I’ve heard Dave Kalama, Ekolu Kalama, Todd Bradley and numerous other top paddlers say to join a 6 man canoe team if you want to get better. The clincher for me was when Doug Lock who is already a fast SUP, OC-1 and paddleboarder said he was joining a beginners crew for 6 man paddling. I just joined the same team. Here are my thoughts so far.
The first day was in a training pool. I wasn’t able to get a picture of it because I didn’t want to be a distraction, especially since I’m new. I already ask a ton of questions so I’ll get a picture later. This practice was easy and we didn’t do much more than 5 minutes each person. I thought I was going to have a tough workout so I was kinda itching to get in the ocean but I didn’t bring my SUP or paddle. Then I saw Jeff Harris paddling in and he let me use his gear. I caught some waves and felt rejuvenated.
The second practice was the next day in the Ala Wai canal because the surf was too big in the ocean. For anyone who doesn’t know about the Ala Wai, you can find out here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ala_Wai_Canal. This is where the City dumped 48 MILLION gallons of sewage a few years back when the system got messed up due to 40 days of rain and flooding. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Apr/09/ln/FP604090347.html Bottom line…the Ala Wai is gross.
I need to apologize to Doug Lock because he was the unlucky guy in the seat in front of me and I just soaked him with Ala Wai water. I couldn’t help it. I kept hitting the water on the return portion of my stroke and in short time he was drenched. Doug was very understanding although I think I may have given him a ‘Pavlov’s Dog’ syndrome where he cringes every time we paddle. The grossest part was when we paddled upwind and I hit the water with my paddle only to end up getting splashed with the essence of Ala Wai in my face. I didn’t know if I was supposed to spit it out or just leave it. Nonetheless, I’m excited to get in the ocean and out of the Ala Wai.
The second practice was a pretty good workout. We got in the canoe and our coach shouted us tips from the wall. I was surprised how aerobically tired I got and how fast. I know I’m not the most physically fit guy out there but I got winded pretty quick. My legs also got tired. Doug and I paddled with another group after our practice was done. My lats were pretty sore the next day.
The next day we ended up going downwind on our SUP’s although the wind died and we just paddled in chop. I was on my F-18 and it was all work. I was sore from the previous paddling practices and was not getting any help from the wind. On a positive note, I’m happy to say that I already noticed an improvement in my stroke from the practices in the canoe. Normally when I get tired I start having a very sloppy stroke and slap the water at the catch portion of my stroke. On this particular day, I was able to keep under control for the majority of the run.
Now I’m looking to get a one man canoe OC-1. I’m looking for a Pueo if anyone knows someone selling theirs, let me know. This inspiration came initially from Randy Strome from the standupzone.com. When I did the Kihei downwinder with them, Randy generously let me use his new F-16 and I mean new. He had never ridden it before. I asked when he got it and If I remember correctly he told me, “A couple months ago.” I was like ????? Randy was having so much fun on his Kai Wa’a Scorpius that he hadn’t tried it yet. Now it’s my turn to see for myself.
I can’t wait to see how this plays out.