Aspen local Daniel Kiely reaches 100 days on his Shaboomee paddleboard
Does riding a stand-up paddleboard down Snowmass count as a day? If you are Daniel Kiely, you bet it does.
The Aspen local recently reached 100 days on a paddleboard for the 2018 calendar year, and a lot of it goes back to getting in those early strokes during the spring. This includes that day in April where he and his friends were allowed to ride their paddleboard to the base of Snowmass Ski Area after taking part in the annual Schneetag event on closing day.
“Shaine looked at me and was like, ‘This is a day,’” Kiely recalled. “This counts as a day.”
Shaine Ebrahimi had a big hand in getting Kiely to 100 days on a paddleboard this year. Ebrahimi owns the Carbondale-based paddleboard company called “Shaboomee,” which makes its own paddleboards, as well as offers rentals, tours and instruction.
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At some point over the past couple of years, Kiely’s passion for the water brought him together with Ebrahimi, and Kiely has been on a Shaboomee SUP ever since. Then, about a year ago, Ebrahimi said he’d give Kiely a pin — similar to Aspen Skiing Co.’s pins for reaching 100 days on skis or a snowboard — if he could reach the century mark on a Shaboomee SUP.
It was game on from there.
“Now, I gotta do it. I’m going to be the only person with a 100-day SUP pin. That milestone, maybe it’s not this huge thing, but there hasn’t been a specific program about it,” Kiely said. “It was never a thing to me. It wasn’t like 100 days was this big milestone. But you are in Aspen and Skico does these 100-day pins, so everyone has this thing where the No. 100 is a big deal in this valley.”
Kiely, a 45-year-old bartender originally from New York, started getting into paddleboarding when he lived in Denver after college. About five years ago he followed his wife to Aspen after she took a job here, and his obsession with SUPs and the river life only amplified from there.
The idea of reaching 100 days on a SUP came to the forefront last year, but it never panned out. But with summer coming early in 2018, everything came together for Kiely.
“There wasn’t really big water this year because there wasn’t as much snow, but the water came up and was running really well for a prolonged period of time,” Kiely said. “Then that fire happened. I don’t know, that fire dampened a lot of spirits.”
Kiely, who lives in the midvalley, was certainly impacted by the Lake Christine Fire as much as anyone. But one thing he kept doing was getting on the water, and that became a blessing in disguise as the fire raged from Basalt to El Jebel and beyond.
“It kind of became a little bit of therapy for some people,” Kiely said. “It became a little bit of a struggle toward the end of the season when the weather starts changing a little. People start doing other activities.”
Unlike skiing and snowboarding, where you can mostly reach 100 days without the help of others, river activities often require a handful of friends and a few shuttle vehicles. Kiely’s challenge became finding people to go with when things were less than ideal, such as when the weather starts to change in the fall.
But, one way or another, he made it happen, documenting much of it on his Instagram account (@kidkiely). He admits reaching 100 days maybe isn’t anything over the top — river guides, for instance, probably have no problem hitting that mark — but for your average guy with a full-time job, it took more than a little commitment to get there.
Kiely hopes the Shaboomee 100-day pin challenge can become more mainstream. After all, when Ebrahimi ordered the pin for Kiely, he had to buy in bulk. The pins can be engraved with a specific year, so if someone wanted to follow in Kiely’s wake, there might be a pin waiting for him or her, as well.
“There’s not that many people who want to go float on the river in the middle or the end of October. But luckily, sometimes river people are a little crazy,” Kiely said. “It’s about the people you are out there with. You get this river family and if they are crazy enough to do it and they want to do it and there is no one who is going to go out there with them, sometimes you just have to step up and be the guy.”
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Herman is the freestyle skiing winner of the Summit Daily’s Peak Performers project, which honors the greatest athletes and most influential figures in Summit county ski and snowboard history.