Timmy Brennan is a New York iron worker who escapes the grind of the city through his true passion, SUP surfing. But when Superstorm Sandy destroys his home in Breezy Point in October 2012, Timmy loses everything — including his board. As Timmy digs through the ruins of his home day after day, trying to recover lost possessions, he discovers the kindness of strangers and finds solace once again on the ocean.
This unbelievable, tear jerking and beautifully made award winning documentary by www.RYOT.org captures that devastating day at Breezy Point, and the days that followed for Timmy and his community. A must watch…
Directed By – David Darg & Bryn Mooser
Produced By – Martha Rogers & Gareth Seltzer
Executive Producers – Olivia Wilde & Elon Musk
Associate Producers – Sal Masekela & Jon Vickers
Hurricane Sandy (unofficially known as “Superstorm Sandy”) was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. Classified as the eighteenth named storm, tenth hurricane and second major hurricane of the year, Sandy was a Category 3 storm at its peak intensity.
So amazed with Timmy’s story and the power he feels is behind SUP, the SUPboarder Team got in contact with Timmy to find out more…
SB/ Before that day what did SUP mean to you?
TB/ SUP meant a freedom of the daily grind yet a willing slavery to the call of the water. Like a single siren from the Odessey I always was drawn to that first thrust of the paddle!
SB/ What were your thoughts that day on realising that not only had your family home burnt to the ground but also your SUP?
TB/ First and foremost, the safety of my family and community was paramount. Secondly, possessions don’t rule my life, they enhance it. I did feel lost for a while not being able to relax after a long day of sifting through my families burnt possessions by getting out on the SUP board.
SB/ How did it feel not being able to get out on the water initially? How did you cope?
TB/ Initially it was very hard. There is a connection I feel every time I leave the grainy sand for the smooth ocean, or bay, that’s hard to not have. The community I live in is super tight so without hesitation people offered their boards and support.
SB/ Describe in one sentence how you felt when your local shop owner presented you with a new SUP, allowing you to get back out on the water.
TB/ I felt that with all we read and see about the selfishness of humanity, was in that moment completely wrong, with this one single kind act of generosity through the SUP community!
SB/ How do you feel SUP helped you to move on after that day? Do you think you could have done it without it?
TB/ Well, the same bodies of water that destroyed my life and held me down were the same instruments I used to lift myself and family and friends up! Just like when I use my SUP to surf, when I get knocked off by a huge wave the white wash tumbles me but eventually I resurface and see the next set rolling in! It lets me let go of everything and be at peace! You have to be tough to make it through life in general, but being that I had this escape of SUP made the stress and feeling of loss that much less.
SB/ Did anyone else in the local community SUP beforehand? And if so did your SUP’s help bring you together more as a community?
TB/ Here and there people would be out trying it but I would have to say that in my community people took more of an interest when they had seen that I started to collect more boards and force friends and family to feel the same thrill, excitement and healing properties that SUP brought to me!
SB/ What’s Timmy up to now?! And how different do you think life would be now if you hadn’t got back on the water?
TB/ I am currently working as an Iron wrier for local 46 in NYC on the 2nd ave subway line. Its funny how I look at the subway tube I’m constructing and think only of what a sweet tube it would be if it were not made of concrete but water!! Besides rent all my money goes into buying boards and equipment to get those who can’t afford or are curious about SUP into this amazing experience. If I were not able to get back into the water after what had happened I probably would drill a pair of skateboarding trucks on the board and be pulled over by the cops flying down Broadway on a 12 foot board with a stick in my hand!!! That, or move to an area that I was able to use my SUP. It means that much to me!!!!!
SB/ What does SUP mean to you now, following that day?
TB/ SUP is not a sport, a race or an activity to me after that day and the days following. Its a community, its a bandaid, its a hug, its a powerful movement that I am happy to be swept up in.
Timmy explains that people have been rebuilding the second they were given the green light by Fema. “The area that I lived in, called ‘the wedge’ that had the 91 houses burn is being rebuilt as fast as possible. The hope is that many of the residents will be in by the end of the summer. The community is extremely resilient in the fact that so much was lost but the ashes have been moved in order to rebuild. I don’t think there was any doubt in anyones mind that they were not going to rebuild.” – Timmy Brennan
The SUPboarder Team thanks Timmy for sharing his unbelievable story, and being such a great ambassador for the sport. And wishes him, his family and local community all the best for the future.
If like Timmy, you feel like SUP is a lifeline for you, we’d love to hear from you. Or if you have any amazing SUP survival stories please get in touch.
As SUPboarders I’m sure we all feel the power of SUP in one way or another. But often we don’t realise quite how much it means to us until we almost loose it.