Aug 29, 2014

Toronto to Hawaii to Hood River.. Life on the road

I've been busy enjoying the moments, the travel, and the people that I have failed to sit and spend time with my computer.  I am now in Vernon, BC the day before our big race here in Canada and have found some time to reflect on all the amazing adventures from the last couple of weeks.

From Maine I got the chance to pop back up to Canada to visit my sisters and dad in Toronto. Luckily everyone was in one spot for the few days that I got to be there. Even though it wasn't home for me it felt like home being with family. Unfortunately, I don't get to see them very much being so far away and travel within Canada being so expensive. I mostly concentrated on my niece and nephews... they are beautiful little tiny beings that are changing soooo quickly.... Some of the simple pleasures: I got to go swimming with Kiefer, enjoy rides on Toronto Island with Krissy and the gang, and pretty much fell in love with Lukas.... the happiest, most chill baby ever.. I love spending time with my sisters, I actually get pedicures, dress up, go shopping... haha things I rarely do back home (we do more than that but they do live in a BIG city where these adventures are easier...)
Augaitis girls with Tete!


Kiefer with cotton candy and SIC shirt

 Leaving family was difficult, but I was making my way back to Hawaii/Waikiki which is pretty darn awesome too.  I had been there two weeks before at the finish of M2O with some of the same fellow paddlers that I now found myself with again... It was great and comfortable. I had my first upgrade experience on the plane.. woohoo first class... food, easy sleeping.... I am all about it...
Ultimate showdown event was different and a really great event but not my forte with a surf competition and wave racing... but I went, as I wanted to challenge myself and be part of the experience. So great to see the SUP community from athletes to industry, Onit Pro good to see you were there! Well, I experienced unbelievably positive support from other athletes, realized that I can have very bad races, experienced that teammates are the best (Sonni many many thanks), and most importantly that racing is just a small part of who I am...

Acai bowl: had these everyday
Team SIC in Oahu Sonni, me, Livio

Hood River is a magical outdoor paradise... I think if I wasn't so in love with BC it would be a place I would like to live... You got mountains, trails, and water, and a really cute fun little town... This year it was even more magical getting to spend my time with the SIC family, where we happen to be in a gorgeous house, with a killer view, and racing in a stellar event, the Gorge Paddle Challenge which also happen to attract the best of the best this year. I also had another family there at the event, Werner Paddles, thank you for the support!!!! I was feeling a little down from the past weekend and put some pressure on myself to do well (in the course race). I was not gunning for overall just yet as my skill set just isnt there in the waves but in the course race I put the highest expectations on myself. I needed to clear my head and start a fresh and for some reason I couldn't shake off my performance in Oahu... Luckily for me the course race went well... I pushed hard and managed to pull off a second place among some pretty amazing ladies. I was actually happy with my downwind races the next day too. I didn't podium but I felt better out there in the waves... I cannot compete yet with racers that downwind/train in the waves on a daily basis.... I havent had time to go and learn this year with racing all the time... but compared to before I am improving and that is what counts....

Racers chillin after the race

end of day 2 not sure who took this photo?

paddling in race photo: Mike Dowd

Podium day 1: 2nd place

Team SIC with Aquino kids Junior Warrior Team

Team SIC in a van

Thanks kids for making me feel like a STAR! Signing Autographs

Now I find myself back in BC Canada. I am not quite home yet but close enough...
I have been in Vernon BC working with Kalavida Surf Shop, teaching clinics and getting the Kalamalka Classic ready for the weekend. I also got the chance to fly in a small plane from Vernon to Penticton thanks to Pete from Naramata Sun N' Sup. I had the chance to head down there to teach a clinic as well. Naramata is just the loveliest, peaceful, beautiful place. I truly enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion with others... gosh I just love teaching:) (which is a good thing since I am a teacher)...

Kalavida Surf Shop Clinic 1 photo Dot Jordan

Naramata Sun n SUP

Clinic at Sun n SUP photo: Eileen M

CLinic Sun N SUP photo: Eileen M

My ride from vernon to Penticton/Naramata THANKS Pete!

Kalavida surf shop and those associated with it really make me feel like I am at home... maybe some day it will be my home:)?!!??!!?! I am spending time at friend Allan's house... with some pretty unbelievable folk...LUCKY lucky girl.... thank you for taking care of me!

I finally will see my man tonight:)))))))))) STOKED! and then will spend two weeks back in Vancouver before the last trip down the coast to California for the end of the main season of racing. So, far its been a wild, beautiful, unforgettable ride....

I am a little over airplane travel... so am excited to travel by land for a little bit... (other than the four seater Pete style flights... that I could do all the time:))

life surely is one big amazing adventure...

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!


Aug 13, 2014

Lobster SUP CUP: Beautiful Maine

Camden Harbour, Maine


I feel so lucky to have gotten the opportunity to explore a little gem hidden in the northeast of the US in the state of Maine. Camden, ME is this fun little coastal town along a beaut of a harbour and filled with tourists (in tourist season). Surprisingly, it is totally a little outdoor mecca too!

I got the fine pleasure to have participated in a great grassroot, unique, fun, and beautiful race called the Lobster SUP CUP.

I arrived Friday evening so missed most of the "party" but caught the tail end which included my first ever Lobster roll and some delicious chicken tacos from Fox on the Run: this great local food truck... AMAZINGNESS! I already love this place. I also got the pleasure to stay with the race organizers in their house, whom happen to be some of the nicest, entertaining, and helpful folks. Their house was this beautiful old 1800's house with a white picket fence, a stone's throw away from town...
Fox on the Run food truck

Saturday day 1: We started in Camden where we had a great race briefing some fruits and bars and time to get our things together. There were a ton of Werner Paddles and SIC boards around, I loved it... I felt like I was on the teams to be on:) The crowd was positive and welcoming. Our actual start was a short paddle away at Kurtis Island to avoid the busy harbour boats. The start was totally fun as the water was messy with chop from all directions. As I was paddling out to the first buoy I could hear people falling in the water all around me... I had to really focus so I would not join the party going in the water and stick with the crowd staying ON the water...The waters off the start definitely challenged some folk which allowed the field to spread apart. Around the first buoy at the graveyard rocks we headed for a very very light downwind (we were hoping for more but...) to the next buoy.. then along the coast and into the harbour. It was very peaceful and serene out there. The harbour tour during the race was kind of fun as you could take any line you wanted through the boats as long as you came into the harbour on the right side.... I was a little concerned about this section at first but in the end it was totally fun with people cheering and others totally confused, the traffic... chaotic but organized and entertaining. The hardest part was going through the finish knowing we had another smaller lap to go... hahaha... always tough on the mind but it is good practice and training:) So, after the harbour tour, off we went for a second different lap... that lap was okay until the last bit where I was done mentally... but once I crossed the line it felt great to be finished, tired, and sore... I love that feeling when you worked your body nice and hard. I was on a SIC X12'6 PRO and faired fairly well amongst the men on 14ft boards... Cyril came across in first and Bill from St Croix in 2nd. Kim from NE came in 2nd for the ladies.
Thor and Mark, the brains and power behind Lobster SUP CUP!

Saturday evening was probably the highlight of my weekend in Maine. I got to retrieve some lobsters right from their traps, put them in the cooler, walk them up the docks, bring them to the house, dump them in the steamer, AND then EAT them.. it was my first ever lobster feast and I loved it!!! Alex kindly provided the lobsters that he caught that day, the Benjamin family provided their home and Thor and Amy helped host...
carrying the empty soon to be filled cooler to the docks
picking the lobster
Alex, the lobster man

Sunday was day 2, the second 10mile race of the weekend. I definitely felt sore in my triceps but otherwise pretty good. I actually haven't done two long paddles back to back in awhile... so it was feeling good to be sore and tired... The second day we took off at Rockport Harbour a quieter picturesque harbour just down the road from Camden. Here we did a big triangle course where we headed to the breakwater of Rockland yet another harbour along the coast. The coast line is quite pretty in these parts and it was really fun to get to see these different harbours and areas over the weekend. Thor and Mark did a great job of showing off their amazing surroundings. The wind was extremely light on day 2 but the water in parts was pretty swirly so you still had to be on your toes and pay attention. It was a beautiful day and a great course for day 2. I definitely felt my body once we reached the end:) I managed to win the races over the weekend and therefore the overall title!
Top 3 ladies
Thank you SOPO SUP (Portland, ME) for the amazing support
My last morning in Camden was an early one. Thor picked me up with running shoes and we headed for a trail run up and over Mount Battie. Once we returned to our starting point we switched the shoes for boards and paddles and went for a SUP around Rockport Harbour. Totally my kind of morning and it was a beaut of a morning too with gorgeous views and peaceful paddles.... I ended my time with lunch with the ladies at Salt Water Farm in Rockport. It has the perfect patio overlooking the harbour with some great food and people. THANK YOU Mark, Thor, Amy, Karin, SIC, and everyone for helping me make it to this race. I HIGHLY recommend anyone to put this race on their calendar for next year you will NOT regret it....

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Aug 5, 2014

Aloha time is always good for the soul: M2O Partner Style

Last year was my first crossing of the channel SOLO UNL. There were many firsts for me last year when it came to BIG ocean paddling. I kind of threw myself out there for the challenge and adventure. It was all AMAZING and a great learning experience. I met some amazing folks who helped me along the journey of becoming the first Canadian female SUP paddler to cross the channel of bones.

 This year, I came into the race a different paddler with different goals and a different history. Being a truly competitive person, I knew this year I would not have 3 weeks to train on Maui and improve my ocean skills. I did not want to do worse than last year so decided to change it up and find a partner and try it partner style... That way it was something new and different and adventurous but I still got to be out there enjoying the amazing atmosphere and ocean. I asked Art to be my partner, it seemed like a great fit, we were both from PNW, rode SIC boards, paddled Werner Paddles and he is kind of obsessed with downwinding... I also found out he is one stellar guy.... I felt lucky to have him as my partner and share this awesome experience with him.  We were on a production 14ft SIC Bullet V2 which really is a perfect board for these conditions. Stable, glides with ease, great for catching waves and has the trademark SIC handle for a great grip in the wind. Our boat Captain, Captain Dan had a fab boat and two awesome helpers with him, Shelley helped with getting us back on the boat after our switches and the other mate took a ton of pictures! Art and I paddled together for the first time on the Wed before the race.. haha... We met on Maui and shared a Maliko run. We talked strategy and he gave me some downwind pointers. On Thursday we practiced some switches with a leash and on Friday we were off to Molokai. We didn't have much time but we totally made it work!

We ferried across to Molokai which was beautiful and fun, also helpful since I had to bring my whole load as I was flying home from Oahu and those small planes to Molokai don't allow for large luggage. This year I got to stay at the race start... it was an interesting experience but totally worked out. It was like a slumber party and I got to sleep outside on the porch amongst the stars and nature... loved it. Luckily we got to meet Dan our captain on Saturday where we could load most of our things onto the boat which makes for a less stressful race morning. I also met Chuck, my captain from last year that happened to be chillin on Dan's boat..small world love!

 The race:

 I started us off. I had a pretty good start but everything always gets a little crazy when boats start finding their paddlers.. HAHA. At least I managed to stay on top of the board:) Art and I decided to switch off every half hour which was great, we got a little bit of time to relax and then just enough time to push hard and get into a rhythm. I would definitely recommend this timing for teams thinking of partnering up for M2O. So once the first half hour was up it was time to jump in the water. I was the most nervous about the switches, hanging out in the water treading water until the boat came around and picked me up in the middle of the ocean was very nerve racking, who nerves what was lurking down there under me. I later found out that some paddlers actually had encounters with sharks... AH.. Funny enough once we started racing I didn't think about sharks and scary ocean creatures too much and rather enjoyed the feeling of being out there in the middle of the ocean treading water... hmmm.. Anyways, Art rocked it once it was his turn and we were right in there in the mix of boats and other paddlers. We ended up heading slightly more north than the main pack but that was fine.... I felt great out there, having fun catching bumps and then chillin on the boat. It was nice to be able to eat and refuel while resting on the boat and then push hard while on the water. We ended up finishing the race with Art crossing the line on the board and I was swimming out to the finish line. FUN! We managed a 2nd place in the mixed team division with a time of 5hours 24sec. Not too shabby if I say so myself.

Thanks Art for being a stellar partner out there! I was on a SIC 14ft Bullet V2, a beauty of a board and ideal for the conditions at hand with amazing glides, great stability and perfect for catching bumps. SIC boards are truly the best boards for crossing the Hawaiin Islands. I was paddling with a Werner S1000 grand Prix paddle which is the perfect paddle in every way. I used electrolytes (Nuun and scratch lab), Vitargo, Vfuel gels, ClifBlocks, clifbars, and some fruit as my nutrition. Thanks to Feed the Machine and CLifBar. Onit Pro always adds that extra glide to the glides....

Congrats to all who completed the channel!Special congrats to teammate Sonni for winning the females UNL and Connor for winning in the men's.. AMAZING!!!!!!!

I enjoyed some fun times on Oahu with Belar, Belar's sister, and Sonni. We played tourist in Waikiki, then hiked Koko head stairs, and enjoyed the waters of the north shore! Really great to share these experiences with some stellar folks... Feeling LUCKY!

 live, love, laugh,..DREAM!