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Elder SUP to Elder Sail?

hmjsail Sailing has been a big part of my life since the late 1960’s when my (then high school sweetie) Ed taught me how. We sailed all over the Atlantic off Hollywood Beach, FL until our honeymoon in 1970. Then we chartered a sweet sloop and explored the Abaco, Bahamas out islands.

Over the years we were crew or captain on many ocean races and sailed our Hobie Cat and our Cal 25 for fun and adventures. In the early 1980’s I wrote a weight training/endurance article for WindRider magazine in trade for a sailboard. Surfing and sailing – what a combo.

I did not love it at first try – but after about 6 different sessions over many days I remember clearly that “aha” moment when things clicked. I was hooked. What an amazing way to “surf” when there were little waves. In S. Florida there always seems to be a steady breeze. I would drag my little kids along (literally) – these days there is no way I’d do that without flotation devices – ahh, the 80’s were another era altogether. kiki

Finally, after almost 40 years I am the proud owner of a Starboard Windsurfer.  It is inflatable and easy to travel with. Where do I plan to take it for my first warm water adventure? Back to the Abaco, Bahamas out-islands, of course.

A great feature of the 12′ 6″ Touring board with Zen technology is that it can easily be paddled so that SUP fun can partner with windsurfing fun.

Starboard-windsurfing-2019-WindSUP-inflatable-11.6-84x300Once I am back from the Bahamas and home in Ben, I know I will have plenty of days spent up at Elk Lake. Before Hood River and the Columbia Gorge brought sailboarding to new levels of speed, planing and and now – foiling, Elk Lake was the scene of its share of riding the wind. I am hoping to inspire more people to join me this summer!

Watch the video here:

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Elk Lake, is about a 35-40 minute drive from Bend, Oregon and though the Elk Lake Lodge is open year round, the lake and road are usually open from Memorial Day weekend til the first snows in the Fall. Typically the lake is flat in the morning and the winds kick in during the middle of the afternoon. Most windsurfing happens after 1 p.m.

If you paddle and/or windsurf this lake, be sure to tuck some ice cream money in your board shorts and stop by the Elk Lake Lodge on the West side of the Lake (opposite Sunset Beach). The buoys are set up as a race course for standup paddling right now. It’s gonna be fun to windsurf big boards or paddle.

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Maui Sports Adventure: Experience Maui with the Schweitzer ‘Ohana

m3I fell asleep last night dreaming about the day Ed and I had out in the Pacific exploring the backside cliffs of Lana’i and hunting for fish in the cobalt blue waters beyond.m1

From spinner dolphin to leaping pygmy whales, from silvery flying fish to massive schools of small tuna the water seemed alive with life. Best of all, we were sharing the day with Matt Schweitzer.

You can read about his experience (and that of the rest of the Schweitzer ‘ohana) here.

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Matt and Shawneen Schweitzer

We had already had the great experience of sharing some waves with Shawneen Schweitzer earlier in our trip. There’s nothing like her smiles and stoke on the water – whether the waves are big or small or if she’s on the water with novice or experienced surfers/paddlers.

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Matt and Ed talking story

So, it was no surprise to discover that Matt shares that same sense of passion for time on the water and contagious sense of wonder for the islands, the geography, the marine life and the ocean. We have spent thousands of days out on the ocean from north to south and east to west, but this day was a “bucket list” standout.

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Seeing the backside of Lanai – mixed with history and stories Matt shares – and feeling 100% safe on his Radon 26 foot craft – it was an adventure we hope to repeat on a future visit to Maui.

When you visit Maui be sure to explore the option of creating your custom and personalized Adventure Retreat.

This blog is read mostly by standup paddlers – and does Maui Sports Adventures have options for you. Explore some of the options here. Surfing or foiling or windsurfing? They can take care of you for any of those experiences too. No worries about accommodations. Without fail, if you love the ocean, check out the Waterman Retreat! Find video and images that will have you planning your Maui Sports Adventure immediately.

SUP Guided Tours

One of the most exciting aspects of stand up paddling is the ability to tour the coastlines. While on vacation on Maui you will notice that Hawaii boasts crystal clear water and colorful fish and turtle are abundant along the shoreline.Our expert stand up paddle guides are champion athletes and will take you on one of the most memorable SUP down-wind guided tours where you can coast with the wind and the ocean swells down Maui’s beautiful coast. All you will need is a camera to capture the breathtaking views of the islands from the water. We provide your gear which includes boards, and paddles and we will take you on a beautiful adventure tailored to your desires.

 

Sea Maui: Catch the”FunBoat” Family

seamaui-sunsetIt’s one thing to sit on the beach and watch the sun kiss the ocean with gold. It is quite another to be skimming over the Pacific on a beautiful catamaran – like the Sea Maui.

Over the past couple of years the Sea Maui team has worked extremely hard at becoming a staple on Ka’anapali beach and making sure their guests have that magical Maui experience. seamaui-interior

We were fortunate to have chosen the snorkel trip over to Lanai on a beautiful Hawaiian day. What an awesome team cared for each of us every minute. We have taken a few catamaran trips with other companies and this experience was far and away the very best. All of the staff is experienced, certified and knowledgeable sailors who take visible pride in what they do.seamaui-crew

From making sure to talk with all the guests, sharing local stories and spotting ocean life (whales, flying fish, spinner dolphin),  there is no mistake that this is Ka’anapali’s “FUN BOAT.” 

Our day began with a catered hot breakfast (with vegan option) but we chose the bacon, local sausage with our eggs and perfectly seasoned rice. Belly full, we lounged on the beanbags and savored a gorgeous passage over to Lanai.seamaui-me

On this 5 hour adventure we traveled to Lanai and snorkeled in the stunning Manele Bay fish sanctuary. We spotted a huge variety of tropical fish – butterflies of many varieties, parrots, tangs, and many more.  The sprawling coral reef seemed to go on forever with formations we hadn’t seen in other snorkel spots.

Once our snorkel time was over we all scrambled back on board ready for the incredible buffet lunch and a premium open bar. The service and attention to every need could not have been better. Because the Sea Maui limits the number of  clients on each trip there was ample time to connect with both the crew and the others on board. seamaui-chat

For a memorable sunset sail be sure to check out the Sea Maui Sunset Live trip! It’s the traditional sunset cocktail sail with upbeat and fun live music performed by popular local musicians. Spice up your night and hop on Sea Maui for some awesome cocktails, tasty food, and some great jams. They don’t call Sea Maui “Ka’anapali’s FUN BOAT” for nothing. These guys really know how to entertain. Real pros! Save your seat today! Book now.

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Solutions Reducing Microfibers: Our Choices Matter

CoraBall32Featured image The Cora Ball, developed by the nonprofit Rozalia Project, can be dropped inside a washing machine to snag free-floating microfibers before they go down the drain. It is claimed to be 26 percent effective.Photo Courtesy Rozalia Project

This article is a re-print of the article posted on NewsDeeply by Mary Catherine O’Connor
Check out that site for many, many great articles on timely topics.

(REPRINT from original) IN 2013, ECOLOGIST Mark Anthony Browne presented the results of some unsettling research to leaders from a handful of major apparel brands, including Nike, Polartec (a major supplier of polyester fleece) and Patagonia. Browne had published a report that implicated synthetic apparel as a possible source of microplastic pollution. Browne wanted the companies to fund research to evaluate how and why apparel sheds fibers, in order to mitigate the action, perhaps by redesigning textile processing or sourcing different material. They all declined except for clothier Eileen Fisher, which provided Browne with a small seed grant. The others said it was too early. They wanted a larger scientific consensus that their products were sources of plastic pollution.

In the years since Browne first approached the apparel industry, numerous additional studies have shown that synthetic microfibers shed by clothing and other manufactured products are being ingested by fish and shellfish, and can be found in food, drinks and even air. It’s still unclear whether microfibers pose a real threat to the health of humans or other living things. Yet, under the specter that they might, academic, nonprofit and apparel industry scientists have started to look at ways to stem the flow of microfibers into the environment.

Solutions to Shedding

One approach to reducing the release of microfibers into the environment revolves around altering textiles to make them less likely to shed fibers into the environment during everyday use or into water when they are washed.

Several years ago the European Union funded a three-year, €1.2 million project known as Mermaids that involved a consortium of European textile experts and researchers along with the anti-plastic pollution group Plastic Soup Foundation. In May 2017, Mermaids issued a detailed report recommending changes in manufacturing synthetic textiles, including using coatings designed to reduce fiber loss. Thus far, no manufacturers have announced initiatives to test any of the report’s findings or suggestions.

Before committing resources to testing new manufacturing methods aimed at reducing shedding, representatives of the apparel industry say they want to figure out how much different kinds of fabrics shed so they can appropriately target efforts to reduce microfiber pollution. And that’s a sticking point right now.

Some studies have sought to determine which fabrics shed the most. But parsing and identifying the exact types of plastics, especially microscopic fibers, found in environmental samples is difficult and requires expensive equipment that many researchers can’t access.

In early 2017, the Vancouver Aquarium, through its Coastal Ocean Research Institute (CORI), announced that it was launching a comprehensive microfiber study with the hope of eventually being able to trace microfibers found in the environment back to the specific brand and article of clothing from which they were shed. Funding for the project includes a $38,000 grant from Mountain Equipment Co-op as well as undisclosed sums from outdoor brands Arc’Teryx, Patagonia and REI.

Each of the retailers provided CORI Executive Director Peter Ross with samples of synthetic garments of various polymers, such as polyester and nylon, from their respective product lines. Ross and his team are running swatches of each sample through a battery of 90-day tests to see how they hold up to exposure to the elements. One set is placed in open air, where the swatches are exposed to wind, precipitation, temperature and humidity variations. One set is submerged in the bay water outside the aquarium, and exposed to biofouling, seawater, temperature variations, currents and aquatic life. A third set is submerged in fresh water.

The group is also using an infrared spectrometer to determine the unique infrared “signature” of each fabric sample based on the unique mix of dyes and additives, and cataloguing signatures both of intact samples and samples that have been through the exposure experiments. The hypothesis is that weathering in these various conditions will give the polymers characteristic signs of degradation, thereby changing their infrared signature in predictable ways.

One project goal is “to help us better understand how these fibers change over time with weathering,” explains Ross. Another is to create a spectral library that in the future can be used to identify the source (brand and apparel type) of microfibers collected from the environment.

“Having over 100 samples gives a great opportunity to look at a wide range of blends, different synthetic materials, weaves and designs,” says Ross. “And with the weathering studies, it’s going to create a really nifty study and database that will put us in a much better position to understand what’s going on with environmental samples.”

Katy Stevens, sustainability project manager for the outdoor gear industry consortium European Outdoor Group (EOG), is encouraging the textile industry to lead research on fiber loss, contending it is better suited than marine scientists to study textiles. She suggests the industry establish protocols for quantifying fiber loss from particular synthetic fabrics, then set standards aimed at keeping fiber loss to a minimum through changes to fabric manufacturing or construction.

The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and ASTMInternational are involved in a standards-setting effort with EOG aimed at being able to pinpoint just how much fiber any given fabric or blend of fabrics will release in washing machines. Stevens says the EOG will work with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which most European brands use, to ensure compatibility so that textiles can be tested to a consistent set of protocols globally. The goal is to get a clearer understanding of exactly how apparel is contributing to microfiber pollution.

“Is washing even the biggest leakage point? We don’t know,” says Heather Shields, chair of a microfiber working group for AATCC. “If you’re wearing a backpack every day, how is that going to shed fibers from your fleece jacket?”

Once apparel makers know which fabrics are the worst shedders, the next step is to experiment with new approaches to yarn and fabric construction.

“[Shedding] has to do with the yarn twist. It has to do with the yarn fiber length, the fiber type, the yarn type as well as fabric density,” says Jeffrey Silberman, professor and chairperson of textile development and marketing with the Fashion Institute of Technology at the State University of New York. “There are a million different things that go into whether a fiber is going to [shed from] that fabric.” But, changes to the twist or using a different fabric content has a cascade of other impacts. “It affects the aesthetic, the performance, the cost of the product. It’s a humongous problem,” Silberman says.

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Apparel brands Vaude, Adidas and Polartec and WWF Germany are among the organizations that have embarked on a research program called Textile Mission, backed by a €1.7 million grant from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. For the three-year project, the partners are contributing material and subject expertise toward collaboratively developing new fabrics and technologies that will reduce microfiber pollution, but are also “practical and feasible and scalable within the regular outdoor and sports supply chains,” says Hilke Patzwall, Vaude’s senior manager of corporate social responsibility.

Biodegradable Fibers

Another approach to reducing microfiber pollution could be to substitute biodegradable fabrics for the durable plastics used in most synthetic textiles today.

Vaude is testing biodegradable fibers. It is already using Tencel, a brand of lyocellcellulosic (wood-derived) polymer, in place of petroleum-based polymers in some of its products. According to Tencel manufacturer Lenzing, the fabric has been certified as biodegradable in seawater, based on a series of ASTM testing standards.

Mango Materials, a Berkeley, California-based startup, has been developing a

Plastic- Turning Off the Faucet

The movement to stop plastic pollution is growing up.

Working with kids lately through the Blue Life Program I realize that they do not believe the problem is consumers and litter. They want to do beach, lakes, river and ocean cleanup – but they look straight in the face of where the problem originates.

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Photo by mali maeder on Pexels.com

Globally, we are beginning to make progress in engaging plastic producers in conversations about responsibility. We are all getting tired of the stories that blame consumers for litter. Lately we see more honest, data driven narratives that hold corporations accountable for their role in producing waste.

We still have a long long way to go, but the conversation is catching on globally. The challenges and solutions are important to the next generation of environmental stewards. Working with young people is full of a hopeful and optimistic perspective.

How did this happen so quickly? It’s because people like you have been stepping up, speaking out, taking action in your communities and contributing to a global groundswell – every single action adds up.

I hope you will FOLLOW our efforts on Facebook, Twitter and on the BLUE LIFE CONNECTIONS  website

SUPrepreneur – A New Breed: Jamie Uttley

I have been an entrepreneur all my life, before I had even heard that word or knew its meaning. Each time a challenge presented itself, I invented-created-imagined-designed a plan to solve it. When I taught school there was never enough money for any extras. You can bet I became a champion grant writer, creating an entrepreneurial sort of classroom. Lately I have been developing the Blue Life Journal for Kids and a curriculum to engage and empower the next generation of ocean stewards.

A weird thing happened about 8 years ago when I started this Elder SUP blog – in a way it has been an entrepreneurial adventure. Better – it has been a way to meet amazing people. That experience led me to coin the term “SUPrepreneur.” I plan to share a series of stories of people active and influential in the world of SUP that features their “not quitting my day job” foray into developing their small business direction.

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Meet Jamie Uttley

I am very fortunate to be connected with Starboard and their North American distributors, Trident Sports.  Through that connection I met a cool, hard-working, innovative woman – Jamie Uttley. She recently posted on Facebook a call for all of us to support each other as we start our small businesses. I DEFINITELY want to support her business. It’s small, really new and right up my alley.

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Jamie sells Pure Copper Water Bottles and Copper Straws both Retail and Wholesale. In her own words she explains, “I got my wholesale experience from my job at Trident, which I am grateful for every day! My website is www.coastcopper.com (or www.coastcopper.ca)” Check it out, you will LOVE her products.

There’s a bit of a story behind the bottles. Jamie explains, ” My husband’s mom is a Yoga/Ayurveda Therapist of 30+ years and she is often going to India to teach and travel. Last March, she brought us each a copper bottle and the rest is history!

Not only are they stylish and they are believed to offer certain health benefits based on Ancient Ayurveda. That’s a great value in itself. But, as plastic bottles clog beaches and ocean gyres all over the globe, a reusable bottle is a gift to the ocean.  A reusable bottle eliminates the need for plastic/disposable bottles.

Our products at Coast Copper are sold to pretty much 3 demographics –

  • People who are interested in Ayurveda and Wellness,
  • People who think they look cool (they do!) and lastly and my favourite
  • The people who are looking for a sweet way to reduce their daily use of plastics.

Through my years at Trident I’ve learned so much about ocean conservancy and the issues our environment is currently facing. That is the beauty of the watersports industry – there is so much more than what appears on the surface. Literally and figuratively!”

justrawA beautiful and easy solution to the problem of plastic straws!  Jamie has this to say about her copper straws. “After seeing video after video and email after email from Svein Rasmussen (Founder of Starboard) and my colleagues about the condition of the ocean, it was easy to change my habits.  I’ve always been pretty good but there was room for improvement. Being the type of person that I am, I feel like I need to do what I can to spread the message of reducing our habit of single use plastic. I have no problem now suggesting a restaurant carry paper or no straws – or giving a bartender a hard time for giving me a straw after I have requested not to have one. Straws are simply a habit – and straws are one of the most prevalent beach plastic polluter.

I often post on social media and now with my business I have another avenue to share with people the importance of reduction of our single use plastic habit.”