Wind in Her Sails – A SUP Adventure

There’s no doubt that I will be paddling my favorite rivers and lakes throughout this cool 8th decade of my life, but when the wind picks up and whitecaps form, the Kialoa Paddle goes in the car and out comes my Starboard compact 4.5 sail. What a 1-2 punch combo of a water-fun day when the glassy goodness of morning transitions to the windy wild of afternoon.

Most of the summer I looped nearby Suttle Lake where a circumnavigation was just under 4 miles. Super-nuking afternoon winds are more common there than on my usual go-to: Elk Lake.

It has been about 10 months since I added air to my Starboard Zen inflatable 12’6″ Touring board that easily adapts for windsurfing with its removable mast track system.

I am 71 (as of Fall 2020) and I can easily manage hauling this beauty to and from my car. And it takes under 5 minutes to switch from be a SUP-er to a Windsurfer!

The coolest sail I had all summer was during a trip to the Southern Oregon coast, just south of Bandon to Floras Lake. I had scheduled a lesson with Floras Lake Kite and Windsurf – more for the security of someone watching over me in the 25-30+ winds than anything else. Since my sail is 4.5 I decided to use one of their lesson boards with a smaller sail, and a shorter, more agile board. The day was cold and intimidating. Like wild things, kiters were criss-crossing the lake with exhilarated grins. I stepped onto the unfamiliar board and felt its tippy shape test my balance as I hauled up the sail.

Then – BAM! I was off. Incredible feeling and challenging conditions. I never did get my harness connected, I just tacked that lake and zoomed around for about 45 minutes. By then my jelly legs were rebelling and I had my first swim. Whew! That fun could have gone on forever -but after a few more lake crossings I had to sail back into shore and call it a day – a GREAT day.

Frustrated About Your Fitness: Looking for an INCREDIBLE At-Home Opportunity?

So many beaches are closed and even surfing has been banned in certain areas around the world. Social distancing allows for a hike or a paddle in some open water areas – but for most of us, “in the house” is the new normal.

The unknown of the COVID-19 virus plays havoc with our mood, emotional state and ability to remain motivated to move and train the way we’d like to.  Gyms, fitness centers and even our yoga studios have closed down – further stressing out even the most disciplined and fit/healthy among us.

Whether or not you love water sports (or other sports and fitness endeavors) THIS is the perfect time to connect with a positive, motivated, inspiring and expert mentor/trainer. SKYPE training may be utterly foreign to you – but it is an incredible way to gain a solid base for your upcoming (and quarantine-free) summer fun. Suzie-Cooney-Simple-Things-headshotjpg

My recommendation is easy! You can connect with an online trainer with heart, soul, expertise, one top-notch positive approach to wellness and a super sense of FUN! Right now, click this link and meet Suzie Cooney of Suzie Trains Maui.

Here’s YOUR invitation from Suzie, “In one click you can be with me in my studio on Maui! Technology has allowed me to successfully transport clients from around the world and deliver incredible, results driven, fun workouts no matter what their goals and needs are. People love to have me in their private home gym via SKYPE technology, which is super easy to set up and free. As long as you have a strong, high-speed connection we’re connected.

Suzie-Cooney-300x169When you have a professional like me in your corner holding you accountable to show up and perform, I will drive you, push you and keep you highly motivated. I’m looking out for you and watching your every move. I can cue you technically just as if you were standing right in front of me. I can even give you a cyber high five for a job well done!

Don’t let the ocean stand between your success and the opportunity to train with me. Let’s get this job done. What are you waiting for? Make the investment in yourself and see what others are saying: Testimonials Here

If you have any questions – send Suzie a note.

SUP Adventures – Downwind, Touring and Sailing

ws-art-3You know that time when it was your birthday and the best gift EVER was suddenly yours?

I know, it rarely happens. But when it is a “turning point” birthday, the gift better be SPOT ON! And yes, this year it WAS!

This year “Elder SUP” truly became “elder-ly.”  I turned 70 while feeling like 30. No joke. A combination of good luck, good genes and a passion for ever being curious and full of wonder about the water world around me helps the kid stay alive. In honor of the kid that is me, I decided to return to windsurfing after a 30 year hiatus. Yup! Why not.

And lucky for me, the equipment available has progressed – as my personal abilities have not. I was beyond excited to learn about the inflatable Windsurfing/SUP line from Starboard (read more here). (and more here). And YES be sure to watch the video links –

ws-art-1So on my 6th day out with my Inflatable SUP Windsurfing Zen Kit from Starboard I made so much improvement. After watching many of the videos online I went to Quirky Wind Elk Lake in Oregon and sailed so much better. It was exhilarating good fun!

Then today I did a sweet 5 mile up-current / down-current paddle on the Deschutes River near my hone. The same board that flies me over the water on Elk Lake (and soon on the Columbia River) gave me an amazing good training paddle.
So, my next experiment is to take the great rocker of the Zen inflatable 12’6″ board to the Viento to Hood River downwind run. My guess is that I am going to have an amazing run. So now I am 70. I did not go to a spa, I did not get new shoes or a dinner out. I got a new sport and amazing fun wrapped in innovation from Starboard Windsurfing.

If you are going to be at the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge – message me. I will be doing the downwind run on this board. While I may not be the fastest thing on the course, I have no doubt I will be having a  lot of fun. And after the down wind I can add my compact sail and fly all over the place.

Do yourself a favor and explore this incredible opportunity to have one board that opens three or more watersports doors for you. I will love to hear your comments.

The Wind in Her Sail – SUP Summer Fun

Central Oregon summer got a crazy hot start and today is low 50’s and colder at Elk Lake Resort where I sailed on Tuesday (68 balmy degrees – brrrr).

Warming up with a sweet paddle around the circumference of the lake on the 12’6″ Inflatable Zen technology (windsurf adaptable) board was super fun. Early in the morning the wind was slack and the lake glassy. By 11 am the typical breeze started cranking up. I wish I had pictures. (Back story here)

sailA few weeks before, Ed and I had flown to Hopetown (Abaco Bahamas) revisiting the site of our honeymoon 49 years ago. The Hopetown marina was a challenging place to return to Windsurfing after about 35 years’ hiatus. Dodging moored boats, lots of ferries and floating moorings was a lot like a Frogger game. I was not stellar in skills but WAS 100% STOKED  with the way the Compact 4.5 sail setup worked on the board. Flying with both the board and sailing rig was easy-peasey.

Today I booked a Level 2 and Level 3 lesson with the team at Big Winds in Hood River, OR. While I can dredge some of the skills from my old memories, I am looking forward to a refresher and tweaking of the expertise.

Starboard-windsurfing-2019-WindSUP-Action-SveinRasmussen

In my dreams this is how I will be sailing (like Svein Rasmussen) by the end of summer.

Yup, just turned 70 last Sunday. Setting up for a new sport that perfectly complements my love of standup paddling is a treasure. While I am getting into the surf and wave riding less and less frequently, there is no toning down my love of gliding across the water.

Take a look at the video below – and get some wind in your SUP this summer.

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.

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My brave “mermaid” daughter about age 8!

 

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 Bend, 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.

elk lake fog

 

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.

seamaui-music

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.

ju-bottles

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.”

Columbia River Inn: Home Base for Adventure

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Nestled in an azure bay of the Columbia River

When the sign says “Best Western Plus” along the Oregon side of the Columbia River we have learned THAT’S where to stay in the Columbia Gorge Scenic area. We’ve shared many stories about Hood River Inn about 20 miles east of the  Best Western Plus Columbia River Inn. This trip we decided to soak up the culture, history, hiking, biking, paddling, wine or beer sampling and fishing by staying in Cascade Locks at the base of the incredible “Bridge of the Gods.”

Cascade Locks, Oregon, is located in the middle of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, approximately 40 minutes east of Portland International Airport and 20 minutes west of the windsurfing Mecca of Hood River.

On the drive to the Columbia River Inn we passed many scenic waterfalls available from the road or by short hikes. In fact we were surprised to learn how the beauty and diversity of hikes had survived what had been a tough fire season in 2017. Oregonians love their wilderness and are at work restoring trails and natural areas. We learned about so many hiking options which would be amazing in the Fall. William Sullivan’s book, 100 Hikes in Oregon is a great reference – also his website. Some hikes to explore are Gillette Lake, Trout Creek and Snag Creek, all putting you in the footprints of adventurers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Summer volunteers are at many trailheads, if you visit in Fall or Winter, you can check out ReadySetGorge.com for up to date information.

As paddlers, our focus is usually on planning our down wind paddles and fun on the Columbia River. Once we settled in to our spacious river view room at the Columbia River Inn and looked out at the Bridge of the Gods we got curious about what this area was all about. Over the next few days we were much better visitors after spending a few hours at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Museum (Stevenson, WA). Armed with an appreciation of the history and people who carved out amazing lives and industries we toasted their grit over local wines. The Columbia River Gorge wine region is known as “a world of wine in 40 miles.” bw-6

Recreational options nearby include world-class white water rafting, mountain biking, sail and kite boarding, and year round skiing on the slopes of Mt. Hood. Cascade Locks even has their own historic sternwheeler, the Columbia Gorge, departing daily from the nearby Marine Park for tours of the river.

bw-4We loved planning our day on the sheltered patio just outside of the pool area at the Columbia River Inn. Over coffee in the morning or a local wine in the evening (beer for me) we never tired of the view.

A warm, to-order breakfast that’s included with the room is always a bonus. We loved heading next-door to the Bridgeside Restaurant for local favorites prepared our way. I love crispy hashbrowns. All it took was a request and the golden brown goodness was all mine to enjoy with eggs my way and tasty sausage. There are choices for all tastes, including juice and beverage. Best of all, locals love to eat there, too. We met through hikers off the Pacific Crest Trail as well as other travelers.bs-1

It’s time to look forward to Fall and Winter is this wonderland. Enjoy your trip.

 

Jane McKee: Living Legend – Loving the Racing Life

A few days ago I was following some of Jane McKee’s recent adventures and channel crossings when I noticed Sean Sweet mentioned her as a “Living legend.”  I imagine Jane is simply doing what her heart and soul inspires her to – while having a ton of fun. I wondered, and asked Jane, “Who are some other living legends who have influenced or inspired you lately?” jane-gnarly

Jane replied with this fascinating summary from an inspiring waterwoman, “I just love being on the water. And I love racing! Racing forces me to be a better version of myself, not just physically, but mentally. There is something about pushing your body beyond its comfort level that helps you better able to deal with difficult situations in other parts of your life.

Racing has a meditative effect. When you are out there for hours, you sort through all kinds of things. Sometimes emotional pain is worse than physical pain so I know if I can go out and be on the water, in any capacity, my worries will sort out. It’s like they say, salt water heals. So paddling has a much deeper meaning for me.

nappy.jpgSome people that have inspired me would be my friend Nappy Napolean, who still paddles well into his seventies. He just loves to paddle! And he is such a great  ambassador for the sport. I think the fountain of youth is to keep moving, and he  is a classic example of what you can do.

Jane seemed to excel in so many disciplines throughout 2018. I wondered why she loves each of them each and asked for a hierarchy of how each might serve to cross train the over age 50 water athlete.

Jane shared this: I had a really good OC1 season this year. I never came in less than third place overall in our winter series, including the M2M, Molokai to Oahu one man relay with partner Alan Goo-Frasier, and Olukai races.

jane-sailI came in 8th out of 24 in the Molo solo and won two M2M races on the one man this summer. I also participate in the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Racing series with Team Hui Nalu. We sail the entire main Hawaiian Island chain over the course of the summer. I have been canoe sailing for 18 years and it is just amazing. I raced the Napali one man race and the Napali Challenge 6 man race recently.

I just completed my first M2O SUP race with team mates Jen Fuller and Kristin Thomas. We had a blast and won our division!

I had decided last year to not race with a club anymore for 6 man. I have been paddling 6 man for 26 years and realized that summer offers a whole new world of opportunities for fun racing in all venues that I had been missing out on.

jane-mpauole

Photo Credit: M Pauole

It is interesting, that since I have been paddling SUP, my OC1 paddling has improved. SUP provides the strength training and OC1 my cardio and speed, they really compliment each other. I say padding a SUP is like Crossfit on a board!

I cannot even contemplate such a full schedule of events – especially across one sweet summer. Jane seems to be hopping from event to event, I asked her to describe her in-between training routine. To what does she attribute your success?

This response came easily to Jane: I think my success is attributed to the love of racing and paddling. I love the excitement of racing, getting ready, the nerves at the start line and the knowledge that it ain’t over till it’s over! I won some of my races last year by a hair, literally down to the second, so knowing that will push you to the end.

As far as training, I try to split the workouts between SUP and OC1. I find I can only do SUP about 2-3X a week so have to hop on my OC1 to rotate muscle groups so I don’t get over use injuries. I am a huge proponent of massage therapy, I go on an average of once a week.

Okay, you made it this far in the article and now comes the “STORY!” Enjoy it!

Jand McKee and the 2018 M2O

100SO! I had been escorting people for the M2O for a few years, Armie Armstrong from NZ, Annabel Anderson, and a Brazilian Prone paddler last year. I have crossed the Kaiwi channel more than 50 times between OC1, 6man and sailing canoe, but never on a SUP.  Kristin Thomas and Jen Fuller from California were my Facebook friends and I knew they were good paddlers, so I threw it out to them to do a team together.

They were keen, so we were all set to race! We decided to call ourselves Team C&H (California and Hawaii, get it?) They came a few days before the race and we did a few downwinders, and that is all the practice the got before the channel. I was really proud of how they did especially because it turned out to be one of the toughest channels in a decade. A dumping tide made it sticky, crazy disorganized swell, everyone said it was hard.  I have a lot of respect for the athletes that do M2O solo. 100-award

I think the best part of the race was coming away with some wonderful new friends! I had always heard such great things about Jen and Kristin and now I have a whole new group of amazing women athletes as gal pals! We laugh that we will be doing this race together until we are 100.