Spring Break on the North Shore of Oahu was unbelievable!
We were on the water every day SUP surfing or paddling beautiful down-winders.
This was a classic "dream trip", made that way by the truly gracious Aloha of some amazing people. First, our friends on the North Shore: Jen, Petey and Thatcher for stoking us out with the post-card location and access to some incredible paddling.
Blane Chambers and Austin Yonehiro, the heart and soul of Paddle Surf Hawaii, gave me a great deal on a demo PSH custom board to use during our stay. I bought a fresh Kialoa Pu'u from them as well and I was blown away with the paddle. The Pu'u will be my race/every day blade from here on out this season. Super clean catch and release, the light weight, the shaft/handle shape is perfect and the face size felt great in all conditions. What ever concerns I had on the smaller blade, vanished out on the water. I was able to accelerate on to waves and small wind bumps and I felt strong at the end of a good down wind effort.
Last and definitely not least on the mahalo list, is Gordon Saker who designs boards and has them made by Casey. Where Blane is cutting edge and pushing the performance envelope, the Gordon/Casey is definitely more of a traditional surf board in shape and construction.
Just to be able to paddle two distinctly different SUPs in varying conditions was such an honor and an eye opener. Both platforms are beautiful and I miss them already. If I could, I would try to own one of each. The 10'x 28 1/4"x 4 1/4", thruster fin, PSH was way too small for me, by the dimensions, and in reality I could paddle it into bigger waves than I have ever been on. I was able to paddle confidently in all but the gnarliest trade winds, and it didn't matter what you were on at that point. I paddled into a small line-up of guys at Sunset (right/out-side) and the friendly guy was the only other SUP surfer on a PSH. He tipped me on the reef/do's & dont's, then split off for home. A Hui Ho and Mahalo.
Blane knows his trade and I will have to try to get a PSH into my quiver.
The Gordon/Casey is shaped like a thick, single fin, gun at 11'6" x 28" x ?". I surfed a clean, 3 foot Hawaiian (head-high+ by east coast measure) at Freddies, just off to the left at V-land and it was a magical day. As fast as I could drop in and turn back out to catch the next set, all alone for two hours...I was tore-up from the floor-up! This board was versatile in the down wind runs as well. Thanks again G-man, enjoy the Stellas.
I can't/won't begin to critique the boards as I am the epitome of a neophyte to the SUP scene. Suffice to say that every minute I spent moving across the Pacific on these fantastic watercraft was epiphanic!
I "surfed" Sunset, V-land, Freddies, Haleiwa, Chuns and Kawela Bay. We cruised some sedate early morning paddles on still waters and we had a couple of epic down wind runs from V-land to Log Cabins (approx 3-4 miles). Oh yeah, throw in a 20 mile, Hawaii Kai, down wind, one-man outrigger relay race the day after we landed, as a warm up event!
We landed back at the "Beach" here in Virginia today to 45 degrees and rain.
I already broke the promise to myself to go out no-matter-what and get some miles in.
My only goal for the remainder of the day is to survive until 8-9PM and then dream about the warm waters of the North Shore.