LIFT | PADDLE | SURF for me, is ultimately about personal growth and the continued pursuit to live a high performance lifestyle with a strong passion for pushing the limits of strength and adventure. For me, this includes a deep appreciation for ocean sports, particularly paddle sports and surfing, but I recognize the value in all "silent sports" which I feel keep us grounded to the unique challenges and beauty that mother nature provides.
I can confidently say I have committed myself to this lifestyle. I first fell in love with the ocean in grade school, my uncle and cousins introduced me to surfing at Wrightsville Beach, NC. From that point on, I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to the ocean. I began college studying philosophy & religion at St. Bonaventure University after which I transferred to UNC at Wilmington where I graduated with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Marine Science.
I spent time after college working as an intern with the Sea Turtle Protection Program at Bald Head Island Conservancy. The following January I headed to Seattle, WA where I became a Fisheries Observer for the Alaskan Fisheries. For a year, I bounced back and forth between Dutch Harbor, AK - Seattle, WA - and Buffalo, NY. While at sea I had a lot of time to reflect. Time to think about what I wanted out of life and what my next step was.
I decided to enroll in a study abroad Coral Reef Ecology program through UNC at Wilmington and traveled to Curacao, NA for a Spring Semester. I conducted a semi-successful project studying the effects of agricultural runoff on coral growth. My interests began to shift towards the integration of marine science and social science. I connected with an Anthropologist at UC Santa Barbara and was offered an opportunity to join the professor and his graduate student in the Solomon Islands to learn more about how he used Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Marine Science to create and manage marine protected areas. At the time I was burned out on living a nomadic life and turned down the offer to return to Buffalo, NY where I went back to school for Exercise Science.
A year into the Exercise Science program at the University at Buffalo I dropped out and accepted a job as a Strength & Conditioning Coach with a locally run facility where both my collegiate soccer playing brothers trained. After 3-years I separated to pursue my love of the water and started my own business, City Of Light Fitness, LLC. I offered personal training and strength & conditioning classes through an amazing local boxing gym called KC’s FItness in downtown Buffalo and I taught Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Erie and the Buffalo River. In the 3-years I operated my business, I created a 3-year running all-inclusive paddle race on Buffalo’s waterfront, competed in the Buffalo Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament, raced in the 90-miler Adirondack Canoe Classic in a War Canoe with the Sqajaqueda Canoe Club, 70-miler General Clinton in a C4, and a handful of awesome local SUP races - most notably, the Cayuga Lake SUP Cup!
Oh yeah - I also got married to my amazing wife! We were both looking for a change in pace and decided to make the move to Washington, DC. I desperately wanted to find a way back to the ocean and possibly back into marine conservation, but instead found an inspiring career through Equinox Sports Club DC as a Personal Trainer ( I prefer the title of Coach). I’ve been in DC since 2016 and have met a number of amazing individuals who continue, with the inclusion of my wife, to push my limits everyday.
I’ve paddled OC6 with the Washington Canoe Club and I’m looking to connect back to SUP with Capital SUP out of Annapolis and DC. I have a little more access to the coast now and have made it my life’s mission to travel to the coast at least once a month.
Simply put, I find I am happiest when I have the freedom to LIFT | PADDLE | SURF! YOUR three words may be very different, but two commonalities I believe we all share are (1) the desire to perform at our best and (2) a unique connection to nature and the outdoors. I believe I can help guide you on that journey if you choose!