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2016 OluKai Ho’Olaule’a and Paddle Imua Downwind Races

There is a saying on Maui, “Maui no ka oi”, which translates to “Maui is the best”. Others say that Maui is the heart chakra island in the chain of the Hawaiian Islands, with Kauai being the crown chakra, and the Big Island and its volcano being the orgasmic first chakra. Whatever, that’s kind of cool, but in ancient cultures, Maui was the ancient powerhouse superman known throughout Polynesia to have tricked his brothers into creating the Hawaiian Islands, by catching their fish hook on the ocean floor and then telling them to paddle as hard as they could. Whatever the story, a legendary island. After kooking myself out on a 14 mile downwind run from Davenport to Santa Cruz the weekend prior to flying to Maui, I resolved to make it up in the warm water, and let it sink into my bones by relaxing on my feet, and just pretending that I was interviewing for a job or driving extremely fast, or something less nerve-racking than calming down and going with the flow. Off Hana Highway, Jen Fuller and I turn right to descend down into Maliko Gulch, in our rental sedan with soft racks I brought along, straps twisted yet still buzzing from the wind, and a car top tempting to warp from our two SIC Bullet v.2s rented from Second Wind in Kahului. It’s beautiful down there, and in prior years on the island, I have zoomed by that turnoff so many times, when downwind racing was still unknown to me, and island crossings were something that awesome women like Andrea Moller and Maria Souza...

Friday Paddle Racing News

4/15/2016 Feeling compelled to restart my weekly news and events posts today. Been too long since the last post on what’s going on in the Standup Paddle Community and what’s on the racing calendar. This week, the news broke that Race the Lake of the Sky (RTLS) will be postponed this year but will be back in 2017. Been thinking about this news all week, RTLS has been one of the foundation standup paddle races in the West and certainly gets international attention. Personally, my entire family looks forward to the pilgrimage to the South Shore of Tahoe to see what Brackett Crew will unfold for two days of unforgettable paddle racing. Many other families and paddle athletes make the RTLS the race of the season. My message to Chris Brackett and Crew is thanks, thanks for the last couple years of great fun on the South Shore, we are eagerly awaiting the race in 2017. Build your new shop, we will come and visit, remember South Tahoe Standup Paddle Series is still happening this summer, go check it out I know I will. Racing this weekend April 16th and 17th Saturday, April 16th The Sacramento River Paniolo SUP Race #1 Sunday, April 17th The River City Paddlers Tax Relief Race        ...

30th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest, Incoming!

  Here comes the 30th Annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest! I remember back in 2006 or so, discussing with the committee and vying for considering bringing a SUP Surf category to the contest, because we’re all armed with paddles, and the more the merrier. Well, now we have no dearth of stand up paddlers at the Santa Cruz Paddlefest (SCPF), and there is more than enough paddle sport cross-pollination inspiration for all.   The Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Festival is what it was called back in 1999, when it was responsible for my moving to Santa Cruz right after graduate school (Cold Massachusetts winter, find festival blurb during internet surf, spring break in Santa Cruz, the rest history). Not that you really need to know this. But a little background, because the event advertising actually worked, and it’s my story. Now 30 years into its evolution, the Fest is here to stay. Surfers malign our paddle presence as we take over world class Steamer Lane for a long weekend during some peak March wave time. And if you think about it, in such a tight surfing real estate market like you have in Surf City Santa Cruz, we are so lucky to have this annual opportunity to showcase our sport(s) at such a sought-after surf destination.   As a collegiate rower first, then a raft guide and whitewater kayaker, I came to paddle surfing from rivers in warm southern mountains. Like so many participants at the Santa Cruz Paddlefest, it’s just natural to have a paddle in hand (or an oar as it were. Do you know the technical difference?). When...

The 2016 California 100 Adds 50 and 25 Mile Options!

NEWS FLASH! In 2016, Rivers for Change added 25 and 50 mile options to the epic California 100, all starting together under the Sundial Bridge early on June 11, 2016! This means the race is ON for any and everybody! There is plenty of time to train and partake in the magic of the Sacramento River. We’re stoked! I’m stoked! I went to go test paddle the River in late, cold, December. I was graced with the amazing hospitality of the “Crew” up in Redding. What I thought would be a decent river trip with nice people with my 19′ old school unlimited SUP board without a leash, turned into a beautiful experience with outstanding personalities whom I didn’t know before arriving. Aloha can so be found in cold places. So can bright, oversized drysuits in school bus yellow color. Once again- the paddling communities who paddle the River between Redding and Chico- the boundaries of the California 100- blow me away. Back to the race. The California 100 will continue to be a pinnacle event for incredible paddle athletes. A 100-mile ultramarathon paddle race, in one day, is big time! If you are thinking about racing, hats off to you! R*e*g*i*s*t*e*r already, it’s open. 100 miles, 50, or 25 miles. Relay options. Open category for Adventure Class athletes who want to paddle a box down the river, or Competitive Class for those seeking the podium. No paddler left behind! -ish. Three California 100 Training Clinics are scheduled for Saturdays in March, April, and May. Address distance paddling preparedness in the first. Breakdown a powerful forward stroke in the...

2016 Paddle Race Calendar is UP!

Been spending the last couple of weeks talking and emailing with race directors to do a big update on the 2016 SUPCURRENTS Event & Race Calendar. I think the racing calendar looks pretty solid for 2016 with some new events however a couple of events still have not checked in. Take a gander and let me know what you think, it’s a work in progress but lets just say we have a good start to the season ahead. Happy Thanksgiving!  ...

2015 ChattaJack31: Woah.

It’s Wednesday, and I found my shoulders. I had left them on the side of a river in Tennessee, like so many tears and overused banjo references from people who think they know something about the south. Like my one ex from CA who tried to emulate a southern accent, then asked me with a serious eyebrow if North Carolina has a coastline. But I digress before I have even started, like so many niceties exchanged in the south before some quick question can be asked of a stranger.   Chattajack31: A mashup of Chattanooga, the event’s hometown, and “Jack” for many interpretations, all my own. One, we were all Jack’d up for this event, all 300 entrants and many wait-listed folks. What paddling event, in only its fourth year, sees 300 entries fill up within two weeks of opening registration, six months before the start horn? Two, we were all Jack’d up after the race with soreness or blisters or some other ailment. It is said that this brutal race does not leave one unscathed. Third, the field was Jack’d with fine athletes and paddling sport delegates. It was amazing just to stand amidst so much mastery. Finally, we were in Jack Daniels country, especially relative to where so many people hailed from for the race (Florida had the most racers, and plenty of winners!) There must be a correct reason for the “Jack” part of Chattajack, but I’ll just wait to be scolded. The “31” is for the mileage and maybe a little bit of Halloween action. It was 31-plus miles of downstream, a word which usually...

Battle of the Bay: Race Report and Recap

Battle of the Bay: That’s a Wrap! This years Battle of the Bay was an EPIC weekend of paddle racing on San Francisco Bay. The event organizers Steve Pugh from Bluerush Boardsports and Laree Mancour delivered what could be called an unforgettable weekend of paddle racing at the Crissy Field event site. By the way putting an event on at Crissy Field in the Presidio of San Francisco is no small feat, Steve, Laree and the entire team busted their butt through wind, a bit of rain and an impromptu low rider car show & BBQ (which was really cool btw). Way to go! Ok here is my  breakdown on the two days of racing: The San Francisco Bay always dishes out inconsistent weather, wind and tides that make for  challenging paddle conditions (and keep the event management on edge).  And this years Battle of the Bay did not disappoint when it came to delivering an assortment of conditions. On Saturday, the 8.5-mile-long distance had practically perfect paddling weather with a low ceiling of clouds that kept things nice and cool and practically no wind.  SUP’s prones, outriggers (OC1/2) and surf skis all raced the same course.  The Open SUP Race started from the beach with sprint to the water then a very fast paced run east to  Alcatraz Island, David Wells from 101 Surf Sports took an early lead and pretty much never looked back. Rounding Alcatraz was straight forward, but never, ever think that the rounding the South Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge will have easy passage because it wont and it didn’t. Racing up to South...

Monterey Bay Crossing Outrigger Canoe Race (MBX) Recap

10/13/2015 Monterey Bay Crossing Outrigger Canoe Race (MBX) By Teresa Rogerson I figured the rigor of a long outrigger canoe race across the Monterey Bay, run “iron” without any paddler changes, would be a boon to my stand up paddle stroke and stoke. It was. A super fast cadence in our OC-6, especially when Judy was “stroke”, kept me not so much on my toes, as sitting and reaching with a major quickness. It’s all about anticipating the “catch,” which I would say was one of my best learnings to come out of college. Not so many boy loot caught, but plenty of water pulled on the rowing team most of my four years in Chattanooga, TN. This is not my personal bio, sorry. Back to the Monterey Bay, which happens to be where I lived the first decade of the 2000’s and used to surf kayak and compete at the Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Festival back when it was just for surf kayaks— gah, sorry, ok. Sitting out on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in the fog, chilly on a Saturday early fall October 3rd morning, squeezed like six peas into a pea pod-shaped outrigger, with the “ama” out over our left side (the steerswoman was always saying “Keep the ama light!”); we awaited the horn for the start of the 22 nautical mile slog across the Monterey Bay. Our team consisted of four outrigger veterans, a surf ski paddler, and myself (see bio above). I had opened my mouth a week or so prior about wanting to do the race, and magic happened, again because of...

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