From the Mag: New York State Of Mind

SUP Magazine

Exploring The Big Apple In Photos

Photos and Words: Ryan Salm

Last fall, Lake Tahoe-based photographer Ryan Salm went home. With a SUP. Along with his wife Lauren Bobowski, and friend Ellen Tobben, he explored the Big Apple in a series of day trips. Salm, who grew up in nearby Westchester, was surprised with the adventure opportunities that The Empire city offered as he and his crew dodged the Coast Guard, submerged steel and cruise ships, all while navigating a jungle of skyscrapers and concrete. “It was cool to get away from the crowds and see the city from the water,” Salm says. “You’re not in the chaos; you’re watching it.”

“We tried to get the boards in my brother’s apartment in Brooklyn but they wouldn’t fit. I had to jump down two peoples’ balconies when they weren’t looking and pull them up onto the roof, where we left them overnight.”Salm_Brooklyn Apt__3

“Finding a parking spot in New York is famously-hard. This day we had to park a little farther away and walk back.”

Salm_Brooklyn Apt_

“The trip was more getting ready to paddle than actually paddling.”

Salm_Boat Graveyard__47

“This is the aftermath of the ferry incident, where I got a ticket when I pulled up to a dock to catch a ride back to Brooklyn. We had to sit around waiting two hours for the ferry and then they wouldn’t let us on (with our boards). The others took the ferry back, took a cab to get the car and then came back to pick us up.”

Salm_Lower Manhattan__11

“We paddled out under the Verrazano Bridge at sunrise. You get great views of Manhattan and Brooklyn but it’s where the Hudson opens to the ocean. There’s all sorts of stuff washed up on the beach with the city looming in the background. It almost feels post-apocalyptic.”

Under the Verrizano Bridge at Sunrise

 “The boat traffic is insane. You can’t keep your head down for long. There’s the Staten Island ferry, all the personal boats, cruise ships and the Coast Guard. The traffic combined with the wake, rebound, tides, steel pilings and spots where multiple rivers come in make it like playing Frogger.”

Salm_East River__31

“The East River is the crown jewel of paddling New York. You see everything: the One World Trade Tower, the Statue of Liberty in the distance, you can paddle under all the famous bridges and you have Brooklyn on one side and Manhattan on the other. And if you time the tides right you’re paddling with it both ways.”

Under the Manhattan and Brokklyn Bridges

“We were getting close to the UN, where Obama was meeting with the General Assembly. There was a perimeter of Coast Guard boats and we decided we’d call them before so we wouldn’t get in trouble. They checked on us anyway.”

Salm_East River__21Just one of many visits from New York's finest

“Coney Island is not as urban as the city. You paddle past roller coasters and past the boardwalk and then you’re on the actual ocean.”

Lauren Bobowski crushes Coney Island's favorite, a Nathan's hot dog Ellen Tobben in Coney Island

“We put in at a grassy green area and then paddled upriver past oil refineries and you get up there and there’s rusted steel sticking out of the water everywhere. It’s amazing, like paddling in a maze of old boats.”

Staten Island Boat Graveyard Staten Island Boat Graveyard

“New York is busy and fast and overwhelming. But seeing it from a standup board slows everything down. It’s a new way to see America’s greatest city and we just touched the surface.”


This feature originally ran in the Winter 2014 issue.

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