This short video shows what we do every weekend running our trailer to shuttle paddlers to do the 8.5 mile Hawaii Kai downwind run. Stay tuned for videos of the run itself and tips on bump riding
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Its always enjoyable doing the channel because its a chance to think about nothing else for hours except accomplishing the task at hand while enjoying the beauty of the ocean. There is a bit of suffering (I’m sure there is lot more suffering for those racing to place or win) but there are also moments of extreme clarity as your body responds to changes in how it burns fuel and creates energy. It requires almost constant focus except when you are awakened by things like a dolphin playing with you and crossing your bow, whales jumping, or flying fish buzzing in front of you. Then you are reminded of how amazing this place is that God created for us.
This year there was no wind! At the start and the days up to the race I was very disappointed because I was so looking forward to surfing the canoe all the way across. You can catch and surf every little bump and its way faster than a standup. At the start the boat wakes did provide some interesting little rides and from 1/3 to 1/2 channel there were actually some swells to ride but from halfway to Sandys it was pretty lake like. Once at Sandys there were tiny bumps to ride and my boat captain Cory said there was wind at our back but I did not feel it. Cory took me on a great line. As you can see he made a course correction where I was heading too south. A knowledgeable captain is key. I was aiming for Kokohead for most of the race but you can see how the current pushed me north then the slight wind pushed me south. I know it was a good line because I passed about 5 boats that were south of me as we went from Allen Davis to Hanauma. I got a great wave at China Walls that took me all the way to poles and it was high tide so you could surf all the way in without worrying about the reef. So it was a pretty successful day, I got a good workout, and it was another great experience.
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.
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.
(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.
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.
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.
Wayne was my navigator during the last Molokai race. He is a prolific sailor, he has sailed between the islands and really seems to be on it as far as the channels go.
Since navigating the channels is not necessarily my strong suit, I have enlisted Wayne once again to help get me across the channels.
Out first meeting went well, and was definitly a reality check about the Alenuihaha Channel, between Hawaii and Maui…
It is not very often that I get nerdy over another person. I don’t really get all excited around celebrities, musicians are cool, but they don’t really turn me into a frother (with Jimmy Buffett I came close, but I managed to hold myself together), however, for some reason, every time I have the opportunity to hang out with Gerry Lopez, I turn into a huge geek. It is like I can’t control myself. Maybe it’s because he is Mr. Pipeline, or maybe it is because he is just such a nice guy, I turn into the world’s biggest nerd when he is around.
This morning, I received a call about doing a Hawaii Kai run with Gerry Lopez and the Rainbow Sandals crew. After the initial shock of being invited on such a trip wore off, I threw my stuff in the car and headed out to Hawaii Kai to meet them. I ended up being a little late (which should come as no surprise to those of you who know me well), so I had to paddle to where everyone was from a different location. I pulled into where I was going to paddle from and met up with Duane De Soto. Now, at this point, the cool factor of my day was sitting pretty at about a 20 on a scale of 1 to 10, but having Duane De Soto go too pushed it up to about a 30. The two of us paddled into the Hawaii Kai Marina to meet with the rest of the guys.
In the marina we met up with Pat Huber from Rainbow Sandals (for those of you keeping score, we are now around 45), Jeff Chang (67…), Herbie Titcomb (100…), and Herbie’s cousin George. Once everyone was in one place, we headed out to do the Hawaii Kai run. Not just because of the company, this particular run was one of the best ones that I have ever done. The wind was strong, there were lots of fun bumps, and it was just one of those days which really remind me that I love to standup paddle. Downwind runs can be so much fun, and if you haven’t tried one, maybe you should. Perhaps a good opportunity will be the distance race during the June Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle in Hawaii. Just a suggestion.