Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summer: Time For A New Sport...and Some Old Ones (& Some Critters)

Since Tuckfest, I've been itching to try out whitewater river stand up paddling at the US National Whitewater Center.   So I finally did.  I went there to do this....

...and this...

....but ended up doing this...

 ...and this...

Its hard folks.  But I knew it would be.  I was expecting to get humbled and swim a lot and that's exactly what I got.  The US National Whitewater Center (USNWC) only recently started offering whitewater stand up paddling as an official part of their programs and activities.  I've now done two group lessons along with my friends Mike and Donald....and we're ready for more time on the water to progress some more.   There are completely different paddle techniques than what we use for SUP surfing or racing.  Plus, it requires whitewater knowledge and the ability to read the water.  So now I've got a whole new sport (again) and a whole new learning curve (again).  Being able to do this in a "friendly" environment (not in an actual river with shallow rocks, logs, tree limbs, strainer dangers, etc) right in our backyard is a real treat and I look forward to leveraging this great resource a lot more.  

Here is a sunset pic after our first lesson at the USNWC and taken from the "riverfront" restaurant patio.

Summer means that when it gets hot and humid at home, its time to head to the mountains and cool off. We recently met up with my beautiful bride's brothers and their families and went for a hiking adventure off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock.  We hit one of my favorite trails - the Boone Fork Trail.  It's conveniently close to Blowing Rock, is moderate to strenuous 5 miles of hiking, winds along a creek and river most of the way, has a couple of waterfalls, and has some great swimming holes.  I'm not a good judge of water temperature, but it was COLD!

Last week on Father's Day, we hiked at Hanging Rock State Park and came across this guy....a Copperhead snake...a common and poisonous snake in NC.  I've now counted 6 snakes I've seen this spring and summer so far - all the others were nonpoisonous.

And we recently had a real "Wild Kingdom" moment at our house - a garter snake trying to swallow a large frog.  After two hours of no progress on the snake's part, I intervened and distracted the snake, he let go of the frog and slithered off.  We put the frog in the woods and I'm sure he was soon someone else's snack since one of his legs had been broken by the snake.  The next day, this garter snake was sunning himself in the garden bed and probably mad at us for taking away this month's meal.  

Summer at home also means Wednesday night is Classic Car night at Brusters Ice Cream.  Many awesome classic cars are on display but here is my favorite - a classic Woody.  Just needs some roof racks (and to be in my garage).

Evening sunsets on the lake with the family...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

OBX Paddlepalooza 2013

Once again, the OBX Paddlepalooza delivered!  Most SUP races & events are great for families, but this one in particular is very family oriented and attracts paddlers of all levels.  Our kids consistently say every year how much they love going to this event.  It's well run and a lot of fun, complete with an awesome BBQ/live music party.

Great job and kudos to Andy McKinney of WIND-NC, all the volunteers, Frisco Woods Campground, and all the sponsors for putting on another great event.  Proceeds from the event support the local Hatteras Island Rescue Squad...who do so much year after year in helping both locals and tourists in all kinds of situations, including hurricanes.  Enjoy the pics and commentary below.

All the following photos taken by my beautiful bride (you can click on the photo to view in large format and scroll through all the pics in large format...captions only appear in the smaller format pics)...

Andy McKinney - WIND-NC

Mens' 6 mile 14' race start

I actually had a great start for once and was able to get in a draft with the leaders early on, which definitely contributed to my 3rd place finish overall.  However, at the 2nd lap's 1st buoy turn, sponsored pros Billy Miller and Steve Dullack were able to get a little gap away from me and I couldn't keep up and stay in their draft.  Those guys were solid and well deserving of their 1 & 2 finish....congrats to Billy & Steve!

Juniors Noah Colino and my daughter McIntyre were at it together the entire time in the 12'6" 4 mile race.


William Nash won the Men's 2 mile SUP surf division.  William and his family have been our friendly cabin neighbors the last couple years at this event.

William's wife, Krisha, placed 2nd in the Women's 2 mile SUP surf division.  Congrats Krisha!

Starboard's Mark Colino - Mark got to the start line a little late...another story for another time.  I was wondering why he wasn't right next to me in the race since he and I have been battling back & forth at this event in prior years.  Next time Mark!
After I lost the leader draft, I was a man all alone and had Kevin Baum, John Beausang, & Chip Boggs breathing down my neck.  I had to really focus on my stroke and paddle smart to fend them off.

It was a funny and confusing race result for us because I didn't register for the "Elite" version of the 14' Mens 6 mile race.  I didn't even notice that option when registering.  Even though I was 3rd overall, I wasn't 3rd in the Men's Elite division (& didn't win any money), but won 1st in the Men's 6 mile 14' division (I guess you could call it the Open Division).  Same thing for my daughter - I didn't register her as "Elite" in the Womens' 4 mile 12'6" race (I'm sure I wouldn't have registered her as such anyway), so even though she finished 2nd Womens' Overall, she didn't get 2nd in the "Elite" division (didn't get money), but got 1st in the Women's 4 mile 12'6" division.  

Confused?  We were too.  Lesson learned for us - pay close attention to the registration details.  It's all good either way and it was so cool that several winners gave their prize money back to the proceeds going to Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, which was an awesome gesture.  Big thanks and props also to William Pope and his wife for auctioning off the new board his wife won in the raffle at the awards party and giving the proceeds back to the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad.

Photo finish - Noah Colino edging out McIntyre at the finish line.  McIntyre finished 2nd overall in the Women's 12'6" 4 mile race behind Anne Gassett and was 2nd Junior in the 12'6" 4 mile race.  Congrats to Anne on her win!

Fun camaraderie after the finish

Great to have my long time buddy Mark Pace at the race

Noah & McIntyre

Noah & Mark Colino

"It's a dog eat dog world out there and I'm wearing milk bone underwear" - Norm of Cheers

It was all about the kids and besides the very close finishes in the other races, the kids race had one too!  Looks like they're having fun!

My son Jake


Didn't get this little guy's name but he was on it!

Jake and I flashing our shaka east coast rules gangsta signs...LOL!

Did I mention the kids had a great time?


Fun live music from The Librarians

Yeah!  For an 11 year old, much better than a the victor go the spoils!

Waterturtle family race team

Audience participation on stage with The Librarians

Did some SUP surfing that afternoon after the race at Ramp 43 below the lighthouse.  The wind was around 10mph...not too strong that Mark Pace and I couldn't paddle surf with our larger SUP surfboards on some fun waist high right handers but strong enough for some of the guys to do some light wind SUP wavesailing.  Ken Kellar and Ralph Moore got some nice wave rides on their SUP wavesailing machines.   No pics of that action but here is Ralph at Canadian Hole on Sunday where we had some fun flat water slalom blasting. 

Equipment failure.  It was an explosion on the water when that boom broke.  It was an old boom and I had replaced the boom head on it once already.  It was time for a replacement anyway.  Just glad it broke close to shore.

The 3 Amigos ride again - Waterturtle, Mark Pace, Ralph Moore

Lit up on my 6.4 sail and 94lt board.  Most everyone else were on smaller sails.


Canadian Hole is a great place for the family to play while Daddy windsurfs


The Human Catapult, Aaron Vieira was in town from San Francisco, revisiting a place he used to sail way back. 

Aaron was busting out the big freestyle moves.  Sorry we didn't them captured on film Aaron!