Jul 30, 2012

END-WET: adventures in North Dakota

WOW..... I would have never guessed I would have so much fun and meet such amazing people in North Dakota. I have been in Grand Forks North Dakota for a week and I feel sad to leave.

The 3 SUP racers for END WET (Joel, me, and Grant!)

North Dakota is FLAT… possibly the flattest place I have ever been to date. Andy picked me and my Starboard Astro inflatable up at the Winnipeg airport. We drove about 2.5 hours south to Grand Forks North Dakota.

The next morning we got up for a media paddle/swim. The big event for END WET this year was the 12 solo swimmers attempting to swim 27 miles of the Red River from Grand Forks N.D to Oslo MN. SUP was like a demo sport/introduction of the sport to the area of Grand Forks. We had a fleet of 5 inflatables 2 of which were also racing with me the 27 miles down the Red River. Thanks to Trident Sports STARBOARD boards were the board of choice at this event and hopefully within the population of Grand Forks ND thereafterJ
The rest of Thursday was dedicated to heping Andy get ready for the event and enjoy meeting some new folks from the area. I was also able to sneak in a 45min run along the Red RiverJ

The most impressive part of END WET swimming 27 miles!

I spent my evenings at the Pecks residence. The Pecks are an amazing family composed of an amazingly talented photographer (father), the most helpful volunteer and kind person (mother) and two amazingly talented daughters! They took care of me for most of my nights in North Dakota. I cannot thank them enough and truly hope to meet them again!

Friday I decided to join Tammi for a 5:45am Ashtanga Yoga class at the community YMCA. It was fabulous but truly very early for me. I do love morning activities as long as I stil get my 8 hours of sleepJ After the fabulous wake up call/yoga class I joined some yogis for breakfast at Dakota Harvest, a local café that also supported the END WET race. YUMMY. The rest of the day consisted of hydrating and ding some more pre race faff.

Saturday: RACE DAY!

Paddling out the swimmers at 7am!

Start of paddling portion of END WET

Portage after 1.97 miles

I got the fabulous honours of paddling out with the swimmers for the first 1.97miles of the swim. It was yet a nother early morning BUT totally worth it. 15 swimmers headed out into the Red Rover at 7am. There were 12 solo swimmers (1 swimmer completed the entire swim while doing the butterfly stroke!) and 3 relay swim teams. It took the first swimmers about 35minutes to complete the first part of the swim. Everyone had to get out of the water for a mandatory portage around the dam. Once the swimmers were through we had another 3 hours until the paddlers got to begin. Grant (another SUP racer) and I helped out Andy with paddler registration and guarding of the boats. Eventually we met up with Joel (the 3rd SUP paddler for the event) we hung out and tested out the boards. We were all on the Starboard Astro Inflatables. Not ideal for racing on flat water but great for travelling and beginners!

Once the race got way it was HOT out but I had my camelback filled with nuun and some snacks packed in there just in case. The first 1.97 miles to the portage were quick. I came in 5th place among all paddlers! I decided to run the portage. I was wearing the INOV 8 evoskins for added protection against the little rocks and spiky grass. They worked, but ended up taking them off for the rest of the paddle so my feet could breathe. The rest of the paddle was calm, quiet, HOT but peaceful. My hands were blistering from my sweat but I was okay with that. At the half way point I stoped at the pantoon and refilled my water and got a cold snickers bar (sooooo good!Thank you Peck Family!) Refueled and excited for the last part of the race. I was really excited to pass some swimmers and see how they were holding up. I managed to paddle past 10 of the 15 swimmers and I have to say I was impressed. Everytime I passed a swimmer I told myself I had to reason to complain about the heat or my blistered hands or my triceps getting sore…. It was nothing compared to them….I managed to finish in about 5 hours 15min  which is acceptable for me ont hat board. I was hoping to get under 5 hours but am still happy with my paddle. I stuck around with Andy and Wes Peck until the final swimmer came in at 14 hours and 30 minutes. Dan the butterfly machine! It was an awesome day out on the water and a great race. I can feel the SUP stoke building in this little flat town! LOVE

END WET SUP on red river....27 miles!

Mile markers on the RED, 6 miles left to go!
YEAH! Finish line! 5 hours 15 min
Finish was in Oslo, MN!

Pretending I am as hardcore as the swimmers! Robert, Tobias, and Eric all finished the 27 mile swim along with the all the other competitors!

Emma shows her Congrats to DAD, Dave!
AMAZING! Butterfly for 27 miles, 14 hours and 30 min! Inspiring!
Sunday we all had a well deserved sleep and got up in time for the awards ceremony at 11am. The awards took place at the Fire Hall Theatre. Darren Miller inspired us by showing us a film about his many swim crossings from around the world, the mayor spoke and the awards were presented! The vibe was just so positive and exciting, I loved chatting to swimmers from around the continent and world(Malaysia!). After a quick lunch with the Pecks we headed to a local Park so I could teach a SUP clinic and have people try out the demo Starboard boards. About 15 people showed up and I would have to call it a great success! People were out on the boards, smiling, laughing, trying different tricks, falling in! It was AWESOME!

Land Intro to the class

Practicing some complex yoga moves

Pros already!

360 on the board! 



New Instructor Andy!
Monday I went out for a road ride with Tammi and her friend Allison. It was about 1 hour 45min and I sure felt like I hadn’t been on a road bike in a very long time… It was really fun to get out on the roads with these ladies though, despite having a sore bum I was all smiles the whole time! Later that afternoon we took the entire Magness clan out on the oards and paddled from Lincoln Park to town. The boys were jumping from board to board and I was trying to help out with ideas for potential SUP yoga and SUP Fit classes they could teach! In the evening I got to help out with club climb night at the roack gym. I also got to try a few climbs which totally gave me some climbing stoke back! SOOOOO many fun things to do and sooo little time to do it all… AHHHHH!

Tuesday, it was time to fly back to Vancouver!

I had such a wonderful time in Grand Forks! Thanks to Andy and Tammi Magness, the Peck family and all the wonderful people I met that are part of this cool little community! I will never forget you!

Live, love, laugh,…DREAM!

headstand pros!
ALL PICTURES were taken by WES PECK! Awesome job and thanks for sharing! 


live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Jul 23, 2012

SUP and solo canoe Trip Report: Algonquin Park- Opeongo Lake -Lake Lavielle Loop

Our route through Algonquin Park Opeongo-Lake Lavielle-Dickson-Opeongo Loop

Here is a trip report form the view point of a stand up paddleboarder. The shop guys at Algonquin Park Outfitters believe I might have been the first to SUP this loop through Algonquin Park. I encourage others to try it out. It was beautiful, and a wonderful experience on a SUP. 

We were not heading out to break records (although maybe got a first timer on this one without even trying...but who's counting:)), we were aiming for a relaxing, immersed in nature, paddling through new surroundings kind of trip. 

I flew from Vancouver with the inflatable SUP board, the pump, the safety kit and the paddle. The SUP essentials, along with some clothes all managed to weigh under the allowance of 23kg for the plane ride over. I had a small packback for my carry on with my labtop and other small electronic things. No extra fees and I got to bring a board:)

My dad being an amazing dad drove us down to Algonquin. We left Port Credit Sunday morning. It took about 4 hours to get to Opeongo Lake Outfitters. The South tip of the south arm of Opeongo Lake is entrance point 11 in Algonquin Park terms. I had the inflatable Starboard Astro (11'2x32") board, the 3 piece Nitro Werner Paddle, and the Mustang Survivor Inflatable PFD belt. I wore my Ryders Duchess Polarized sunglasses, Starboard boardies, and mostly just some two piece bathing suits. Andrew rented a solo Swift canoe (which he really enjoyed!)

Andrew carried most of the gear in the canoe. I started off with the sleeping bags, my repair kit, pump and some water on the board but by the end of the 5 days Andrew was carrying it all:)

The vessels!
Pumping up the inflatable
Opeongo Point to the squaw Bay (West shore of Opeongo Lake).
5.14km, 1h26m moving time

We left Opeongo Outfitters about 3:15pm and arrived at our campsite at about 5pm. There was a strong headwind when we left so we stuck to the eastshore of the lake as far as Bates island and then crossed to the West Shore. The waves were totally manageable and I felt good on the board. I had the sleeping bags, my water, the SUP bag with the pump and repair kit on my board which I attached on the front bungees. The gear was light and I had no issues with it on the board. I kept the board inflated while we camped but did pull it up the cliff. 

Heading out on the South Arm of Opeongo Lake

Squaw Bay to Proulx Lake
15.0km, 3h24m moving time.
175m and 965m portages. We took two trips for each, carrying the board on top of the canoe.
Camped on a rocky headland on the west shore of the lake.

We woke up early in hopes of calm waters. We had read and heard that Opeongo Lake can get pretty rough and windy. We did infact awake to calm waters and so ate and packed up quickly and got on the water by 8am. We paddled through to the North Arm Portage with no problems, stopping to take pictures and for a swim. For the portage we tried two methods. First we kept the board inflated and put it on top of the canoe and carried the bags on our backs. This was okay but slow and a little heavy to carry.  For the last part of the portage we decided to leave the canoe and carried the board and bags and doubled back for the canoe. There was only about 400m left on the portage so no problems AND we were in no rush as we were very close to our destination and it was only noon! We paddled to a rocky point on the west shore of the lake, we landed at about 1:30pm. The campsite had a drying line set up, with bbq racks and a nice campfire pit. We lounged around and read. In the early evening Andrew headed out on the SUP and I went for a swim along side... A nice campsite with sunset and sunrise spots on the point. 

North Arm Opeongo Lake

Relaxing at the Proulx Lake Campsite
Campsite on Proulx
Yoga on the rocks
Frog on Proulx Lake
Proulx  Lake to Big Crow Lake
14.4km, 3h30m moving time.
We left Proulx Lake campsite at a reasonable hour. Had a little morning swim and took our time to the beginning of Crow river. We paddled Crow River into Little Crow Lake which was weedy, but passable. There was moderate headwind towards the end of the day. We had lunch on Little Crow Lake on the first campsite you reach. This campsite looked great and we ate on some rocks in the sun! Following lunch we headed towards Big Crow Lake. The winds were starting to really pick up but I really wanted to check out this island campsite on the opposite side of the lake. We were moving through some strong headwinds but managed to reach the campsite only to find it filled with lots of wind-damaged trees. After some discussions we decided to head downwind to check out the other campsites. I loved this one for its private beach but the damaged trees and site made it less comfortable. We headed downwind (managed to get some rides). I saw groups coming from Little Crow so pushed hard to get to the campsite before they arrived (campsites are first come first serve on the reserved lake). We managed to get a beach site at the south-east end near the mouth of the Crow River. It was a great campsite with all ammenities and a huge beach!

Note: On Small Crow River between Proulx and little Crow Lake it would be a good idea to take off your middle fin if you can. I did not do this but had to constantly stop and get Andrew to pull off the long mush of weeds... it was slow and weedy. We stopped for lunch at 1st campsiteon little croa lake (really nice!). We went to the island campsite on Big Crow Lake but a storm that hit 

Heading into Crow River
Heading into Crow River
Beach on Big Crow Lake
Big Crow Lake to Lake Lavielle
23.7km, 6h15m moving time.
Shallow and weedy river was slow going. Seven short portages plus some sections of wading and lifting the boat over rocks and beaver dams.
Frustrating and slow progress, but a beautiful campsite on a rocky outcrop at the entrance of Lake Lavielle.

We left Big Crow Lake at a reasonable hour. We found the little hike off of Crow River and decided to park the boats and check it out. There had been numerous storms through the area in the winter and spring so there were some deadfall still hanging about... The trail suddenly seemed to end and we weren't sure if it was in fact the end or not... the bugs were a little annoying and we felt we had seen enough so we decided to head back. On the return trip Andrew remembered to check the GPS and it turned out that we did have about 300m or so left to go...oh well. We returned to the boats and continued pass the portage and along the river. The portage wasn't too bad but longer than I would have liked:) But the most difficult aspects came next. The river was slow, shallow, rocky, had tree debris and leeches... Sometimes we had to carry the canoe/SUP over the rocks and there was certainly alot of jumping on and off the board. I had the fin off my board which was a great plan and would recommend this to anyone paddling this river. I was a little cautious with my board as I really didn't want to poke a whole through it... I am sure I could have paddled over more of the rocks etc without tearing up the board. There were 4 other short (about 1-2km) portages that we ended up doubling back for gear. The bugs were worse on the portages which did make me move faster:)  It was slow progress through the river but I definitely enjoyed most of it. When we finally did reach the Lake I was a happy camper! We found a great campsite at the entrance of Lake Laveille and enjoyed the quiet evening with the lake to ourselves!
Crow River
Crow River
Lake Lavielle
Swimming on Lake Lavielle
Lake Lavielle to Opeongo East Arm
23.7km, 5h50m moving time.
Long Portage (Dickson-Bonfield - 5.3km) was tough going, but worked well with Lina carrying all the gear in two packs while I carried the canoe on the yoke and paddleboard deflated in the pack.
We camped at the end of the last portage on the end of Opeongo East Arm.

We woke up and departed our beautiful camp spot on Lake Lavielle by 9am. We enjoyed a morning swim out in the middle of the Lake and finally had a small tail wind to help us get to the end of the Lake. We were in no rush as this Lake was very pretty with islands, rocks, trees, and quietness that we appreciated! The portage to Dickson Lake was nice, short, and easy. On Dickson we once again experienced some nice headwind:) we had lunch at a campsite across the bay form the long portage. When we finally arrived to the beginning of the portage, we took our time arranging our gear in hopes of a successful and not too uncomfortable 5.3 km portage. We deflated the SUP and packed it in the backpack along with the 3 piece paddle. We fit the rest of the gear in the two remaining back packs. I took all the gear and Andrew took the canoe and board:) It took us about 2 hours to walk the 5.3km portage. We then re-inflated the SUP and managed the next two short paddles and portages to the East Shore of Opeongo Lake with smiles on our faces. We camped by the end of the last portage. Long hard day but enjoyable nonetheless. 

Hard Core!
Loaded and ready for the portage

YES! The Portage is OVER!
Opeongo East Arm to Opeongo Point
15.7km, 2h 52m moving time.
6.30am start to beat the winds with mist rising off the water. A fast paddle back to our starting point on Opeongo Point.

We woke up at 5:40am, ate, packed up and we were on the water around 6:30am. It took us 3 hours to get back to Opeongo Outfitters. We stopped for two swim breaks (it was hot out). Mostly calm waters with slight headwind at times. We finished our trip off with ice cream and left over coffee while waiting for my dad to come pick us up! TOTAL SUCCESS!

6:30am start with the mist rising from the water

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!


Jul 17, 2012

Canadian Eastern SUP Championships: Race Report

July 7th 2012 Oakville/Port Credit Ontario
Coming into the river and close to the finish line

As my time in China was coming to an end I was getting more and more excited about possible SUP races/events I could do this summer, fall, winter and in the future. Being away from the sport for 10 months I realized just how much I missed the sport and the community of people involved with it. Due to reasons that were out of our control, there was a little of a disappointment with a failed plan to travel for a month in asia this summer. When our plans were no longer feasible , we made new plans to head to Ontario to see the Augaitis + extensions side of the family. Luckily, I had found a SUP race that was in Asta's back door during the time we could be in Ontario. It was perfect.

I had brought my Starboard Inflatable Astro (11'2 x 32') board (for a trip we planned through Algonquin..more on that in a future post) to Ontario. I had hoped to get out maybe on a race board in Vancouver before heading to Ontario but that was a little ambitious and I wasn't surprised when it didn't work out. So, when we finally settled into Port Credit I pumped up the Astro and took it out a for a paddle on Lake Ontario. It is no race board but it felt good to be out and paddling.

The next two days consisted of a lot of Augaitis family fun and little to no training of any sorts other than preparing for how to deal with infant and small children:) It was great fun though!
Kiefer trying out paddling from the dock

Saturday morning my dad and I headed out to the Port Credit Marina to meet Mark Scriver (Starboard Rep for Ontario and the east coast of Canada) to check out the board I was to borrow for the race. I was going to borrow the Starboard 14 foot Ace Pro board. We packed it on the trailor heading to the race start in Oakville, the excitement and nrevousness was building. Later as more people arrived and I began talking to and meeting other racers I found out that I was not allowed to race a 14ft board (WPA rules that ladies paddle 12'6). I was a little flustered as I wanted to be legit for the race but now needed a race board to paddle that was 12'6. Derek Schro (race director and owner of Paddle Sport Performance), the folks from Boardworks Surf Canada, and Paula Rivard More stepped in and were amazing! They set me up with a 12'6 M&M within minutes and about 5 minutes before we had to head out to the start of the race. I can not thank them enough for lending me a board I could race and being very helpful in setting it up and ensuring I got a good race board to use for the race. I ended up using my 3 piece carbon  nitro werner paddle. Using a 3 piece paddle is not ideal for a race but I had brought it for the expedition and no one else had a paddle short enough for me (I like em short!). So there I was on a board I had never tried, with a paddle that was not my race paddle. I can't say it increased my confidence before the race but it did make the beginning adventurous:) I never seem to do things the simple way:) Nonetheless I was very pleased I could race, so I was all smiles!

The ladies started the race off with a ten minute start ahead of the men. It was a battle right from the start line between myself and the local paddler Jessica Rando. She is strong. We battled it out for the first half... She was drafting me for the first while but I chose not to draft her as I was a little unsure of how it would work for me (lack of practice...) I just wanted to focus on paddling for this race. After awhile she came out to the side and we sortof chose slightly different routes. I went a little wider and offshore. After about the half way point there was a big bay and being out in front I wasn't totally sure of the exact route and which way would be quickest to the finish line. I couldn't really tell if the marina was in the bay or the other end of the bay or somewhere completely different. I was sort of hoping some of the men would be passing me soon to show me the way. I had to look back a couple of times to see where Jessica was going. Eventually, about 3/4 of the way through the race some men started to fly by. I felt a little more comfortable now that someone was in front but I was definitely feeling the pain in my shoulders and triceps and I was beginning to get the wobbles through my legs. I was getting tired, and my lack of  paddling while in China was beginning to really show... I am usually confident in my abilities to keep pushing with  the same amount of effort and ease throughout an endurance race. I had no idea how close or far Jessica was behind me as I started getting close to the entrance of the river. There was slight headwind, and my body was definitely breaking down.

I love having a cheering squad. Hearing people scream my name and motivate me  to keep paddling was a saving grace. My family was out on the corner at the entrance of the river and they kept me moving with their amazing support! I pushed it through to the end and finished in 1 hour 57min. Jessica was only a minute behind. It felt great to win, and great to have a real close race!
My "I won" Pose

Congratulations to fellow racer Jessica

I hung around the end, cheering folks through to the finish. Awards were at the Broken Cue. They had some great food and beverages. I had to receive my award and head off back to the Augaitis clan to enjoy some family fun with them before Andrew and I headed off to Algonquin the following day.


Top 3 elite women!

Thanks Derek and Paddle Sport Performance for a great race!

Results HERE

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!