Words from one of our Recreational Paddlers...
As most of you saw I was challenged to join James and his Outrigger crew to venture into the great blue ocean for a morning of paddling. Here is the story of that adventure.
Twice a month the Ke Kai O’Uhane Outrigger Club has a newbies welcome day. People that are completely oblivious to all rowing and paddling sports (like me) can join for a morning of introductory paddling out on the bay. Everyone I met was remarkably friendly and energetic, regardless of the 8am start time, and they were patient in explaining some quick tips on how to paddle, get in and out of the boat, and most importantly, which way to lean (aka, don’t lean to the side of the boat that doesn’t have the stabilizer). There were 5 of us newbies ranging from majorly athletic to fairly “indoors-y” but we were all welcomed with open arms. Also, don’t worry If you’re not a very strong swimmer, they have life vests.
After carrying three boats over to the water we divided into teams with a newbie or two on each. With a quick push on the boat into the water the person in charge of steering shouts out a number associated with a seat. When your number is called you plant both arms on each side of the boat, lean back with a hop, and slide yourself into the boat. For me it was more like a hop, slide, and then wedge wedge wedge since the boats are little narrower than I realized ;)
Then we were off! The ocean was smooth, clear, and blue and the sun was shining gently. The first couple minutes were full of helpful instruction of how to paddle efficiently, how to switch paddling sides, and of course, which way to lean. (Remember, the stabilizer is your bff!) My team was remarkably supportive. So supportive that you start to think that if you just show up once a week you are so naturally gifted that you will surely be in the next Olympics for this sport.
We paddled out till we could see all of the Del Monte beach area and were in 3-4 ft swells. All three boats met up, had a rest, and shared some jovial banter as we ebb and flowed with the water. As we started to row back our boat matched parallel with James’ boat. I noticed our pace setter slowly increasing the speed, as did the other boat, and soon we were in a newbie sprint race. As I’m sure you’ve all noticed by now, but I can be a little competitive, and even as a greenhorn I was feeling the rush of competition. It was a bust on my Olympic dreams however when my boat was utterly defeated by James’ boat as they slowly pulled ahead.
Instead of heading in, my boat decided to go for a lap around the wharf. We skirted in between boats, got up close and personal with some harbor seals, and narrowly missed a buoy, as in, really narrowly, by 6 inches.
Coming back in I felt tired but thrilled by the experience. I definitely recommend that you join James and his crew out on the water. You will have a blast.