Friday, 27 July 2012

Magnum 5-0...

Its been a couple of months since I posted on Perth Breakfast Paddles, and this post is a ring in, because I'm not in Kansas anymore Toto. I'm in Hawaii, islands of volcanoes, big surf, Magnum PI, Lost, Hawaii 5-O and the cult of Spam worship (no, I'm not kidding).

It might be mid summer here but my paddling adventures on the Windward side of Oahu have been anything but smooth waters...

It was the morning after the night before. Molokai Geoff and I had been out to a great restaurant in Kailua - Formaggio's - and were feeling somewhat the worse for wear. Particularly Geoff, who on our 1am meandering walk home had run his hand along a fence and fed his index finger to an acrobatic pitbull that just wouldn't take “F$$k off!” for an answer.

After retrieving the car and a spot of breakfast at Whole Foods (a gourmet supermarket – the only place we could get a seat) we went to Twogood Kayaks, owned by local paddling legend Bob Twogood. Bob had kindly agreed to loan me an Epic V10 Sport so I could go for a paddle with the reigning Hawaiian State Surfski Champion, own own Molokai Geoff (his first race ever. Really.) I had never paddled anything but a plastic before so it was with some trepidation that we hit the Kailua canal from the grassy shores of Chez Geoff. MG was on his race-proven Epic V12, and is looking as fit as I have ever seen him. I, on the other hand, was looking like I had been imprisoned in a doughnut factory for the past 8 weeks. My trusty steed back home, the Finn Endorfinn, has a separate footwell for each foot and no footstraps, so the feet-together-and-strapped-in rig of the V10 Ultra was alien. I had anticipated spending quite some time in the drink despite the famed stability of the V10 Sport, as the beam width was significantly less than the Endorfinn.

As I headed of down the canal, I was blown away at how fast and stable the V10 Sport was. The surf rudder gave it a vastly different feel from the trailing rudder on my Endorfinn, and as I pushed my foot down to turn, the whole boat went with the rudder movement. I was instantly able to get a good leg drive going even after so many weeks without paddling and really enjoyed my first non-plastic paddle.

The canal was full of very large sea turtles ('Honu' - in the local lingo) as we went past one of my old haunts – Pinkys Pupu Bar and Grill, which sadly looks like it has seen better days. These Honu are not much fun to hit and will apparently take out a rudder quick smart.

By the time we went past Obama's holiday house (I'm not kidding about that either) the conditions were not favorable for a fat bloke out on his first paddle on a thin bloke's ski. The surf, although not large, was choppy  as we paddled into a stiff 15-20kt breeze. I got a surprising distance out before I fell out for the first and only time. I got back on, but not quite in, quickly, and just as quickly was back in the drink. The leashless paddle floated away before MG brought it back and I could remount successfully.
An uncommon attack of common sense overwhelmed me (where was it the night before when we were in the dodgiest bar in Kailua?) and I told MG that I wasn't particularly happy about heading out further when the next landmass we would get to would be Alaska, so we turned around, and thats when it really became fun.

I rode a waveski for years in my late teens/early 20s and loved it. Whilst the ride is a little different, like the ladies at the Coogee Bay Hotel in the mid 90s the V10 Sport only required minor effort before I was picked up. Unlike anything that may or may not have happened back then, this ride was  long, satisfying and most certainly enjoyable and I had no urge to take a Crying Game shower when it all finished. MG kindly filmed a heap of stuff on his Go Pro camera during our brief 5km paddle (including my turtle-on-its-back efforts to get back into the boat!), but the thing I was left with was an overwhelming desire to get a V10 Sport. Now. I don't think Mrs Blue will be very happy about that, but hey, forgiveness is easier to get than permission, and five and a half months of absence is surely going to make her heart grow fonder....
Isn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Blue. Great to hear that you've found some time to get back in the bucket. Once you've paddled a composite downwind you'll never go back and I'm sure the missus will understand! Please give Molokai Geoff my regards.

    Cheers Simon