An Interview with Dylan Graves On Life After The Storm and a Fundraiser for Hurricane Maria Relief.
Words by Beau Flemister.
On the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (the scale the Weather Service uses) the highest classification on the scale, Category 5, has sustained winds exceeding 156 mph (251 km/h). When Hurricane Maria mowed through the Caribbean, sustained winds in some places like Puerto Rico clocked in at nearly 200mph. Puerto Rico, among many other island nations got smashed. Worse yet, it was just a week after Cat 5 Hurricane Irma moved through too.
“It was a shit show,” said Haydenshapes team rider and Puerto Rican, Dylan Graves. “Just a gnarly month of Mother Nature flexing.”
While Maria ended up taking many lives and causing nearly $100B damage to Puerto Rico, beyond the long standing electrical outage, access to clean water has become a major issue. Luckily, Waves 4 Water (along with Dylan volunteering for them) were first responders and have been getting much needed water filters to villages in Puerto Rico and all over the Caribbean ever since.
Teaming up with Waves 4 Water and Dylan, Haydenshapes has found a way to help, too. We are offering 2 new custom boards, shaped personally by Hayden (with any art from HSSTUDiO) sent anywhere in the world for the lucky winner. Tickets are 15 dollars each AUD (but open worldwide) and the winner will be drawn Dec. 15th.
100% of proceeds of the ticket sales will be donated to Waves for Water to help support the aftermath and devastation in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. We will draw the winner at random live at @haydenshapes Instagram at the end of the promotion. The winner will also be notified via email. The more tickets you buy, the more chances you have PLUS you are supporting an awesome cause.
The following is an interview with our man on the ground, Dylan Graves…
Haydenshapes: So Dylan, you were born and raised in Puerto Rico, but now live in San Clemente, do you still have a lot of family there?
Dylan Graves: I have family down there, property down there and of course I love surfing down there, but lately I’ve just been going back to help with everything going on with the hurricane [Maria]. It’s been a wild year, that’s for sure.
Right, the news looked horrible. What’s the situation like on the ground, right now?
Currently, there’s been a lot of progress. The town square in my town has power now. I believe my mom’s house and brother’s houses are without power, but the majority of the island might have power now. Cell phone service is still spotty, but a little bit better than some weeks back.
The main thing is that the water scenario was getting worse. Which is something Waves 4 Water had predicted would happen since with a lot of natural disasters, the water gets worse when the focus is on other things like electricity. The island is still on “boil alert” to this day.
Prior to the hurricane, tap water was safe to drink?
Yeah, it was safe. What happened was that one of the main water supplies on the island had to get fixed, a dam was compromised because the wall cracked and that made the water quality bad. It was gnarly, a lot of people didn’t have fresh water to drink. It was a total water shortage and there was some panic, but the efforts from Waves 4 Water really had a huge impact. We were able to get water filters out to a lot of people in need who are still using them, and W4W is still getting them out there to people to this day.
That’s amazing. You helped a lot with Waves 4 Water and the hurricane relief — tell us about that experience.
Well we actually went to some other islands in the Caribbean to help them with relief from Hurricane Irma, then three days into the trip, Hurricane Maria formed right next to us, hit the island that we were on, and postponed a lot of work and progress there. It was a shit show. Just a gnarly month of Mother Nature flexing.
Houses were just flattened?
Yeah, many. But it kind of depended. You could definitely see what houses were built to code or not and the ones that weren’t were completely smashed. It looked like a bomb went off. Since the islands are so green usually, after the hurricane hit, they looked completely brown, not a single leaf on a tree in places. Ripping grass out of the ground.
I’ve never seen anything like it and I grew up in Puerto Rico, been through some Cat 3 storms, but this was nothing like I’d ever seen. There were sustained 200-225mph winds…which is just insane. 3 ½ million people on the island that were just caught with their pants down. It was definitely a different world after the storm from the one we knew.
For more information on where funds raised are going visit www.wavesforwater.org