photo courtesy of Warren Won (https://www.facebook.com/wwwon1)
Dan might be the northernmost year-round prone paddler. He and his son Hugo suit up and head out in and around Toronto and Lake Ontario no matter what the conditions. Dan paddles a stock Bark 12′ and a Bark 18’3″ Unlimited. He inspires us not because just he’s done Molokai or Catalina or Chattajack and so many other epic voyages, but because he does it with family—his own and extended paddle family—and he just shows up and paddles out with honor and grit.
Favorite place to paddle?
I paddle out of Toronto’s outer harbour and love it for its variety. It’s a short paddle to the Toronto Island lagoons, which provide a sheltered option for getting upwind, there’s a few surf breaks and there’s even a breakwall with some good downwind energy when the swell angle is right. We’ve also spend a lot of time on Maui. It’s a place close to my heart, and the Maliko is a great run.
What is your favorite event and why?
It’s a toss up between M2O and the Catalina Classic. M2O is a very “Type A” experience. It’s more rewarding than fun (but very, very rewarding). Everyone who’s serious about distance paddling should consider doing M2O at least once. Catalina, though also tough, is such an amazing experience to be a part of every year. Hanging on the island and talking story with everyone is all part of competing at the Classic. It’s like a homecoming for prone paddlers. I love that.
What is your favorite paddling moment and why?
For a few years back now Joe Bark and a bunch of friends have paddled over to Catalina Island, ran the Catalina trail marathon and paddled back. The paddle over to the island two years ago was amazing. It was super glassy, everyone was having a good time and for about 15 minutes we paddled together with four HUGE whales. They were two or three times the size of our boards and literally underneath us. It happens a lot in this sport, but that was certainly moment in which i was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Do you have a bucket list event?
“The Doctor” – the 27km (17 mi) downwinder from Rottnest Island to Perth, Western Australia. My wife and I spent time out there almost 20 years ago now and are dying to go back to Oz with the kids.
What are you grateful for?
Good question, because I’m VERY grateful – for my health and the health of my family, for having a job and profession that I love (and that allows for serious travel) and for good paddle friends.
Advice or tips for paddlers?
Paddle it prone! 🙂