So you’ve heard of stand up paddle surfing, downwinders and racing. Well, I just did stand up paddle swimming, which if I have a choice, I prefer not to do again. On May 5, I was out at Himalayas on the North Shore of Oahu and looked out and only saw 1 guy and decided to paddle out. Laniakea was breaking nice and there was actually only a small number of people. I’m not sure but I think that since the surf was good for a couple weeks, people were taking a rest. Jockos was double overhead and I couldn’t tell from shore how big Himalayas was so I put on my life jacket just in case.
I had just picked up a new Blair 10′9″ SUP gun that he was sending to a friend and Joe B said to take it for a spin. The tail on the board is around 15″ and it was much narrower than the super easy to ride 10′x33″ Blair that I’ve been playing around on. The 10′x33″ had me spoiled. I had a tough time standing on the 10′9″ because I was so used to the wide 33″er. I paddled out to the break, watched it for a few minutes and then paddled for a wave and fell off. I finally caught a wave but didn’t really have the right footing and ended up just riding it to the shoulder. I caught another smaller chest high wave after paddling a pretty long distance to drop into it.
On my paddle back out I got stuck in the bowl and the board got caught in the wave and my leash snapped. I paddled for about 10 minutes and then caught up to it only to get pounded by another wave and losing it again. Thank goodness the waves weren’t that big in the area I was swimming because I would have had a much harder time if I was getting pounded by big waves. After another 15 minutes I caught up to the board, just before the shore break. Needless to say, I was exhausted. I didn’t realize how lame of a swimmer I was.
I normally wear the life jacket when I’m in overhead surf on the North Shore because I don’t like the added buoyancy when I wipe out but the true benefit is given when having to swim a long distance. I am definitely thankful that I was more safe than sorry that day.