I was waiting for the south swell that didn’t show up today. Since I’ve been having fun doing downwinders and making decent improvements my new personal rule of thumb is that if the waves are less than chest high and the wind is 10 mph+ then I’ll do my best to go on a downwinder. It’s more stimulating for me. The wind started blazing today in the morning so I got together my buddy Luis who rode a Joe Bark lie down paddle board demo from Surftech and Kainoa Beaupre who rode the 14′ yellow Ted Spencer that I kept falling off of a few weeks back. Incidentally, Kainoa paddled that board in the Molokai race (unofficially bc he missed the application deadline) under 7 hours. That goes to show how it’s the rider more than the board (although the board definitely makes a difference).
Today I rode my C4 Boardworks Vortice 14′ and used my Infinity Ottertail paddle 84″ long. Since this was Luis’ first time on the lie down board and this run in general, he ended up dropping me off at the park on the Koko Head side of Maunalua Bay and drove to Wailupe to launch. I’m told that the Hawaii Kai to Kaimana Beach run is 9 miles and Wailupe to Kaimana is 5 miles.
The wind must have been over 25 mph+ today. The ground swells were lining up great and I was excited because in no wind I did the run in 1:49 last week and was expecting a 20 minute drop in time today. I was wrong! Big Mahalo to Kainoa for hanging w/ me in the beginning of the run and teaching me some stuff. I learned a lot by just watching where he stood on his board and he talked me through the first 20 minutes of the run. Thanks for the help!
Then Kainoa decided it was time to really start paddling. It’s a bit frustrating bc as he explained to me the direction I should be paddling and where to put my paddle, he caught some of the ground swells without paddling. (After the run he even told me that it was painful to see me working so hard and not moving…lol)
In about 5 minutes on my own I ended up way offshore and Kainoa must have been 200 yards inside me. Big mistake! I got carried away on the good part of the run which is up to Black Point. From Black Point to Kaimana (2 miles?) the wind blows offshore and side off. I was paddling my butt off when after another 30 minutes I noticed I was outside the Diamond Head buoy. The view of the lighthouse was smaller than the tip of my pinky.
It took me 40 minutes to get to Kaimana which is probably a mile or less and I could not help but get on my knees and butt and paddle upwind. I can honestly say that paddling upwind in 25 mph + winds totally sucks. By the time I got to Kaimana, Kainoa had already loaded up his board in his truck and changed in his biking clothes and shoes. He must have been at least 30 minutes in front of me. I need to watch my route better next time.
At that point we looked around and wondered where Luis was. After talking story for 30 minutes or so I began getting worried. Kainoa biked over to get a better view and spotted Luis paddling in. Funny bc he wasn’t even tired.
Here’s my personal insights from today:
I’m spending too much energy by paddling at the wrong times. I need to read the swell and wind directions and adjust better.
I should have paid more attention to Todd’s C4 Votice instructional video. I’ve been standing only on the front of the board. Kaipo G told me to stay in the front and that’s all I heard. Up until today I stood between the handle area and a foot or two in front of it. What I learned today is that once the board gets moving, the speed spot is 8-12″ or so behind the handle area. I found this out by accident. Once I stood in the back area I started catching all kinds of swells and connecting them.
When the wind blows strong offshore at the end of the run, I need to stay closer to shore for the beginning. All the speed gain I get from the beginning is lost at the end by being out too far.
I need a more efficient stroke and a long paddle really helps.
High winds, efficient paddling and good swell direction makes for a super fun session that beats waist high waves anyday of the week.