The Journey to Maliko Gulch continues. We have been posting numerous articles since October 2012 documenting the on land training routine two 63 year-olds are following in order to be physically ready for the demands of the Olukai Ho’olaule’a race from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha. No matter how much land training we do, water time with the right equipment is crucial.
Right now we own three standup surfboards (an 11’6″, a 10’6″ and an 11’3″). With winter closing in on our home town, water time on the snow-closed lakes is over. We can still paddle the quick-moving Deschutes River in temps above 35. Below that, ice on the deck pad (not to mention in the river) makes a SUP run less than desirable.
Fortunately, we managed to save for a trip to Maui the first week of December (Happy Birthday, Ed and Merry Christmas to us both!). Our plan was to get some time doing down wind and some glide-training using the Naish 14′ Glide GS and the Glide 14’0 GX.
Both of the 14’0″ Glides feature a low rocker displacement bow and a flat rocker bottom shape to increase acceleration with each paddle stroke. I am not the strongest paddler in any mix so when I get my technique as right as possible I want maximum ZOOM from the effort. Reading about increased acceleration with each stroke in one thing, putting together 10-20 paddle strokes that seem easier and more power-producing with each return – now that’s ZOOM!
Maui is one windy place. Between the swells and the wind chop, I had some trepidation about going a long ocean distance on a race board with 27 1/4″ width. Standing still in wind chop did require a nice deep flex of the legs and a paddle in the water for stability. But once I got a rhythm going I was jazzed by how stable the Glide was. According to the description page on the Naish website, “The recessed deck provides a lower center of effort for stability to increase paddle power and gliding distance.” I’m glad the Naish designers got it right. The result is a ton of fun and very confidence-building.
The Glide 14’0 GX features a carbon construction with wood reinforcement in the stance area. My experience and ability to perceive nuances between the Glide GS and the Glide GX is minimal. The carbon construction of the Glide GX really became dear to my heart when I lifted it for a carry up the beach or to load onto the roof racks. That GX is well-balanced and light. the hand-hold grip in the deck is set off center. I tried carrying with the grip high and then with it toward the low side. The low side worked well for my arm length – and the board carried so easily.
The easy-to-manage feature of the Glide GX is just one reason to give the board a try. We all look at our budget and price during the decision-making process when it comes to adding boards to our quiver. The more I try and the more I learn, the “big picture” of function-fun-value has become the primary decision-driver.
Okay, now for the high point of the first day on the Glide 14’0. At the halfway point of our 8 mile paddle, we were at a break called Rainbows off West Maui. The wind was relatively low and a swell of glassy, waist-high waves was charging toward a shelf reef at mid tide. It was a brilliantly clear mix of sea, sky and surf. I turned the Glide toward shore and waited for the second wave of the set. Paddling hard, I felt the Glide engage in the wave and before I knew it I was surfing sweetly toward shore. Stable as anything, I rode that small wall to the right until it began to fold into more turbulent foam. Uh oh, I was not on a surfboard and no amount of wishing was going to give me a bottom turn to the left. I bailed out far enough from the reef to be safe.
Exhilaration! I know that when I’m on a down-winder with the Glide 14 I’ll be able to do what its name suggests: catch and connect the glides. And that’s what its all about!
For a short video via GoPro: Disclaimer, it was my first day filming and first try at editing. Fun but not for prime time!