Author Topic: The Paddling Thread  (Read 251 times)

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Online daniel1948

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The Paddling Thread
« on: December 15, 2019, 05:41:36 PM »
I've decided to start a thread dedicated to paddling so that I won't be clogging the good-stuff thread (the one with the German word that I cannot spell in its name) with paddling stuff every other day. Everyone is welcome to post their padding news, reports, thoughts here, or comment on paddling.

To begin:

Today was the Paddle for Keiki. Keiki is Hawaiian for kids. This was a race with no rules, time-keeping, or record-keeping, to raise toys for poor kids and money for same. Same as the paddle for Hunger on Thanksgiving, which was to raise money and food for the food bank. The Paddle for Keiki is run in conjunction with the local motorcycle gang who have been running a Toys for Tots toy drive for some years. As last month, I paddled in my canoe, Honu Holoholo (Wandering Turtle) with my friend Chris. We did really good: We didn't come in last! The three paddleboards in the race started first because there's no way a paddleboard could do the full course. Then the OC ones and twos and one surfski started. And the OC sixes and twelves started last. Most of the ones and twos pulled out ahead of us at the start. No surprise there. Chris is strong but I'm an old man. Still, we were in the pack, even though near the back of it. I set a cadence I could maintain. One double-hull (OC12) caught up with us at the turn-around buoy and a six passed us right after the buoy. On the way back several canoes that I recognized as racing teams passed us. No surprises there. There was one OC2 that was just slightly behind us for 3/4 of the race, and then they dropped way back, apparently unable to maintain the pace. That's what happens when you try to keep up with someone who's stronger than you. I made no effort to keep up with the canoes ahead of us, just concentrated on keeping up my pace.

At the finish I was exhausted. I could not have gone another half mile at that pace, but I didn't have to slow down, so I had paced myself perfectly. There were a number of one and twos pretty far back behind us, as well as the recreational teams in sixes and twelves. The whole course took us 31 minutes, and is supposed to be 3 miles, which means we went 5.8 mph. But that's approximate because I doubt that the course was an exact measured three miles.

We were passed halfway back by a twelve that was not a racing team, but they were all newly-hired guides with Hawaiian Paddle Sports, the outfitter who organized the event in conjunction with one of my canoe clubs. You need to be very physically fit to work as a guide, so though they were not a racing team they were obviously more fit than I am. Chris is strong, but I am not.

The event was a blast! I had a lot of fun. And after we passed the finish line and paddled a ways so as not to be in the way, I jumped into the water and it was warmer than it's been for a few weeks. I didn't want to get back into the boat. Great fun was had by all. I even got compliments on my boat, which is actually a pretty nice boat, and now finally has its name on the bow on both sides. HONU HOLOHOLO. Wandering Turtle.

And now that the whales are just starting to show up, "The Turtle" will be really good for getting out to where they are faster than we could do in the kayaks. In Kayaks we used to get to Molokini from Makena Landing in 75 minutes. In The Turtle it took us 45 minutes a week ago.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2019, 09:29:02 PM »
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 10:56:29 AM »
Yesterday there were 18 people at the beach when I got there half an hour early. Three full canoes. Then someone else arrived, so there were two of us without a seat, but enough for four canoes of five. Five is enough to take out a six-person canoe. Then two more came. In the end we had 22, including five captains, so people shifted places and I ended up stroking in a canoe with one empty seat.

We started out paddling straight out from shore because there have been enough whale sightings to justify the hope of seeing one, but there was a strong offshore wind once we were away from the protection of the buildings and trees. After about five minutes we turned to angle back towards shore and straight into the wind. Then the paddling was really hard.

An outrigger canoe has no rudder. The captain steers by holding his/her paddle vertically against one side of the boat or the other (called poking). Normally corrections can be made briefly and the captain can paddle when not correcting, but wind will try to turn the boat, and a strong wind requires constant poking. When the captain is poking, she/he is not paddling. It's possible to steer using J and L strokes, which help power the boat while correcting the course, but in a strong wind the captain needs to poke.

The result is that with only five in the boat, and the captain busy poking, there were only four of us paddling. It took us 15 minutes of very hard paddling to get back close enough to shore to be out of the chop and the worst of the wind. So that was a good, intense, 20-minute workout, 15 of it with the spray blowing in my face and getting in my eyes. After a rest we paddled back in toward shore, the wind having moved us back out a good ways, and after another short break we paddled back to the club. Probably 35 or 40 minutes paddling in all.

It was a great workout and a really fun morning, battling the wind.

I suppose one of these days the wind will be too strong and we'll get blown to Tahiti. But when the wind is strong we don't go out unless we have a strong crew. One time last winter during whale season I was in a double-hull (12-person) canoe with a really strong crew and we paddled out for 15 minutes and then turned around and paddled for an hour and a quarter back against a strong wind that was pelting us with spray. That was a blast. Sometimes if the wind is too strong to stop the boat for a rest, we'll take turns resting for 30 seconds to a minute at a time.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 11:38:49 AM »
Each seat in an outrigger canoe has specific jobs, in addition to paddling. Seat 1 is the stroker. The stroker's main job is to set a suitable cadence, which everyone in the boat will follow so all keep in time, and to maintain that cadence as steady as possible. The cadence needs to be appropriate for the purpose of the outing (racing, training, recreational) and the ability and preference of the paddlers. Ideally the stroker neither gains nor loses time on the changes (switching sides). The stroker is also responsible for keeping an eye out forward and calling out obstacles or other water craft, since the captain cannot see straight ahead. If a collision is imminent, the stroker must "kahi," a sideways stroke which pulls the bow to one side or the other. And the stroker is responsible for keeping the boat straight when backing in to shore. This means using the kahi, and it means jumping out of the boat immediately to control the bow as soon as the stern touches the sand because once the stern touches, the captain no longer has any control over the boat. Finally, if the captain becomes incapacitated, the stroker becomes captain.

The stroker's responsibilities take the longest to list, but the greatest responsibility belongs to seat 6, the captain. Also called ho'okele. The captain is responsible for the safety of the boat and crew, In addition to steering, the captain can decide who to allow in the boat and which seat they take, where the boat goes, and whether or not it's safe to go out. When launching or landing through surf, the captain decides when it's safe to go.

Because seats 4 and 5 may be unable to see the stroker, seat 2 is responsible for keeping exactly in time with the stroker so the rest of the crew can keep in time. Seats 1 and 2 have the hardest paddling, because behind them the water is moving more.

Usually seat 3 is the caller, but sometimes seat 4 will call, and on rare occasions someone else. This is my least-favorite job in the canoe. The caller, or counter, counts the strokes, and after a set number of strokes, calls out the change, so that everybody switches sides at the same time. Switching sides gives everybody's arms a break.

To reduce the likelihood of a huli (tipping over the canoe) when it's not moving, any time the boat is at rest, seats 2 and 4, which are right in front of the iakos (crossbars) lean or sit on them to put weight on the ama (outrigger). The rougher and windier the conditions, the more important this is.

Seat 5 is the only one who does not have a specific job other than paddling. If someone is getting a steering lesson from the captain in a single-hull canoe, that person will sit in seat 5.

In a double-hull canoe, one stroker is generally the lead, and the other follows.

Some captains have their preferred strokers, so I've never stroked in their canoes. Other captains will put me in seat 1 sometimes. My favorite place is seat 2 in a single-hull, or assistant stroker in a double-hull. I don't like calling because I like to zone out and not think of anything. If I'm counting I cannot zone out. And seats 3 and 4 are wider, which I don't like. Even seat 2 is uncomfortably wide in some canoes. Some very strong and experienced paddlers won't stroke because the front seat is too narrow for them. So if I'm not stroking I usually get seat 2 because it's still too narrow for a lot of paddlers. Not always, though, and the main thing is to be in the boat paddling, so I'll take any seat the captain gives me. I've been in every seat except the captain's seat, and I have no interest in becoming a captain, because of the responsibility.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2019, 08:05:57 PM »
Went out this morning in Honu Holoholol and we saw whales, some of them very close up. Two of the sightings might have been the same whale, since they were in the same spot, once on our way out and once on our way back. The water is definitely getting colder. It feels warm on my feet and legs when I take a break and put my feet in the water, but it's chilly when I jump in. One weather report put the water temperature at 79° F. today.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2019, 07:04:29 PM »
On Friday it was so windy here when I got up that I decided not to paddle. I took the seaside road to the grocery store to see what conditions were actually like, and I saw canoes out from both of my canoe clubs. Fooey! I could have paddled. After shopping I did 45 minutes on the elliptical exerciser so at least I'd get my cardio. Then on Saturday it actually was too windy, so I did an hour (but at an easier pace) on the elliptical.

When I went to bed last night it was very windy and the forecast was for strong winds to continue, so I expected to take a rest day today, but the 10 p.m. wind revision showed an area of calm where we launch the OC2, and I woke up to a text message from my paddling buddy that we could take the boat out.

Conditions were excellent. Once we'd paddled out a ways we hit big rollers, but my boat handles those like a champ. I've been in the 6- and 12-person outrigger canoes in smaller waves that overrun the gunwales and dump water into the canoe. But Honu Holoholo, like nearly all one- and two-person outrigger canoes, is a sit-on-top and waves can break over it and just run right off. And after a half an hour of easy paddling I got into my stride and was able to put some power into it. The thing moves beautifully. We saw a whale some distance away but it wasn't putting on much of a show. From its size it was a one-year-old juvenile, and probably sleeping. (They sleep with half their brain at a time, and continue to swim and spout periodically.)

Then we had a good solid 35 minutes of hard paddling just for the fun of it before we stopped for a rest and then turned around. On the way back, after maybe 25 minutes of paddling I was about to call a rest, when my buddy, Chris, saw a lot of kayaks sitting on the water pretty far out. That often means there's a whale, especially as they were farther from shore than kayak tour operators usually go. So instead of stopping to rest, I picked up the pace, and ten minutes of paddling got us to where the kayaks were. And sure enough, two whales surfaced, spouted a few times, and then went down. So we paddled to where we thought they might come up again, and along the way saw what might have been a monk seal, just a brief glimpse. We sat for a while, and then one of the whales surfaced only about ten feet from our boat. That's always so amazing when it happens. The sound of the blow is loud and very startling, and then 45 tons of whale, the size of a school bus, gracefully shows its back and dives down again.

It was an absolutely fabulous morning on the water, and a great workout. The wind started to pick up just as we headed back in.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2019, 07:05:40 PM »
Duplicate post.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2019, 11:09:39 PM by daniel1948 »
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2019, 02:50:05 AM »
I rafted the Waimakariri  with the year 10 camp (and proper river guides) and have new respect for Coast to Coast racers.  Anyone that wants to have a respectable time paddles that river in a downriver K1 in good time.  I am impressed.  That's real paddling.
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2019, 10:13:46 AM »
I rafted the Waimakariri  with the year 10 camp (and proper river guides) and have new respect for Coast to Coast racers.  Anyone that wants to have a respectable time paddles that river in a downriver K1 in good time.  I am impressed.  That's real paddling.

From Wikipedia:

Quote
Waimakariri has several meanings, one of which is "river of cold rushing water".

It's no secret that you are made of hardier stuff than I am. I don't do cold water or rapids. My paddling is on warm flat water, though "flat" as I use it just means no elevation gradient between any two points on the route. It can sometimes get bumpy. And unless I'm trying to get to where a whale has shown itself, I'm not in a hurry. I don't know who would win a race between evenly-match paddlers in a K1 vs an OC1, but I've never seen a sit-inside kayak here. You'd need a spray skirt (which an OC1 does not need) and that would be too hot in our climate.

A K1 on the Waimakariri would be more exciting than I can handle and I'd probably end up drowned.

A boat of the same make and model as mine (from an advertisement) since I have not yet posted this in this thread:


Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2019, 09:59:03 PM »
Yesterday, Friday, Chris and I went out in Honu Holoholo. It was too windy offshore to venture very far out, where there were probably whales, so we stayed close to shore and just had a good hard paddle against the wind. We paddled for an hour without a break, which I think was a first for me, unless the final leg of Day One of the Paddle for Life was longer. After an hour of paddling we took a break and then paddled for another half an hour, getting farther north of Makena Landing than we've ever gone before, since the OC2 is so much more efficient than the kayaks we used to go out in. On the way back I was very tired and paddled a lot more slowly about half the way, and then I got my second head of steam and was able to pick it up a bit. I was thoroughly exhausted. So it was nice that the following sea was helping to push us along and we occasionally found ourself surfing a wave for a few seconds at a time. Back at Makena Bay I donned my mask and snorkel for a bit, discovering that even without fins or weights I can dive down a bit if I dive on an exhale. Of course I can't stay down long on half-empty lungs.

Then today the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Voyaging Society (HOCVS) needed to bring a double-hull canoe back from Wailea to their home beach in North Kihei and a friend invited me to paddle with them. We met at their beach and car-pooled down to the Grand Wailea where the canoe was. They had rigged up a platform between the hulls for a sleigh and a guy in a Santa suit who did the kids-meet-Santa thing on the beach. So now the canoe needed to come back. The canoe holds 12 and we were hoping for at least 10 people, but we only had 9. So they were all very happy that I had come. It took us an hour and a half, paddling hard without a break. So it was a new record for me again already. I've definitely got more stamina than I had when I first got here and ten minutes without a break was hard. But I was very tired and very sore. It was a lot of fun.

And tomorrow I'm going out on Honu Holoholo again if the weather cooperates. We won't try to go far, unless we spot a whale. I'll paddle on empty if there's a whale. We'll probably paddle straight out a couple of miles and sit and enjoy being on the water and swim a bit.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2019, 08:51:54 PM »
Today was visitor day at Kihei Canoe Club. (Anybody reading this, if you're on Maui and want to try paddling in an outrigger canoe, be at the club by 7:00 a.m. any Tuesday or Thursday. Visitors are asked for a $40 donation, after which they can paddle for free for the duration of their visit. Dress to get wet. There's a box for car keys. Island residents can paddle a few times for free to decide if they want to join the club.) Being a busy vacation time, we had an unusually large number of visitors so we needed a lot more steersmen than usual, and the club president got drafted to steer a single-hull canoe. So it happened that I was the stroker for our club president. I had never been in a canoe with him before because he normally does PaddleCore. We had a full canoe with four visitors. Beautiful conditions and a good paddle.

PaddleCore is a kind of boot camp for paddlers. Less intense than race training, but more than recreational, and they go out at 5:30 a.m. when it's still dark. I don't paddle in the dark, and I get a plenty hard workout at a recreational pace. They focus a lot on correct form, but I got tutoring in that from a fellow paddler during recreational outings.

I also have no interest in racing, and for a lot of folks, PaddleCore is a stepping stone to race training, or is a way to stay in shape for racing during the off season.

The world sprints are going to be in Hilo, HI, on the Big Island this year and we have teams training for that. I will not be there. There will be teams from all over the world.
Daniel
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2020, 12:10:17 PM »
It's been too windy to paddle for several days. North Kihei is pretty much always windy, but it's seldom this windy this early in the morning. Yesterday was visitor day at KCC and it was cancelled due to the wind. One captain said he'd take out a single (single-hull 6-person canoe) with members, and we had five and probably could have gotten a sixth, but suddenly two of the five were walking away and we were left with three. I would not have gone out in that wind with less than a full boat. Four is enough if they're all good paddlers and there's not a lot of wind; five is enough in a moderate wind; but in a strong wind six is a lot better. So we didn't go out. The day before that I walked halfway to the beach before turning around because it was obviously way too windy. Sunday it would have been too windy here also, but that was my day to take out the OC2, which we do from Makena, where it's typically much less windy, and we had a great paddle, including having two adult whales surface very close to our boat several times over the course of 15 or 20 minutes. They'd dive for 2 or 3 minutes and then come up again. After that we had a good hard workout paddle until we hit the strong wind and turned around. When we were maybe 3/4 of the way back we hit heavy chop and the boat handled it like a champ. We've also been in rollers that were nearly head high from our sitting position, and the boat cuts right through them. It's a Tempest from OZone. (Outrigger Zone). I actually don't like downwind surfing in it. But I love upwind into the big waves. It's like a roller coaster.

The wind is okay. As much as I hate to miss a day of paddling, it will go back to normal eventually and paddling will resume. And meanwhile I'm still living in paradise. I'll use the elliptical exerciser today. It's good to give my legs a workout from time to time.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2020, 07:48:58 PM »
Today was my day to go out paddling with my paddling buddy, Chris, in the OC2. The wind is continuing strong, but we usually launch the OC2 from Makena Landing and it's generally much less windy down there. So we planned to go out in spite of a borderline forecast, and it turned out beautiful. Very little wind until we got as far north as Cove Beach Park. We paddled out to where we had seen a spout, and waited for about 15 minutes, to no avail, so we started heading north. After having missed two days, I was feeling energetic and we were moving at a good pace when we saw some whale activity. Until now it's mostly just been a spout and a breath, maybe two or three times, and then gone. But these whales were staying on the surface, and there were about four of them.

They were headed away from us and in the kayaks we'd never have caught up with them, but this boat is a lot faster, which is the main reason I got it. And it appeared to be a competition pod! It had not heated up yet and there appeared to be only three males following the female, but it was characteristic comp pod action: A lot of lunging and back-and-forth. One time we had to veer off because one whale seemed to be coming our way under water. A whale would come up for air heading due east but then would immediately turn north again, the direction the pod was traveling. We were, by Chris's estimation, about 2 1/2 miles offshore. About 15 minutes after we had caught up with them we had to let them go because I'd been paddling hard for 35 or 40 minutes without a break and I was exhausted. Also we had come into the wind, so it was time to turn back towards shore.

After a break I was good to paddle again, and paddling hard for 20 to 40 minutes at a stretch with rest breaks in between, it was a really great hard workout and a gorgeous morning on the water. We were out for close to four hours.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
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Re: The Paddling Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2020, 09:43:56 AM »
My paddling buddy, Chris, and I, saved a guy from drowning yesterday. We had been out paddling in the OC2 for nearly 4 hours. Saw a few whales and paddled around Molokini and back, and here and there all around that patch of ocean, and we were back in the bay at Makena Landing and just sitting resting before landing the boat, when we heard a guy shouting "Help!" We started paddling like mad, as hard as we could and when we got there we had him grab hold of our ama (the outrigger). Then we towed him to the beach. At first I thought the guy was obese and wondered why he didn't just float, but then I realized he was all muscle. He had arms like Dwayne Johnson. He actually couldn't float, and apparently he couldn't swim. Chris told him to use floatation of some sort next time. Fat is lighter than water but muscle is heavier and if you have enough muscle and too little fat you simply cannot float.

One of the deck hands on a nearby snorkel boat jumped in the water with a foam noodle and was swimming towards the guy, but there's no telling if he would have gotten there in time or if the noodle would have been enough floatation. The guy was so big that it would have been hard for any untrained person to get him to shore.
Daniel
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“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

 

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