Thursday, June 25, 2009

One of the Seven Wonders of The World - Na Pali, Kauai

Coming off the Cline Mann race on June 13th, we regrouped for a paddle last Saturday. Me and the crew (Brian, Marc, Keoni, & Kimo) paddled from Sandy Beach to the Ala Wai and back to Kaimana Beach. I was feeling the paddle, but still looking good for the Father's Day northshore the next day (the Sunday the 21st of June) .... but  I got the opportunity to paddle the Na Pali Coast on the island of Kauai. It's something I've been planning to do for years, and I  got the chance to go on a day when the winds were cranking. I hopped a plane and got set to paddle the 17 mile stretch of coast from Kauai's North to West shore.

I hooked up with a friend (Josh) who is just starting to paddleboard and runs a kayak tour company (Na Pali Kayak Tours), so I had a ride and a guide to point out sea caves and the like, but the catch is that Josh couldn't paddleboard so I had to hang WITH the tour. A 3 or 4 hour paddle just became 7 or 8 hours. Wow. So, at 430am I woke up and headed to Hanalei, on Kauai's North Shore, armed with some gu gels, water and an expired, disposable underwater camera. I paddled circles around the "scupper" plastic kayaks, but in the process I think I made a few new fans of our paddleboard sport along the way!
I ended up with some good upwind (at one point when I had "escaped" the tour I paddled 45 minutes upwind trying to find them) and downwind training. In fact, am so stoked on this paddle that I can't wait to realize my next dream of organizing a group of paddleboarders to paddle the coast. Anybody want to join me?

Here are some shots from the expired camera. Enjoy!

Now, I'm off to paddle in some very cold Monterey, CA water. The guys there are trying to get me into a race from Santa Cruz to Monterey (26 miles) this Saturday, but it is the same day as the meeting I'm attending, so I'll have to settle for some dusk paddles :).

Waterfall past Hanakapiai

Sea Cave past Hanakapiai

Heading to Kalalau

On the beach at Kalalau

On the home stretch to Polihale ... it's getting sunnier and hotter over here!

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