The 2016 Spring paddling season has not been particularly kind here in the Northeast. Frigid North winds have been the norm for the past 3 weeks and less than ideal training conditions have been offered up on most days.
In spite of the late season grip that old man winter has had on us, it is always possible to get in a session, given that you are properly prepared. This morning was blowing a solid 15kts+ from the North / Northeast and there was frost on my board from the overnight low temps.
I donned a light weight 3/2 Xcel wetsuit and pulled an Immersion Research Goretex Paddling jacket over the top. A pair of 5mil booties, wool cap and a pair of 3mil neoprene gloves and I was ready to train. Northwest creek is my early season goto spot and it offers a protected launch site on most days. After a brief warm up I was ready to venture out into the outer harbor and get a 6 miler underway. I am riding a Bark Vapor 14 this year, intrigued by the innovative hull design and preliminary performance reports from out on the west coast. As I worked my way upwind, the brisk north wind presented considerable resistance, and after 35 minutes of hard paddling, the shoreline of Cedar Bend was close at hand and I pushed up into the lee of the beach.
After undertaking a few challenging pivot turns(if you can execute a solid pivot turn in wind and chop you are way ahead of the game on race day), in the somewhat protected waters of Cedar Bend, I assessed the conditions for the paddle back and found myself with a smile on my face as I pulled into a one foot wind swell face not 50 feet from the beach. The wind was gusting a solid 20 kts and my hard work upwind had paid off. The Vapor came to life as each stroke was rewarded with insane glide and mini-rides on my southbound route across the bay. Time passes quickly and the paddling seems easy when cruising downwind. I often use this mini-downwinders to work on form and footwork to maximize performance and control of my board.
With the Race for the Bays, (May 7th, Havens Beach-Sag Harbor) only 3 weeks out I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the improving weather forecast for the coming week and get out on the water and paddle. Speaking of the race for the bays, we have a great line up this year and we are super stoked to get the race season under way here on Eastern Long Island.
This year we have partnered with the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program and have gotten approval for some amazing Marine Habitat restoration work in Northwest harbor. We will be holding some environmental workshops after the race.
We are SuPeR StOkEd to have 2 AmAzIng special guests this year. Returning from the West Coast is Master Board Shaper Joe Bark.
“The Palos Verdes shaper / freediver / spearfisher / father / surfer / paddler / boardbuilder / husband is a study in fusing work and life and passion into one all-day marathon of doing what you love. And what Joe Bark loves is the ocean and making the best paddleboards on the planet. Everything flows from there.”
Complimenting the knowledge and expertise of Joe Bark is Werner Paddles Athlete Jeremie Vaine. Jeremie is a study in body movement and Yoga practice and we are excited to have him leading some pre and post race yoga sessions. I love working with trainers like Jeremie and picking up a few pointers to add to my training regiment. Not to mention the benefits of a post race restorative Yoga session.
We will be doing a team paddle on Friday, morning (May 6th) at 8am and a yoga session and movie preview at the surf shop on Friday afternoon at 4pm. Pizza and refreshments will be served.
Race day registration and sign in will start at 7:30am and the race will go off at 9am. Cornell habitat workshops will start at 11am. We are very lucky to have 2 amazing industry Pros with us for the Race for the Bays so please take advantage of their presence.
Please sign up at: http://www.paddleguru.com and we look forward to seeing you on race day.
Main Beach Race Team