Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Freeland resident Kevin Lungren has been commuting to the office using his paddleboard in all seasons and just about any type of weather, except wind. (Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record)

Whidbey commuter paddleboards his way to work in all seasons

The financial advisor says he’s only fallen off his board twice in the past five years.

FREELAND — It beats waiting for the ferry, and it certainly beats Seattle traffic.

Kevin Lungren has been commuting to work on Whidbey Island, some days using a paddleboard, a double-bladed paddle of his creation and the relatively calm waters of Holmes Harbor.

Lungren, who is a financial advisor, decided to try finding a different way to get to the office when his work relocated from Clinton to Freeland, closer to where he lives.

“One of the things I was hoping is that I could basically use that as a way to commute and not burn fossil fuels, and also do that kind of commuting that lets you eat a big breakfast and then burn it off,” he said of his paddleboarding.

Since he’s only fallen off his paddleboard twice during the past five years, he can usually wear his work clothes while balancing on the board.

It’s a commute he can do in all seasons — even winter.

“In the wintertime, it’s actually one of my favorite times to do it because I can be on the water at first light, which is a really neat time to be there,” Lungren said.

The only impediment is wind. Paddleboarding in blustery conditions, he explained, is a fool’s errand.

“Talking about it falls short of the actual experience,” he said.

At low tide on a calm day, eel grasses reach upward, wrapping around submerged ankles. Brown lion’s mane jellyfish and schools of tiny, shiny fish lurk just beneath the water’s surface.

“It’s like paddleboarding over an aquarium,” Lungren observed during an outing with a reporter.

Lungren said he likes seeing the abundance of wildlife on his way to work. Bald eagles swoop onto the beach like seagulls, hunting for their next meal. Seals clamber onto a swimming platform and some days, usually earlier in the year, gray whales pass through the harbor to feed on ghost shrimp.

He considers himself an “unofficial steward” of the harbor, keeping an eye out for failing drain lines and litter.

He’s developed his own double-ended paddle, which he referred to as “the Lungren long shaft paddle.”

Similar in design to a kayak paddle, he said it helps him to stay in the “rhythmic paddling zone” since he never has to switch sides to paddle on.

It can take him about 45 minutes to an hour to traverse Holmes Harbor, from his home to Freeland Park.

From there, he walks into Freeland where his office is located.

“There’s an expression in boating, ‘When you’re on your boat, you already are where you want to be,’” Lungren said. “That’s kind of true with paddleboarding. I try to never be in a hurry and I really try hard not to do client calls on the paddleboard.”

“It just really sets me up for a good day, and it’s a great way to end the day,” he added.

This story originally appeared in the South Whidbey Record, a sister publication to The Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas is retiring at end of year, after -- years on the bench. The former Mariner High School student was its first ASB president, went to Harvard Law School, and as an undergrad majored in creative writing. Photographed at Snohomish County Courthouse on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in Everett, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Judge Eric Lucas, who broke barriers on bench, dies at 67

Lucas was the first Black judge elected to Snohomish County Superior Court.

Work related to improvements at the intersection of Highways 9 and 204 will close a road and reduce lanes in Lake Stevens through Oct. 1. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
Road disruptions starting around Highway 9 in Lake Stevens

Lane reductions and closures are part of the work to improve the intersection at Highways 9 and 204.

In 2023, the Department of Transportation will widen a two-mile stretch of Highway 531 from 43rd Avenue NE to 67th Avenue NE. (WSDOT)
Smokey Point road improvements won’t be done before industrial center

Amazon, NorthPoint are coming but the state will not begin widening Highway 531 until 2023.

Mary Johnson (Davis) (FBI)
FBI offers $10,000 reward for info on missing Tulalip woman

Mary Johnson, then 39, was supposed to get a ride from Fire Trail Road to a house near Oso on Nov. 25.

Bufeng Gao, owner of Qin Xi'an Noodles, receives a check from the Edmonds Chamber Foundation's Wish Fund outside of her restaurant that was burned in a fire on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After arson burns Edmonds plaza, 14 businesses need help

Plum Tree Plaza — a cultural hub for Asian Americans — burned in a three-alarm fire early Sept. 11.

Rebecca Haskins (Everett Police Department) 20210913
Missing Everett teenager located

Rebecca Haskins had last been seen the morning of Sept. 4. Police reported her found Wednesday.

Sultan police looking for tips after rash of car prowls

On Sunday, the department responded to 20 reports at Sportsman Park and trailheads near Gold Bar.

Construction continues at the site of the former Kmart for 400 apartments. and is slated for completion in 2023. Photo on September 14, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Coming soon to Everett, 430 apartments at former Kmart site

DevCo, Inc. is building six-story apartments “for the workforce” on Evergreen Way, near Boeing Freeway.

Erik Denton (left) holds his youngest daughter, Sierra, while his daughter Joanna chases bubbles and son Terry watches. Denton's three kids were killed in April. (Contributed)
Toy drive will honor Marysville man’s 3 slain children

Erik Denton and his family will collect toys Saturday in honor of the kids: Joanna, Terry and Sierra.

Most Read