Jeramie Vaine has to be one of the hardest working men in baseball… I mean, stand up paddling. Since the very first time I’ve had him on my radar years ago, Jeramie has been working hard to stoke out various brands, share his passion for paddling with as many people as he can and, in a humble way, teach people to respect each other. He’s one of my favorite characters out there. He’s deep, he’s soulful and he’s also a lot of fun with some wicked water skills.
Hard charging on the racing circuit and a dedicated teacher of Sup Yoga, Jeramie is usually on the move. If you get a chance, check out his blog HERE, and get a deeper understanding of the guy who makes traveling and sup look like a perfect gloved fit.
Now, as Surftech and NSP’s team manager, Jeramie Vaine is ready to inspire countless athletes to dig deep into who they are to find out just what they’re made of. Meet East Coast Rock Star, Jeramie Vaine.
East Coast Rock Stars: Where do they come from?
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in a small town in North Central Massachusetts. A stones throw from the New Hampshire border, a town called Winchendon. And was fortunate enough to have Lake Monomonac as my back yard.
Tell us about your experience as a lifetime waterman. When/how did you become a stand up paddler?
With the lake as my childhood playground, I spent every summer in and on the water. In the winters, I was on the ice playing hockey.
I also spent a lot of time with canoes, – not the Hawaii Five-O style Outriggers – the good ole fashion Native American ones. Sailboats, row boats were also the vessels of recreation on Lake Monomonac. Fishing, water skiing and knee boarding were all summer activities.
Then I fell in love with wakeboarding. From age of 13 until 31 I tried my best to compete and make a career in the wakeboard industry. Try was the key word.
From Wakeboarding to Paddleboarding
Then, one day, my good friend and fellow wakeboarder, Ned Johnson of Paddleboard Orlando, brought me out on the water to try stand up paddling. At first, I was bored out of my mind as I was used to throwing myself through the air and moving much quicker than three miles an hour. But after a week, I fell in love with just being on the water.
I vowed I would never compete again. I just enjoyed being a tour guide. Haha. Ned brought me to Ponce Inlet, Florida for a grassroots style stand up paddle race. The format was called, “Battle of the Paddle” and it included a beach run and a few laps in and out of the surf. I had no idea what I was getting into.
I had only surfed about six waves in my life. Ever.
It was the best day of my life. Glassy, waist high waves, surrounded by my friend with everyone cheering us on. Let’s just say, the idea of not wanting to compete hasn’t entered my mind again.
That was 2011. Just over 6 years ago.
Yoga and Paddling
So much of your commitment to paddling comes through your yoga background. How does yoga make you a stronger/more proficient paddler?
Yoga came to me through paddling. We had some friends that came from the local studio and we were always messing around with poses. I had no idea what I was doing but I really enjoyed the challenge of it. Then, in October 2011, I entered Guruv Yoga in Lake Mary, FL. And it has now become an important piece of my everyday life.
The poses help me to add strength, flexibility and increase recovery time. But, the truth is, the breath and work to let go of the mind is the key element.
Whether it is our first day on the water or we are an avid racer, our minds are always trying to sabotage our experience. By knowing this and understanding that through using our breath we can calm it down, then we have the ability to enjoy our time on the water even more. To me, this is the most important part of the practice.
Surftech Team Manager
You’ve recently been named as Surftech’s team manager. Congrats! What are some of your goals for this position?
Thank you so much. This is an honor to work with such a strong, dynamic team. The athletes are rock stars and guys like Ryan Guay, Joe Bark and the team from NSP. Truly a dream come true to be surrounded by them.
Our goal is to help grow the community of stand up paddling. The sport is so vast and versatile we want to show all the aspects of the sport. There are recreational paddling an retailers/outfitters who get people on the water. Then, there are the paddlers who share their love by adventuring, traveling, teaching and giving back. And, let’s not forget about paddling for fishing, surfing, yoga, whitewater and the whatever else people love to do while on their boards.
Then, of course there’s sup racing. With a name like Bark it is hard not to support the race scene. Joe is working hard to innovate and put out radical new products. The Team at NSP is doing the same. The bar is always being raised and it is awesome and inspiring to be around.
We are working on some pretty incredible things. But we have to pump the brakes for now. All I can say is that the goodness is coming and we are stoked on the future.
Travel: It’s all about the people
You’ve traveled extensively to race and teach SUP Yoga. Can you tell us about a favorite experience from your travels?
This is the hardest question to answer and I have become really good at dodging it. This community blows my mind everywhere I go. The past six months have been out of this world. Each experience has been different, but all of them leave me in awe and smiling like a kid in the sup shop. What I love about this community is whether it is yoga, race, surf or just paddling for the social aspect, our people will do anything for each other. Racers stop in the middle of a competition to help each other. A social paddle often finds individuals sharing business advice or talking about their lives and dreams. Surf sessions happen where we all share waves. And, in sup yoga, we often see people trying something they once thought was impossible.
I’ve been so so many beautiful places like St. Croix, Oahu, Puerto Rico, Florida, Wrightsville Beach, Annapolis, Nashville, Columbus, GA, Snowshoe, West Virginia. Now, I’m heading back to New England. That’s been just this season so far. Last year’s list was twice as long, but with the same great results.
This is why I say I love ever where I go. It is because of the people.
Who inspires a rock star?
Who are some of the people who inspire and motivate you, whether on the water or off?
This list is as long as the one above simply because every time I paddle with someone or share a space next to them at yoga, they inspire me. We all have a story. When we get to know people, we realize how much we all have to overcome. And yet, we strive to keep smiling.
I’m inspired by the kids who are pushing the sport of stand up paddling and shaping things for the future. I’m inspired by the sweet lady in her 70s that wanted to take a selfie. I’m inspired by the men and women in the Legends divisions for rocking the sup races. Also, I’m grateful for my Dad and Mom for humoring me and following me on my adventures. I’m grateful and inspired by my sister and brother-in-law for showing me how busy everyday life can be. I am super inspired by the boys and community from Capital Sup for building something radical. And, of course, I’m thankful for all the ladies of Sup Yoga that let me in the circle and treat me like, well, one of the girls.
Who inspires a rock star? Going deeper.
But, there are four people who have been a huge part of my recent success. It all started with Ryan Steinhoff from Foundation Fitness. Ryan and his wife Blake, together with their amazing team, created something everyone thought was not real, but the passion created a community. Ryan has always inspired me with his motivation and pursuit of his passion.
Next, there’s Kelly Margetts. The guy is a charger and one of, if not the best, coaches on the planet. He continues to give, teach and share for hours on end.
And lastly, Bill Kraft and Isabelle Picard of Kite and Paddle St. Croix. These two rock stars are ridiculously talented. From boosting huge airs while kiteboarding to rocking it in the race scene. But, it doesn’t stop there. Isabelle is a world class artist and Bill a true waterman. They live the island life style, are diligent about building community and are constantly giving back.
Dreams & Goals
What are some of your personal goals for this year? What is your biggest wish?
We can do anything. My goal is to share this message:
This message is one that keeps revealing itself every time I head to the water for beginner lessons, yoga classes and coaching other racers. We can keep raising the bar and empowering ourselves to be the best. Not just from a competition side, but in a real life aspect.
What board(s) are you currently riding (specs & deets, please!)
I am currently racing on the NSP Sonic 14′ x 23“. In the 12’6 range, it is the 12’6 x 26″ Bark Vapor Pro-Elite. For touring and my Go-to for students, I use the Surftech Sport Touring Explorer 12’6 x 32″. In Sup Yoga, I’ve been loving the Surftech Generator 11’6 x 31
If you could have one last SUP experience here on the planet, what would it be?
Grab my Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother in law, nephews, niece and puppies. Then, get all the people I’ve ever paddled with and bring them to Lake Monomonac where I grew up. Merging all the people together at my favorite spot for a fun-filled day. One massive paddle party.
Sup safety through leadership and teaching by example
Do you think we need regulations in standup paddling? PFD’s? Surf zone specific for sup? Safety courses for instructors? What’s your take on the growth of the sport and how do we keep it – and everyone – safe?
This sport is growing like crazy and it truly is awesome. The key to success is simple: Education.We are doing a great job at getting the message out. The hardest part is when a tragedy occurs and we tend to wear that on our chests as if we are not doing enough. It is hard, especially when it hits close to home.
In the sport of sup, compared to the likes of extreme sports, we are doing a great job of telling people what equipment to use. In my recent travels, every outfitter I’ve worked with has leashes and PFDs on every person that heads out on to the water. This was awesome to see. It is something I agree with and most of the paddle community does as well.
Of course, some scenarios require modifications, but for flat water recreational paddling, a leash and a PFD is a win.
Flatwater paddling & safety
Now for the PFDs. The belt packs are great, but they are just like the life jackets under the seat on the plane. When we need them and are panicking can we use them properly? This is where the leash is important. We are connected to the biggest PFD in the world. However, in order to satisfy the rules of the Coast Guard and keep the $200 in our pockets we need both a PFD and whistle.
There are so many variables that come into play for defining the rules of PFDs: water temps, heavy conditions, paddler’s ability to swim and so on. I think we will see these regulations evolving more and more in the future. Education also includes teaching paddlers what equipment is best for the conditions.
The reality is if it is cold and nasty, 99% of people will not paddle. That other 1% that does will most likely have the right equipment. The individuals that don’t well we have to try and get our message to them. Appropriate gear to advise paddlers about includes wetsuits, wearable PFD and leashes.
At the end of the day, when we enter the water we assume an inherent risk. It is similar to when we get in our car. Paddling, as a sport, is safe, friendly and enjoyable, but things do happen. Education is the key to keeping paddlers safe.
Sup Surfing Safety
The surfing side of this sport is so tough when it comes to safety. Sup surfing is introducing a whole new wave of people to surfing which can be a double edged sword.
I’m included in that statement. I had no idea what the rules were when I started sup surfing. I’ve found that most people truly aren’t anxious to tell someone what the rules of the lineup are in the surf zone. Let’s be honest, the surf culture is not the stand up paddle culture. The simple truth of it is if we see a bunch of surfers out in the line up, it probably isn’t the best idea to paddle out. I know that sounds like the opposite of all the other messages I share, but it is because I feel that surfing and sup are not yet ready to mix. As we see the sport grow, we will see more stand up paddle surf schools come about. This will be the key to sharing the message about safety in the surf zone and help spread the message about proper rules and etiquette. Until then, the unfriendly, “go down the beach” vibe will exist.
Instructors, rental and lesson rules. Yes, it is good to know the basics and keep everyone safe. But essentially, what does this mean? Even if we are certified, it does not mean we “know it all”. If you paddle in San Francisco, we soon find out this is much different than Lake Tahoe. The same goes with the Bay Bridge in Annapolis or the Inlets in Wrightsville Beach.
If we are teachers, it is our job to educate ourselves within the waters where we paddle. Ask locals, study the weather and water charts to continue your education. It is on us to share the message and lead by example. Charging out under the Golden Gate bridge with group of new paddlers to take a selfie is the easiest way to make the Coast Guard highlight film.
“It is on us to share the message and lead by example.”
At the end of the day we are doing a great job with a sport that is seeing unbelievable growth in a short period of time. It truly makes me smile to see so many people flocking to the water together to go paddle!
Thank you so much for this opportunity!