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.

 

 

Rainy Winter Coast Trip: Yippee!

Me and Ed at Hollywood, FL beach in summer 1965. Yup, 50 years together.

Me and Ed at Hollywood, FL beach in summer 1965. Yup, 50 years together.

During the 52 years we lived in South Florida there were norms. You didn’t go to the beach in the rain, you wore bathing suits to the beach, not raingear and fleece, and you didn’t go to the beach when it was cold (think less than 65 degrees) out. Now, after 14 years in Oregon we are packing up the trailer and heading to the Southern Oregon coast from Florence to Brookings.

I “get” the mascots chosen by Oregon State and University of Oregon now. The Ducks and the beavers. As I pack I make sure to have down and water repellant gear (Go Ducks). I have warm shoes, boots and my SUP paddle for exploring the rivers and bays (Go Beavers).

Naish ONE inside, some snacks and a camera! Ready to go Alpine SUPping

Naish ONE inside, some snacks and a camera! Ready to go

The crab trap and fishing gear is packed. We have our Naish ONE inflatables tucked into the truck and our Hokuas bagged and on the roof. KIALOA paddles for surfing and exploring are in their bags. We have a huge crab pot, a grill basket for fresh fish, GoPro and cameras. We have wetsuits and booties – OK, let’s GO!

kiawandastorm2A winter beach trip in Oregon may not promise balmy, sunny days – who cares? We expect wonder, awe, beauty and surprises. Stay tuned for “talk story” as these former Floridians get their gray-wet-winter coastal baptism.

Great Winter SUP Trip Great Winter Trip Day 2SUP Travel: Expect Wonder Rainy Days and Sunday: Cozy FoodHere Comes the SunWinter Glassy Surf: Brookings OregonStories from Under the Waves –SUP Adventures:  Nature Dictates –

SUP Fitness Training: Got Stoke?

candice-ex1Why do we do all of those push ups? Why do we push, pull and lunge through TRX workouts and hit the gym for strength, endurance and flexibility between sessions on the water? Is it to look like Candice Appleby, on the left, as she hits the surf for some weekend waves and fun?

Candice Appleby scores photo of the day and 2014 World Series & Grand Slam event Titles in Huntington

Candice Appleby scores photo of the day and 2014 World Series & Grand Slam event Titles in Huntington

The real answer is: We workout hard and get to the water at every opportunity so that we can get the same stoke Candice enjoys again, and again and again throughout all of our decades. And – whatever our abilities. It doesn’t take many weeks of following the posts elite waterwoman and champion shares to realize that she balances  grit, focus and a fierce competitive nature with an abundance of joy, aloha, sharing and all-encompassing love for being in and on the water. We go to the gym and train hard even when it is cold, windy, less-than-stellar conditions because we want to be ready for “those days.”

Fun wave, new Naish Hokua, cold water, Pacific City, Oregon stoke. First wave in my 66th year.

Fun wave, new Naish Hokua, cold water, Pacific City, Oregon stoke. First wave in my 66th year.

Whatever “those days” mean to you, be sure to reflect on them when they happen. Imprint a mental image and savor the moment. When you hit the gym and notice your abs are missing their 6-pack or the scale registers 10 lbs too many, go back to the real reason you are training. What’s YOUR stoke?

chuck-fun1

Photo Credit: Chuck Patterson from Facebook

Let’s end this article with a quote from the ultimate stoke-meister, Chuck Patterson. FOLLOW him on Facebook for daily energy and inspiration, “”The one having the most fun; always wins in the end”. Always begin and end your day with a smile and your sure to get one back in return.”

BOO and the 2014 Gorge Distance Race

Screenshot (69)On July 19, 2014 the Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club (BOO) competed in the Gorge Distance Race hosted by Waterwalker at Stevenson Washington. The race was approximately 12 miles and is one of the most challenging races of the year. Check out the map for details.

The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest and is well known for its extreme wind and fast waters.  In Bend, OR practice is held from March into the Fall in the relatively calm waters of the Deschutes River. Even though many members have experience in the open ocean and in the conditions of the Columbia River, the conditions in Stevenson, WA on July 19 were very challenging.

boo-huiCut to a pre-race huli – and the men’s open OC-6 team got a hasty and wet warmup. One of the more experienced of the BOO men’s team, John Von Gaertner was very pleased with how the team calmly got the canoe upright and back ready to paddle.

One thing he did mention was that the iako was set at 69 inches. In the wind and wave conditions it might have been better to set it out a bit further.  As it was, there was little extension of the iako past the hull so when they tried to stand on the end to counter-balance and right the canoe there was very little footing.  Some of the teams had added weight to the ama – which is allowed. That and other strategy decisions are part of what makes racing in challenging conditions so compelling.

SUP athlete and guest paddler, Glenn Haupt (Bend) explained, “We managed to right the canoe and get back in fairly easily. It was good experience for me to huli – and then get my mind back into thinking about paddling, timing, keeping up my power and focusing on my stroke.  It was my first time catching waves from anything larger than a SUP raceboard.

We would catch swells and bump our speed in the process – but from Seat 5 I felt in the middle of 2-3 troughs and swells, not feeling us catch the glide like I am used to. It was exhilarating and fun – and exhausting!”

Coming from Oregon you cross the Bridge of the Gods to get to the little town of Stevenson, site of the Gorge Outrigger race.  Here you will find one of the most beautiful views in the Pacific Northwest and definitely one of nature’s most challenging race courses.

With the wind and waves delivered last Saturday, the start was a very tricky time for a steersman and the crew.  Glenn had a bit to say about the experience, “As we made our final turn back into the wind, we encountered the largest swells yet….head on.  It was pretty gnarly trying to turn the canoe. I thought it would be easier since we were with the current at that turn – not so.  Several times I flew out of my seat only to be caught by the spray skirt which held me in tight.  The final leg was definitely the hardest. I gained a ton of respect for the skills and fitness that outrigger racing demands.”

BOO coach and stroke for the Gorge Race, Jason Tedrow,  was very pleased with how the crew performed in very challenging conditions. The crew was comprised of a mix of experienced and novice paddlers. Reflecting on decisions he had to make as far as stroke pace, power and strategy he had this to say, “Thinking back on what I might have done to create an overall faster boat and maybe a better experience for all might have been to slow the frequency of the stroke a bit. This might have given the less experienced paddlers more time to get their return and catch completed. That could also have improved our overall timing – and as a result improved our hull speed.”

The BOO Women’s team paddled the gnarly 12 miles in 1:51:15 – which is a long time to stay focused, tough and fast in big winds and waves. They scored a 4th place finish among 12 starting canoes – huge shout out for an amazing race!

Here are some photos from the 2012 and the 2013 race – view and enjoy.

If Shoulders Could Talk – The “Catch”

After watching the Bend Oregon Outrigger Canoe Club practice in our local Deschutes River and observing the power, speed and fun the OC-1 paddlers generate I had to step off my standup paddle board for a try.

Hooked! After just a few weeks of OC-6 team practices I love the sport – and even more, I love what it has done for my SUP technique. While going fast and training for endurance is important, keeping injury-free while getting the most power from each stroke is a top priority.  Like many of you, I get some training from clinics and pros when possible and make the most of YouTube videos by athletes and trainers we respect.

jennnnnnnI actually had to get a sore shoulder in order to learn some key aspects of the outrigger paddle technique.  In seat 2 one afternoon I sat behind a super strong paddler and a KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Jen Kjellesvik (Standup paddle and Payette River Games podium winner). On each reach before the catch it seemed to me that her elbow and forearm set higher than the shoulder – so I mirrored that. The imagery of power I got from Jenn in seat 1 made me feel fast and strong – but my upper arm and shoulder felt fatigued and sore. I chalked that up to using new muscles.

Later when we switched out of the canoe for some dry land training with coach, Meg Chun, we were working on the set/hesitation and catch. One by one we showed our technique – and I showed the way I had done the stroke during practice. “Whoa!,” said Meg. It seemed that what I thought I was seeing from seat 2 was not what was really happening. Jen’s FOREARM and hand were above the shoulder (set-hesitate for that nano-second before each catch) but the elbow floated below the shoulder.

Just as I knew from standup technique, to keep my elbow below the shoulder, the same was true for outrigger. Meg’s training and explanation in the dry land clinic really brought this solidly home. Thinking about setting the scapula, images of bracing with the leg and pulling on a door handle, and repeats of a hesitation before the catch gave muscle-memory to this shoulder-happy technique.

Lisa Jabukowski shows great from (Photo by Dave Chun)

Lisa Jabukowski shows great from (Photo by Dave Chun)

A second lap in the OC-6 gave a chance to practice the technique – but a surprise bonus in imagery came paddling by. Team mate, Lisa Jabukowski, came past in her OC-1. For a few minutes she was off to my right. I watched her upper body through dozens of strokes and noticed her shoulder/back position before each catch and pull. I can’t describe exactly how her rotation was different from what I had been doing but watching her allowed me to make subtle changes. Everything about my stroke was feeling better and nothing was getting sore or unduly fatigued. oc6-1

The next time I was in the water after that clinic I happened to be standup paddling. With outrigger imaging in my mind I kept my bottom arm straight and my upper elbow below my shoulder on the recovery. HESITATION, set and DIG for a solid CATCH. Then using my legs and torso rotation I moved my board forward as the paddle held steady and smooth in the water.

Again and again, 8 strokes per side, for about 4 repeats I went slow and with focused intention. Then it was time to see what a bump in cadence might do.

Sweet! There was an absolutely cool connection between the power in my legs and the rotation of my torso – which moved my shoulders to the proper plane (thank you, Lisa).  I could feel the moment of catch before my legs enhanced by body rotation solidly ooooonched my board forward and past my paddle.

Next day shoulder soreness = NONE!! Muscle memory, great imagery and some solid coaching provided in the outrigger team setting is making a world of difference in my standup technique. If you have a chance to participate in both – give it a try.

Great training video by KIALOA Paddles ‘Elele, Luke Evslin (minute 4:00 was especially an “aha” segment for me.)

Bend, OR = Great SUP Destination

Photo by Dennis Oliphant of Sun Country Tours

Photo by Dennis Oliphant of Sun Country Tours

You heard it here – and it’s pretty cool! The TODAY show has noticed that Bend, Oregon is an amazing place to bike, hike and STANDUP PADDLE. But we knew that! The video clip shows local, Tom Burke, doing a casual tail turn.

We could have given them connections to many more video clips, right Chip Booth, Dennis Oliphant, Michelle Alvarado and many more! If any networks are looking for the in-depth story Bendites can help!

The VIDEO is here!

Channeling My Inner Karen Wrenn

The countdown to many of our spring and summer races and down-winders is moving from triple digits to double digits. Can you believe it is just 67 days until the Olukai Ho’olaule’a? The Carolina Cup is just around the corner and across the globe there seems to be an event every weekend from March through the summer. It’s time to step up the training!

Today in Central Oregon dawned sunny with 7 am temps approaching 40 degrees – rare and special after seemingly weeks of fog and cold, wet weather. As the temperature rises, so does the wind speed – bummer! Before I head down to grab my 5 ml surf booties, farmer john wetsuit (oh, please do not let me fall in), wool baselayer and a warm hat I need a dose of pure inspiration.

There’s probably nothing better than a pep talk from three Pacific Northwest paddlers who brave the elements in any condition most days of the week: Karen Wrenn, Cyril Burguiere and Beau Whitehead. Fortunately, KIALOA Paddles created a short and powerful film featuring these bold paddlers.

If you’re having trouble getting out on the water when conditions are less than ideal – super charge your motivation with this video.

 

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

Kiwanda Wonder: From the Inn

pc-feetfireI spent 52 years of my life in South Florida where I equated a “beach day” with sunshine, temperatures above 70 degrees and a bathing suit with sunscreen slopped on generously. For the past dozen years the Oregon coast has introduced an entirely new and amazing meaning to “a day at the beach.” Nowhere is it more wonderful than at what has become “My Little Beach Town” like it has for so many others. We took a late September long weekend at the Inn at Cape Kiwanda recently and were greeted by weather that – at one time – would have encouraged me to be indoors. Not now!

Overcast skies only served to bring us all a bit closer – to our toasty beach fires.  The wind was barely moving the colorful kites streaming along behind flocks of kids using barefoot running for wind-power – fueled by giggles and glee. A toddling towhead decked out in cozy fleece danced close to the waves adding a glisten to the low-tide sand while his watchful dad put finishing touches on the sand castle. Two sprightly seniors were sipping coffee mid afternoon as the tide began to switch from low to high. As the glassy waves built into more organized sets, they hopped up, donned their wet-suits and headed out for a standup surf session.  I have to admit – the two seniors were me and Ed.pc-sept-surf

It was so much fun catching wave after wave, even though the rides were short that afternoon, the waves were glassy goodness over and over again.  We came ashore and back to our room (and the toasty fireplace) in time to shower and dress for the 5:30-6:30 Friday night wine and cheese sampling party in the lobby of the Inn at Cape Kiwanda. This week’s end ritual begins with few people knowing each other – but soon conversation is lively. We took turns checking out the birds on the haystack with the telescope in the lobby.  As we snacked on fruit and cheese we recalled the day’s fun – how many hiked up the dune and took photos of the awesome view. Those who hadn’t quickly made plans for the next day.  As the hour wound down a few of us lingered by the fireplace while others made plans to meet for dinner at the Pelican Pub.

pc-beachcarSaturday morning dawned a bit foggy with the haystack rock rising ghost-like out of a low bank of cloud.  Again, it was no time to remain indoors and miss the wonder. As we walked across the parking lot of the Pelican Pub we had to look twice at what we were seeing. A lone guy was standing mid-way between the waves and the dunes doing – something? The air between him and the fog was all glimmering with light refracted somehow into rainbows in the shape of a sphere. Holy cow! He had a bucket of soap and a huge bubble blowing wand. He’d dip the wand into the bucket, hold it high and allow the light morning breeze to billow out bubbles nearly 4 feet in diameter. They would bounce and dance for a bit then disappear in a poof.

pc-3horsesIn a light drizzle that was mixed with peeks of sunshine in the blue windows between the clouds we took our coffee out to the beach for our walk down to watch the dory boats launch for their early morning catch. After a hike up the dune at Cape Kiwanda we began to make our way back to enjoy breakfast on our balcony.  As we were strolling back, the muted hoof beats of a group of horses caught our attention, just in time to snap another photo of what makes Pacific City beach wonderful in every sort of weather. Don’t miss it!

The Inn at Cape Kiwanda

The Inn at Cape Kiwanda

SUP Travel: Hood River, OR

hood_river_or_summer_nature_ssSummertime in Hood River, Oregon is a miracle of wind, sunshine, fruit, flowers – and the playground that is the Columbia River Gorge. No matter what you choose to harness the wind or ride on the water you’ll have plenty of long days to enjoy the experiences.  Come evening, you’ll want to rest your head someplace that has your comfort as the highest consideration.  We have camped, stayed at a wide variety of local hotels and B&B choices, but our favorite has always been the Hood River Inn (Best Western Plus) managed for over 25 years by Chuck Hinman.

We enjoyed a similar moonrise the nights we stayed at the Hood River Inn (Best Wwestern Plus)

We enjoyed a similar moonrise the nights we stayed at the Hood River Inn (Best Wwestern Plus)

The Hood River Inn is located on the Columbia River shoreline, offering lodging with scenic river views, water access, and a private beach.  We found that the Hood River Inn offers a generous combination of deluxe accommodations and amenities: (read more here).  As standup paddlers, it just seems right that our first real awareness of the proximity of the Hood River Inn to the Columbia River, Hood River Waterfront Park, the Event Center and awesome Columbia Gorge views came during a standup paddle cruise from Mosier to Hood River.  Our video story follows this article.

When we travel, one thing we value most is absolute cleanliness in our accommodations. Once that’s covered we start looking for the details in up to date decor, inviting hallways, top-quality bedding and impeccable bathrooms.  You won’t be disappointed at the Hood River Inn.  After a long day on the water few things hit the spot like a hot shower – in a luxurious and well-appointed bathroom. Finish that off with a lush towel that absorbs well and exudes freshness.  These things really matter to even the most hard-core water athlete.

Then it’s time for food. Chef Mark DeResta’s choices of fresh and local ingredients are combined to provide a vast array of choices to suit almost any taste. Check the Riverside’s website for full details. Our experience is detailed here.  If you’d like to check out the menu, here is the link.

Columbia_River_Gorge_(3)After an active day, what we really liked was the walking path that meanders from behind the Hood River Inn, around the marina and over toward the river, the spit and the event center. Without getting back in the car we could view changing colors as the sun set beyond the Columbia Gorge and foothills on the Washington side of the river. We could watch evening flights of kiteboarders and waterbirds alike. When we tired of the outdoors we could head inside for a beer, cocktail or coffee and listen to local music in Cebu Lounge.  While we could enjoy food from Riverside in Cebu, the weather was so good during our stay that we had to dine outdoors every chance we could.

Back in the room, Ed enjoyed watching golf and sailing on the huge flat-screen TV while I Facebooked and e-mailed a bit with the high speed wifi (free) in the room.  Once it was time for sleep, comfort was waiting for us. Top quality bedding, plenty of pillows and a remote that let us alter air-conditioning without running to the unit.

The best surprise was yet to come. We knew that breakfast was included with the room so in the morning we headed down for coffee expecting “the usual.”  Imagine our surprise when wait staff as friendly and attentive as we had at dinner the night before greeted us with menus and offered us a wide variety of full breakfasts – at no cost.  The first nine items on the menu were the options we had.  Everything was served hot and promptly. The grain toast was a treat.  We tried four different items during our stay and enjoyed them all.Best-Western-Hood-River-Inn-photos-Restaurant-Guest-Breakfast

Fresh flowers, attentive and knowledgeable staff all complement the excellent, fresh food at Riverside. The view - see for yourself!

Fresh flowers, attentive and knowledgeable staff all complement the excellent, fresh food at Riverside. The view – see for yourself!

Plan ahead and make reservations so you don’t miss the Hood River Inn experience when you’re in Hood River enjoying SUP fun.

Sometimes, words alone are not enough to share an excellent experience.  The following  video  can complete the story of the Hood River Inn in Hood River, OR