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

Going Full Speed Ahead: Jane McKee

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Jane McKee – living her dream in a new decade!

No one lives “age is just a number” better than waterwoman, Jane McKee. As I am wrapping up my 7th decade at 69, I look for inspiration and “go-for-it” from people like Jane who live by this truth, “Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.” (from a 2015 Elder SUP article). Now at age 60 Jane keeps doing what she loves – and keeps looking forward for more adventures and goals.

I asked Jane, “Did your motivation to do the 2018 Kaiwi Solo – Molokai OC1 World Championship originate from within yourself or from connection with a group, a club or friends/peer paddlers?”

Jane explains it like this, “My motivation for doing the Solo again came within myself, as all my races are.  I had a great race in 2010, coming in third place overall at age 52 and thought maybe I would leave it at that. But  I turned 60 this year and thought I would like to train for the race again as a celebration of my benchmark year.”

Finishing 8th out of 22 women starters was definitely a celebration!

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Fun with friends – and smiles all round

Before recapping her Kaiwi Solo experience, a full decade (or 4) older than the other women paddlers, know this: Jane is already planning her next adventure event, “I got into the M2O this year so have hung up the OC1 paddle for my Standup paddle. Really stoked to have made the start list. I’m doing a three person team with Jen Fuller and Kristin Thomas from California.”

I’d like to stay active on the water for another decade or two, so I asked, “What habits (eating training) and lifestyle contribute most to your “go get ’em” attitude at age 60?

Jane is specific, “I adopted a Keto diet last year and dropped about 25 pounds. I do ramp up the carbs before and during a long race, but then go right back to a high protein/fat regimen. I don’t drink alcohol, my guilty pleasure is a diet coke especially right after a race, I love the bubbles! I have a very simple lifestyle, up at 4:45am, at work at 7am, off at 3: 30 and either paddle or gym. I rest when I feel I need it, not according to a schedule. I find as an older athlete, you can still train hard but need more recovery time. Paddle smarter not harder. I am in bed by 8.”

I definitely find truth in her response about rest.

ES: What was your favorite moment of the race (or of preparing for it, a breakthrough or other)?

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Awards ceremony 

JM: I was understandably a little nervous about the conditions on race day. We thankfully had wind but it was very North and that made for a lot of work. After the race I posted on Facebook, “Did a Mack truck hit me? No, it was just the Channel of Bones reminding us that you never know what the Channel will dish up. Rain and variable winds gave way to a solid North wind that created a tough paddle with not much help in the way of surf. I was happy with my 8th place finish and I won my age group. Thank you to my coach, Guy Wilding, for keeping me focused in the rough moments. Congratulations to all the finishers and especially our mana wahine!”

ES: What abilities to read wind, waves, weather contributed to your successful crossing?jane-mckee-awards

JM: The solo this year was a tough one. The wind coming so much from the North resulted in a side chop/swell that made it difficult to surf much. The tide was sticky also. I always do my homework before a race so I knew what we were in for. I had to make the best of it. I think if I had taken a more northern course I would have had more of an opportunity to surf down later in the race. After talking to some other paddlers after the race, this seemed to be the strategy. I am fairly good at reading waves but this race didn’t offer up much opportunity for it.

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Way to rock! First place Women 60+

ES: What equipment did you use?

JM: I have an Ares Pro canoe and use a Makana Alii Paddle. I am thrilled with my Ares. I had great success in last year’s Olukai race when Kai Wa’a lent me one. I was in third place until I snagged a buoy rope the last 20 yards from the finish, which put me in fourth. The conditions that year were tough, we had to race twice around a rectangular course that was mostly side winds. The canoe performed amazingly in those adverse conditions. I know I can surf a canoe but its the off conditions that I need help with and the canoe was a rock star. I walked right up to Tom Bartlett after the race and said ‘I want one!’ I have used a Makana Alii paddle for 16 years and Les Look has always supported me. I love his paddles and appreciate his help all these years.

ES: What did you use for hydration/fuel during the event?

JM: I did a combination of just water and a Perpetuem mix. I have used Perpetuem for years and it works for me. Unfortunately when I packed I grabbed the wrong lid cover for my camel back so it was basically useless. I had my helper drop small bottles to me which was challenging to say the least. The first year I raced I used Power Bar pieces and Snickers bars as fuel. This year I used Gels and Snickers Bars later so I would have something solid. It worked fine.

ES: What was a roadblock or challenge during your prep for this event (or any other in your history) that was tough to overcome and how did you overcome?

JM: I really didn’t have any. My training program went well, I had a great race season, I was top three overall in every single race up until Molo Solo, so I was getting results.

ES: Any fun or funny story to share- in general – that you just want to share?

JM: I remember years ago paddling with some new girls in the six man in a race. We were getting water in the canoe after awhile When the steersman yelled ‘BAIL!” one of them jumped out. I love that story.

ES: A “word of advice” or mantra that resonates with you that might inspire others?

JM: I think it is really important that you paddle or do whatever sport you do, for the love of it. I cannot imagine not being on the ocean. It is my therapy, love, passion, lifestyle. Don’t let the pressure of racing take your joy away. I see a lot of young ‘sponsored” paddlers that put so much pressure on themselves that it becomes like a job to them. I have been paddling 26 years and I still get nervous before a race. Someone asked me once, after all these years why? I told them, because it means something to me. The day I stop getting excited before a race is the day I quit.

Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, nature and water

Photo Credit: Jeff Chang

It is obvious that Jane is still very excited! Wishing her the best at M2O this year

We look forward to following Jane’s upcoming adventures on the ocean.

Save Our Ocean: Carolina Cup

The 13-mile Quiksilver Waterman Carolina Cup lived up to its reputation as one of the toughest races going, but this year it was hailed as even more fun than ever. A course reverse allowed for some calm flatwater and downwind bumps that added excitement.

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Zane Schweitzer book signing with NC Coastal Federation Board member, David Cignotti

A different sort of excitement was playing out at the North Carolina Coastal Federation. As the non profit and featured recipient for funds raised at the event, Catherine Snead, who has the role of development for the Federation, decided to get creative and connect with Zane Schweitzer for a unique collaboration. For each book, Beneath the Surface, sold at the Carolina Cup, $5 would go to the Federation. nccf-booky

Catherine arranged for a life sized poster of Zane to be at the booth so people could have a selfie “with Zane.” The most fun was when Zane spent time at the booth chatting with readers and doing what he does best – sharing stoke and the Zaniac way of doing things.

You can get your copy of Beneath the Surface directly from Zane or on AMAZON. (ebook or print version)

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Captain Liz Clark: Swell and Awakening

lc-1Last night (April 13, 2018) the Patagonia store in Bend, Oregon had another of many great events (shop local and talk story). It was kick-off night for the Gerry Lopez Big Wave Challenge at Mt Bachelor over the weekend. The BIG story was the stellar presentation by sailor, surfer, author – Liz Clark.

Listening to her stories about living life on a sailboat while traveling around the world (although there were many challenging and difficult times) gave me a flashback to the very first sailing adventure hubby Ed and I took – on our honeymoon in 1970.

Liz took on the Pacific Ocean and the world, then wrote her incredible book, SWELL.. We simply took on the amazing and unspoiled Abaco, Bahamas of the 70’s. On a chartered 25′ sloop we were adventurers – in our own minds- living off the land and sea, because we had no money to spare. It was all here in photos (and a journal) to re-live today after hearing Liz.

Liz was introduced by two of the team at Changing Tides Foundation. A powerhouse of talented and dedicated women, Changing Tides has many ways we can be “Better Together” when it comes for taking care of the Ocean. Through mentorship and outreach they are changing lives. My favorite was the become engaged with their mission starting immediately is the Plastic Swear Jar Challenge.

lc3Liz shared so many nuggets of genius and inspiration. Not the least, “Living from the heart makes everything possible.” Her message was not about herself or her incredible accomplishments. It was all about staying awake, being vulnerable and connected while living our own best life with purpose.

Yes, you can get her book and really dive in. (published by Patagonia Books)If you’re like me, her final words really hit home – “Take pride in what you do for Mother Earth – she needs you!”

 

Life Is Balance: Don’t Mind Falling In

On the back cover of the recent Spring Issue of Standup Journal there is a beautiful Starboard ad with the headline, “Life is Balance.” SUP Yoga is beautifully portrayed. I love that – but I am hungry to kick up my downwind game and hone my balance in a different way. Like Starboard and their Starboard Blue program, which balances their carbon footprint with offsets to improve the environment, standup paddling is more than what we do on the water. 

Retirement was on my mind – retirement from racing and maybe even from “work.” But I connected with Starboard “Dream Team” waterman, Zane Schweitzer a few years ago and things changed. Zane and I are neck deep in amazing projects and I love every minute. Working with Zane hit me with a huge dose of what he does best – Innovate and Inspire. zaniac arms up

During Zane’s BENEATH THE SURFACE book launch events here in Bend, OR I watched him eat his whole plant based diet, train hard with what was available and hit the snow and the water with equal enthusiasm and joy. I caught the “Zaniac” bug. Spring may be showing itself as winter here in Bend, but paddling on the rivers and lakes (when they thaw) is on my mind.

Also on my mind is a bold move – branching away from my awesome Astro Deluxe 12’6″ Touring board (at 31″ wide and stable) to the Inflatable Allstar 12’6″ X 27 with Airline Deluxe Technology – yup, just 27″ wide. I turn 69 in June – growing into the “elder” part of Elder SUP pretty quickly. Why would I move to a less stable board at this point?

starboard blueAs Zane says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” I love to grow – and learn and practice. I know that “Life is balance,” in every meaning of the word. Balance is a characteristic skill of young athletes – and the young at heart. I am willing to learn, practice and grow.

Talk about “Life is balance,” here is a bit more about Starboard Blue and how they offset their carbon footprint. Did you know that for every Starboard Stand Up Paddle Surfing board sold, they plant a mangrove in the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park?  Mangroves are “Miracle Trees” and are really efficient at removing massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere – 1 ton over 20 years to be exact making Starboard  “Carbon Net Positive.”

Want to learn more – visit star-board.blue

Watch this video for a comparison between inflatable and composite construction in the Allstar line. Inflatable is my construction of choice – easy to store and great to travel with.

Love Your Ocean – Treasure the Whales (and all the marine life)

judyIt is possible to standup paddle all the way from Maui to the Molokini “seems like a crater but isn’t” area off the coast, but the weather and your paddling buddy need to be spot on. So we were fortunate to get aboard the Pacific Whale Foundation’s boat, Voyager, for a snorkel trip with entertaining and so capable, Capt Doug Hunt. The day dawned sunny with barely a breeze. Whales were breaching and rolling, nursing their young and putting on a show all the way out. (Learn more here)

boatThe snorkeling was great in spite of hundreds of people in the water. Once eyes were aimed at the reef and the antics of the wide variety of tropicals it seemed like we had the area to ourselves. On board, we were served fresh fruit, breads, juices and coffee by highly experienced crew, all with degrees in some form of marine biology and environmental studies. They were personable and shared information in the most engaging manner. download

ornate-butterflyHuge mahalos to Emily, Karin, Mel, Liv, Jamie and Mariah!!! After our second dive at Turtle Arches (wow, even cooler diversity of tropical fish) we had the best cookout! Veg burgers, ballpark steaks (beef hotdogs) and grilled chicken – with sides … and there were cookies! Can’t get all that on a SUP!

The best part of the experience was the knowledge that more than 80% of our ticket price goes directly to the Pacific Whale Foundation, everything we purchased in the store and our membership dollars all support dedicated people serving the source of “every second breath we take” – the Ocean.

If you love watching the whales of Maui at play – or wish you had…. go ahead and learn more about the Pacific Whale Foundation>

 

Beneath the Surface – With Zane Schweitzer

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Photo by Matty Schweitzer – Mat5o Media

It’s almost like having a visit from Zane on Christmas morning, Your favorite paddler, surfer or Ocean Enthusiast will dive right into this first edition book before the last piece of pumpkin pie has been served.

Click below and get ready to be the most popular Santa on the beach! (Sold on Amazon.com)

I know it seems impossible to imagine InZane (Zaniac) Zane Schweitzer sitting down long enough to wrote a book. The truth is in the title, BENEATH THE SURFACE! Because Zane has been keeping a daily journal since was 13 years old, all of his adventures, challenges, journeys, travel, friends and family stories were there – ready for this incredible collection of life stories. journal write zane

Enjoy this video while you wait for your books to arrive.