Surprise Day Off Downwinder off the N.C. Coast

Editor’s Note: We love hearing about the adventures of SIC Maui Brand Ambassador Sarah Muir Westbrook, especially when it involves an epic North Carolina downwinder!

How an Epic North Carolina Downwinder Starts

Most of my epic stories start a little something like this:

Gary: It’s gonna be 44 degrees with sustained 20mph West winds, gusting up to 25, wanna go downwinding?

Sarah: (hesitates for a nanosecond) Ummmm…YES!!

It was as if all the epic downwinder stars had aligned.  Well, maybe not ALL of them, I mean it was 44 degrees.  And we were in eastern North Carolina, not Hawaii.  But hey, I’m

always “down for the down.”

Very early on a very chilly Friday morning, I met Gary at Stand Up Outfitters to load up the boards.  Since my sweet hubby had to work, guess who got to ride his absolutely amazing 14′ SIC V2 Bullet??

Gary chose the new 14′ Naish Maliko.

Epic North Carolina Downwinder

Once we had everything loaded up, we were off on our adventure.  The floatplan  was to launch from Osprey Marina, turn left into the Bouge Sound and paddle down to Coral Bay Marina.  8-10 miles.

Epic North Carolina Downwinder

Bulking Up

We arrived at the launch point and started layering on the clothes.  Remember that scene in “A Christmas Story” where the little brother has so many layers on that he can’t move his arms?  That was me. Pepper swimsuit, Virus tights and long sleeve cold weather compression top, 3/2 wetsuit, rain pants, rain jacket, 5mm Xcel booties, 2mm gloves, PFD (with Tiny Chewie) hot pink Vestpac and my trusty SUO beanie.

Epic North Carolina Downwinder

Once we got out into the sound,  it was absolutely incredible.  I totally understand now. It was scary and exhilarating at the same time!!  My board was absolutely flying.  Doing what it was built to to.  I just had to hold on and enjoy the glide…

Epic North Carolina Downwinder

Gary said it would be a lot of footwork, which is something I need to get stronger at, So I ended up swimming a few times.  (Four actually…)

It was incredible.  We finished up by paddling in to Coral Bay Marina where Gary’s buddy (and my new friend) Bobby picked us up and drove us back to the launch. 

Star Power

Remember back to the beginning when I said the “downwinder stars had aligned…” literally two days later we went to the Carolina Paddleboard Co.’s annual New Years Day paddle, and I got to meet  and briefly paddle with  the SIC downwinding king himself, Jeremy Riggs.  I told him all about our RAD adventure.  He said it’s time to come to Maui and I couldn’t agree more!

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