The 2001 State of the Stoke…or just, The 2001 Stoke Update

But as sweet as it’s been, I have to wonder if she’s been trying to toughen me up a little.

OH YEAH, I’M STOKED. And humbly grateful to have found so much inspiration and joy in the elemental process of seeking windy waves. So to have enjoyed all the quality time to pursue writing, meditate on the path I’ve taken, and search my soul for some hint of true purpose was a total bonus.

But as sweet as it’s been, I have to wonder if she’s been trying to toughen me up a little. Or if perhaps I’d spoken too proudly of how unreal I’d been catching her. For I seemed obliged to suffer far more heavily last year. Indeed, I drove ferther, endured greater pain, sacrificed more gear, and seemingly missed way too many more opportunities than ever before. Still, my only regrets are the gifts unrecognized, the mistakes unseen, and the love unreturned. But I remain hopeful that my good deeds begin to offset my mistakes, heal any wounds, and perform symbolic thanks for the resources I’ve consumed. And that my contributions somehow relate my total gratitude to be living in such a golden moment—to be enjoying the freedom that comes with having no children or debt—mitments more pressing than to do good work, pay my health insurance premiums, and share what I’ve found.

I’m further grateful to be afflicted by little more in the way of real personal stress than the knowledge that I’m missing it huge on Maui. Of course San Carlos and Puerto Rico are probably going off too. And Barbados, along with a good portion of the rest of the windsurfing world, is no doubt firing as well. Ahhh, but what cruel irony that so much of the best wavesailing on this planet is on the other side of it.

Yeah, but for all we’ve missed and are missing, there was so much that we caught, and hopefully, will catch. So beginning the year in Hatteras with a couple of large sessions on the southside should have been sweet enough. But not long after resigning myself to a long cruel winter of work up in town, I was snatched out of my midwinter depression (and the second big snow of the season), to be transported to Barbados for a deliriously sweet couple of weeks of sailing, loop clinics, photography, fresh fish, and sight of all the rather uninhibited European women sunning on the beaches. The winter also presented the rather ego fulfilling experiences of getting interviewed for Mountain Freak Magazine’s air issue and then doing a guest editorial appearance in US Windsurfing’s spring newsletter. It was cause for further stoke to have my complimentary loop clinic offer to USW members turn out to be such a hit.

I totally missed getting as much Hatteras time as I’m used to in the spring, but the work had to rule. What I caught was far sweet though, and spending less time on the island just seems to make me want to sail more intensely and appreciate her that much more when I am there. And by late May, the cruelties were so quickly forgotten as I packed up the tools and hit the road for what turned out to be a five-month road trip of much magic and amazement. It was so sweet to rejoin all the friends and family out there.

And as always, Cape Sebastian delivered heavily. Tough love, but full-on. The Rogue jetty broke unreal on several occasions.  hen Florence, Bandon, and Pistol all came through with countless sessions of the fattest nature.

And all the new skate parks in Colorado and Oregon rock — always with the glassy smooth waves. Yeah, I’ve been going at skateboard sailing so hard that I’ve been breaking stuff at that too. I really felt like an animal when I tore a uni off just ripping around at the Hole (by far the most painless universal failure I’ve ever had — just having to skateboard over to the van and grab a spare). And I just busted my favorite land boom too. So you gotta check out the new one I put together from some carbon bones I saved from a dumpster at the Gorge. Ohhh, it’s so stiff and feels so unreal. But I have to wonder if it’s gonna hold up to all the grinding.

Hey the biggest first of the summer had to be that I landed a loop planing. Totally by accident, it was one of those completely magical events that come when and where you least expect. Bearing way off the wind, out on the flats across the river from Cheap Beach, I winged one off no more than a foot of chop. But with enough commitment and loft to land virtually without splash, much loss of speed, or any impact at all. I was completely shocked by the absolute sweetness of it, and I haven’t gotten even close to repeating.

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So at the risk of getting even more totally pummeled this year, I’m going to further brag that while I’m still consumed with all manner of forward rotations, the largest progress in the sailing realm this year has been with my nose in landings, helitacks, and groove. Exemplary conditions this fall on Hatteras, and an ever more focused training regime, have conspired with new sails and boards to yield ever more frequent glimpses of groove. Of course, getting to sail on more than 200 days this year may have contributed as well (that’s counting the skateboardsailing). As well as the further inroads with the pursuit of clarity and minimalism. And having perhaps achieved a greater sense of completeness and balance, while continuing my efforts to bring artfulness, appropriateness, and flow to what I do. For it is after all, such an amazing time to be living and I’m so totally far beyond completely stoked that I get to go.


Road Warrior Dana Miller makes his yearly cross-country sojourn in pursuit of wind, waves, and inner stoke. The Washington D.C. based bi-coastal windsurfing legend rides the waves with pure soul always desiring to share his unreal pleasure with fellow flow seekers.

by Dana Miller

Road Warrior Dana Miller makes his yearly cross-country sojourn in pursuit of wind, waves, and inner stoke. The Washington D.C. based bi-coastal windsurfing legend rides the waves with pure soul always desiring to share his unreal pleasure with fellow flow seekers.

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