Gillian Gibree and I are on our way to Vail, Colorado for the TEVA Mountain Games. We packed up some boards, hopped on the 15 and are headed east. We are tweeting along the way, so if you would like to follow the adventure in real time, our twitter feeds are:
Call it a blonde moment…call it a lapse in judgement…whatever you want to call it, it was definitely a mistake. In my defense, I was tired; the Waterman Challenge was the last race of a long weekend of racing at the Quiksilver Waikiki Paddle Festival. The race was a 500 meter swim, a 1000 meter prone paddle, and a 1500 meter standup paddle, and the one that I had been the most excited about going into the weekend. Fellow Surftech/Quickblade/Maui Jim team rider Alison Riddle had killed us all in the swim and prone paddleboard and I had spent the first lap of the standup paddle trying to run her down. Just as it looked as though I was going to be able to catch her, it was time for a buoy turn. Peter Mel had made it very clear during the race briefing that we were to do left shoulder turns for all buoys except the ones going in to the beach, but for some reason, I managed to think it might be a fun idea to do a right shoulder turn at the worst moment possible.
I started to turn the buoy (the wrong way) and I heard Jamie Mitchell yelling over the loudspeaker that I had to turn it around and go around the right way. While all of this was happening, Alison was off ahead again on the 2nd lap and Gillian Gibree was gaining ground. Fast.
What you may or may not know about Gillian is that there are two things that turn her into “the red squirrel”. The first is when she gets her hands on some Red Bull, and then second is when she is competing. My friend Jen Holcomb calls it “the crazy switch.” When Gillian is gaining on someone, it just adds fuel to the fire and it is very difficult to hold her off. I see it as a testament to her athletic ability.
Anyway, Gillian had gained a lot of ground while I was busy doing the two step around the buoy. I managed to hold her off during the second of three standup paddle laps, and then faltered a bit around another turn and she pulled ahead. She and I then battled it out the rest of the way, and I was just not able to pull ahead again (squirrels are sneaky) and ended up second to the beach.
Despite the somewhat annoying circumstances, all due to user error, that race was one of may favorites of the weekend. I was so happy to see that so many of the girls stepped up to do that race after a long, difficult weekend. It was fun to see that most of the standup paddle females are really well rounded athletes and are competitive in many different ocean sports.
As for the rest of the weekend…Saturday started off with the 2 mile prone paddleboard race where I ended up second to Maui Jim ambassador Kanesa Duncan Seraphin, the queen of prone paddling. The way I see it, second to Kanesa might as well be a win, so I was pretty happy with the finish. Alison Riddle also did the prone race, coming in 4th. Pretty impressive considering she only decided to do the race about an hour before it happened.
Saturday afternoon was the SUP Survivor race, a series of 10 minute laps with a short break in between. Each lap eliminated 5 girls, until only 5 were left in the final. I bonked and was out in the lap before the final, which was almost a good thing because I was able to watch the final. Gillian, Jenny Kalmbach and Candice Appleby battled it out for the entire lap in one of the best races of the weekend. In the end, Gillian managed to hold off both the other girls for the win. Congrats to all three of them, those girls fought really hard and never gave up during a really challenging race. Also thanks to Jaimie Mitchell who put together a different and challenging race for everyone.
Sunday morning was the distance race, which was a 10.5 mile course from Hawaii Kai on Oahu’s Southeast corner to Fort DeRussy in Waikiki. I have spent a lot of time this year trying to learn as much as I can about the Hawaii Kai run…everything from the board you use, how good you are at bump riding, to the course you choose to take really makes a difference. Fortunately, Joe Bark has been working really hard on coming up with a downwind SUP board for Hawaii. We have been trying and tweaking several 14 foot boards and I think he has really come up with a good one. The board that I used arrived in Hawaii the Friday before the race, leaving no time to try it out before the race actually happened. Just looking at it though, you could tell that it was going to be fast. I also had some help with the line that I chose to take. I had called Keoni Downing, who is a local legend not only here on Oahu, but in the surf community in general to see what he thought the right way to go was. He gave me some pointers and it payed off. I ended up first in my class (the 14′ division) and 2nd overall for women behind Andrea Moller who is an animal, which I was really excited about. All of those Hawaii Kai training runs both prone and standup really helped to be ready for the distance race.
So, yeah…it was a long weekend. One that ended in an epic blonde moment, but still one of the more fun racing weekends I have had in a long time. Thanks to Jamie Mitchell and Quiksilver Waterman’s Collection for putting on an awesome event. Also, thanks so much to Joe Bark, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Surftech, Quickblade Paddles, Kona Brewing Company, Vertra Suncare, Future Fins, Wet Feet, Dakine and Surf Stronger for being so supportive and allowing me to have the life that I have. I appreciate all of you more than you know!
In conjunction with SUPtheMag.com
Here is the latest installment of the standup paddle skills videos that I am currently putting together for Standup Paddler Magazine. This one has Gillian Gibree of Paddle Into Fitness explaining how to do the all important pivot turn.
The video can be seen by clicking HERE
In the meantime, here is a short video of some of Gillian’s outtakes.
So, you’ve read about the roadtrip. Now thanks to Standup Paddler Magazine, you can see some of what really happened on our way up the coast…all videos shot and edited by Chris Aguilar of Soul Surf Media.
In conjunction with www.JoeBark.com
If you have been following the blog, you know that a week or so ago, Gillian Gibree and I loaded ourselves into a car and headed up the coast. The plan was to SUP surf from San Diego to San Fransisco. Like any self respecting ocean girls, we thought it was best to bring along a 10’6 sprint prone board. You know, just in case.
After a quick stop by the Bark Headquarters in Palos Verdes, we were off. The Big Cheese himself even helped us strap down the boards (you can tell because there are about 15 straps holding the board down. It’s nice having someone who is concerned with safety.)
The next morning we met up with Steve Shlens, awesome paddleboarder and second place BARK groupie. Once a brief altercation regarding coffee creamer was resolved, Steve decided to break the news: Santa Barbara buoys were reading zero. Not even a ripple. Disappointed but not defeated, we drove on in search of surf, leaving Steve behind to think about maybe planning a bit better next time. I mean really, who doesn’t order up some surf when friends are coming to town? I’m just saying.
Anyway, the poor sprint board remained firmly attached to the roof of the car until we reached Santa Cruz. My friend Jeff Denholm was going for an evening prone paddle with his friends the Ghostryders and had invited us to go along. The surf was still minimal at best, but the glassy evening paddle by Steamer Lane was amazing. If you have never paddled in Santa Cruz, you should definitely think about it. There are otters and all kinds of other sea life everywhere, and the light gets magical as the sun goes down.
After leaving Santa Cruz, we finally found some surf at Ocean Beach in San Fransisco. We pulled up to find a sunny and warm, late October day with fun sized surf. Once the shore break pounding was over, the waves made bringing the sprint board along for the adventure completely worth it.
Trips like this tend to remind me of why playing in the ocean is so much fun. You never know what kind of waves you are going to get, and when you do, it is important to have many different kinds of boards to play with. Luckily, Joe Bark is around to make sure there is a board for every situation.
For more photos showing the prone paddling part of our trip, check out the BARK blog by clicking HERE
Five days ago, Gillian Gibree, Chris Aguilar and I piled into a car in San Diego. Today, I am sitting at a friend’s house in San Fransisco looking through my phone at the instagram photos that were taken along the way. Flipping through them, it is hard to believe that we were able to squeeze so much fun and connect with so many friends into five days of roadtripping up the California coast.
Day 1: San Diego to Santa Barbara.
Ridiculous amounts of fog and very little surf made for a long day of errands and driving. Finally, toward the end of the day, we found a tiny wave at Malibu.
Day 2: Santa Barbara to Jalama.
This was a big day for us. The coast was still foggy, so we paddled around Santa Barbara Harbor for a bit then headed up to see my friends Chuck Carlson and Ernst Storm at Curtis Winery. We ended the day camping and hoping for surf that never came at Jalama.
Day 3: Jalama to Monterey.
We drove into Jalama as the sun went down on day 2 to find glassy water and warm weather. We set up camp, toasted some marshmallows, went to sleep and woke up in the middle of the night to strong, cold wind and a Raccoon invasion. Needless to say, we didn’t get any surf this morning either, so we had some parking lot breakfast and made our way up to Monterrey where we met up with Brent Allen and Frank Knight from Adventures by the Sea.
Day 4: Monterey to Santa Cruz
In Monterey, we woke up at Frank’s amazing house on the water, headed out to surf with Brent Allen and then made our way up to visit my friend Jeff Denholm in Santa Cruz. Spike TV was also in town to hang out with Jeff, so we all headed out to Steamer Lane to go for an evening paddle with the Ghostryders followed by dinner in Capitola. Gillian and I ended up surfing really small Steamer lane at sunset the next day.
Day 5: Santa Cruz to San Fransisco.
Our last day saw us driving to San Fransisco early in the morning to meet up for a paddle and a surf with my friend Igor. We were hoping for surf at Fort Point, just under the Golden Gate Bridge, but the ocean once again had other plans. Since there were no waves to be found, we paddled for a bit under the bridge and then ended up surfing a fun and clean Ocean Beach. Igor then took us to lunch near his house where I received merciless amounts of taunting about my diet. No surprises there… We finished off the evening with Igor’s Lederhosen-clad friends Brad and Mark at Leopolds, a German restaurant in the city.
For more on this trip, we will be posting a short series of videos along with blogs and stills that weren’t taken with an iphone in the next few days via SUPtheMag.com.
It’s funny how things work out…About a month ago, Gillian Gibree and I were trying to take each other out at the Battle of the Paddle, and then this weekend we were paddling together in a Honeymoon Outrigger in Bora Bora.
Gillian owns a company in San Diego called Paddle into Fitness where she takes clients out daily to do standup paddleboard yoga and various other water based fitness activities. In the fall she will be holding a standup paddle yoga retreat at the Pearl Beach Resort and Spa in Bora Bora, so this weekend she decided to head out to Tahiti to scout out the location, and I followed along as a photographer/journalist.
In addition to checking out the accomodations (I can now tell you from experience that those overwater bungalows are every bit as amazing in person as they are in the magazines), we both had the opportunity to train with Stephane Lambert, owner of Kainalu XT, a liquid based training program in Bora Bora. Stephane took us through three days of intense training, including swimming, rock running, standup paddling, 4 man outrigger, traditional paddleboarding, and the list goes on.
There is so much to talk about from this trip to Tahiti, it is probably best left for a better time, one when I haven’t just been on a red eye for 9 hours. For now, however, I will leave you with some photos of our last morning at Pearl Beach. The beach boys allowed us to take the 2 man Honeymoon Outrigger out for a spin, which in retrospect may not have been the smartest idea on their part…Who knew it was so easy to sink one of those things?
For more information about Gillian Gibree and her Standup Paddle Yoga Retreats, check out her website http://www.paddleintofitness.comFollow @MorganHoesterey