Posts Tagged ‘Stand up Paddle boarding’

At 5 am Saturday May 7, 2011I woke up, not because my son was calling me, nor for any emergency.  I woke up before the sun started to shine to meet Russell in down town Tampa Florida.  It was the morning of the Third Annual Sweetwater Paddle For the Cure.

The paddling event was set against the skyline of downtown Tampa. For the event all paddlecraft and standup paddleboard participants chose to either race five miles or enjoy a family fun two mile paddle to raise money for cancer research.


We began set up at the scenic Riverfront Park , downtown, on the Hillsborough River. There was a lot of volunteers helping move boats and paddle boards to the dock.  I took a moment to scope out the trophies for the winners of the five mile race.   And chat with Brody Welte owner of Stand up Fitness.  He supplying several SUP’s and gear for this event.  I think a few of his Paddle Fit students placed during the race.

Before 8am Ron, Chad, a few others, and I left the dock and headed down River to our assigned locations for the race.  I was at the marker next to Tampa General Hospital.  And I had the Jose’ Gasparilla Pirate ship to the east.

While I waited for the event to begin I did my normal on the water warm up and then enjoyed my breakfast.  I prefer to paddle backwards to warm and lengthen my back.

This morning I skipped my 60 grams of whey fruit smoothie.  It was too early to start up the blender.  And to wake my son…  I instead chose to not make a disturbance in the kitchen and eat a standard on the water kayaking dawn breakfast.   It consists of water, carrots, citrus, and beef jerky.  This time I tried a new beef jerky “Jeff’s Gourmet Jerky“.  In a single word YUM.

I will be writing a post about this new Jerky soon…

At 8:30am the five mile race downriver and into Seddon Channel and back.

The two paddle craft that were in front were an Epic and a carbon tandem kayak (I could not make out either model).  All but one participant went around the marker.  What I also noticed was how some people struggled with making an one-hundred-eighty degree turn.  Several paddlers in expensive kayaks would just kill them selves with short port side strokes.  Some people did use a sweep combined with edging.  It was the leaders of the heats used either a low-brace on the outside (port side) or a high-brace (on their starboard side) to turn.  Turning in a race like this made all the difference.

The 2 mile family fun paddle began at 10:00.  I saw more people on paddle boards during the family paddle than kayaks.  The attraction to using an SUP is easy for me to see.  A person can see more by giving a new dimension above the water.  SUP’s are light weight, easy to transport, and easy to store in and apartment or garage.  Granted I still prefer camping and paddling during small craft advisory days.  So I am not going to convert to the SUP just yet.

From what I saw on and off the water everyone had fun.  Everyone was a welcomed participant.  See, in a means to encourage everyone to sign up for the race and come out have fun and help BEAT CANCER WITH A PADDLE, the organizers offered the event to everyone.  No paddle experience was required for either event and rental kayaks and standup paddleboards were available.  If you get a chance mark you calender for next years event.  And maybe I will see you on the water – Jeff

Well my paddling friend is out of town.  Unfortunately, I am a bit envious because Sean planed to do some white water paddling on his vacation.  I hope he got some good pictures, or at least a good story to tell.  (Yep, this is a challenge to get him to post something LOL)

Meanwhile I have been trying some new local paddling things.  This past Thursday at Sweetwater Kayaks I dived into the new phenomenon that is hitting our local waters.  It is not oil; it is Stand up Paddle-boarding.

The SUP that I played on is The “Original” 12′ by YOLO Board. 12 feet Long, 31 1/2″ Wide, 4 3/4″ Thick, 30 lbs.

I paddled it for about two hours and I only fell off once.  Ok so how does a person who stands up in his Necky Chatham 17 fall off a SUP that is 31.5 inches wide?  Well I was playing with my feet position while steering the board.

I knew that if I stood too far forward I would sink the tip of the Stand Up Paddle Board causing the board to submarine into the water as I paddled forward.  I also knew that by moving my center of balance I could turn the board.  In addition, the other thing that I knew was if I stand too far back on the tail the SUP would sink causing a decrease in speed.

Knowing and experiencing are two different things.  And I learn best by doing.  So as I paddled I took small jumps and steps forward, backward, to port, and to starboard.  It is amazing that I only fell of once with me bouncing around on the deck of the SUP.  (One on looker remarked that it looked like I was practicing an Irish jig)  What did me in was paddling forward on my right, standing too far forward, and with too much of my weight on the starboard edge.  PLOP goes Jeff.

I had a good laugh and the other paddlers did as well.

I also experienced no discomfort in my low back.  I have had back issues in the past… My calves were the only parts of my body that were little tender.

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Sunday I got together with my board gaming friends for a different type of game.  We went searching for scallops.  This was the first time we got together to go kayaking.

The sky was blue, the water was dark, and the air was hot.  It was refreshing to swim and look deep into the sea grass.  From the boat launch we traveled through a small creek into the brackish waters looking into the Gulf of Mexico.  We tried for a few hours.  We saw fish, manatee, and a dolphin swam past us.  But no scallops for the picking.

I found it relaxing, floating and looking into the water.  This was also my first time snorkeling.  It is odd for me to admit this because I swim almost every day at my gym.  I think if the opportunity presented itself I would try snorkeling for scallops again.



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At the end of the day the only one successful in finding a scallop was a blue crab…

— Life is like that, Jeff