November Member of the Month – Salem Darrow

| November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

NYO is proud to announce that our November Member of the Month is Salem Darrow!

As many of you know, Salem not only has paddled with NYO for several years, she has become quite an OC1 enthusiast. Here’s how she describes her journey:
“There are a lot of small boats that don’t get paddled much in our boathouse – this due to the mighty and fearful washing machine action around Pier 66 and the unforgiving currents of the Hudson. I found a beater Puakea Kaku OC1 for sale on eBay in 2017 for $175, and washing machine be damned, I started my journey into regular small boat paddling. In 2017 I spent summer Friday mornings paddling in the NYC Harbor with a seasoned Olympian, and let’s just say I got hungry for more. This led me to sign up for a week of downwind, open ocean paddling in the Caribbean this past January. After a surfksi downwind immersion with Epic founder (and 12 time Molokai champ and Olympian) Oscar Chalupsky Paddler this summer, I decided to follow his path of deep drill training, and when you didn’t see me in an OC6 I was out on the ocean drilling my stroke, balance and general comfort level in my old OC1. It was time for an upgrade this fall, and I was lucky enough to land a beautiful new Puakea Kahele. My comfort level paid off, and I raced in an 18 pound hull against 17 mph headwinds – my best time ever and no huli! Paddling just keeps expanding and expanding. I can’t wait to paddle the new Kahele regularly, and I extend an invite to those of you fearful of the Hudson to come join me on the ocean in my older Puakea in 2019.”

Salem says about her time with NYO:

It’s been a great honor to participate in the adaptive programming NYO offers to visually impaired athletes. Far beyond opening my world to ocean sports, the Makapo program has opened my world to the inner strength athletes with physical challenges possess. My strength is pretty superficial in comparison, but I’m a human metronome when it comes to stroking, and that’s landed us in the same canoe under our NYO coaches. One day three of us went to acupuncture for our paddling pains, and the acupuncturist puzzled as to why three of us – who don’t look alike at all – were huddled in the waiting room. “Are you family?” she asked us. We told her we are a paddling family. Enough said before I get goofy texts from my Makapo friends making fun of this sappy interlude. (Props to Laura Fisk and Jason for making it happen!!!)”

Here’s what some of our NYO members have to say about why Salem is so incredible:

Angela Allmond says:

“From the very beginning, Salem has jumped in–both the canoe and the paddling ohana, not just in NYC, but far beyond that. She is a lifetime paddler now, is committed to this sport, and builds her life around it and those who enjoy it too 🙂 She’s got spunk to spare and is invested in the people of NYO as much as she is our beloved sport. But she’s got other talents too! I’ve visited her work sites where she commands a presence and Gets. It. Done! She’s a go-getter and has my full admiration. Love you Salem!”

Jeanne says:

“Salem stood out to me as one of the most encouraging and interesting people to talk when I first started as a new and confused NYO paddler. She’s been one of the hidden forces over the years that’s kept me coming back to paddle, as her enthusiasm and curiosity has motivated me to keep exploring and learning. Hearing her share what she’s learned from paddle camps and about her adventures on her OC1s is a real joy, as she’s invested her life to pursue this sport that she truly loves. I’ve had the pleasure of paddling with Salem in various races, from my very first one at the last Liberty Challenge, to several outside of NYC. Through it all, she’s been there to offer suggestions on where to stay, encouragement on how to endure long paddles, and her time in sharing meals together and talking about paddling and family. Thank you Salem for pushing me to do my first Epic Paddle this season, for always taking in interest in how my parents are doing, for continuing to share stories of your paddling and life adventures!”

Jason says:

“Through the years, our NYO family provided the unique opportunity and privilege to meet countless new paddlers, introduce them to the mighty Hudson River, and push each other as fellow teammates and human beings. Along the way (if we’re lucky), we might get to participate in a small part of each other’s broader journey. You never see it coming, but it’s always oddly obvious in the rear view. Salem dared herself to try a novice session in Brooklyn some years ago, and against her expectations, she found herself coming back out to try a full practice, and then another. In the short time she invested into her first season at NYO (it was August when she first held an OC paddle in her hands), she grudgingly allowed herself to be coerced into the long-distance season finale Epic Paddle (and, didn’t die). She would tell me later it was quite a milestone (or 20 of them), and lead her to tackle diligent workouts in the living room throughout that off-season, self-driven and whipped into shape like no one I’d ever seen in such a short period, ready for battle by the following spring.

And while she continues to achieve new personal milestones every season, working hard to climb the steep slopes of individual growth and experimentation (if you haven’t read her paddling blog, you’re missing out – 3D printing OC1 foot pedals, a genuine mad scientist), it’s what she accomplishes beyond the self that blows me away. Few people offer themselves as generously behind the scenes as Salem does, often with intentional stealth to avoid any attention. She is one of the primary consistent forces through the years ensuring NYO’s paddlers have access to the resources they need to succeed: touching base with teammates beyond the boathouse to coordinate travel to/from practices, encouraging others to push their own boundaries, often serving as the reliable stroke cadence needed in practices, and eager to join and enable crews at races (we’ve had some memorable adventures) 🙂. Her ongoing thirst to continue growing and developing both herself and those around her is contagious. Her fierce independence in thought and loyalty to what she personally believes in defines who she is, wherever she chooses to be. Salem is a fundamental element in that intangible recipe that promotes long-term positive energy and constructive direction in our colorful paddling community, and a reminder that bad@ss comes in all kinds of packages. Thanks Salem for simply being you and epitomizing why we get more out of paddling than what we put in.”

Laura Fisk says:

“Salem is a caring, independent soul, and one of NYO’s most important behind-the-scenes logistical helpers. On more than one occasion I’ve heard her offering early morning rides to her fellow paddlers or seen her standing with NYO members as they wait for a car pick-up in the evenings. Travel logistics for races are often nightmares that fall on an unlucky few, but Salem proactively works to help secure rides and accommodations for those who need assistance. She genuinely cares for people and does so without seeking out any type of accolades or attention.

On top of her helpful nature I admire the personal projects she sets for herself. Every time I talk to Salem I learn about something new…like the oc1 foot pedals she 3D printed herself. Or how she is becoming quite the seasoned surfski paddler. Or how she already signed up for two more paddle camps to continue her surfing education and satiate her passion for the sport. (Guadeloupe is right around the corner!) She is driven and loves paddling and I look forward to everything she can teach the club.

If I were to offer one gripe, it’s that she has yet to bring her two miniature greyhounds to the boathouse. 🙂”

Read on to learn more about our November Member of the Month.

Name: Salem Darrow
Age: 12+ some other number
Hometown: Los Angeles
Occupation: Surrealist

How long have you been with NYO? How did you find us?
4 years. Saw an article with video in NY Times online

Tell us about any notable races with NYO:
Loved them all, especially Queen Lili but racing with the Makapo team in crazy currents at Atlantic City tops them all

Greatest accomplishment in an OC:
It keeps growing: 27 miles 2nd year on Hudson, Manhattan Circumnavigation, Blackburn Challenge, Learning Downwind

If you could say one thing to newcomers interested in paddling or joining NYO, what would it be?
You’re not living until you’re a paddler.

When you’re not out on the water paddling, where are we most likely to find you?
My top secret laboratory

Something we don’t know about you:
I have a top secret laboratory!!!

Hidden talent:
It’s in the top secret laboratory

Favorite post-paddle meal:
Ice cream

Most important item you carry with you into the canoe:

Favorite show to binge watch:
YouTube videos about paddling

Last picture you took on your phone:
My dogs probably

Last concert you went to:
Scott Robinson

Last song stuck in your head:
Not going to touch this one. A friend told me he had Dancing Queen by Abba stuck in his head. That really sucks.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be:

Your go-to karaoke song:
Coal Miner’s Daughter punk rock style

One thing you can’t live without:
My dogs then paddling

Category: Member of the Month

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