By Amira Van Leeuwen
KYLE – Dylan Mumma has dissolved his comfort zone.
Mumma, a resident of Kyle, traveled from East Austin FM 973 to Matagorda Bay in five days. Mumma left his home at 8 a.m. on a Wednesday and was picked up on a Sunday, after paddling for 59 hours.
Mumma used to skateboard before he underwent extensive back surgery for three herniated disks in 2019 when doctors cut into his back and performed a microdiscectomy. As a result, Mumma was out of construction work for a month or two, and after going back to work, Mumma realized he didn’t have an outlet to stay active.
But what prompted him to take this trip was his friend.
“It’s gonna sound lame, but a friend of mine was really mad at me, and I figured I’d go and reflect on what I did to piss her off and how I could rekindle that friendship,” Mumma said.
On the trip, Mumma learned what he did to upset his friend. He also learned that despite having the best intentions, he had bad execution, but when he’s “up against the grindstone,” he tends to do pretty well. Mumma’s trip was to prove to himself and his friends that he could do it.
“You know you’ve kind of had this on the back burner; you mapped it out; let’s just go do it,” Mumma had said to himself.
Three nights into Mumma’s voyage, he ran out of water in Matagorda and began rummaging around the brush when an alligator spooked him. So, he walked to town and met the Matagorda lockmaster’s nephew at a bar.
“That’s crazy because a week before, I had just met the lockmaster in Matagorda,” Mumma said. “And then the following week, here I am 100 miles north of Matagorda meeting his nephew at a bar.”
Although Mumma was without sunscreen, he was outfitted in a long-sleeved UV shirt, UV pants, smock and a cowboy hat.
“I think the only thing that got sunburned was my nose,” Mumma said.
Mumma also took different phones on his trip: an iPhone he uses for work and his Android phone. He had four battery packs for his Android phone, including one that used solar technology to recharge. He said he used all the Android battery packs, and his iPhone was always on his PFD and life jacket.
During the first two days of his trip, Mumma went through two battery packs listening to music. He listened to Texas Country like Cody Jinks and Pink Floyd.
“I hate paddling in silence, so after that, it was nothing but silence for the rest of the trip,” Mumma said.
Mumma took a tarp, canned corn, peanut butter, mixed vegetables, Starkist tuna/chicken packets and his pistol. The 28-year-old was running out of food and water. He also said that people would toss him beers.
“I think the last day I was there — paddling from Bay City to Matagorda — I was pretty drunk because all I think people were giving me were the beer,” Mumma said.
Mumma’s friend Colton had Mumma’s location and picked him up on the Matagorda beach.
“It was a big ask of him because he lives in Seguin, but he drove down there for the day,” Mumma said.
Colton met him at a park south of Bay City to restock him with Gatorade, ice and snacks. He vividly remembers eating a muffin and said it was “so damn good” that he didn’t even taste it.
“That was like the best muffin of my life,” Mumma said.
At the end of his trip, Mumma was sad because he didn’t want it to end. As the sun set in Matagorda, Mumma said he slowed down and was taking everything in.
“I probably could have kept paddling til they found me in the ocean somewhere. It was kind of somber, but then when I pulled up to shore — Colton was there; he was super hyped, some fisherman was there that Colton was talking to, and he was super hyped, and then I just remember the story blew up on KXAN, and it’s kind of been a whirlwind since,” Mumma said.
Mumma said the trip taught him not to overthink or over plan but get out there.
“I like to call it ‘dissolving my comfort zone’ ’cause that’s where I learned the most about myself, and that’s where you surprise yourself,” Mumma said. “When you go so far outside your comfort zone, you learn that ‘Hey, it’s actually not so bad out here,’ or you pick up new strengths that you didn’t have because you had to make it through something that sucked.”
Mumma is always looking for his next adventure. He says he might kayak the Brazos River next or walk the entire drive of the Blanco Riverbend.