Know Your Limits – My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel

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Know Your Limits - My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel

I got the chance to paddle in the Kaiwi Channel last week.  This is the channel between Molokai and Oahu where the 32 mile race is held.  Let me start out by saying it was way harder than I thought it would be.  I got a call from Kainoa B who I will now refer to as ‘The Hammer’ (inside joke).  He was excited about taking his boat out into the Kaiwi Channel and doing a mini Molokai downwinder.  Tommy from Freedom Surf Company was coming to get some video and photo footage (footage of Tommy surfing) and his other friend Carlos was coming along for the paddle.  Kekoa was in the driver’s seat and we were all set.

I got hungry prior to leaving and ended up buying over 10 spam musubi’s from 7-11 for everyone.  I ate 3 of them prior to launch and Tommy ate one or two…bad move #1.  We strapped in the boards on Kainoa’s Boston Whaler and headed out into the channel.  On land, there wasn’t much wind and it looked kinda flat from shore.  I was wrong.  To say it was rough would be an understatement.

Know Your Limits - My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel
Me in the middle of the Kaiwi Channel on F-15

 I think we drove for almost an hour when the guys decided to stop the boat and determine where to jump in at…bad move #2.  The boat was rocking back, forth, left, right and Tommy and I started getting seasick.  They decided to go another 15 minutes or so and headed off.  By the time we got to the launch point, Tommy was already puking over the side of the boat.  I was on the edge of puking or not puking and got off the boat asap.  The Hammer and Carlos were already out and paddling around.

Know Your Limits - My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel
The Hammer paddling away on a Ted Spencer 14′

I gotta give the trooper of the day award to Tommy.  Even though he was puking all over the place he still got in the water and got his footage.  In fact, he had no excuses whatsoever.  I haven’t seen the video but I heard he got some great footage.

Know Your Limits - My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel
Tommy shooting video of The Hammer, Carlos in the back on C4 Vortice BW and Oahu way in the back

I lasted for about 20 or 30 minutes of paddling.  First off I couldn’t read where the swells were coming from.  It felt like my first time out again.  It was frustrating and I did not want to spend time off the board in the water where it’s so blue that you can’t see more than a few feet deep although you know there are sea animals seeing you.  I fell behind a couple of times and decided that this was not the place to fall behind.  I ended up playing around behind the boat with a tow rope and the C4 Vortice and eventually got back on the boat and just shot pictures.  I think I shot 300+ pictures, mostly because I just kept pushing the button a lot.

Even once back on shore it took a couple days for me to reaclamate from the seasickness.  I had fun but I’ll need a lot more practice before I go again.

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4 Responses to “Know Your Limits – My First Experience in the Kaiwi Channel”


  1. ckoerner 1ckoerner

    Oh man that sounds gnarly. Good thing it was only practice and not a race. I can’t take dramamine but have you tried the wristbands or patch behind the ear?

  2. Harris 2Harris

    Entertaining read! Thankfully, in my last crossing I just had to paddle because it is tough to read the conditions. The directions are not nearly as clear as say a hawaii kai run. I’ve been sea sick before so I always use a patch when an escort boat is involved. I’ve always felt good while using it. Funny hearing about sea sick stories but NEVER fun being sea sick.

  3. Evan Leong 3evan

    Chris – I never thought in advance that I would get seasick. I think it came from stopping the boat and sitting for a while and getting rocked all over the place. It could also be the 3 spam musubis. Next time I’ll know better. The paddle portion was fun although it’s not a pleasant feeling being the last guy in the middle of the ocean.

    Harris – I thought I could just go out and paddle but I was wrong. I give big props to the guys and gals that do the full run. It’s funny bc you and I talked about doing the entire run on stand ups and now I realize it’s way harder than I thought.

  1. [...] Channel November 20th, 2008 by evan Tommy Chorman from Freedom Riding Co. made this video of the SUP session in the Kaiwi Channel from a while back. I’m in the yellow long sleeve shirt and red hat and on the green F-15 SUP. [...]

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