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.”

riggswaterhunting2

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.

Natatorium nata2

 

 

 

 

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.

megoc2

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.

kiwandawaves4

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!

SUP: The Wave and You

Have you read Susan Casey’s book, The Wave? (Seriously awesome video based on the book)

Casey, 44, editor of magazine, traveled the world experiencing waves close up and personal. Casey, who wrote The Devil’s Teeth, a 2005 best seller about white sharks, didn’t want to write a book just about surfing. She was driven to write about waves, some almost mythical in stature.  To do this, Casey needed a guide to “open up his world to me” and provide a “glimpse of the ocean with its gloves off.” One of her guides to waves, like Jaws on the North shore of Maui, was the waterman, Laird Hamilton.  Her encounters with the famous Jaws were described so vividly, it felt as though I was there as I read.  Even accompanied by big wave surfer, Laird Hamilton, (another cool video) would I charge the face of Jaws in a jet ski or dive below and witness the sea-floor configuration that causes that incredible wave? I certainly hope so!

Auhtor of THE WAVE, Susan Casey, with her guide to Jaws (Maui), Laird Hamilton.

Author of THE WAVE, Susan Casey, with her guide to Jaws (Maui), Laird Hamilton.

Casey told Hamilton about a freak North Sea storm in 2000 that battered and nearly sank a research ship — the opening scene in her book.

“He wished he had been there,” she recalls.

 Hamilton explained, “What’s hell for some is heaven for others. A storm like that  can stir up “the ultimate playground” for big-wave surfers.

Have you ever been schooled by a wave just a degree or two (or 3) above your skill level? One that held you down, knocked the tar out of you and was fodder for stories for weeks after? For some, that wave is calf high, for others a triple overhead at Pipeline.  I found my limit one cold October morning doing dawn patrol with my husband, Ed, and our buddy Randall.

Pipeline - December 2011

Pipeline – December 2011

After a 40 year hiatus from surfing it was the third fall I’d been SUP surfing, 2011. We’d only planned to sit on the beach at Pacific City (Oregon) with a coffee. Out in the light fog about 1/2 mile offshore a set of big fat and beautiful glassy waves wrapped around the point at Cape Kiwanda and solidly marched through the deep water. Rather than crashing or closing out, they simply diminished before re-building on the more shallow reef onshore. A setup that rare had to be experienced. Wetsuits donned we paddled out.

Holy cow – heart in throat time…what was lurking under the glassy beds of seaweed out by the rock? Would I have the nerve to really go for a wave that seemed to swallow up Ed and Randall as they disappeared behind the overhead walls they took?  The third swell of a set loomed up. I was bit further in than the “safe” zone – having sort of tried for the first wave.  That made the wall and takeoff a bit more steep – but something made me dig for it an GO!

My skills are very limited and bottom turns – not so much.  Yet something clicked on that wave, I dug my KIALOA paddle hard into the face and powered a nice right that lofted me up the face at a speed that  I’d never felt before. The board vibrated under my feet with a shattering sound that serenaded with whistling wind, and filled my ears. “Wooooohooooooo!” Yeah! There was nothing but an amazing rush. In a few seconds when time stood still that was a ride to remember. Then the shoulder flattened out in a deep water channel close to shore and I cruised over the top and paddled back out. I caught two more waves before reaching the edge of my “courage”envelope. I went in way before anyone else – but it was enough.

Brit Oliphant using her skills to backdoor a section on her backhand, Sweet use of her KIALOA GL ULtralight HULU paddle

Brit Oliphant using her skills to backdoor a section on her backhand, Sweet use of her KIALOA GL ULtralight HULU paddle

Totally amazing and I haven’t ridden anything like that since.  Yet, it is cool to have some experience so that when I see someone tackling a nice sized waveI I can  have a small sense of what’s so incredible. The photo to the left shows Brit Oliphant, a Surftech team rider, ready to dig her KIALOA Hulu GL Ultralight paddle to backdoor a section on her backhand.

Imagine the sounds and feel of the speed and wave power as Brit maneuvers across that overhead face.  Surfers everywhere and at every ability level share a common set of awe and experience for the waves they’ve ridden and waves they been thrashed by. The most important thing about the ocean is that we explore it. It’s our source and where we’ve evolved from — it’s spectacularly beautiful, and it’s really, really powerful. Whether we ride the big ones or live extreme moments vicariously, we share a common energy.

Respect your skill and respect your ocean – love your moments and your abilities on your waves. A very wise surfer, one whose spirit of aloha graces all he does, is Gerry Lopez. In his book, SURF IS WHERE YOU FIND IT, he shares five rules. The fifth and final Lopez rule, “The best surfer in the water is the guy having the most fun.” Like Gerry, we can all try to remember that one.

A great shot of Gerry Lopez originally posted in 1859 - Oregon's Magazine.

A great shot of Gerry Lopez originally posted in 1859 – Oregon’s Magazine.

Okay, grab your paddle and your board – have some fun and dream of waves! Then share your stories with us – via e-mail or on Facebook.

GoPro – Short and Long of It

If you’re like me you get periodic updates from GoPro accompanied by the coolest and most inspiring GoPro projects by pros and amateurs alike. ( A crazy sample )

Once you purchase your GoPro you may be a bit like the techno-newbies we are and simply scratch your head when it comes to editing.  For sure, editing can make your GoPro footage even better. The process of learning the editing software you choose can be frustrating (if you let it ) or really fun when you play with the process.

The footage taken for these samples was gathered before we really started to be skilled at taking our shots off the GoPro and using the CineForm app (free). For great tips to make your SUP movie easier to build, see “What’s in a Name?”

The Short: For this sample we used the trailer templates available in iMovie. Super fun. Simply by using those templates and seeking the right clips to drag into the storyboard we got plenty of ideas about how and what to film on the next outing. Here is 47 seconds of fun – Big fun on little waves in West Maui.

The Long: For this sample we used Windows Movie Maker and played around with adding some music to the footage. It was fun to use the CLIP and TRIM tools to place the music we wanted at the spot it seemed to make most sense. It is eye-opening how many skills are developed in messing around with a project. It unlocks awareness of what and how to film, what still shots to collect and how a day of fun and morph into a short story – seriously, 3 minutes is usually quite enough. This one is a cool mix of sun-sup-surf and ski on Mt Bachelor, Oregon.

PRODUCTS USED IN THESE VIDEOs:

HERO3: Silver Edition »
GoPro Chest Mount »
Curved + Flat Adhesive Mount »
Surfboard Mount
Anti-Fog Inserts »