Outrigger Winter Series: Hanohano

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I really have been remiss in updating Far and a Wey, so I’m on a mission.  Hanhano 2014!  This year’s race was a great event.  Perfect weather, huge turnout, big swell for the long course OC-1 race, and, yes, I won a little something at the raffle — a new QuickBlade outrigger paddle.  Sweet!

Hanohano 2014

Hanohano is a good time.  All your friends that you hadn’t seen since before the holidays show up, laughing and joking, and everyone goes racing with a smile on their faces.  It’s also an event that brings out really fast paddlers (OC and prone); the one’s that eschewed an ‘off season’ and bring the hammer.
I was particularly excited  because I got to roll out the new AlexSeal OC-1 and the sexy new paint scheme.  Needless to say, the boat turned heads and all kinds of folks stopped by the tent to inquire about the paint and the story about the outrigger (I won the sled at last year’s Hanohano event).
My race was mixed.  I should leave it at that, but, well, the devil is in the details.  It took the organizers a LONG time to start the race.  After a 1.5 mile paddle out to the start, we sat around for 30 minutes waiting for the gun to go off.  The swell was big and we just all sat around resting on the boats waiting for something to happen.  Finally, we got the 10 minute signal…and the gun went off in four.
I got caught with my pants down, near the back of the pack, and off the line none too fast.  I settled in quickly and figured out the 10 or so OC-1s that I’d be battling — and they certainly weren’t coming to me.  In fact for 7.5 of the 9 mile race, the group I was paddling with somewhere in mid-pack, just stayed locked together.  We banged boats around every buoy; I could hear them breathing; and they could hear my stroke start to come apart.
Finally, we hit the entrance channel for the last push to the finish and I found one more gear.  I passed five outriggers coming into the finish, which made my day.  A burrito and a beer was a just reward.  I scrounged up a few dollars for the raffle and, lo and behold, I won a new paddle from the good folks at QuickBlade.  Good times.

Outrigger Winter Series: Race #2

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DNR (did not race).

But wait[!], I have a pretty good excuse; I was getting a sexy new paint scheme applied to the outrigger and, well, art takes time (read: even after five nights of rubbing on it, spraying all kinds of crazy beautiful paint on it, the boat still wasn’t done). Was it worth all the work, was it worth the late hours with good friends who pitched in and made the project happen, was it worth missing one cold and rainy race?  Yes, absolutely, no question. I am humbled by the professionals that I call friends, whose job it is to build boats and make them beautifully distinctive. Their insight, knowledge, and generosity was at the heart of this project…and, the proof is in the results, as they say…



Reflection in final coat of clear. Mirror.


“Silver” turned out to be more of a champagne. Beautiful against the blue on black.


Cockpit turned out like Darth Vader.


Ama is the minnie-me of the Huki. Stunning.

What struck me after a long weekend of prep, and even longer nights (4) of shooting paint, was just how much planning and timing (read: waiting) goes into even a small job, like painting an outrigger.  I seriously can’t imagine doing a 200′ yacht.  The number of problems that can beset a job of that magnitude is staggering, and one truly needs to have the patience of a monk and the vision of mystic to pull it off.  Here are a few photos of the work.  The final results I’ll save for another post.

Outrigger Winter Series: Race #1

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The first race of the So Cal Winter Outrigger Series kicked off in La Jolla this weekend, hosted by the San Diego Outrigger Canoe Club, and it was one heck of an event. This was my first race on the gifted Huki V1-X (which I won earlier in the year) and I was stoked to get out there and do a bit of racing on a perfect day – 75 degrees in the middle of November.  What’s not to like?

First: a few quick reflections on the outrigger set.  1.) they certainly like their gear; no, seriously, they are the triathlon guys of the water – lots of colorful paint schemes, carbon fiber up  the wazoo, and trick little setups for everything; 2.) tribal tattoos are not just for SUP guys after all; 3.) don’t take for granted the husky girl in the sun-bleached rash guard because she’s going to go by you like you’re standing still, and then she’s going to talk to you like she’s shopping at the supermarket and, all the while, you’re about to puke.  Not that happened to me, but, well, that totally happened to me.

Pete B opted for the short course (4 miles) on his beautiful new OC-1, which might have been the smart option; however, I figured suffering through the long course (8.5 miles) would be perfect for a knuckle-dragging paddleboarder.  Here’s another insight into the race: outrigger math is seriously whacked, because at 9.5 miles I could only just see the finish buoys and people floating next to their boats.  In the end, the race was more like 10 miles, but I just couldn’t bring myself to complain – it was just too pretty a day.  Oh, sure, I sniveled the first 4 miles when ‘husky’ went by and I noticed everyone was pushing BIG blades compared to my own; but, after the turn on the downwind run, I caught a few folks (no, not ‘husky’) and finished up in 1:31.  Not great, but not bad either.

Next OC-1 race: Dec. 7th.  Looking forward to showing up with a new ‘sponsor’ and maybe even a new low-rider paint scheme…it’s so on.