Progression Technique:SUP & Ski, Snow & Sea

I recently had the absolutely joy of watching the “Progression Project” film   Nine of the world’s top SUP surfers hit the waves with Erik Antonson of PaddleWoo. Antonson is responsible for some of the most progressive media in paddlesports, producing free content via his PaddleWoo podcasts and blog posts to help expose and advance the industry. The Progression Project documents nine of the world’s best standup paddle surfers in Costa Rica showcasing the sport in its most progressive form in one groundbreaking SUP film. Left to right in the photo above: Sean Poynter, Caio Vaz, Ian Vaz, Kieran Grant, Fisher Grant, Zane Schweitzer, Giorgio Gomez, Erik Antonson, Mo Freitas and Noa Ginella. (Featured Photo above: Chandler Williams/Modus Photography)

The film is now available at no charge online. Erik explains why he is offering the film for free, “My hope is that by releasing it for free, we get some curious surfers to watch the film and realize there is so much more in paddle surfing than they realize.” A brilliant way to bring understanding and mutual respect out on the water.

The film hit home in so many ways.Let me start with a totally unrelated story – the first chair lift ride of my ski season at Mt Bachelor this year. We were heading up with a snowboarder talking about skiing vs boarding. Since the guy did both, he was balancing his joy in each sport as both different and very good. One statement he made about skiing, just an off-hand comment, changed my entire season.svs

Just like the guys in the Progression Project film talked about small things they learned from each others style and technique away from competition, the guy shared one insight and it made all the difference for me. He simply said, “I love that feeling in skiing when you initiate a turn with your toe and move to mid-foot, then the turn locks in so easily.”

He might have said more, I don’t know, because that one statement stayed with me. I didn’t think I was much aware of the exact mechanics I engaged when initiating a turn – so many things to think about. But that one statement, stuck and my technique and level of fun on the show has soared this season.

ppzzIn the “Progression Project” film again and a again each of the water athletes is interviewed and each share what they observe, respect, appreciate and can analyze from the very people they perform against in competition. One small thing, one observation could bump a skill up a level. It was great to experience the camaraderie and fun these elite athletes maintain. The shared respect for each other and for their sport – and the most amazing SUP surfing footage you’ll enjoy again again – make this a unique and special project!

A huge “mahalo” to that guy on the chairlift! And to all the athletes in the Progression Project. I may have even subconsciously picked up a SUP surfing tip, too.

Watery Gratitude: Thanksgiving Reflections

I look out my Bend, Oregon window this morning to a stormy sky and a gnarly wind whipping a snowstorm towad the mountain – the solid “wave we surf all winter. There is no paddle along a sunny stretch of water this Thanksgiving, but there is indoor time to pause, reflect, celebrate a mindful approach to living that has been honed sweetly by nearly eight years of standup paddling. As a pumpkin pie bakes I am full of watery gratitude.tg3

The sport, the physical training of SUP, the people and places, the challenges, the waves, the glassy lakes, the quiet moments of mindfulness, the adventure, the journeys and the incredible impact standup paddling has had on my life as I close out my 7th decade. I am so very grateful for the timing.

In November and on Thanksgiving it’s an easy practice to think about all we are grateful for. The gift of time on the water is a solid connection to nature. Grateful for surviving a thorough working over by the late takeoff or for the gift of being alone on a river stretch as the setting sun gilds ripples and blazes the sky in color.tg2

At events and competitions the inspiration for gratitude is there if we are awake and aware enough to see it.  Elite water athletes supporting while pushing each other to unimagineable limits. Being on the start line with all ages facing equal weather and water adventures. The smiles, the energy, the camaraderie within a solo sport that connects us in a caring community.

tg1Early in my standup and surfing experience I was impatient, anxious and often frustrated. I had a habit of focusing on what I didn’t have or do have rather than what I did have. By watching, reading about, listening to and paying attention to what so many of the athletes in SUP shared, I started to learn, to hone new habits of both awareness, acceptance, patience and gratitude. The ego always wants more, especially if other people have it, to satisfy our sense of worth, to satisfy our happiness. But the truth is, we don’t actually need anything to satisfy our happiness, our happiness lies within us. We have the gift of being on the water, catching waves, currents, the wind. Let’s not miss what we are so fortunate to experience.

Often we “Elders” take the time to share our experience, talents and time as mentors. What an incredible way to practice gratitude by giving. Sometimes the younger generation, from toddlers to elite athletes easily one third of our age demonstrate the power of living life with giving and gratitude. A Facebook post from Zane Kekoa Schweitzer brought this home to me this morning, “There’s no thankful without grateful.” Simple but true. Zane lives his #innovateandinspire life slogan by sharing and giving back tirelessly.  That really reminds me that “GIVING” might be the most important part of the THANKS.

From the website of Zane Schweitzer: ABOUT – Zane cares deeply for the wellbeing of others and the preservation of our planet. In 2012 Zane and his family co-founded “Stand Up for the Cure”; a Stand Up Paddle Event that has raised over $800,000 for uninsured cancer patients in the past 5 years alone. He founded his own “InZane SUPer Groms”; where he teaches children at home and around the world how to surf and share Aloha while taking care of each other and our oceans. He is a Global Ambassador for multiple organizations such as Mighty Under Dogs, Access Surf, Thera Surf, Surfer’s Healing, One Ocean, and more.

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Happy to have been a part of two Standup for the Cure events in 2016

Recently, Zane has taken on the role of a motivational speaker at School’s here in Hawai’i and across the U.S, sharing his inspirational message of Innovate & Inspire by Sharing Aloha Around the World. Teaching the next generation the importance of following their dreams by finding what is important to them and then sharing it with others. Living a healthy and active lifestyle while learning our responsibility of taking care of our planet by making it a better place for all. Zane lives this daily.

Mighty Underdogs & Access Surf 2016 O’ahu from Mat5o Media on Vimeo.

Mindfulness: Life with Purpose

Sometimes a message just hits home – for me it was a yoga class about 2 years ago. A quote, right timing and a curiosity for “present moment awareness” set me on an adventure I called “Power of Presence SUP,” meditations to hear while paddling. It’s funny – once you become aware, the signs, lessons, energy and path that’s right seem to open wide.

Often on a long paddle the rhythm of the water and the movement set my mind adrift. Other times, it sets my mind on fire. After a fantastic TEDx Women Bend conference last week – it was on fire! Stories are me! And this was a day of harnessing our own story, beginning with, “What is life asking me to do now?” Through exploration of inspiration, intuition and insight we can create the story (and the path) that’s right for us, right now.

Our story can begin much like the conference began – with poetics of authenticity. Krayna Castelbaum dazzled us with poetry selections that left me with this message, “A new beginning of the heart is waiting for you to be ready to emerge.” That’s solid enough to grapple and gnaw on for a 4-5 mile paddle on a sunny day.laird-hamilton-quote

fogturnOr maybe when the surf looks daunting the phrase she shared, “Learn to find ease in risk,” could be very valuable.

Poetry. I haven’t really immersed in the rhythm and wisdom, rhyme and heart of poetry for a long while. My poetry is in the water, waves, currents and wind.

I am inspired to give time to poetry, to the bold words of others stoked on life lived boldly and with heart. Thank you Krayna for sharing. And the next time I get crushed by a shorebreak and finally grab my board to paddle out again I can be grateful with these words resonating, “Courage kindled and you stepped out eyes young again.” jaws-ed1

Mindfulness, meditation and the gift of poetry on the water.

 

Lake Powell Paddleboards: Bucket List to Wonder List

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imageIt’s a tried and true, well-known aspiration – let’s see, do, experience or visit (fill in the blank) and check it off our “bucket list.” Ed and I headed to Lake Powell with our Starboard inflatable touring boards and a bucket list- slot canyon paddling experience in mind. Fortunately we had contacted Joe and Jordan at Lake Powell Paddleboards beforehand to schedule a one-day private trip.

img_0980From the first moment we walked into their shop we knew that Joe and Jordan had created a very special culture and vibe in Page, Arizona. The store was built out of a number of shipping containers, paneled with wood reclaimed from pallets and insulated with environmentally sound materials.

The photos just begin to tell the story.  Joe (behind the counter) is under a custom painted board, just one of many unique, one-of-a-kind objects and posters that tell the story of connection with community and water-athletes.

 

After falling spontaneously in love with the canyons and waters that make Lake Powell, they made a move based from their heart and a passion for standup paddling. Check out their website often. While they have an incredible service-based operation now – they envision so much more Lake Powell exploration and coolness coming in 2017.

img_0998We were so lucky to grab the last full-day adventure of their season. After a long and  busy spring-summer, Joe told us to be at the marina at 6:30 am because the beauty and glassiness of the water is prime at sunrise. No burn out or fatigue from Joe after all those busy weeks – he was no less in awe of the oranges that welcomed our day or the full moon setting as we hopped on the boat.img_0999

We got a “whack on the side of the head” from a day that turned all expectation on its ear. The best words I can use to describe the energy and magic that Joe and the team at Lake Powell Paddleboards brought to the experience are “a sense of wonder.” That and an absolute respect and love for Lake Powell.

We hadn’t motored 100 yards before Joe pulled out a fish net and picked up a floating bag of chips that apparently blew off a boat.  There was very little litter but he nabbed the few we saw. Not a word was said, but the respect was evident. And the “talk story” continued without a hiccup. We learned so much – what a day!

Our destination for the day was Labyrinth Canyon, a spot we could have reached in maybe a third of the time if we zoomed over with a focus on “arriving.” That’s not the experience we got – and for that we were beyond grateful. We meandered up river and learned the names of landmarks and formations along the way.  Boundary Butte and Dominguez Butte became familiar, as did Navajo Rock, Tower Rock and Gunsight. Joe shared so much insight about the water, the rocks, geology and canyons.img_1012

More than what we learned, we connected to the energy and awe in the magnificence of where we were.  Joe couldn’t hide   his enthusiasm if he wanted to.

We arrived as the solitary adventurers at the mouth of Labyrinth Canyon and secured the boat on the sand.

img_1013Yippee! It was paddle time. We got on our Riviera Voyager 12’6″ boards (awesome tracking and glide) and began the paddle into the canyon that became more narrow, incredible and “full of wonder” as we went. Maybe 2 miles into the canyon and it narrowed. The water ended at a small beach with a path that wound into the canyon ahead.

We left the boards and donned water shoes for what would be the most unexpected, amazing experience – again – instilling us with a child-like sense of “WOW!” that increased with every step.

The photos barely do justice to the texture, colors, ever-changing light and shadow. The vibration of the ages seemed to radiate from the twisting and turning serpentine hallways of ancient stone. image

At one point the air filled with a low thumping sound. We looked up and saw a Great Horned Owl swoop up then land on the canyon wall just overhead. As curious about us as we were about him, we enjoyed several minutes of shared stares. What a bonus.

Back to the water we began our paddle out of the more narrow canyon slots to the wider areas where the wind had picked up a bit.  With maybe 500 images captured by our cameras we were still remarking at every turn – “amazing!!!

imageAs we began our journey back to the dock enjoying lunch and “talk story” time we fully expected Joe to be more than ready to close down this final guided trip of the season. Not so. He had a few other spots to share.  We came around one rock outcropping to see a section of sky and clouds that dazzled.

Joe had seen the shot and let us snap more photos. At another area the water was more shades of absolutely clear blues and greens than you could imagine. Yes, it was October, but the day was warm, sunny and we had to leap in.img_1010

As we docked the boat at the end of the trip we knew this was not just a bucket list experience. We had a different spirit of wonder, a deeper respect for the area. Suddenly we wished for more time. You can schedule a multi-day guided experience for you and your friends and family. Don’t miss out.

You may be able to take a guided standup paddle trip in many different beautiful places. But if you are ever in the vicinity of  Lake Powell  don’t miss the chance to gain that kid-like grin, the custom experience and the customer service expertise that comes with a special discovery – Lake Powell Paddleboards.

 

Santa Cruz Local: Covewater Rules

We love to explore new surf spots when we visit the coast. Recently we got a bonus in Santa Cruz.  After grabbing some fun waves at Cowells and Indicators – skipping Steamer Lane – we spent a flat day in town.  Off on Water St we discovered Covewater Paddle Surf, a shop fully dedicated to SUP.

covepaddleWalls of the brands that innovate and lead SUP design line the walls, including the Kialoa GL Hulu paddle. Accessories and apparel are neatly displayed – with a vast array of choices.

We were fortunate to meet Olivier, the store owner – enthusiastic, knowledgable and eager to connect with the community – both locals and visitors.

When asked what’s the most fun about taking groups on SUP trips to local beaches, Olivier had this to share, “It’s all about sharing the passion of stand up paddling. The most fun is like when you have new paddlers who really get stoked. They realize that’s all they want to do now after taking a class with us . One by one they become part of the SUP community.”

coveshopdesignI spotted a great design on a sweet, vibrant colored hoodie and immediately inquired about the Polynesian inspired design.

Olivier filled me in, “We wanted to refresh the logo and the identity of Covewater. I have a lot of interest in Polynesian art and culture that is very oriented to the ocean.

From there I had a chance to start working with James de Leon at 57 Design. James aka JD was the perfect person to work with on this project. He has the same passion as I do about stand up surfing but also about the Hawaiian and Polynesian culture and art.

We both really enjoyed this  project that included a new logo and also a full new website featuringthe Covewater apparel. “olivier-design1

 

Take some time to learn about the history and culture of Covewater Paddle Surf, a history that brings the entire team pride in what they do.
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Power of Presence: SUP and Meditation

As more and more attention is given to the practice of meditation, we come to realize where the magic begins. The power within meditation begins with breath awareness. Have you had that moment in a yoga class when you follow a breath all the way to an open heart – and that still moment at the top – then followed the exhale with full awareness? That’s just one opportunity for the power of presence.

SUP Meditation: Presence on the water

Traditional meditation practiced while seated provides a rich opportunity to calm our mind-body and bring a new mindful presence and balance to life.  For those of us who find a sense of meditative calm while on the water, a unique practice called “Power of Presence SUP” or P2SUP can allow us to meditate while enjoying our favorite pasttime. cropped-p2sup_logo_v2_vert_250-300x300

It’s easy to head out for a paddle and become scatter-brained and defocused. Thoughts of work/relationship/life problems, busy-ness and plans chatter through our mind. With P2SUP guided meditations, anyone can enjoy a mindful and present meditation practice while standup paddling – from the very first session. (Learn more here)

Have you ever started out on a paddle ready for calm and realize you’ve got a monkey-mind along for the ride? The monkey mind bounces around from one thing to another. It is as if we are on an out of control horse, heading to the nearest cliff.  Our senses and emotions become reactive, not reflective.

 

Breathing Meditation: Enjoy a P2SUP experience (give us 15 minutes)

pc201522The goal of meditation is to diminish the self into focus and mindfulness so we can be free, compassionate (with ourselves and others) and discover stress-free calm.

 

SUP has a great effect to calm the mind. Even while paddling our ability to pay attention is sometimes degraded by the fast pace of our modern world. Before a training paddle, or one that is simply being out on the water, taking time to pay attention and practice a p2SUP meditation is the key to this end. Our sport provides us with many opportunities to meditate. p2SUP can be your guide as you develop your own practice over time.

Explore More:

We invite you to Live Presence and Share Presence.

Introduction to P2SUP

The Basics of P2SUP

How Do I Begin?

Why Walk On Water?

7 Reasons to P2SUP

The Birth of P2SUP

Explore, “All SUP is Yoga.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day: SUP Magic

The day before we planned to head off on a 3-day camping trip – a trip with rain predicted at 90% the entire time (and 50 degrees) – I took a yoga class. This was not just any yoga class. It was the noon “Rejuv” taught by the brilliant, cool and gifted Cynthia LaRoche (GrooveYogaBend).  As she does so well, Cynthia led us through our restorative poses with wisdom and humor. Somewhere in the midst of it all she said something to the effect, “let what you don’t like be the teacher.” That was not the theme of the class, or even a large part of the message – but that is what resonated for me. clear4

I was going in to three days of camping in the rain with an attitude as bleak as the weather report.  For the most part, i do not like rain. Give me those blue sky days any time.  I was the prime example of what Sorine Cerin (Wisdom Collection: The Book of Wisdom) said, “Rain drops are not the ones who bring the clouds.”

clear5It was time for me to switch gears, be grateful for the opportunity of three days with friends, in the outdoors and in an incredibly beautiful part of the world. It was time for me to be open, to learn from what I basically did not believe that I liked.

Dana Arcuri says it so well, “The more you are grateful for what you have the more you can live fully in the present.”  That is my life journey, so practicing gratefulness and celebrating the present moment whatever it might be became my roadmap for the weekend. clear-lake-spring

What a gift!  In a 43 degree drizzle I dropped my husband and two buddies off to play golf and headed to Clear Lake, OR for a morning of paddling.  The experience was beyond expectation (what a truth) and a powerful lesson.

As Louise Erdich said, “I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.”  From the light mist that welcomed my first paddle stroke, to the chilly downpour mid-paddle. Solitude and stillness, lush greens and every imaginable blue created magic.clear2

And guess what. The sun actually came out!

This post is a re-post of my story originally on my “Power of Presence” blog – meditations for SUP and Walking. Much mahalo to KIALOA and Sweet Waterwear for supporting P2SUP from the beginning.

Enjoy the video of the experience here: If you want to enjoy our P2Walk meditation, “Walk with Gratitude” explore this link.

Driftwood: SUP Film Review

From ski movies to films about surfing, SUP, cycling and wilderness adventures, I love to vicariously travel and experience sports stories. While I work in words, music and images presented in films can impart an energy and immersion like nothing else.  Last night I had the pleasure of viewing a film envisioned and produced by Jim Brewer. The film is Driftwood. Directed by Peter Trow and narrated by Shaun Tomson, it carries the viewer on an extraordinary journey.

driftwood1 Driftwood is more than simply a film about paddle surfing, but equally about culture and discovery. Surfers Sam George, Noah Yap, Ammy Naff, and Jim Brewer travel to Sri Lanka, Iceland, and Colombia, among other places, on their quest to paddle rivers and oceans around the world. In a conversation with Jim Brewer, her shared, ” I had an idea to make a film that focused more on the places we visited rather than the travelers themselves. It was my job to capture details for each location. Hopefully, the viewer will get a sense of the experience of the many different locations and cultures.”

In my mind, the team did exactly that! While I have no aptitude for music, I couldn’t miss the dance between breath-taking local images and the rhythm and style of the soundtrack. Jim explains it like this, “I put an incredible amount of time into finding the soundtrack for the film. I wanted the music of the film to be representative of locations we visited and help to create a feeling for the country and our adventures there. For me, the music is the most important part of the film so I put a lot of effort into finding tracks that help to highlight the images.”

They nailed it! I read a review of the film by Glenn Dubock and couldn’t agree more with his description of the Driftwood experience, “Imagine yourself free floating in a liquid Technicolor world; here, you interact with locals and wildlife in places that haven’t seen anyone ply their waters on a craft quite like yours. This is exactly what the creative Jim Brewer and Peter Trow so masterfully captured in high definition during their globetrotting adventure on standup paddleboards. “Driftwood,” as Brewer clearly states, is not a movie about SUP—SUP just happens to be the watercraft of choice that allows Brewer and Trow to enter into some very far off places and become involved with some very far-out people.”

Put your passport away and grab a beer and some popcorn – the adventure comes to your home.  Enjoy a short trailer here, then grab your copy of Driftwood.

DRIFTWOOD from Jim Brewer – Santa Barbara on Vimeo.

La Ventana Classic – A New Champion

We love to watch elite SUP racers vie against the wind and current, gliding far on bumps and waves in a challenging down-winder.  In the January La Ventana Classic a champion rose from the local community on a waterlogged board that floated ashore as ocean debris and with a paddle he constructed from scrap metal and blue paint. You may be scratching your head, “What?”  Me too, but then I got the story from the top female racers in the week long event, Terri Plunkett and Bonnie Fromm. (Featured image by Matt Treger Photography)

Terri shared, “La Ventana Classic was a magical event with down-winders similar to Maui. The El Norte wind powers down the beautiful Sea of Cortez.  While all that was amazing, I was most touched by the local community and the cause this event supported. All proceeds went to send high school kids to school. The cost is $300/kid per year, but let me put this in perspective. During the week we were there the Mexican government announced the minimum wage was raised – to $4.50 (comparable USD) per DAY.  No wonder the tuition is beyond the reach of most families.

Over 13,000.00 was raised and instantly distributed to selected students based on the student’s willingness and motivation for education So many are so poor. I really felt and saw the poverty first hand. Just giving your hat to a local kid made them so so happy. But the generosity, the sharing of food, talent and smiles indicated to us all how rich the community was in spirit. They had parties every night with local bands
Many groups of children performed and danced for us at the event site. The K and 1st graders being over the top adorable! The locals made and sold homemade tamales, cerviche and burritos every day. We had board caddies to cart our boards around for us.”

Who was the local champion?

julioBonnie Fromm completed Julio’s story, “One local father paddled from town on his soft top board (yes, the waterlogged 50-pounder) and chewed up, homemade paddle to join us! Julio was an inspiration to all of us in his determinAtion to finish all five races. After one race we were able to loan him a solid board and nice paddle. He finished every race with a huge smile. I asked him how he got in such great shape to paddle so well and he pulled out his rosary beads, kissed them then said ‘strength for our kids’ in spanish! In the end he was awarded a new paddle for being so inspirational.”

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Julio and his hand crafted paddle

Julio Caesar Locero ended up as the Town Hero. It was a challenge for even seasoned racers to do all 5 races. The “down-winders” ranged from 5-15 miles and were often side wind in large chop and surf. His desire and courage was contagious! No one wanted to see Julio out on the water on the waterlogged board he found washed ashore. Anthony Vela  rallied the vendors and eventually Julio was loaned an F1 board to use.  Rather than raffling off one of the paddles, the race manager presented it to Julio. Cheers and great energy came every time he was on the podium. Terri and Bonnie agree, “We all learned that racing is about heart, friends and our shared love of SUP.”

There is a lot more to this story:

Read More, “Buoy Crash = Friendship”

Oregon Coast: Gotta Go Fish

pc20153We packed our trailer and headed out from Bend, OR in mid-September with iflatables for cruising adventures and a couple of boards for SUP surf. Pacific City – here we come. The weekend kicked off with the annual Longboard competition. Saturday offered up some sweet waves, glassy and chest to head high. Riding a swell all the way to shore in the shadow of beautiful Cape Kiwanda on a warm sunny day is just about paradise.pc20151

In spite of dozens of trips to Pacific City and a few days catching salmon in both the spring and fall runs, we had never paddled the branch of the Nestucca River that flows east from town all the way to the inlet where the Pacific comes roaring in.

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Screenshot (152)On our first trip we knew we were paddling out on an out-going tide. With a spinning rod on Ed’s board and my net strapped to my board we planned to fish at the inlet where all the boats seemed to have the most luck. After a few hours of fishing, the tide would be incoming, making the paddle back a breeze.

We put in at “Guardrails,” just across from Bob Straub State Park. The trip was idyllic – seals sunbathed by the dozens on untracked sandy beaches, forested cliffs reached high to the south and the closer we got to the inlet the more clear and marine blue it became.pc20159

Currents swirled with plenty of energy as we approached the south side of the inlet. Absolutely wear your PFD and use a leash. There were so many combinations of eddies, waves and powerful current that it took concentration to get from the inlet area to the pocket beach we founf on shore – but was it ever WORTH IT! pc201522

After about an hour of casting, Ed hooked in to a HUGE salmon. As it leaped, guys in the 16 boats fishing the inlet gave a thumbs up and the fight was on. Just as Ed was about to get spooled, the fish began to turn. Then, unawares, a boat cruised across the inlet and cut the line. We lost the fish but gained some friends among the fishermen.

A few days later we were back for the third time and one of the guys from the first day – the BIG fish day – offered to put Ed in his boat and take him out for a salmon. They had caught their limit and had to admire Ed’s presistance. I also think they admired our trips up and down the river stretch paddling our SUPs in all kinds of conditions over the week.

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The one day that an incoming tide couldn’t match the 20-25 mph headwind on our return home was something we would not like to repeat. Even the best laid plans come up against good old Mother Nature. Be prepared, know your waters, tides, winds and currents and stya with your paddle buddy.

pc20157Our last night in Pacific City with fresh grilled salmon, a beach walk at sunset and a local brew could not have been better.

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