Outrigger canoe

We talk a lot about the 100/100 paddlers, but that is because they are awesome. Greg H., one of the frequent paddlers and posters on there started a discussion thread called “Your Paddle Story,” so of course I’m grabbing some of those stories and sharing them with you because that is, HANDS DOWN, my favorite thing about being part of the paddle community. We might all be vastly different people, but we all have interesting paddle “origin” stories.

Greg H. says: I got my first kayak about 6 years ago and spent most of my time on the Potomac river mostly exploring. About 4 years ago I started doing paddle tri’s and adventure races. I did a race up in Pa and and found out about fast kayaks , I had to have one! The next season I had a fast boat and raced all I could. I did a race at the Washington Canoe Club and was very impressed with the SUPs speed and the turnout of racers. The next year I added SUP to my racing schedule. I also paddle surfski and hope to add prone and oc-1.

Mercedes B. says, in relation to the featured photo: “Mark has been paddling OC2 since 1957 or so. He still is except now I am on the front!” (They are the tandem paddlers that show up at the Carolina Cup every year and knock our socks off. Yeah, them!

Nia N.:  Returning to Europe from Mexico with KLM (Xmas 2012) read an article on SUP and how Dutch people paddled to work! Wow was I hooked? Investigated the local scene here in Copenhagen, no joy (understandable cause winter break).Anyway with my half century on the horizon decided to go for it, booked a week course in Portugal to celebrate the big 50. Back in Copenhagen the local community was running a summer project introducing SUP. Joined the club, wife became a SUP window, I was out 4 nights of the week paddling in the designated pond area! Bought my first inflatable..Starboard Astro Cruiser for more independence.

After the 2013 summer season realized this was my mid crisis, but it felt good! Joined a surf club that had a budding SUP group to provide further weekend opportunities, allowed to go solo! Whilst trawling the net for SUP info discovered a coast to coast paddle across Scotland (GGP 2014). Connected with a group of hardcore paddlers and decided to just do it. Winter of 2014 meant serious training ( by my standards!) 16miles most saturdays and sundays. Borrowed a 14ft inflatable racer and flew over to Edinburgh for the event. So my first serious event started at 0230hrs on a cold and frosty night at Fort William,Scotland, arrived at the finish after paddling for 14.5 hrs.Boy was I cream crackered. My target was 15 hrs! Since then been hooked on endurance events. Did 3 day 75 mile event round 11 lakes Holland, folled by the famous 5 day 11 cities 125 miles event. This year plan to also do Chatterjack 31 in October. At present have inflatable board, flatwater Ministral M1, Jimmy Lewis Uboat 12’6 plus A Jimmy lopez surf board. At everyone in the family can now get on the water together! So see ya in October!

10427677_812188908843522_1055904803353107027_nBryan B.:  I’ve been surfing for 24 years now. Saw Laird in a magazine sup surfing and thought I need to try that. Ordered my first sup 5 years ago, and met some other paddlers through mutual friends. Sold my first board right after I got it because I went into East of Maui in Annapolis,Md and saw quality SUP’s. My first one was not quality. (Will not say which board company it was but its still here and going strong).

Then I met my friend Ben (owner of SUP Annapolis) and he turned me onto racing. Been racing for 5 seasons now. I love everything about the race scene. The competition and the camaraderie. Races are not just about racing, it’s more about getting together, meeting new people, and having a good time. Some of my best friends are guys I met from paddling because we all have that SUP addiction. I paddle all year now even in the frigid temps here in Maryland. SUP surf as often as I can but I do live 2 hours from the beach but get on it quite often. I liked the fact that I could get that feeling of surfing while paddling home in Baltimore. That’s what really hooked me. Now I paddle distance every week and train for races a much as I can. Can’t wait for my daughter to start paddling with me. She’s turning 5 and I just got her first paddle for Christmas. That’s when the real fun will start.

*****

These are just a FEW of the stories! Look forward to more!

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