As the water gets warmer and the waves gets smaller that means paddleboard season kicks into full throttle. Nowadays, when I tell someone I paddleboard, they usually say “Oh, I see those guys sweeping the water with the paddles all the time. That looks so cool, but they get all the waves!” Which usually means I have to correct them and give them a quick lesson on endurance paddling and the difference between classic prone paddleboards, and more popular SUP (Stand Up Paddle) which has seemingly exploded overnight. Although I like to do both, I primarily race the classic paddleboards – where you spend half the time pulling water in a freestyle motion as your face is splashed by salt water until your eyes feel like they’re going to fall out; or the other more painful but faster option to with both arms simultaneously on your knees until your back and kneck cramp and your toes and knees are raw from the board. Usually I get the response “That doesn’t seem very fun, why do you do it?” And they’re right, the longer races (some up to 32-miles long) are nothing short of excruciating. But there is an undescribeable feeling of freedom that comes with being out in the middle of the ocean with nothing around you but water, kelp and the occasional seal, dolphin or whale. And it gets you in shape and there’s a great family atmosphere and sense of community as well.
It’s a fun season so far, and have been paddling alot with the NCP/Cardiff crew which has helped me out greatly en route to a first place finish at the Encinitas Sports Festival Paddleboard Race, 2nd place at the infamous Coronado Loop, and recently a 2nd place overall finish at the Waterman Challenge, Swamis to Windansea Race . Starting to get pumped for my first Molokai to Oahu crossing at the Paddleboard World Championships in July and the Catalina Classic in August. I plan to paddle for the American Cancer Society again and my goal is to make more than the $10k raised last year.
If you haven’t tried standup or classic paddling yet get out there, you’ll love it!