Category Archives: Ocean

Oregon Coast: Gotta Go Fish

pc20153We packed our trailer and headed out from Bend, OR in mid-September with iflatables for cruising adventures and a couple of boards for SUP surf. Pacific City – here we come. The weekend kicked off with the annual Longboard competition. Saturday offered up some sweet waves, glassy and chest to head high. Riding a swell all the way to shore in the shadow of beautiful Cape Kiwanda on a warm sunny day is just about paradise.pc20151

In spite of dozens of trips to Pacific City and a few days catching salmon in both the spring and fall runs, we had never paddled the branch of the Nestucca River that flows east from town all the way to the inlet where the Pacific comes roaring in.

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Screenshot (152)On our first trip we knew we were paddling out on an out-going tide. With a spinning rod on Ed’s board and my net strapped to my board we planned to fish at the inlet where all the boats seemed to have the most luck. After a few hours of fishing, the tide would be incoming, making the paddle back a breeze.

We put in at “Guardrails,” just across from Bob Straub State Park. The trip was idyllic – seals sunbathed by the dozens on untracked sandy beaches, forested cliffs reached high to the south and the closer we got to the inlet the more clear and marine blue it became.pc20159

Currents swirled with plenty of energy as we approached the south side of the inlet. Absolutely wear your PFD and use a leash. There were so many combinations of eddies, waves and powerful current that it took concentration to get from the inlet area to the pocket beach we founf on shore – but was it ever WORTH IT! pc201522

After about an hour of casting, Ed hooked in to a HUGE salmon. As it leaped, guys in the 16 boats fishing the inlet gave a thumbs up and the fight was on. Just as Ed was about to get spooled, the fish began to turn. Then, unawares, a boat cruised across the inlet and cut the line. We lost the fish but gained some friends among the fishermen.

A few days later we were back for the third time and one of the guys from the first day – the BIG fish day – offered to put Ed in his boat and take him out for a salmon. They had caught their limit and had to admire Ed’s presistance. I also think they admired our trips up and down the river stretch paddling our SUPs in all kinds of conditions over the week.

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The one day that an incoming tide couldn’t match the 20-25 mph headwind on our return home was something we would not like to repeat. Even the best laid plans come up against good old Mother Nature. Be prepared, know your waters, tides, winds and currents and stya with your paddle buddy.

pc20157Our last night in Pacific City with fresh grilled salmon, a beach walk at sunset and a local brew could not have been better.

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SUP Travel: Expect Wonder

road1If you have been following the “Great Oregon Winter SUP Road Trip” you know that an epic (in a negative way) three-day long band of intense rain and wind storms is hammering the coastline from Northern CA  north through the Oregon coast.  (Day 1 StoryDay 2 Story)

Actually, it’s not a problem. The RV sites we have found have been STELLAR.

road2Last night as the winds roared wild from the south,  gusting to 50 or more, we slept soundly at Harbor Vista Park (Lane County) outside of Florence. If you plan to go there you will be happy with any site, but for unobstructed ocean views – plan ahead and try to get #13 (secret awesome tip). Just a short walk from the site you’ll find a great hike to a wide area where the Siuslaw River joins the Pacific. Seals play and so will you.

road7Today we worked our way down to Harris Beach State Park in  Brookings. Along the way we saw a sign with flashing lights that said, “GUSTING WINDS next 27 miles” – what were we supposed to do? We drove on. Later we saw a sign that said “high water,” and a mile down the road we were pushing a pretty big bow wake with our truck and trailer.

We arrived at Harris Beach State Park and scored an awesome, ocean view site (bonus tip – A 18 can’t be reserved but try to get it). Right now we are being hammered by a powerful storm band, but again, we are loving the ocean view right from the couch where I’m typing. Within a 30 minute walk in any direction there are rocks and views we plan to absorb over the next week. road5

Our Naish Hokuas are still wrapped in their board bags, the surf is chaotic and huge. The rivers are pouring muddy fresh water into the sea, so surfing is not particularly inviting or safe. That said, the beaches in this area could not be more picture postcard perfect. As we drove through Bandon we took a shoreline detour and found a great beach walk in the Devil’s Kitchen area.  The sun came out, creating a monochromatic scene.

road4So, until the weather clears we will spend some time watching H2Mexico and The SUP Movie while the rain pelts us. But don’t worry. We are well fed and pretty happy. We had a yummy fish and chips at the warm and cheery Crazy Norweigan restaurant in Port Orford. As the evening evolves, a nice bottle of Beaujolais-Villages keeps me calm while the trailer wiggles from time to time.

But tomorrow – the BIG storm band is on its way. By noon the weather man predicts the worst of the storm will be upon us and winds will be blowing off the chart. Stay tuned.

 

 

Naish ‘Ohana: Hokua Love Part 2

ed-hokua2Is there any way you can stand before the ocean with the newly designed 2015 Naish Hokua and not feel like an absolute rock star? The moment I pulled my 9’5″ Hokua from its box and bubble wrap, I was IN LOVE!

Seriously, the graphics on the bottom are stellar. It’s light, and almost leaps into waves on its own. Well, now I am just babbling. But seriously, I have never (in 65 years) executed a sharp bottom turn on a head-high wave with absolute confidence and ease – until my sweet Hokua came along.  It was early morning and cold on the Oregon coast in late September. betterbottomturn

The waves had been chaotic and huge for the Long Board Classic the day before.  Sunday found us with a nice swell and the wind was resting (before cranking in hard about 10 am). It was delicious fun!

As wonderful as it is to hit the beach in Pacific City, Oregon wearing a 4-5 ML wetsuit and praying for some sort of order in the waves – surfing Maui is a dream.  In mid-December, just as the shoulder season of rain-sleet-snow-rain is settling into Central Oregon, we will fly off for a sweet week on Maui.  Rather than go through the trouble of shipping our boards or releasing their well-being to airline luggage crew, we choose to “Go Local!~”

Naish Maui Pro Center rocks! Simply, if you want the newest and best rental equipment for your SUP surfing on Maui along with local knowledge of where to surf for your abilities and current conditions – check them out.  Ask for Jay, or Coach – or basically any team member.

Kai Lenny scoring some sweet Maui waves and riding Naish all the way
Kai Lenny scoring some sweet Maui waves and riding Naish all the way

If you are like me, you follow the Naish team riders all race and surf season long.  Their podium finishes are matched only by their absolute love of their sport. It seems that the core stoke and aloha of Robbie Naish permeates not only the corporate structure, but every person involved in the “family.”

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Riggs Napoleon shredding at Huntington Beach

We were fortunate to catch the Positively Kai clinic for groms at the 2014 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge.  All day long Chuck Patterson was in the water, Kai was connecting with the kids on land and on the water. Noa Ginella, Riggs Napoleon and Kody Kerbox never rested for the entire afternoon. (more story here)

This chick is on top of the world with my new Naish  2015 Holua
This chick is on top of the world with my new Naish 2015 Holua

The shape of the Hokua, the awesome graphics, the quality built into every aspect – all good. But there is something else when you step onto a Naish board – the feeling that you are connected. You are part of the Naish ‘ohana. It is no small thing.

 

SUP Lessons from Seat One

Yesterday most of the paddling I did was going for a wave – and did I ever catch a ton of them. There was an offshore wind and no organized swell, but the warm water of Oahu’s Waikiki break called Four’s was all fun.

Well, it was all fun until my husband, Ed, wiped out from a steep takeoff. The powerful off shore wind caught the edge of his board and flipped it fins up just as he hit.  The gashing bruises delivered enough pain and swelling to keep him out of the water today. boo3

A sweet south swell meandered in by 7 am and the wind was about as calm as we could wish for. I didn’t have the heart to take the SUP surfboard out while Ed couldn’t paddle, so I decided to do a solid 4 miles on my Naish ONE.

That’s where the “SUP Lesson from Seat One” made itself known.I took the first 1/4 mile to warm up a bit,weaving through the low tide reefs. Using what I learned from SEAT FIVE (article here) rotation, catch and driving my board forward rather than pulling my paddle back was my mantra.

The water was so glassy that I easily got into a groove. As my Naish ONE gained speed and glide I noticed my stroke BPM increased. As I moved through the water with acceleration, I noticed that it was too easy to miss the catch and let my paddle slide without any real power though the water. What was going on?

boo1Then I remembered. Just last Monday night at Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club practice I was in Seat One. A very similar situation played itself out as we went 70% of race speed for 8 minutes, then 80% for 4 minutes then 90% for 4 minutes.  As stroke person I had to work hard to make sure I maintained a solid catch even as paddle strokes per minute increased.

No one would be better to remind me of what to do than the steersman, Jason Tedrow.  A skilled and versatile water athlete and rabid competitor, Jason coaches with purpose (to catch the canoe in front of us and get to the highest speed we can maintain).

boo6After each pyramid of percent of race effort he would critique our technique and remind us-

  • Keep your stroke up front and lively
  • Maintain your catch
  • Rotate from the hips and drive the boat forward
  • Timing, timing, timing

As the hotels of Waikiki whipped by in my peripheral vision, as I worked to stay steady and balanced. Sideways swells reached for my ankles I recalled the lessons from Seat One!

nata9The bow wake of my Naish ONE invited a paddle stroke pace that was much quicker than my usual. My reach and catch was a rotation and drive combination. The faster my board went the more quick and sharp were my paddle strokes.  Before I knew it I was turning at Diamond Head for the return 2 miles.

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This practice delivered some solid cardio intervals and a huge measure of stoke! Headwinds greeted me on the return trip and I was getting fatigued. This was a perfect scenario for another “Lesson from Seat One.” When we were doing those sprinting pyramids I was often feeling “too tired to go another exchange.” Yet, focusing on the voice of the Seat 3 “Hut, Ho” and the encouragement of the steersman we all remained calm and maintained speed. I did that same thing as I worked fast and steady back into the wind.

nata6Who knew it could be outrigger practice that refined me into a better SUP paddler!

SUP Lessons from Seat 5

I am tired, sun-burnt and pretty darn happy.

  • Feeling grateful for the chance to be on Oahu for the week before my second Olukai Ho’olaule’a.
  • Feeling jazzed that flying from Oregon to Honolulu with our Naish ONEs in a duffel with some clothes and a KIALOA paddle bag with 4 paddles was a breeze!
  • Feeling strong and comfortable on a 12’6″ Naish ONE in 20+ mph side winds and a confused small swell even though I have paddled SUP just 4 times since October (thank you Oregon Winter)

meg-ocNow, to the title premise, “SUP Lessons from Seat 5.”

A few weeks ago I had my 4th Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club practice. On this cold, rainy, windy (typical April) evening I was assigned seat 5 just ahead of the steersman, in seat 6, Meg Chun. Lucky (but tentative) me.  I have been standup paddling for 6+ years and have had some success – which Meg was aware of – and now I would be paddling for 90 minutes right under her watchful (and quite expert) eye.megoc4

Meg has been coaching novice and experienced outrigger paddlers in Bend for more than two decades.  She spices the learning with a cool passion, always a sense of fun and patient expertise.

It was WONDERFUL being the closest person for Meg’s critique and observation. No, really! (LOL) After about 45 minutes of me doing my best effort at reach-catch-return with a wonderful rotation of my core I heard Meg say, “Judy, you need to rotate your body.”

Me, (to myself) “WHAT?????”

Meg: You are turning, mostly your head and shoulders, but you need to show your back to the opposite shore, then dig for the catch. Engage your core and really move the boat forward with the rotation of your hips coming back to center. That’s it, you are never coming back to center before your next stroke. Try that.”

So try that I did – and it ROCKED. The areas of my shoulder and upper arms that usually limited my endurance by pure muscle fatigue were not feeling a thing. It was a core and lats experience.

OK, back to SUP. Today on my Naish ONE I used the very technique that I have been practicing at outrigger practice. The gnarly offshore wind and the confused swell did its best to intimidate ad toss me off balance.

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Thanks for sharing your expertise with me and my beginner outrigger paddling skills

Never happened. What a fantastic 5 mile “into the wind” paddle to Diamond Head and beyond. What a cool late afternoon surf session at Pops on the Naish ONEs.

Olukai Ho’olaule’a, I can hardly wait. Thank you Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club! Thank you, Meg Chun!

 

Winter Storms? Pacific City Says ‘Bring It!”

Live web cam February 12, 2014 looking across the cozy Pelican Pub to iconic haystack rock
Live web cam February 12, 2014 looking across the cozy Pelican Pub to iconic haystack rock

Yes, they do! In Pacific City (Your Little Beach Town) there is nothing little about their winter storms – or the fun you can have experiencing them. While there is a certain magic to summer and fall in Pacific City (read more here) exhilaration meets wonder when the rain pelts, the winds howl and surf breaks like Niagra across the ridge of tall Cape Kiwanda.

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Waves breaking like Niagra over Kiwanda played with the senses – sight, sound, and salty scent

To be honest, the usual adventure of camping in and around Pacific City is not the sort of accommodations we’re talking about.  When you are heading for winter storm watching it’s time to take advantage of the best the Oregon Coast can offer.  With off season rates beckoning, this is the time to cater to all your senses. Grab friends and family and head to The Cottages at Cape Kiwanda.

Pure magic - wave wonder and storm surprises
Pure magic – wave wonder and storm surprises

We checked in about 4 PM to a mix of wind and rain.  You know that feeling when the pool is chilly and you haven’t made the feet first plunge – committing to the eventual water-fun? We were like that.  Shivering a bit in fleece and rain gear, we began to unpack and settle in to our two bedroom cottage. Fire in fireplace – check! Soup brought from home simmering and bread in oven – check! Ahhhh, settling IN? No. The view from the large windows was too compelling – we decided to plunge right into the storm watch.

Exhilarated, we headed back to the cottage at dusk ready for the understated luxury of the cottage and our belly-warming dinner. We slept like babies in the the perfect blend of contemporary and cozy, luxurious bedding and woke ready for long beach walks the next day.

kiwanda kitcheHints: Bring your game – wifi and game systems in the cottages brought out the kid in us all. You’ll want to gather driftwood and enjoy a cozy fire on the beach. Plan at least one meal at the Pelican Pub – even though the kitchen in the cottage is appointed with top-quality everything! Local seafood and brews hit the spot after our trek to the inlet in late afternoon.kiawandastorm2

SUP Addiction: The Glide

Innocently, you join friends and fellow competitors for your first down wind SUP adventure. River, lake or open ocean – when the wind and the bumps cooperate the experience is incredible.

There’s so much to think about – paddle stroke, wind and wave direction, safety around rocks, channels, tankers or current and your own stamina and ability.  Whether your first run was 3 miles and easy or a kick-your-butt challenge, it’s likely you emerged from the adventure a different person.  Perhaps, like so many of us, all you can think about is doing it AGAIN! Yup, you’re hooked.

In between opportunities to do down winders, SUP Magazine has an online series that can provide tips and insights any time.  Take a look at the Glide Guide.

Some take-away tips from the video (see below) of Jeremy Riggs training Justin Gordon include:

The key thing keeping up your momentum.  Shorter rapid paddle strokes keep momentum going – keep speed up

Don’t go right up the back of the wave in front of you – that will slow you down and you paddle UP.

Look for the place to keep the momentum going, a place to guide the board into the trough where you can catch the next bump – and have tons more FUN!