U.S. Postal Service employee Jeremy Averill lives with his wife and four children in Hadley Point. Averill paddles to work on his surfboard in the dead of winter. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY NINAH GILE

For this USPS employee, the commute is brrr…isk

BAR HARBOR — U.S. Postal Service employee Jeremy Averill lives with his wife and four children on Hadley Point. From there, he paddles to work on his surfboard in the dead of winter.

The pandemic has made conventional exercising even more difficult, so Averill started riding his bike throughout the summer and fall to stay in shape.

Back in January, Averill began scrambling for a winter fitness routine and found a solution based on his favorite pastime: surfing.

“Basically, I thought, why not paddle my surfboard to work?” Averill said.

When he lived in the greater San Diego area, he worked at a research facility, much like The Jackson Laboratory, in a community called Torrey Pines. During his spare time, he would often visit Black’s Beach in La Jolla, Calif., an area with a lot of cliffs and waves, where he learned the basics of surfing. 

These days, Averill leaves from the beach at his home on the Hadley Point Road to get to work at the U.S. post office in Salsbury Cove. 

“I live just a few miles away [from the post office], so it’s really not that bad,” he said.

With his chest slightly elevated above his board, he lies on his stomach and paddles alternately with both arms. Averill’s arms are bent at his elbows in a 90-degree angle, allowing for a range of motion that helps build up muscle in his chest, arms and shoulders.

It usually takes about 45 to 50 minutes for Averill to reach his destination.

“It doesn’t seem far, but once you get out there, it’s quite a ride,” he said. 

Without a map, the many smaller coves and points confused Averill when he paddled the route for the first time. 

“When you’re out on the water, the geography and the terrain look a lot different, so it’s sometimes easy to get a little disoriented.” 

The elements make paddling a challenge this time of year, so Averill wears a wetsuit. 

“It seems like I would be freezing out there [on the water], but this suit is about a half an inch thick, so it keeps me really warm,” he said. 

He keeps his uniform at work and changes after walking from the shore in his wetsuit. 

About 10 minutes after he arrives to open the office, his wife Hannah usually stops by to drop off his cell phone. 

Since Averill landed the post office job in August, Salsbury Cove residents have become very interested in getting to know him and bring cookies and fresh vegetables quite frequently. 

“Personally, I don’t think it’s all that impressive but the residents here in Salsbury Cove are really fascinated by it,” he said. 

Averill values the luxury of being so close to his work and said he appreciates the outdoors during his interesting commute. 

“In the morning when I wake up, I’ll look out the window and if it’s pouring or too windy, I just won’t go,” he said. 

Due to the inclement weather, Averill has only paddled a handful of times this winter.

“When the weather’s bad, the waters get rough and at that point it’s too uncomfortable to enjoy,” said Averill. 

He plans to continue paddling to work when the weather allows until the beginning of summer. 

Ninah Gile

Reporter at MDIslander
Ninah Gile, an MDI native, covers the town of Bar Harbor. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.

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