I like to say that the only thing that can rival winter in the Rockies is summer in the Rockies. But, on hot summer days, I also crave refreshing ocean winds, cool water and a sandy beach. This summer, I’ve found two ways to bring a little aloha spirit to the Rockies.

Sacred Surf’s Trucker Hat:  You know the cool surfer trucker hats that you see almost every person (especially the women) wearing in Telluride? Those are from artist and former Telluride resident, Jen Gagen. Gagen left a successful career in graphic design and life in the snowy mountains of Telluride to follow her passion for art and waves. The result – her boutique island apparel company called Sacred Surf.

Gagen’s inspiration for Sacred Surf began with her desire to draw and paint on everything that she wore. And, all of that art is inspired by the things she loves most — the ocean, surf, Hawaii and the mountains. Her work expresses motion and beauty, two words that are not only applicable to her art, but to who she is as a person.

Although Gagen has hung up her skis for her surfboard, Telluride has not hung up their affinity for her work. Start looking at the caps adorning many a local head. You will see a lot of Sacred Surf. Wearing Jen’s hats is like being part of a club. Most folks are only a few degrees separation from Jen or Telluride.  Just last weekend a Durango girl saw me and said, “Is that a Gagen?” referring to my hat. She ran to her camper to retrieve her own. If you wear a Sacred Surf trucker hat out of this valley, you’re sure to meet a friend.

Gagen has just come out with new designs for her trucker hats and some of her original art is on display at TWEED throughout the month. In town, hats can be purchased at Jagged Edge, TWEED and The Boot Doctors.

Stand-Up Paddle Boards: Stand-up paddle boarding is no longer exclusive to the ocean. Mountain folks have decided to take the sport in their own hands and boards are popping up everywhere – in rivers and lakes of all sizes and at all altitudes.

One popular make is an inflatable board that the harder core folks (and those with a lot more balance than me) paddle down rivers. Other models combine foam and plastic and both are great for mellow paddles in nearby mountain lakes. Kids can ride on front or paddle themselves. If you lose your balance and fall in, think of it as a refreshing cool down.

In just the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to paddle on Haviland Lake  outside of Durango, on Ridgway Reservoir  and at Alta Lakes just outside of Telluride. Our board has become a required piece of equipment for mountain camping. Paddle boards range in price from a few hundred dollars up to a thousand. Locally, check out Jagged Edge to try it out.

Thanks to Sacred Surf and stand up paddle boarding, I’ve added a little aloha, and style, to my Rocky Mountain summer.

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