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Supmerge Interviews Montauk Winter Paddler Evelyn O’Doherty

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[EDITOR’S NOTE: We welcome a new columnist, Kimberly Schamber of SUPMerge. She’s roving around, interviewing people, talking about SUP things and so forth. Make sure to check out her line, SUPMerge!

New York beaches are often overlooked as a paddle and paddle surf destination.
Long Island, NY is over 118 miles long and harnesses some of the most spectacular beach and surf on the East coast. At the furthermost tip is Montauk. Locals refer to this place as “The End.”
The swells are exposed, raw, unpredictable and wicked cold in the winter months. This is where you’ll find local avid paddler and surfer Evelyn O’Doherty. No doubt, you have to have heart and a love for the sport to brave water temperatures in the 30’s. Fortunately, she’s got plenty of both.

SUPMerge: Considering the best conditions are often early in the morning, what’s your morning fuel routine?

Evelyn: It’s different in the summer & winter. In summer, I make a high powered energy drink with my Nutribullet with spinach, kale, mangoes, bananas, flax seeds, almonds, Vit E, Tumeric, and a antioxidant blast I order online from Univera. In the winter, my body needs more fuel to keep warm so I will have a bowl of home-made granola w fruit on top and coffee/tea to keep my belly warm.

SUPMerge: Lineups not being an issue “off season,” where are your favorite spots to drop in?

Evelyn: Depending on the season and wind direction some of my favorite haunts to train include Gardiner’s Bay in East Hampton either doing an out & back to the shoals off of Gardiner’s Island or a downwinder from Fresh Pond in Amagansett to Eddie Ecker Park in Montauk. I love getting out on the ocean often and the paddle from Ditch Plains to the Lighthouse and back in one of my all time favs.

SUPMerge: Seriously, How many mm’s are you wearing out there?

Evelyn: This time of year I’m in a 4 mm wetsuit to paddle with a heavy fleece thrown over it. I’d RATHER be wearing one of my favorite Supmerge outfits but until Kimberly comes up with a winter layering option, I’m stuck with my neoprene 😉 I have 5mm booties and wool fingerless gloves or, when it’s really cold, ski gloves! I have a fleece headband to allow the top of my head to breathe and no matter HOW COLD it is out there, I’m usually sweating before I get into my second mile.

SUPMerge: What app do you use to follow the surf report in Montauk?

Evelyn: Surfline, Swellinfo, Intellicast

SUPMerge: In your mind, what’s the most magical time of day or night to be on the beach during the winter months?

Evelyn: Mornings in winter because the wind is lightest and the wildlife is not expecting to see a human yet. I’ve seen a snowy owl, harbor seals and other incredible birds like herons, ducks, ospreys and more.

SUPMerge: What’s your favorite secret winter tip for paddling/surfing? 


Adding a light coat of Vit E or Almond Oil onto my face before I head out to protect my skin from the cold & wind. If I’m surfing, I put in in my hair as well. Feels great when you wash it out!

SUPMerge: What is your winter ritual for getting out on the water? 

Evelyn: I try to plan ahead so I’ll leave a ‘float plan’ (details of where I’m headed) with my husband and time of departure. Then, I’ll gather my layers & my gear, put a cup of tea in a thermos in the truck for when I get back. When I get down to the water, I assess what I’m going to need in depending on the temps & conditions. Once I’m ready, I’ll put my cell phone in a waterproof case and tuck it in somewhere & hit the water. Somewhere along the journey, I’ll stop & take a moment just to breathe in the air and absorb the beauty in nature, snap a couple of pix to remind me of the peace I find every time out there and keep moving. No matter what, I’m always a completely different, happier, stoked person when I get back than when I headed out. It’s a challenge putting together the appropriate gear to paddle in 20, 30 & 40 degree temps in Jan. & Feb. but the peace and serenity found is always worth it.

*****

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