About this video and why it's important

This GoPro footage is of me on my first wave of the day at LOTL16, taken on Saturday, September 18, 2016.

At first sight, it’s a typical Lake Erie waist high fresh wave. I spot the wave, position myself, paddle and ride. After the dismount, I flash a really big toothy smile!

Let’s go behind that smile.

I almost didn’t make it to the 2016 Annual Event. In the midst of busying myself with preparations, communicating logistics, collaborating with many vendors/supporters, my regular day jobs, daily life, and being generally excited, my Dad suffered a massive stroke. That happened 5 days before this wave.

Any last minute details meant nothing to me. The other organizers picked up and they became part of an incredible support system. My life switched into a scramble of confusion, sadness, fear, anger, and loss.

So…about this wave. I ended up going to the event later in the day. I geared up, and got into the water. I caught this wave and was overcome with happiness and lightness I never thought I would ever feel again. It’s a feeling I have felt over and over with all the waves I have caught since. It was proof positive that I could feel happiness and positivity during the absolute worst time of my Life.

A few days after the event, my Family made the incredibly difficult decision to pull my Dad off life support. Ruben Flores Pacquing, age 66, died peacefully on September 29th, 2016.

Water is powerful. I knew that before this wave, and I see its power within the lives of the many women who I’ve converted into local surfers and paddlers. Water brings deep happiness and peace that can saturate the darkest of times. Water has been there for me as a friend, motivator, comforter, and my biggest supporter. It will also knock you down if you let it.

Lake Surfistas to me isn’t just about bringing women together. It’s always been about leading and showing individual souls how water can affect their own life. This care eventually branches out to others, to more minds, towards conservation efforts, to protection of our waters and our environment, to stories of our elders, and setting example to the next generation.

Thank you, Dad, for showing me what water can do. With your lesson and your stories, I promise to pass it along to others.