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TH E ATLANTI C

Coastal Culture | Palm Beach & Broward County

July / August 2021 | Issue 51


7.02 / 4P M B E AU MEY ER

7.31 / 4P M JOHN LE ONARD DUO

7.02 / 9P M SIERRA L ANE BAND

7.31 / 8P M S OU THSIDE DUB

7.03 / 4P M MICAH S COT T

8.01 / 4P M VICTORIA LEIGH

7.03 9P M JUKE

8.06 / 9P M SNX

7.04 / 4P M JOHN LE ONARD

8.07 / 4P M CORTADITO

7.09 / 4P M GARULLI / G ODSEY

8.07 / 9P M B OB BY LEE RODGERS

7.09 / 9P M ROOT S SHAKEDOWN

8.08 / 4P M THREE RING CIRCUS

7.10 / 4P M VICTORIA CARDONA

8.13 / 4P M SA MANTHA RUSSELL

7.10 / 9P M E ARTHKRY

8.13 / 9P M RE G GAE FORCE

7.11 / 4P M ANDREW MORRIS

8.14 / 4P M JOHNN Y DEBT

7.16 / 8P M ARISE ROOT S W/ SENSI TRAILS

8.14 / 9P M SPRED THE DUB

7.17 / 4P M DUB B LE JA ME S

8.15 / 4P M ANDREW MORRIS

7.17 / 9P M THE STRING ASSASSINS

8.20 / 4P M B RET T STASK A

7.18 / 4P M THAT MAN AND ROB IN 7.23 / 4P M B RYCE ALLY N 7.23 / 9P M SPIDER CHERRY 7.24 / 4P M RE AS ONAB LY CRA Z Y 7.24 / 9P M ERIC CULB ERS ON

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8.20 / 9P M JOEY CALDERAIO BAND 8.21 / 4P M NOU VE AU X HONKIE S 8.21 / 9P M B RYCE ALLY N BAND 8.22 / 4P M STONEY B OE 8.27 / 4P M MICAH S COT T 8.27 / 9P M S OUL JA M

7.25 / 12 N O O N 5TH ANNUAL JERRY GARCIA B IRTHDAY BASH

8.28 / 4P M VICTORIA CARDONA

7.30 / 4P M JOHNN Y DEBT

8.28 / 9P M TAND

7.30 / 9P M A JEVA

8.29 / 4P M THAT MAN AND ROB IN


PUBLISHER

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Dustin Wright | Dustin@theatlanticcurrent.com

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THANKS

Danny Wright | Dan@theatlanticcurrent.com

EDITOR Darien Davies

PUBLICATION DESIGN Richard Vergez

WRITERS David Rolland Darien Davies Nicole Danna Steve Dougherty

PHOTOGRAPHY Ben Hicks David Scarola Julia Rose Anna Mucci Talia Schizzano

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CONTE NTS

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BEN HICKS

What started as a passion for photography led him into a habit of saying yes to every opportunity. One of those being the chance to photograph baby sea turtles, leading into a career in itself.

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2021 CROSSING FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS

We had the chance to experience this year’s Crossing for CF survivor and double lung transplant Scott Johnson.

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SALTWATER SLAM RECAP

A look back on the Saltwater Slam leaves us with the ultimate setup for the Saltwater Showdown.

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GEAR GUIDE

A few of the ocean-related goods we can’t live without.

32

OLD SCHOOL SQUARE

A local favorite venue recounts their adaptation to becoming one of the first locations to return to live music.

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COMPOSITION COFFEE

The long awaited stand-alone location of Composition Coffee is quickly showing guests what they’ve been perfecting.

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GUERRILLA GARDENING

Planting trees in undisclosed locations on his own dime is just one way Jack Sandquist plans to make South Florida more abundant.

Cover photo by Ben Hicks 6


EVE NTS

JU LY

17

Uproot Hootenanny

9

Roots Shakedown

F6 Surf Program

Ladies of Simone perform the Music of Nina Simone @ Arts Garage – Delray

The Flyers @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

Uproot Hootenanny

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Poetry Night @ Arts Garage – Delray Justin Enco

Products of Rage

20 21

Memphis Lightning

Spred The Dub @ Fish Depot – Boynton

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Sons of a Tradesman

King Crimson w/ special guest The California Guitar Trio @ Old School Square – Delray

Comedy After Dark

@ Guanabanas – Jupiter

@ Grandview Market – WPB @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

10 EarthKry @ Guanabanas – Jupiter

Yacht Rock @ Arts Garage – Delray

Brad Paisley Tour 2021

Southern Blood

Brian and Brian

Electric Summer @ Respectables – WPB

@ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB @ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca @ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

Roll The Stones: A Tribute To The Rolling Stones @ Funky Biscuit – Boca 11

Dave Mathews Band Tribute

@ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

MadBall @ Respectables – WPB

@ Oceanfront Park – Ocean Ridge

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point @ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

@ Grandview Public Market – WPB

24 Reasonably Crazy (4pm) & Eric Culberson (9pm) @ Guanabanas – Jupiter Smokin Renegade @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

10k Hours @ Leftovers – Jupiter

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5th Annual Jerry Garcia Birthday Bash

Dirty Heads & Sublime w/ Rome Reggae Nights feat. Reggae Lou

@ Guanabanas – Jupiter (fun starts at noon) @ Abacoa Amphitheater – Jupiter

The Flyers @ Banana Boat – Boynton

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Mojo Ike

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Jerry Leeman @ Fish Depot – Boynton

Brian Bolen

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Marc Claus

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Krazy Train

13 Axcents @ Fish Depot – Boynton

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Red Hot & Rockin’ Spectacular w/ JP Soars and Rockin’ Jake

Jacob Takos and The Connection

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point @ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

See Art Be Happy (Thurs-Sun 12-5pm)

@ Cornell Art Museum – Delray

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

@ Funky Biscuit – Boca

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Arise Roots w/ Sensi Trails

Spider Cherry Band

The Miami Big Sound Orchestra

30-31 Dave Mathews Band @ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB

Mangrove Mark & The Fiddle King

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Funkin’ Grateful

Crazy Fingers

@ Guanabanas – Jupiter

@ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth @ Arts Garage – Delray @ Leftovers – Jupiter

16-18 10 Year Anniversary Celebration @ Funky Biscuit feat Jon Cleary (Fri) Pat

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@ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca

Travers (Sat) and Sunday Blues and BBQ (Sun) – Boca

@ Banana Boat – Boynton

Ajeva @ Guanabanas – Jupiter

@ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth


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EVE NTS

AUGUST

Johnny Debt (4pm) & Spred The Dub (9pm)

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The Hella Mega Tour w/ Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer

Neil Freestone

Bryce Allyn Band

13-14 Earth Wind and Fire Tribute Band @ Funky Biscuit – Boca

Coffeehouse Sundays

Sean Chambers “That’s What I’m Talkin’ About” CD Release Party @ Arts Garage – Delray

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Alanis Morissette w/ Garbage and Liz Phair

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Joey Carleraio Band @ Guanabanas – Jupiter

Spider Cherry

The Ultimate Pearl Jam Tribute “Still Alive”

@ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB @ Banana Boat – Boynton @ Subculture Coffee – WPB

2-6 Surf Camp @ Delray Breakers on the Ocean

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

@ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB

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Taco and Tequila Night

Comedy Night @ Arts Garage – Delray

Kings of Leon

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F6 Surf Program

Crazy Fingers @ Fish Depot – Boynton

Think and Drink Trivia

Old Boca Music Festival 8

4

(Every Wednesday)

The Flyers @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

Walt Rooney

Lady A “What A Song Can Do Tour 2021”

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The Flyers @ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca

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Stoney Boe (4pm)

Sierra Lane Band

Honey Creepers

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Electric Kif Album Release

Larry Johnson’s Essence of Motown

@ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca (every Tuesday!)

@ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB (every Thursday in August)

@ The Brewhouse Gallery – Lake Park

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

@ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

G Sparticus

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The People Upstairs

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

Cortadito (4pm) & Bobby Lee Rogers (9pm) @ Guanabanas – Jupiter Brian and Brian (1-4pm) & Guerra Grooves (6-9) @ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

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@ Guanabanas – Jupiter

8

Mojo Ike (1-4pm)

10

All Arts Open Mic Night

13

Reggae Force @ Guanabanas – Jupiter

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

@ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth @ Crazy Uncle Mikes – Boca

@ Oceanfront Park – Ocean Ridge @ Funky Biscuit – Boca

@ iThink Financial Amphitheater – WPB @ Guanabanas – Jupiter @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth @ Funky Biscuit – Boca @ Arts Garage – Delray

Souljam @ Guanabanas – Jupiter 28 Tand @ Guanabanas – Jupiter

Jonathan James

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point

Metalicious @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth 29

Stoney Boe

That Man & Robin (4pm)

56 Ace Band

Jam Session

Gilbert Gotfried

30

Reggae Nights feat. Reggae Lou

14

Switch N’ Whisky

@ Arts Garage – Delray

@ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth @ Lake Park Black Box – Lake Park @ Mathews Brewing – Lake Worth

@ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point @ Guanabanas – Jupiter @ Arts Garage – Delray @ Papa’s Raw Bar – Lighthouse Point


BEN HICKS

D

oing his research, fine-tuning his passion, and saying yes to every opportunity that came his way has afforded Ben Hicks a picture-perfect career and a life of gratitude. While his path might have been unplanned, he always kept his eyes on the prize and his finger on the shutter. The first time he picked up a camera was when he borrowed his high school sister’s film camera during his freshman year of college because he wanted to take pictures of his friends surfing. The year was 1998. That very next year he changed his major to a bachelor of fine arts and dove headfirst into photography and art classes at Florida Atlantic University. His first published work was of an FAU football game that scored him on the front cover of the FAU newspaper. In addition to sports, he also continued shooting pictures of his friends mountain biking and surfing, and starting making films with a video camera in 2000. From there, the momentum continued to build and build. “When I was going to college, I remember somebody asked about being a fine art photographer. The teacher shot down the question of being a fine arts photographer unless in a pretty niche scenario,” Hicks said. “If you had asked me 20 years ago if people would come into my studio wanting prints and images in large mediums of my work, I wouldn’t believe you. A lot of people ask how I started out, but I never said I wanted to do that. I went the servant way. I just wanted to create images with my camera. I obviously worked hard at it, but I didn’t strive to say that this is what I wanted to do for a living, but I’m grateful I did. I still step back and say, ‘Wow this is what I do for a living.’” >>

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S E A S

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O P P O R T U N I T Y BY DARIEN DAVIES | PHOTOS: BEN HICKS

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His first job in the art world was a 2002 internship at an ad agency, where he was offered a job the day he graduated in 2003. He worked for a year but decided to quit and venture out completely on his own. At that time he was doing freelance graphic design work as well as photography, which was mainly commercial work for action sport shops, biking, surfing and even architecture. He migrated into working on more diverse portfolios with more diverse clients and even started shooting for the press, professional baseball, hockey and motorsports. But as busy as he was, he didn’t find his niche until he was invited by his friend from college, a marine biologist, in 2008 to photograph sea turtles. “I had always shot wildlife, waves, and fish, but I hadn’t had any exposure to sea turtles yet because it was not easy to find. They said, ‘You could come along and we could potentially use the images.’ It’s more of a special opportunity, and I took that opportunity,” said Hicks, whose motivation was to not go back to a desk job and work for someone else. “It was mainly my curiosity. I thought it was really cool to go and do that. The reaction from the public opened my eyes as a potential to what I could do as a photographer and an ambassador to the environment, as well as make a living because people wanted prints of the photos. Before that I was only selling images more or less in the commercial standpoint. I had never sold an image as artwork for someone’s wall. This was a turning point in my career where I decided to make two businesses: fine art and continue with commercial work. I needed to brand myself as a nature photographer and not just a commercial photographer.” That invitation to document sea turtles for a South Florida-permitted sea turtle monitoring organization set his career on a path that he has

never planned for but has appreciated every moment of. Not only does he work with local organizations, he’s also able to connect with worldwide organizations and let them use his images to help promote what they do and the turtles they’re trying to protect. He has even donated his images to third-world country organizations that were trying to protect their beaches and bring awareness to threats to sea turtles, including poaching and over fishing. Once he began to reach out to other organizations and also leverage his social media account, there was no stopping him. “I did Sea Turtle Day at Gumbo Limbo as one of the artists and I was the only one with pictures. That’s what set me off,” Hicks said. “There weren’t a lot of other people in the world who were photographing baby sea turtles.” When National Geographic published one of his images in a story about sea turtles in 2013, and also posted the information on their Instagram account tagging Hicks, that pushed his social media into a business of itself, and continues to yield him great results even today. “I tried hard to keep up with times with websites and pushing hard with any way I could reach potential customers, including social media, attending small events, reaching out to organizations that potentially needed an image, where if they used they’d credit me and I’d get customers as well,” Hicks said. “I reached out as much as possible to extend my brand. As an artist that’s a key thing. The business side is much more difficult than the creative side. Creating images is the easy part, it’s harder to get the image in front of people’s eyes.”

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So in addition to trekking along local beaches 50-70 days out of the year (affording him maybe 10 exceptional annual photography experiences), carrying two backpacks - one with underwater gear and the other with out-of-water gear - and pre-planning his day and starting before sunrise, he also had to research other artists and commercial accounts to see what they were doing and how he could leverage their success for himself. Oh, and not to mention managing back surgery due to the labor involved. Overall, for him, it was about balancing the scales of the perfect worklife balance, especially because he grew into the role of a husband and father. Couple that with a realization that his career not only provides beautiful images of new-to-the-world sea turtles that are battling man-made issues like plastics, but that he has the ability to make a great impact on his viewers. “It goes back to doing something that I’m really proud of. I think a lot of people go through life wondering how much impact they’ll make as a career, what they’ll do for mankind. Photographing sea turtles has obviously provided me an amazing career to go to the beach and use my camera. What could be better than that? I’ve been given the opportunity to visit places around the world, be in an environment that most people would only dream of, and swim with all kinds of sea life,” Hicks said. “Most importantly, it’s provided me an avenue to help raise a family and provided a way to be an ambassador to a lot of people. A lot of people constantly say that I do an amazing job, that I made their day so much better by posting a photo that day. They may not have bought a photo, but that makes me feel good by presenting a picture of a sea turtle and having it change the mood of someone’s day.”

After more than a decade of being in the business, and learning everything on a hands-on, figure-it-out-as-he-goes way of managing and promoting himself, he still thinks about the big picture and every lasting impact. Sure, a picture might be worth a thousand words, but his images will hopefully span generations of not only humans but also sea turtles. “What I’m most proud of is the impact I’ve left behind with people when they discover my images, however they might. I want them to have a little bit of insight on our environment by seeing a baby sea turtle that’s so sensitive. My goal of the last 10-plus years, since 2010, has really been to try to use my images as an environmental voice,” Hicks said. “There’s a lot of issues with our planet and how humans have impacted it, and if I can make a tiny impact on someone’s view of reducing use of plastics and overall impact on the planet and dayto-day use, that’s a great goal for me to have every day when I wake up. How can I make a difference?” Now picture that as a professional and a personal goal. benjhicks.com @benjhicks

theatlanticcurrent.com

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T H E

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C ROS S I N G FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS C F SU RV I VO R S C OT T JO H NS O N RECOUNTS HIS EXPERIENCE

BY DAVID ROLLAND | PHOTOS: DAVID SCAROLA

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P

addleboarding the 80 miles between the Bahamas and the Florida mainland sounds like an insane thing to do. For Travis Suit, it seemed like a walk in the park compared to what his daughter was going through. At 4 years old, young Piper was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an often terminal lung disease. Inspired by his daughter, Suit decided to form the Piper’s Angels Foundation to support and improve the lives of people in the cystic fibrosis community by raising awareness through education, offering life expanding activities, providing urgent financial support, and funding critical research. The Foundation’s main fundraiser each year is The Crossing For Cystic Fibrosis, where a bunch of seemingly superhuman athletes make the 15-and-a-half-hour paddle across the Gulf Stream.   Over the years since the first Crossing in 2013, the event has mushroomed from four paddlers to more than 200 in 2019. When Scott Johnson of Wilmington, North Carolina met Travis Suit, he knew he needed to be one of the participants. Johnson also thought he could provide some hope for Piper and her family. Because Johnson, at 49 years old, has not just survived cystic fibrosis, but is now thriving so much he thought he’d give the crossing a go himself. “I grew up playing soccer, baseball, and surfing,” Johnson told Atlantic Current days before he was to make the crossing. “Cystic fibrosis is gradual. I couldn’t hold my breath for too long, but I didn’t have it bad until I got older.” When he was 29 was when it got really bad. “It was in 2001 when I had to go to the hospital because they couldn’t give me the oxygen I needed at home.  Luckily I was on the donor list, because if I didn’t get a double lung transplant I wouldn’t be here to talk about this,” Johnson said. >>

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While he was waiting and hoping for a future, Johnson made a list of the things he would do once he got better. Doing a triathlon was at the top of the agenda. But it wasn’t so easy for him to get better. He had the awful timing of being in the hospital during 9/11. “We had a pair of lungs but there were no flights allowed, so no doctor could come to do the transplant. It was a race of what would give out first between my lungs and my heart,” Johnson said. On September 15 Johnson was matched with lungs and a doctor who could fly to transplant them. “The doctor said they were the best lungs they’d ever seen,” Johnson said. After two months of being bedridden, Johnson was able to start his journey back to recovery. “Fortunately I had a physical therapist who was as nuts as me,” Johnson said. “On the first day he asked me my goals. I said I wanted to do a triathlon. Mind you, at the time I couldn’t walk 20 feet.” The physical therapist paused for a second and without skipping another beat told Johnson, “Alright, let’s get started.”   In 2006 Johnson accomplished the impossible. He became the first person with a double lung transplant to complete an Iron Man Triathlon. You might need to sit down before you read what that entails. It’s a nearly two-and-a-half-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride

and then you top it all off by running a marathon. It took years of training and some unsuccessful stabs, but in Panama City, Fla., Johnson was able to do the impossible. When Suit heard this story, he thought if anyone was meant to do the crossing it was Johnson. “Travis tried to get me in it 2019, but that was too soon for me,” Johnson said. “We’d already committed to a 100-mile bike ride in Ireland.” After a down year due to the pandemic in 2020, 2021 was the year Johnson was set to make the crossing. Speaking the night before he was to travel from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini, Johnson was both excited and a little apprehensive. “The unknown is always the biggest challenge,” Johnson said. “You can’t control the weather or the sea conditions.” Johnson and his wife, who was also going to paddle, had put a lot of time on the water, but 15 miles was the most they had ever paddled at one time. This was going to be a relay event where each participant would only paddle 20 miles each, but it still held immense challenges. “Your mental state is the hardest. But I’m really looking forward to being on the board at dawn and not being able to see anything but the water,” Johnson said. >>

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Unfortunately this year was not the year where Johnson could see the sun rising from his paddleboard. For the first time the weather really did not cooperate. “We left Bimini at midnight and for the first two or three miles everything was great. But then the sea went up to four to six feet with the occasional eight footer,” Johnson said. “But what we really didn’t expect was the wind blowing the engine fumes off the boat toward the passengers. We were all getting sea sick. We pulled the plug after 15 miles because it was too dangerous.” But even though Johnson and many other participants couldn’t finish the crossing, he sees it as anything but a failure. It did, after all, take him seven times to complete an Iron Man Triathlon. “I know it’s a cheesy bumper sticker, but the journey is more important that the destination,” Johnson said. “The race is a good comparison to life. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes you don’t. The spark is in trying. We tried and we were able to raise $650,000.” Johnson will have another opportunity to make the crossing, if he so chooses, as Suit is already organizing the 2022 event.  I had one last question for Johnson before he resumed his day-today life in North Carolina.  Does he know whose lungs helped him survive? “Everyone wants to know about their donor. But it’s a bit of a Pandora’s box,” Johnson said. “You can write a letter to the family, it’s up to the family whether they respond. It took me a year to write it, but I never heard back. I have learned that they know who I am and what I’m doing. So as long as they know I’m not wasting this gift, that’s good enough for me.” crossingforcysticfibrosis.com @crossingforcf

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T A

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BY STEVE DOUGHERTY Tournament fishing is a decidedly difficult undertaking that tests anglers against game fish in a battle requiring skill, passion, persistence, teamwork, and of course a little bit of luck. What was once a clash of man versus fish is now exponentially more challenging with dozens of teams trying their hardest to catch more and bigger fish faster than you. Posting consistent results requires the knowledge that only comes with years of experience. You need to be able to read the water and weather, and understand how changing conditions influence the behavior and feeding patterns of particular game fish species.

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OB EC AC EANH


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ome to Merritt’s Boat & Engine Works, Lindgren-Pitman, Mold Craft Fishing Products, Bionic Bait, Custom Rod & Reel, and RJ Boyle Studio, Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point and nearby Hillsboro Inlet are a collective driving force and hotbed for angling innovation influencing sportfishing activities across the world. For more than 20 years, the Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit (PBSC) has been Florida’s premier sportfishing tournament trail, taking place May through August and attracting competitive anglers from around the state. With their sights set on dolphin, wahoo, kingfish, blackfin tuna and cobia, 100 teams registered for the first leg of the series— the Saltwater Shootout. In this single-day event, teams hit the high seas looking to bring four fish per species to the weigh-in, with a maximum of 10 fish per boat. On some occasions a single fish can mean the difference between going home empty handed or with an oversized check, so it’s important you make every fish count. You really can’t do more than try your best to land every fish you hook, recognizing and learning exactly how particular game fish feed without always seeing them do so. Patterning fish is extremely important because if we have three kites in the air and a giant spread of flat lines totaling a dozen or more baits in the water, having to bring it all in to move 200 yards better be for t h e a t l a n t i c c u r r e n t . c o m 25


the right reasons. The best crews fish together as often as possible, and everyone understands their role, never questioning the captain’s decision. In sailfish tournaments, captains must call in their releases so teams know exactly where they stand throughout the day, but in meat tournaments you’re really competing against yourself. You could be having a great day, but you don’t really know exactly what’s going on around you. It’s no coincidence the same teams grace the leaderboards year after year, but what’s most exciting about the PBSC are the optional entry categories—you can still take the tournament director to the bank without taking first place, which we saw happen at the Saltwater Shootout in May. It was team Tax Relief who took top honors weighing a 235.1-pound aggregate comprising four kingfish, three blackfin tuna and three dolphin. Their efforts earned a $21,912 payout. However, team Reel Synergy led by Capt. Chip Sheehan stole the show as they carried a hefty fish bag to the scales. While the Boynton Beach crew finished fifth place overall, they won the Pick 3 calcutta. For this optional entry category that costs just $200 to enter, the tournament committee randomly chooses three out of five eligible

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species and the team with the heaviest combined weight of those species takes the prize. This can be a difficult category to conquer and without a winner in 2020 the calcutta rolled over and grew to $114,480. Reel Synergy’s 51.7-pound kingfish, 25.3-pound dolphin and 23.5-pound blackfin emptied the account in the Pick 3, boosting their total payout to $122,921, setting a record for the PBSC as the largest earnings ever for a single team. Most recently, the Saltwater Slam was held on June 12, attracting a fleet of 72 boats. The Slam is the oldest of the three events, first enticing anglers to Pompano Beach in 1996. Celebrating its 26th year, the Saltwater Slam kicked off on Thursday evening with the captain’s party held at the Pompano Beach Civic Center. With coronavirus regulations beginning to ease, it was a great atmosphere where teams took advantage of complimentary cocktails and delicious cuisine by Blue Moon Fish Co. Friday was the final day for preparation, allowing competitors one last opportunity to formulate a winning game plan.

theatlanticcurrent.com

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As is generally the case with the second event of the series, the fishing proved to be tough on Saturday and only 14 teams were able to weigh more than a 100-pound aggregate. Eliminating the traditional shotgun start, there was no check out and lines-in was at 7:30 a.m. Fishing with team Native Son, we ran to Jupiter early in the morning and were presented with variable winds requiring helium balloons to keep kites aloft. Early on, mixed-size kingfish were providing a steady pick, with some clearing 10 feet out of the water as they skyrocketed on frantic live baits dangled from our kites. However, by late morning without a puff of wind and unfavorable south current, coercing cooperative fish became increasingly difficult. In the end, only three pounds separated the top three teams, and it was Young Guns who came out on top with four kingfish and four blackfin tuna. Aboard their Midnight Express with quad 400 horsepower outboards, the team started their morning fishing off Jupiter, catching four kings early on, then hightailing south to Miami at 60 miles per hour to catch four blackfin tuna. The top teams don’t skimp on anything and are clearly never worried about the fuel bill. Racing across the ocean looking for the right bite, their efforts earned $18,460.

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The Saltwater Slam’s top male angler was Devin Dickerson of Gator One, who tallied 98.5 pounds catching two kingfish and two blackfin tuna. Heading into the Saltwater Showdown, the overall crown championship is anyone’s for the taking. Over the course of the three-leg series, teams accrue points based on where they place in each tournament. The linear scoring system awards 31 points for a firstplace finish, 29 points for second, 28 for third and so forth. Coming into the Showdown Crown, team Digger Rich has a narrow lead with 54 points, followed by Tax Relief with 52 points, Blue Moon with 51 points and Young Guns with 48 points. Besides collecting oversized checks, it’s our love for the ocean and competitive nature that makes tournament fishing so enjoyable. The competition is intense, but don’t forget to have fun along the way and support the sponsors who make these dream events come true. Special thanks to tournament director Jamie Bunn for orchestrating yet another amazing event and good luck to everyone competing in the Saltwater Showdown. t h e a t l a n t i c c u r r e n t . c o m 29


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CURRENT | MUSIC

OLD SCHOOL SQUARE

Don’t Call It A Comeback BY DARIEN DAVIES | PHOTOS: JULIA ROSE

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fter way too long of enjoying live music events in the comfort of your own home and on your favorite streaming device, we’re ready to get back out there! Thankfully the good people at Old School Square have missed live events as much as the rest of us, so have put measures in place to ensure we can all jam out safely. Old School Square returned to offering live events at the Pavilion in October 2020 and used a redesigned layout to meet CDC guidelines for social distancing. Expensive, yes. But it was also worth it. They installed 3,000 linear feet of French barricades, which enabled them to create a 123-pod seating option that could accommodate a total of 492 patrons. It might not be the same scenery as a 10,000-person packed venue, but we’ll take it! “We’re excited to continue on the path we began in October. Since the Fall of 2020, we’ve increased not

only our reach into the community but the caliber of artists that we’re able to present to our audience,” said Emily Debevec, marketing coordinator at Old School Square. “2021 has represented a landmark event for Old School Square with the presentation of four Jimmy Buffett concerts over the course of two weeks. Jimmy is the most prominent artist we’ve had the honor to host, and we’re thrilled to say he will not be the last.” As one of the first open-air venues in the nation to reopen, they were able to work with some of the nation’s top performers and artists and welcome them to the Delray Beach community. They look forward to be able to present the nation’s top Broadway, Rock, Americana, Folk, and Reggae artists - and more! - performing this year. It’s been a long 18 months without the ability of artists and performers on tour, so this is an exciting time for everyone involved, especially for the Old School Square team. t h e a t l a n t i c c u r r e n t . c o m 33


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“Old School Square was one of, if not the first, venues in the nation to open back up with a COVID-19 safe setup. As a non-profit organization, the pandemic had a severe impact on us, which led to furloughing 80% of our staff and completely halting programming through the majority of 2020,” Debevec said. “We had essentially zero income to help keep us afloat. Despite that, we pushed through the worst of it and worked tirelessly to develop a safe layout that would enable patrons to enjoy live music while feeling secure. Many venues throughout the state and country ended up coming to us for advice on how to create COVID-safe setups they could employ themselves.”

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Those safety measures included not only hiring Cintas to routinely disinfect the facilities using EPA-approved techniques, but also requiring patrons to wear masks when entering/exiting the venue and when moving outside of their pod area. These efforts have earned them an accreditation as a Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Star facility. Because of the safety efforts and relaxed restrictions, they have been able to expand the seating layout and increase to 222 pods in mid-February. At the beginning of June, they’ve been able to seat 1,400 patrons with a goal to increase to more than 3,000 in October.


“Our Pavilion stage, while outdoors, is one of the more intimate concert venues in the state, which affords audiences the ability to feel engaged and connected to a performance in a way you can’t find at huge stadium shows,” Debevec said. “Old School Square has always prided itself on being the heart of the community, and our live music concerts have a sense of familiarity and warmth that is hard to replicate elsewhere.” They are focusing on presenting actual artists, versus tributes and cover bands, and are excited to continue to provide patrons with notable artists such as King Crimson, Jimmy Buffett, New Found Glory, Sister Hazel and more.

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But, this doesn’t mean that virtual concerts will disappear. They understand that some patrons are homebound or unable to travel, so will continue to offer virtual options so all patrons have the opportunity to enjoy the show, regardless of COVID-19 or not. On top of that, the entire Old School Square family of venues has greater options for all patrons. The Creative Arts School transitioned to 100% virtual classes on Zoom, the Cornell Art Museum set up virtual tours and socially-distanced guided paths, the Crest Theatre stage now dons a White Infinity Screen and the upstairs classroom acts as a Green Screen studio, and the Crest Theatre building renovation is well underway. Old School Square’s efforts are music to the community’s ears, and they’ve put on a proper display of getting us back to normal. 51 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach @oldschoolsquaredelray

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CURRENT | COFFEE

COMPOSITION COFFEE HOUSE

The Science Behind The Perfect Cup BY NICOLE DANNA | PHOTOS: ANNA MUCCI

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t Composition Coffee House in West Palm Beach, owner Joshua Korman wants you to appreciate the science of coffee. Here, your cup of coffee will become an eye-opening experience — and not just thanks to the caffeine. It’s thanks to Korman’s focus and passion for his craft, one that is meant to deliver a high-end product created with care. If that seems like a lot to be asking out of your morning cup of Joe, think again. Coffee, according to Korman, has gone the way of bitter, acidic, and burnt for too long. The Connecticut native’s longtime goal since studying at nearby Palm Beach Atlantic University: bring South Florida a truly unmatched coffee experience. “Being in specialty coffee for over 10 years, I’d yet to find a roaster that was able to offer quality, innovation, variety, and consistency all in one place,” Korman tells The Atlantic Current. “I opened with the goal of becoming a master brewer, and a lifelong student of my craft.” >>

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“A lot of people don’t really understand how difficult it is to source high-quality beans and roast them properly,” Korman said. “Were the beans picked at peak ripeness? Fermented properly? Roasted at the right temperature, for the right amount of time? Are they fresh when they arrive at your shop? Is the person cupping each batch to ensure the right flavor profile comes through? So much is involved from bean to cup.”

Composition Coffee opened on Florida Avenue in West Palm Beach in May 2021, offering a variety of single-origin beans and an espresso roasted by Pennsylvania-based Passenger Coffee. After several local Florida-based roasters came on the scene in late 2016, only several remain operating as active coffee shops. Korman says their idea to offer a better cup of coffee was brewing, but the day-to-day execution of house-sourcing and roasting beans for daily guests can quickly become an exhausting process.

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To that end, Korman decided to work with some of the best beans in the business. Passenger is a company that values ethics over profit, he says, offering partnerships with farmers from some of the planet’s most respected coffee-growing regions including Ethiopia, Burundi, El Salvador, Brazil, and Colombia. For him that means coffees that offer variety and exclusivity — but, first and foremost — quality over quantity. Although guest roasters will rotate alongside Passenger, each one will be given the same care and attention to see what makes it shine. As such, the entire Composition team will go through a series of cuppings — weighing, grinding, and tasting beans at various stages with varying water temperatures — to uncover the perfect “recipe” to deliver the best flavors and aromas each roast has to offer. >>

“Delivering a truly exceptional cup of coffee is made up of many parts,” explains Korman. “The farmer, supplier, roaster, and brewer each play an important role, with hundreds of hands having played a part in the process. We see ourselves as the final handlers of some of the most exceptional coffee in the world.” Moving forward, expect to see an array of coffees, including small-lot farms producing incredible beans. How? Passenger is one of the first in the country to use cryogenic preservation methods, allowing them to deep-freeze green beans directly after harvest, enabling them to retain their unique characteristics and nuances indefinitely.

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What does this mean for Composition? The ability to pick three-, four-, or even five-year-old beans any time of year, so that selection and variety is always top-notch, and no longer subject to each farm’s harvest availability. That means choosing beans from micro-lots that may have only produced a few hundred pounds, be it a beautiful Geisha from Panama to a Tanzanian Peaberry from Africa, says Korman. At Composition, those unique specialty roasts are available via AeroPress, pour-over, cold brew, and espresso. Drinks are prepared using a specialty reverse osmosis water profile that delivers the beans’ best flavor notes, allowing you to experience each coffee to its fullest potential. Many roasts exhibit beautiful flavor profiles, from dessert-like beans that exhibit notes of chocolate and caramel, to fruit-forward beans that are sweet and jammy, and still more that are floral or citrus-like. “I wanted to become a student of specialty coffee. To, as an owner, make sure each coffee was represented in the best way possible. To that end, we are scientists, not artists,” Korman said. “Nothing makes me happier than seeing the surprise on someone’s face when I show them coffee can be delicious on its own, served black. It can be sweet and smooth without milk or sugar. A good cup of coffee should never be bland and bitter.” 2606 Florida Ave., West Palm Beach @compositioncoffee

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CURRENT | COMMUNITY

GUERRILLA GARDENING

Jack Sandquist Is Palm Beach County’s Very Own Johnny Appleseed BY DAVID ROLLAND | PHOTOS: TALLYMARK PRODUCTIONS

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rowing up in North Palm Beach, Jack Sandquist saw plants as just a wall of green. “You’d drive down the highway and all the plants looked the same. You don’t know what plant is what and you figure they’re all alike. Then when you start having a relationship with plants you learn all their differences,” he said. In his second year of college, Sandquist decided he’d had enough of his own personal plant ignorance. He decided to drop out of school and see the world. “I was able to travel by working at farms. I have all these great memories, like eating blackberries and strawberries in Sweden, which was bad ass,” Sandquist said. “I didn’t know it was possible to integrate farming into my life. Farming is a lifestyle as much as surfing or rock climbing or anything else. It’s so much more than manual labor. It excites me to give other people that spark.” In 2016 back home in Palm Beach, Sandquist set up his edible landscaping company, Urban Abundance. But about a year ago he decided he wanted to give back to his community with a little plan of action he calls guerrilla gardening. “I always figured planting is the key to abundance. So last year I planted 35 fruit trees for free in Palm Beach Gardens. We documented it and it got a lot of hype. I want to show people what’s possible,” Sandquist said. “I don’t have money, power, or influence, but I do have trees that can be of service to the community. t h e a t l a n t i c c u r r e n t . c o m 45


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Ten years from now these trees will be more valuable to society than if they were just sitting in my nursery waiting for someone to buy them.” Sandquist believes the more people are exposed to the delicious fruits that trees can bear, the more people will appreciate the importance of plants. “Developers get to do whatever they want. There should be more thought put into nature when we’re developing. I definitely hope this will get people to talk about managing nature more,” he said. And so Sandquist always has his eye open on where would be a good place to guerrilla garden banana, guava, passion fruit, mango, jackfruit, and avocado trees. He’s yet to get in any trouble for doing this without any official permission. 46 C O M M U N IT Y

“We can finagle it so we don’t do it in front of city hall. Usually we do it in the day time. Though I once planted some mango trees at midnight at my old apartment complex,” Sandquist said. “I have enough practice that planting a tree is a 10-minute process. I look like a landscaper, so if you act like you own the place no one will really bother you.” He knows some people get mad at fruits falling on cars or sidewalks, so Sandquist is mindful to not plant on medians where they could drop on cars. Even if he feels that’s a petty attitude to have. “It’s definitely an objection for some people that fruits can make a mess. Easier isn’t always better, and besides, there are trash cans on ev-


“The best time to plant a fruit tree was 20 years ago. By planting trees now people in the future can enjoy them.” ery corner 20 feet apart,” Sandquist said. “Mango trees that fruit once a year don’t make as much of a mess as all the garbage that flies out of those trash cans.” After guerrilla gardening 35 fruit trees last year, he’s eager to get back in the habit of planting some more fruit trees in the neighborhood. “I’d like to go back and check on all the plants I planted last year, too. I know landscapers took some of them out. But I know some are still kicking. I’ve driven by at least a half dozen that are still standing,” he said. So now he no longer sees plants as a wall of green. Now he can value them for all their worth as he lives by an old farmer’s adage: “They say the second best time to plant a fruit tree is right now. The best time to plant a fruit tree was 20 years ago. By planting trees now people in the future can enjoy them.” @urbanabundancefl

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Profile for The Atlantic Current

The Ocean Issue - July/Aug 2021  

The Atlantic Current - The Ocean Issue featuring Ben Hicks, Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, the Saltwater Slam and more.

The Ocean Issue - July/Aug 2021  

The Atlantic Current - The Ocean Issue featuring Ben Hicks, Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, the Saltwater Slam and more.

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