Wind in Her Sails – A SUP Adventure

There’s no doubt that I will be paddling my favorite rivers and lakes throughout this cool 8th decade of my life, but when the wind picks up and whitecaps form, the Kialoa Paddle goes in the car and out comes my Starboard compact 4.5 sail. What a 1-2 punch combo of a water-fun day when the glassy goodness of morning transitions to the windy wild of afternoon.

Most of the summer I looped nearby Suttle Lake where a circumnavigation was just under 4 miles. Super-nuking afternoon winds are more common there than on my usual go-to: Elk Lake.

It has been about 10 months since I added air to my Starboard Zen inflatable 12’6″ Touring board that easily adapts for windsurfing with its removable mast track system.

I am 71 (as of Fall 2020) and I can easily manage hauling this beauty to and from my car. And it takes under 5 minutes to switch from be a SUP-er to a Windsurfer!

The coolest sail I had all summer was during a trip to the Southern Oregon coast, just south of Bandon to Floras Lake. I had scheduled a lesson with Floras Lake Kite and Windsurf – more for the security of someone watching over me in the 25-30+ winds than anything else. Since my sail is 4.5 I decided to use one of their lesson boards with a smaller sail, and a shorter, more agile board. The day was cold and intimidating. Like wild things, kiters were criss-crossing the lake with exhilarated grins. I stepped onto the unfamiliar board and felt its tippy shape test my balance as I hauled up the sail.

Then – BAM! I was off. Incredible feeling and challenging conditions. I never did get my harness connected, I just tacked that lake and zoomed around for about 45 minutes. By then my jelly legs were rebelling and I had my first swim. Whew! That fun could have gone on forever -but after a few more lake crossings I had to sail back into shore and call it a day – a GREAT day.

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