On May 1st, we hit the reset button for our 100/100 Paddle Challenge Facebook group. We started tracking summertime paddling hours vs. winter miles. Hours are harder. Any hours on the water whether it be sup fishing, sup surfing, sup family time, or prone paddling; they all count. We do what you we do just keep track of it. This virtual training group is all about accomplishing whatever each individual’s goals are, but…we are still focused and are trying to each reach 100 hours in 100 days (without getting hurt.) We’re sharing, when, where, how long and with what. The “what” being turtles, horseshoe crabs, dolphins, sharks, manatees and lightening. Or alligators. Paddling with manatees is on my bucket list, lightening and gators are not. This isn’t a race or a contest or endorsed by a physician, it’s just a great group of virtual training partners.

To Race or Not to Race?

Many of us have started doing some racing. Many have not. Once again, we just do what we do, but keep track of it. We’ve had several 100/100’s participate in California and Florida races, the Lake Norman StandUp for the Catawba, and will have several competing for CASH dollars at this weekend’s Brunswick Riverfest in Wilmington. Others are planning on racing at the hot and steamy Paddle Bender at Lake Murray.  A few 100/100’s have become more than just paddlers venturing successfully into race emcee work, like Katie Elzer-Peters did at the Florida Key West Classic.  I hear there’s even a dance video with the world reknowned and infamous John “Mullet” Beausang really busting some moves? Many of the 100/100 group are going to do a repeat of the Chattjack 31 this October. Although no easy feat, I’ve registered. There’s some group peer-pressure going on here for sure! Then there’s a whole crew making a caravan of traveling to Canada.

We Use our Brains as Well as our Brawn

Our very own April Zilg and Mark Colino keep us on track with using our brains. They create new words for training methods. Words like “turnage” and “into-winding.” Mark helps spread his positive sports psychology in reminding us to work on our “lesser” skills, not just what we do well at. April goes and kicks a** wherever she races, while also setting the bar high in good sportsmanship and camaraderie. This group collectively supports many environmental or philanthropic causes, like Surfers Healing. Many race specifically to raise money for groups like Ocean of Hope. We are good people.

This group talks to each other, just online. We discuss “things.” We’ve discussed hand-slippage on paddles and posted questions about hydration and nutrition like coconut water and Hammer products. We’ve shared and read equipment reviews from Distressed Mullet and found out how similar we really are in our likes and dislikes. We all agree that if someone wants to learn to paddle, we should point them in the direction of having a lesson; by someone certified and experienced, and it’s great if that certified someone is ourselves; otherwise its help them find someone who is. 

Pictures say it all

We get pictures of how people track their hours (I have a white board.) We get pictures from Roddy Medders of Stand and Paddle of happy people learning to paddle. He also provides great shots of ginormous horseshoe crabs burrowed into the mud and of himself doing paddle strongman stunts. We get pictures from the Ballengers in South Carolina waiting out the tide to turn so there’s actual water to paddle on. We have pictures from several of box turtles greeting them when they finish up. Then we have Garmin readouts from paddlers like Kenny McGibbon who at 60+ has just ventured into paddle races and is doing quite well I might say. Then there are those of us learning to prone paddle, like myself, some of those photos look actually painful. I LOVE pictures from our 100/100 group members, its living vicariously at its very best!

Goal is….LEARN

So whatever your daily routines and goals are for paddling, consider joining the group. We have people that just head out to paddle and when they get tired, they turn around. Others follow a specific training workout whether that is by heart rate zones, time, or miles. Our group has members who paddle in Oregon, Canada, New Jersey, Virginia and Florida. We’re all over, literally international. This group connects us, makes us a family, we’re never alone at a race, we pull for each other and mostly important we L.E.A.R.N. Yes, the goal is to do 100 hours by August 8th (100 days from May 1st), but no one will vote you off the island if you don’t. I feel a little like a used car salesman; but take advantage of what this group has to offer. Drink the Kool-Aid, become one of us, we won’t bite! When we learn, when we communicate, when we paddle; we become better. Better can be as simple as being more comfortable on the water, or faster, or more confident or able to go farther. It’s ALL GOOD!

100/100 Paddle Challenge Update