Their energy is something akin to sitting on the curb at Circle K, drinking some sort of all natural energy drink while eating questionable, dehydrated mushrooms out of the pocket of their board shorts. They are so stoked! When these two signed up, no one had yet achieved the feat of completing R2AK on a SUP. While Karl Kruger got a ton of well-deserved acclaim, these two deserve a big ole hang loose and high five for their efforts. It’s Fueled on Stoke and Fueled on Stoke Part Deux, a two-person “team” on separate SUPs who pinky-promised to stay no more than 100 feet apart and share their adventure and possible peril during R2AK. They are Luke Burritt and Erdogan Kiroc.
Burritt: Lives in a van. Teaches climbing and paddle boarding and once upon a time spent 7 years rigging sailboats. But sails be damned, he’s going to stand for 750 miles and paddle his way to Ketchikan.
Kiroc, or Erdo: Also vowed to make the stand. This is especially impressive considering that he was told he could never participate in sports. See, when he was only 2, he fell out a 3rd story window and broke every bone in his body, causing one leg to need to be stretched 5 inches to meet the other. He still has to buy two pair of shoes in order to fit his feet, which are 2.5 sizes apart, and has an ankle partly made of bone spurs.
Tools: Erdo has a degree in plastics and composites which came in handy as they designed their custom boards for R2AK. These boards have 28 tie downs to hold water filters, pepper spray for bears, a mosquito-proof hammock and 4 days worth at a time of what they describe as “dehydrated hodgepodge” to live on. For real, though, were there mushrooms? Was it some late night listening to Pink Floyd in a cloud of fumes when these guys decided to sign up for R2AK? We don’t judge, we just want to know!
The race bosses had determined in the past that they would never let SUPs compete in R2AK, but maybe it was the enthusiasm with which Fueled on Stoke crashed the Blazer Party that changed their minds. They will not be held back by anything people think cannot be done.
Early on, they lost all their electronics. It turns out every single one of their dry bags had holes in them, making them less dry and seeping into every power source except their hutzpah. They pushed on and stuck together through pruned feet and sore ankles. They scavenged for shellfish and vowed to keep each other safe. With one eye on the passage and the other on their mate, they powered through. Their boards were even designed to be lashed together in case of emergency to create a makeshift catamaran. The weather was unrelenting and broke their stride on June 19 after a serious bout of the flu. But I’ll be damned if anything can break their spirit. Here’s to soggy feet, dry food and a rad undertaking Team Fueled on Stoke and Fueled on Stoke Part Deux. Keep sticking together and challenging expectation to prove us all wrong.