Sunday, February 15, 2015

2014 SUP Year in Review
St. John USVI June 2014 (Linda Point)

    Life being as busy as it gets left me without writing about my adventures for 2014. So a quick reflection of the past year and what's coming in 2015.

  January brought a cool adventure with the help of the Billy Lush Brand from Tennessee. I raced in a 24 hour Ultra-Skate in Miami at the Homestead speedway.  24 hours of skate boarding, well in my case land paddling. The board pictured below is called the "Orca".  It's an amazing board in the sense it allows a person to stand with his legs parallel under his hips.  Then you're able to land paddle on either side of the board with equal power, like stand p paddling on water.
    In 24 hours I managed to land paddle 211.7.  Out of 80 racers I ended up 5th becoming the first person to break 200 miles while using a land paddle. A claim I'l take.  I also walked away with being inducted to the esteemed 200 mile club.  At the time of the Ultra Skate in January I  was ranked 18th in the world for distance in the 24 hour races. pretty cool.  
To read  a full write-up check out the Billy Lush Blog

        My Crew: left of me is  Kenny Reed(Co-Owner Billy Lush Brand. Right of me is Good friend Daren Wolf


You can see the size of my board compared to everyone else (to the right)

   Next up came another 24 hour event. This time one created by me. I set out to claim the 24 hour flatwater distance record.  I found it fitting that I teach all my lessons for my business SupStlouis at Simpson lake in Valley Park, Missouri so Attempting the 24 our record on the same lake was great.  I after not ideal conditions with gusting winds, lightning, and rain I managed to paddle 95.6 hours in 24 hours.  Not too shabby for a guy from the midwest.  Although  I established a world record I till knew I could break 100 miles. Was to be continued in the fall...
 To read about the exploits check out GrindTV's article on my 24 hours 

                                                Board used for 24hrs: 14' Glide rocket  14'x25"
Setting up boards for SUP Yoga lessons at Simpson

   Next up brought me to the USVI (US Virgin Islands) in June. The Vertical Oar Guys J.P. Presare and Rafael Mercado brought me to the VI to team up with J.P.'s long time friend Chirag Vyas, Co-Owner of St. John Brewers.  With their help I attempted the first SUP navigation around St. Thomas and St John.  Leaving Cruz Bay I paddled west to St. Thomas crossing through Drake's Passage. I paddled the South side of the island and circumnavigated around and back to Cruz bay.   left Cruz bay and paddled around the north side and circumnavigated the island. After 33 hours and 57 minutes I cleared 71 hard earned miles battling 16-20mph head winds. For a full story check out Vertical Oar's write up
   Also  a very cool Video of the expedition: Drake's Passage video

                                                 Looking down at a bay from Linda point, St. john
Paddling across a channel fully loaded 12'6" Glide Quest with GSS coating

     August brought me to the OR (outdoor retailer) show in Utah.  Utah Being the home base for Glide SUP I had the opportunity to spend time at the factory with the guys and get to go to the industry's biggest Outdoor show. In Between the show we were able to enjoy some river time on Glide boards.

You never know what you'll see at the factory. Brian Flanigan and Shalee Booker doing Acro-yoga
Day 1 at the Outdoor show

One of the best things that happened at the show was me being introduced to  Zac Kaufman of Sawyer Paddles. I found a paddle company that's U.S. made and works with it's athletes. I went on a month later to use their TSR paddle to break my world record.

  September Brought me to Austin, Texas.  A good friend and sponsor, Casey Gotcher, owner of SUP Gladiator hosted me at his house over a weekend to paddle another 24 hour attempt to break my world record set earlier in May at 95.7 miles. Andy and Slim at Austin Paddle sports hosted us on their dock at Ladybird lake in Austin.  It was a good fall weekend with little wind.  I battled for 24 hours to make 101 miles in 24 hours. Not an easy task.  Here's the video of the attempt:

I was planning for a light season as I had to re-committ to family for 2104. It's a difficult balance of work, training, expeditions, and family.  At the end of the year I didn't feel I accomplished much, but Now it seems like a pretty good year to me.  Looking forward to 2015 I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do. But nothing could have told me that I would be eye balling a 750 mile race.  Yep, That's not a typo. 750 miles! And ow I've committed to it.  Entry fee is paid. Glide is building a custom board for it. Sponsors are being acquired.  More to come...