My name is Kevin. I grew up a water skier’s son on the crisp clear waters of Priest Lake in northern Idaho. Some of my most vivid memories involve pitching tents on the sandy shores of Kalispel Island and evening “jammy rides” on my father’s 19ft bowrider. The flickers of what seemed like hundreds of campfires would pass us by while ribbons of smoke filled the still evening air. Little did I know that those jammy rides would plant a seed deep in my consciousness, a passion for boating that would eventually lead me toward a maritime existence. I suppose there was a purity to it all, a deep peace that would leave any sane man hungering for more.

I took to sailing in my late teens. The local college held an outdoor program on the shores of Lake Coeur d’ Alene. The bright and whimsical colors from the hobie cat sails would reliably adorn the beach on any summer day. My friend Jon is a sailing evangelist of sorts and ran the program at the time. I doubt he knows that he changed my life the day he handed me the single sheet and shoved the tiny vessel off the beach. I’ll never forget the joy of soaring over the waves and the terror of realizing that I had to somehow sail back! I got the hang of it. There was a shoal that ran just a few yards off the beach at Tubb’s Hill with a small rock island at the other end. When the wind was just right I could come in hot, yank the rudders up at just the right moment and slide through the gap in style. A stunt that the local kids called “threading the needle” I somehow doubt that Jon was aware of this either.

I always tell people that sailing and climbing are long-lost siblings – both calling loudly to the adventurous, technical, self-reliant type. I took a hiatus from the waves in my early 20’s to be an alpine guide in the north-central Cascades but the allure of the sea seemed to follow me to any height. I met a man named Jim at 3:30 am near a trailhead. A friend and I were gearing up for a car-to-car push on Mt. Adams and he and his friend were hiking to Lunch Counter, a prominent midway plateau on the south ridge. Jim began to tell me that he was a yacht designer and was building some carbon fiber leviathan in a small town called Anacortes. Jim and I stayed in touch and some years later, through the vast and tangled web that is life, I was buying my own home and putting roots down in Anacortes. Kierkegaard once said that “life can only be understood backward – but it must be lived forwards”. It is amazingly fun to think back and connect the dots.

I think I always knew that I would end up coastal. My favorite summits were always the ones with a view of the ocean. My mother tells me that when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I would perk up and say “a tugboat driver” a small part of me was always destined to be a captain. Now as a captain I make sure that all aspects of my sailing practices are sustainable from the resources I pack to the clothing I wear while out at sea. I always live by my mother’s words, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”.

For that reason, I go with Ably when I’m out at sea. Ably is a Seattle-based company that initially caught my attention due to the brand’s use of Filium technology allowing their clothing to be water, stain, and odor-resistant. Ably’s claims that their clothing was able to achieve high-functioning properties without sacrificing breathability and comfort also piqued my interest. Clothing made from natural materials like high-quality cotton, which is quick-drying and allows you to go months without more than a rinse in a mountain stream or a quick bucket wash, was something I had to try. It struck me that this combination of attributes could have a perfect application in my life afoot and afloat.

Being a sailor and a climber will cultivate a great love and sense of responsibility for the environment. You don’t need to be an environmentalist to understand your individual responsibility to care for the earth, but instead, inspire those around you to share a love for nature. I appreciate the work that Ably is doing to lower its impact on the environment by creating a signature collection that allows users to lower their carbon footprints.

As you lean into your passion, building sustainable pracitces will hollistically help sustain your dreams.