Thursday, May 22, 2014

Almost Summer

It's almost here again and we are gearing up for another busy season.  New gear, new guides, training and lots more.  See you out on the water.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Stoke Radio Interview

Here's an interview I did with Shane Perrin last years SUP finisher.

Thank you Shane for doing this and leading the way.

Thanks to Mark Rowe for the picture.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Confessions of Watertribe SUP paddler-JustSurf

Overwhelming appreciation not only to the Watertribe competitors that I met out on the water but also to Paula, Dana, Chief, and all the other volunteers and general supporters of this amazing event.  People kept telling me they thought I was crazy for doing this on a SUP but all I can say is right back at you, I don’t think it is any different whatever craft you choose to use. 

It’s not about being crazy, it’s about being part of an amazing adventure and experience. It’s something few others get a chance to do.  I have to admit that prior to the start I had no idea how far I would be able to go despite preparing and speaking to Shane (Perrin) who had completed the course last year. 

Many thanks also to Stripbuilder and JoeWildlife for their words of wisdom.  My longest training run, prior to this race, was 14.5 miles. Once I got to Check Point 1, I knew I had it in me.  I just had to watch the weather carefully.  I was surrounded by some amazing paddlers and for that I am grateful.  The natural beauty was amazing and each day my list of sightings grew: sharks, rays, manatee, turtles, wading birds, shore birds, white pelicans, fish, crocodile, the list goes on.  Wow, what an event.  

I set out on this adventure to raise money for Surfers Healing- Folly Beach chapter [link below], a group that provides a day camp for children with autism, taking them surfing and allowing them to experience the freedom of the ocean.

Two weeks before the start of the race I found out my sister had stage II breast cancer and I continued my fundraising but decided to dedicate the race to my sister Nikki.  While I was doing the race my sister found out she now has stage IV cancer.  I realize what I went through out on the water is probably a small sample of what challenges she will now face. Have strength Nik, you are stronger than you realize. We all are.

This ones for you Nik- I love you!

Final Push across Florida Bay

It was odd to be pushing and pushing to get to the next check point then once we reached the last one it was like "what now?"  Oh, yes the finish.  Wow, have we really gone this far?  We pulled into Flamingo and after a little clean-up and rest we left at 5pm for a push to the finish across Florida Bay.  The bay is super shallow and one has to be spot on on ones navigation following these narrow marked channels.  With names like Tin Can Channel, Dump keys, Twisty Channel and Crocodile Dragover we weaved our way to the finish.  Arriving at 3:15am there was not a lot of celebrating but it sure felt good.
 Storm clouds all around Florida Bay
 Unpacking for the last time
 Signing in at the finish

Day 4 - Mud and Mosquitos

I was happy to leave the mud behind at CP2 not to mention the mosquitos who were taking no prisoners.  After a quick stop at the Ranger station to get a camping permit we left Chokoloskee.  Shortly after our departure I managed to drop my phone overboard but luckily retrieved it after a short search and rescue mission in the shallows.  

Our next destination was the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades National Park shooting for CP3 Flamingo.  There were some amazing wildlife moments this day and we saw many dolphin, turtles, wading birds, shore birds and manatee.  After many hours on the water we decide to stop at the South Joe River Chickee which is a platform upon which one can camp.  Once again the mosquitos had a feast and even once in my tent I felt like they were going to carry me off.