began to lift. And in the telescope of the future, he spotted a new possibility- surfing. With the guidance of a local friend, Mark Nelson, Johnny was able to surf a local spot known for its comfy, easy rides when the swell and tides lined up correctly. It was there he caught his first waves. And it is also where he caught a whole new obsession.


To Johnny, paddle boarding mirrored the feeling of freedom and the sense of being alive that closely resembled his time on a bike, but surfing, surfing was it. Encapsulated in the moment of taking off on a wave and shooting down the line with the edge of the water spraying into your smiling face, that was the same as feeling the wind flowing through your clothes on a warm spring day nestled on the power of an engine propelling you towards no destination at all. Surfing also had no destination. It had no purpose. It was just a moment of stillness in a life that always seemed to move towards something and nothing. In surfing, Johnny found he was only moving toward the feeling of life. The path of least resistance. The quiet mind of which countless spiritual practices speak of. In that first moment of paddle and propulsion, he had done it. He had found again what it meant to be alive.


And so his passion grew to include new boards, ranging from downwind to smaller surf styles, new techniques, and a new life. He also found that after a few months of paddling that he had not taken a day off.


“What if I paddled for an entire year?” he joked one day with Wendi, “That would be crazy.”


But the joke never seemed to stop. Instead it became an actual, attainable goal. Through snow, and ice, and rain, and broken boards, and borrowed boards, and countless other obstacles, Johnny continued on his quest for 365 days in a row of paddling. Through it all he acquired lessons that would stick with him for the rest of his life.


SUP had taught him patience. It is obvious, even to those not involved in water sports, that the ocean and bay can be a very humbling place. And previously, Johnny's drive of conquering self goals and pushing forward had served him well. He was a success in the motorcycle stunt world and now a success at marketing and content production for his new job. But the ocean is not as forgiving. Conditions change, sometimes in an hour, tides go in and out, weather affects every aspect of paddling and surfing, and through this humbling experience, Johnny learned to allow. He learned to go with the flow, to follow the path of least resistance instead of running full speed down that path and smashing anything that got in his way. Rather, he learned to meditate and focus on what makes him feel alive, and to chase that instead. And he learned to remain open to new possibility.


His body was broken, it was hurt, he still has constant seasickness from multiple concussions of which he self-medicates with Dramamine every time he goes to surf, but everyday he decides to never yield to his weaknesses. He knows what makes him feel alive. And so he pursues it anyway. And on March 18th, the exact date a year earlier when he started, Johnny reached his goal. He had successfully paddled for 365 days straight.




Huddling together in front of Walk on Water, Johnny, his wife Wendi, his children and his support crew from the shop, took a group photo, each with gigantic smiles on their faces. It was in celebration of a goal completed under very difficult conditions. But it was also something more. Much more. It was in celebration of what we all can be. The power of human potential to adapt, grow, and achieve. And that is what SUP gave to Johnny. And what Johnny gives to the sport of SUP and its community, every time he steps on a board. 



Afterword:

Johnny lives and works in Ocean City, MD. Through his efforts he gained a full sponsorship from the Evolve Paddleboard Company, supplying him with boards, tips, and motivation to keep pushing. He ended up completing 418 days of paddling in a row. An accomplishment not to be diminished! SUP taught Johnny many lessons about life, but it also opened up avenues for other activities once thought not possible. If he isn't enjoying the water you can also find him messing around on his Hamboard longboard, actively playing with his children, and standing on the beach looking for that next wave.





Choosing Your Surf Style

The Deej - Friday, March 16, 2018


As the calendar inches closer to Spring and eventually to Summer the Evolve team is gearing up for another great year of fun in the sun in the water. In order to maximize our time and fun in the water we have designed, developed, tested and produce a full range of boards to fit every style and need. This includes race style boards, cruiser, fishing, inflatables, and of course a few gnarly surf styles as well. And that is the topic for today's discussion. How to choose the correct surf style SUP board for you! 

Our Evolve team spans the globe in regards to ambassadors and where we ship our boards, which means we get a lot of different questions from a variety of different people. However, a large portion of the questions we receive from our fellow water lovers centers around that of surfing. Surfing is an activity that conjures images in the imagination for anyone who has ever tried doing it or even thought about doing it. The effortless gliding, the quiet mind, and the pure stoke of being one with a wave is something people are drawn to no matter their skill level or where they may be located on the globe. And one of the best ways to get involved in the sport is on top of a SUP surf style. But this is also where the questions come in.

If you are not familiar with surfing it can be difficult to narrow down what shape, style, size and thickness you will need in order to succeed at the sport. This can lead to disheartening experiences in the ocean. We have seen it a few times- inexperienced paddlers trying their best to catch a wave not designed to be out in the swell, their rugged effort met with plenty of nose dives and a strong pull of the leash dragging them back to shore. These problems, though, can be mitigated with the proper equipment. Let's break it down in order to provide the best guide in choosing your surf style board for when you are ready to charge the waves.

Skill Level

The first category we should always discuss when buying any board is your skill level. What to consider is how long you have been paddle boarding, how many times you have been in the ocean, and especially how often you will be able to get in the ocean in order to improve your skills (this is a big one). 

The longer you have been paddling, more than likely, the better your balance will be as well as being more comfortable paddling in rapid succession in order to catch waves. If you are an experienced paddler and feel comfortable in the ocean then a smaller board will fit you better. Something in the range of our Stokester, which comes in at 9'4''x30'' or our Deej XL which is 9'6''x33'' or if you are very experienced the original Deej at 8'4''x30'' or the Goosebumps 7'11''x28.5''. These boards work better for the experienced paddlers as they are under 10' which gives them maneuverability in the water but also decreases stability when it's rough on the ocean. So make sure when you downsize your board, you've spent plenty of time on the water. 

Body Size

Sometimes skill level can compensate for body size. If you are an experienced paddler and have spent years on the water and the ocean, and have exceptional balance, then skill reigns supreme. However, for the average paddler, this is often not the case. The basic rule is simple: the bigger your body, the bigger your board has to be in order to float you. We have seen plenty of paddlers who get on boards that are too small for their body type and subsequently they end up fighting the board the entire time in the water instead of actually surfing. It can be frustrating for those on the board as well as those watching. Often times this will lead to the paddler giving up on surfing, proclaiming it is just not something that is for them. But, if they had started on a board that matched their size, they would at least been able to stand up in the ocean which is a huge first step. 

Luckily, Evolve produces boards that fit every body style. For those that are inexperienced and bigger the 10'10''x35'' is the best board to start on. The 5'' of volume combined with the increased width gives the paddler plenty of space to stand on, which maximizes balance. A step down from there in the 10'6''x32'' Paddilac. Though labeled as a cruiser style board, the Paddilac can also be used as a longboard style surf board in the ocean. A step down from there is the 10'x30'' Perfect 10. Which is, coincidentally, the perfect board for the bigger paddler or inexperienced paddler to enjoy a surf style tailored to cruising down the line in a smooth fashion. However, if you're still looking to go smaller but keep a longboard style that's where the 9'5''x30'' Juice comes into play. The shorter board increases maneuverability but the rounded out nose increases stability. 

Style

As beginners start to become more comfortable in the ocean they tend to develop a certain style when it comes to surfing. And this style will often times determine what type of board they choose. Now, it is quite common for surfers to change styles depending on the day as well as what they feel like surfing, which only means you need to purchase additional boards! But the basic difference is between a longboard style cruiser/glider or a short board slashing style. Evolve produces such board types. If you're into longboarding we offer the Perfect 10 and the 9'5'' Juice. They both have the rounded out noses as previously described, a lower rocker (which is the curve of the nose going up) which produces a smoother glide on mushy waves, and the added volume to make walking on the board within everyone's capability. 

But, if you are more of a short board style surfer, with quick cuts, strong bottom turns, and hitting the lip of the wave with aggression look no further than our smaller board such as the 8'4'' Deej or 7'11'' Goosebumps. These boards offer more rocker for bigger, steeper waves, pulled in noses and tails and lower volume for easy, quick turning. You'll be able to power onto waves for hours on end with one of these boards. 

As your style develops so will your choice in boards. Most people, when they are learning to surf, opt for a longboard style as they provide an easier entry point into the waves with their added length, volume, and stability. So if you're brand new to surfing and don't have a preferred style, stick with the longboard until you progress!

Surfing is one of those activities which benefits greatly from time on the water. The more you go, the better you will become at it. Unfortunately most people become discouraged after a few tries, often times chalking up other people's success at the sport to 'natural talent'. And while it may be true, some people are naturally gifted surfers, it is decidedly untrue that certain people will never be able to succeed at it. After all, it takes time, patience, discipline, a will to succeed, a love for the ocean, and most of all, the correct board just to get started! Hopefully this post will help you in the beginning stages as you start to develop the rest of those necessary qualities. 

Yoga Pod!

Ron Gossard - Sunday, February 18, 2018


As our name implies, we are a company always look to grow, expand, and of course, Evolve. We are always looking towards the horizon for new ideas about how to get on the water that is both fun and exciting. This has lead us to develop an industry leading brand full of unique race board and surf board designs. As well as the implementation of our Flow Motion Fitt brand featuring our fitness mats that get people exercising on the water inside where it may not be readily available or in weather not suitable for outdoor paddling. With this drive of innovation and implementation we are proud to introduce our Evolve Yoga Pod. 

Consisting of an inflated center mat, measuring at 8'x6'8''x8'' thick, this platform is the perfect spot for any yoga or paddling instructor to anchor down and do what they do best- offer advice and teach paddling or yoga! Along with this comes the ability to anchor eight boards to the center inflatable for easy use of large paddling groups and yoga boards on inflatables of any kind. The ease of access and the ability to anchor to the center pod make it the perfect way to enjoy the water for classes and give ease of access to the instructors during the classes. This pretty much eliminates the annoyance of being lost in the back of the class as well as the inability to hear instructors during classes which can be a common occurrence for outdoor practices and classes. 

Members of the classes will still receive out top of the line, durable inflatable boards with cross-stitching and rigid structure which make paddling an inflatable board incredibly enjoyable and hard to detect that you are actually standing on air. Our stainless rings on the front and back of the boards makes anchoring to the center piece a breeze with the use of a durable bungee or whatever your preferred method may be. With this ease comes the freedom for paddlers to make their way through the water before class and after class to give them not only a great yoga experience, but paddling experience as well. 

Of course, it is not lost on us as to who will benefit from this design. Anyone with a SUP yoga business, SUP rental business, or even vacation spots looking to expand options for their customers- we guarantee you will not only find our pod the best in the industry but incredibly fun for every customer that has the luck of using one. 

Look for our Yoga Pod on the water, and if you get a chance to take a class on one, we suggest you do! It is an experience unlike any other. 

We are very proud of our design, the durability of our products, and our drive to keep things interesting on the water. As long as you keep paddling on the water, we'll keep evolving our products to fit your needs. And like always, we look forward to seeing you paddling at your favorite spot!