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!

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