California Standup Adventures

The last few weeks for me were spent in California. I started out in Santa Cruz for the Jay Moriarity paddleboard race, a race that is dedicated to a surfer/waterman that passed away several years ago. I have always wanted to do that race since Jay Moriarity was one of my favorite surfers and someone I looked up to growing up. Jennifer Holcomb and I have Duke Brouwer and John Griffith from Surftech to thank for inviting us up and giving us a place to stay. The race was really fun, there was so much life in the water up there, everything from pelicans and cormorants to sea lions and sea otters.

Jen Holcomb and my sleeping arrangement in Santa Cruz.

The amazing view from our lodging in Santa Cruz.

Back in Southern California, the weather has been uncharacteristically gloomy for July, which foiled our plans to go and paddle around Catalina Island for a few days. In an effort to ditch the gray skies, Jen, my Dad and I piled into his truck, stopped by the Bark Factory to pick up a couple of boards and then headed up to Tahoe. My aunt and uncle live on the South Shore of the lake right up against the Upper Truckee marsh. Trout Creek is a small stream that runs thorough the marsh and turned out to be the perfect place to use the standup boards.

We spent the morning floating down the stream, trying to maneuver tiny “rapids” as they presented themselves, eventually making it down to the lake. The only problem with our plan was, once we were completely downstream, we had to get back upstream again, which meant paddling against the current and back up the “rapids” (and I use the word rapids in the loosest sense). This provided us with quite a bit of entertainment and we proved that simple minds do indeed appreciate simple pleasures.

Going down the rapids is quite a bit easier than going back up again.

(For a short video of our Trout Creek escapades, click HERE)

For our second day in Tahoe we thought we would try something a little different. Several years ago, I had been on a hike through some amazing fields of wildflowers up to an alpine lake which was so amazingly beautiful, I have been looking forward to getting back up there ever since. Besides being a fun and fairly easy hike, it seemed like a perfect place to paddle if we could manage to get a standup board up there. Always up for a challenge, Jen and I each grabbed an end of a Surftech/Bark 14′ Expedition and started hiking and quickly discovered that where there should have been wildflowers, there was ice and snow instead.

There weren't many wildflowers, but there was a lot of snow.

It was hard to be disappointed that the hike wasn’t what we thought it was going to be since the snow was just as spectacular as the wildflowers had been years before. After 3 miles of hiking at 9,000 feet carrying a 14′ paddleboard, the lake was our reward. The late season winter had formed small icebergs in the lake that made it seem more like Antarctica than California. We spent the day paddling around the ice and snow, fly fishing from the standup boards and just having a great time.

It looks cold, but it was around 70 degrees outside

Jen trying her hand at standup paddle fly fishing

Overall California this time was so much fun. There may have been no sun in Southern California, but Tahoe definitely didn’t disappoint, and I can’t wait to get back up there for the Tahoe Nalu race in August. Rumor has it that Joe Bark and his crew are up for a bit of a road trip, and I’m looking forward to it for sure.

-Morgan

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