My Paddling Gear for the Seventy48 Race - For Now..

Aside from training techniques, racers participating in the Seventy48 race in June are discussing what to bring for gear, how to secure it etc.. 

Being my first endurance style race, I'm still on the fence about a few things and may not have the answer until do I do the race. My goal is to go as light as possible.

Here's my gear for now..

Splinter SUP 16'x28" - Why this board? For years, I've been working with Seattle SUP shaper Sean Thomas on a touring SUP with internal storage. My kayaking background influenced my need for internal storage. Brandon Davis of Turn Point Design in Port Townsend, WA came out with his own design in a new company called Splinter SUP. So I'll be using one of his.  He now has 3 wood stitch and glue wood shapes, 12-6, 14' and 16' each with internal storage. This Spring he's working on a carbon 16'.  He and two other PT paddlers are racing a carbon and two wood shapes in the race. 

The 8" hatch openings allow me to store a backup 2 piece kayak paddle for sitting breaks and upwind.

Accent Pro-Bolt (carbon, one piece) - I've been in love with this paddle for a few years. My first paddle was the Werner Nitro as I preferred it's narrow blade shape. The Pro-Bolt has a touch more width but not so much that if affects my shoulder.  Accent is lesser known but a great company.

Note: The paddle shaft has 3 pieces of white tape to help see at night.  And my phone #. 

MTI Vibe - This low profile vest PFD is designed for whitewater thus has ample shoulder/arm movement and is light in weight. I use the bright orange for visability, and there's two minimal pockets for my VHF radio, sun block, energy snack, reflector mirror etc. I'm testing adding a Kokatat 1.5 liter hydration pack on the back of the Vibe. 

I might use a MTI C02 waist belt if the weather is hot. 

Leash - Coiled to be attached to my PFD straps to keep feet free. 

Hi-Vis Salmon Bay Paddle Downwinding Shirt -
Given the open water and safety considerations of this race, I want to stand out like a lighthouse day and night. This super day-glo green/yellow shirt can be seen from a mile away in big conditions.  It can go over a wetsuit or worn alone.

VHF  Radio - ICOM floating waterproof hand-held attached to my PFD via a string. 
*Still unsure how to keep my electronics charged - solar? Or quick re-charge stops at marinas?

Extras - Leash and Surfco Superflex 9" rubber fin.

Booties: NRS Desperado Water Shoes - These have extra grip on the sole. I may bring my NRS Expedition socks for more cushion if not too hot. 

Gloves: NRS Maverick's Gloves. These fit, we'll like a glove and don't slip. I may use these just to protect my fingers from blisters.

Finger Blister protection - Karl Kruger suggests medical tape on fingers. I'm also testing finger sleeves and cut-off latex glove fingers. Or just gloves if not too hot. 

Paddling clothing - ? - Will depend on actual day weather which we won't know until race day. 
If cold - 4/3mm Ripcurl wetsuit or NRS wetsuit pants and a neoprene top. 
If warm/hot - shorts and a uv protected nylon shirt. With wetsuit pants and top for night paddling and/or sleeping.

SOL Escape Bivy - Heat reflected super light bivy that is supposed to add heat up to 50F.  I'll put on a Thermarest foam pad and sleep in a puffy coat if colder.  Maybe add a small tarp over if needed.  I did some research and this bivy may be more effective than a regular nylon version. 

Food - Testing Hammer products Endurolyte for liquid food en route and water and/or water/electrolyte sips every 10 min or so.  Then the Hammer Recoverlyte for after paddling and/or long breaks.  Will add Hammer energy bars and a few other options for extra fuel. 

Water - Kokatat 1.5 liter bladder on the back of my PFD. And 2 liter crushed plastic bottles in my hatch for backup water.   There's plenty of tap water along the route as well. 

Or vest style hydration system if the weather is hot (with waist PFD)

Compression - May use socks or tights during or just after the race.  I have pulmonary issues so these should help with that. Checking with my doctor. 

Extra Kayak Paddle - 2 piece broken down and stored in my hatch. Am using an Accent carbon blade. 

In Camp or Breaks - If cold weather - OR Down Sweater with hood; OR light rain coat, warm wind proof hat, possible long johns if cold at night or use compression tight.  Fleece socks for warmth or NRS Expedition sock. TEVA sandal for change in footwear.

Guidance - My own strong knowledge of the route and my iphone 6s - Just Google maps.  Most of the race is very close to Seattle so unless we get pea soup fog, even at night I know the route. 

Minimalist First Aid and Repair kits.

Misc stuff - TP, headlamp (or use my night paddling light for land use as well),

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification. www.salmonbaypaddle.com
Seventy48 Training

SUP Expedition / Camping Items you May Forget to Bring

There's nothing worse than doing a 70 mile paddle or race in a wilderness area for the first time and realized you left the TP at home - bummer, I didn't think of that one?!

Or after a dozen or so miles of paddling that paddling jacket is rubbing below your arm pits to where it's beyond annoying or painful.

Here's a few often forgotten items for long distance or remote paddle trips..

Flatten the roll to save space and place in a ziplock bag.  Consider Leave No Trace principles if you
don't have a vault outhouse to deposit the used paper (ie: Pack it in, Pack it out).

Petroleum Jelly or Similar lubricant 
Place on areas of your body that may rub against your clothing, PFD or hydration pack. Hot spots - Arm pits, nipples, neck.

Knife / multi-tool and/or electrical tape
To secure or remove annoying loose straps that are flapping around.

Repair Kit
Keep simple to maximize space. Think about ding repairs, torn deck bag straps, broken zippers, lost fin screws (or lost or loose fin), leash plug string, etc.

Reduce Blisters
The problem with paddling for 'hand protection' is that for us SUPs, we get wear on our fingers which
Paddling / Rig / Oar Gloves by Xcel
is not covered in most hand gloves.  Make up for it by wearing medical tape wrapped around each finger that is a problem (seam should be outwards or else it'll rub against your other finger. Check these out for a possible glove option by Xcel.

Wide Brimmed Hat
I'm a baseball hat guy but often on paddles I realize the sun is coming from the side and I'd have to rotate my hat to the side (rapper style) to block those UV rays.  Think about a wide brimmed 360 degree option.

500 More Tips - Check out Doug Alderson's book, The Savvy Paddler.. Ignore the kayaking title if that's not your thing, there's tons of smart tips for all paddlers and rowers.

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification. www.salmonbaypaddle.com
Seventy48 Training


Karl Kruger Seventy48 Tips

I recently hosted Karl Kruger for a clinic on sharing his Seventy48 race tips. The clinic was also helpful for those interested in SUP endurance races and/or long distance paddling trips.

If you're not familiar with Karl, he paddled 750 miles in 14 days from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK for the Race to Alaska in 2017.

Watch the Live Facebook Feed from the Clinic 
Get in close and crank the volume to hear, we didn't do a good job on sound

Here's a few tips from Karl..

Note '*' Notes are my questions or comments.

Breath from the belly.

Using concepts from Thai Chi, visualize a ball of energy at the catch - place paddle right on top.

On small waves, use short strokes (to toes and/or feet), faster breaths

On larger waves, less strokes, slower breaths
Focus on balls of energy

Focus - less distractions, don’t check speed coach, drop the music, Listen... 

Taping fingers, watch for creases, overlaps, Ace sports tape

*We discussed compression socks and tights as well as taping legs/feet to avoid pain or injuries as a result of standing for long periods.  Moving feet on the board helps, change up your stance. 

Endurance - Absolute acceptance of discomfort, it’s going to suck.

*Question I had: Ok to drift for breaks?  Karl and the class agreed. Ok to drift when you're taking a break vs going to shore. Get a few extra yards for free.

Cramps - hydration - Use Heed Hammer electrolytes, endurlites extreme, fizz packets
enduralites extreme - Start taking 2-3 days prior.  Call Hammer, they'll helpful in determining best amount of each per your age/body weight and type/duration of race. 

*Holly R, 7048 racer who is a PT suggests packets of mustard for cramps. I've used mustard for leg cramps, it does work, just sucks to taste at 2am.  

Sugar is devil  - no gatorade

- Over training not good, ok to not do too many miles.

- Work on technique, breathing.

- Bulk up in gym a few months prior. 

- Work on paddling technique

- Work on your carrying weight and get load balanced on board.

- Gym Training - transaxial, flexibility, balance, TRX, kettle bells, club bells on balance boards, squats with presses, kettle bells.

Higher reps - Russian sit-ups, wind mills, time under tension 
breaks or after each day.

Taking Long Breaks / End of Race - Recovery Hammer shakes and bars. protein shake before sleep (as much as possible).

Next morning - every 2 hrs one tablet, maintenance level of nutrition.

Each day - 15-20min one tablet Hammer Perpetuem solids. Gel for feeling fatigued/tired/sleepy (turbo boost of pills). Take tablets continuously. Real food didn’t do well.  Coffee ok to start day (stay with what your normally do).  

Night padding - VHF radio to call boats - know your channels - boat to boat (16) hailing or distress.  #14 for seattle.  

Solar panel - GoalZero with battery pack, kit with usb for phone, radio, etc.

Use VHF for weather reports. Get the ICOM floating waterproof for blinking red for night drops in water. Attach to PFD or outfitting to not lose in water.

Laser flare vs rocket flare? Laser is continuous.  *Curious how it works in daytime?

Sleeping comforts - R2AK - MegaLight floorless tent, Bivy sack - no sleep bag -  cuts wind, keeps warmth in. Slept in silk underwear, puffy coats, foam pad. 7048 - No pad or sleeping bag for Karl, planning to run straight through nonstop. 

Hydration - Ultimate Direction Camel Back

Board Types:
Narrow boards - adds more leg/body stress, slow because you’re struggling for stability. 

Outfitting options - Add cloth handle on rails and/or deck, NSI spectra loop plugs etc, Bungie vs rope. Dry bags with daisy chain.

*New boards from SplinterSUP with internal storage 

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification. www.salmonbaypaddle.com
Seventy48 Training


Indian Island Navy Boundary Restrictions for Paddlers

Whether you're competing in the Seventy48 or paddling near Port Hadlock, Marrowstone Island and/or Port Townsend, it's good to know the Navy's boundary restrictions for Indian Island.

Located across from Port Hadlock and south of Port Townsend (PT), Indian Island is a Navy munitions dump where conventional munitions are dropped off and picked up by paddling ships to and from active service.

A peek on Google Earth shows the many bunkers on the island to store the munitions.  Prior to the Navy's arrival on the island in the 1940's, farmers settled in the 1800's and of course before that there was some indigenous activity as a burial ground by the Chimacum Tribe. 

Attached to the mainland by a slim sandy isthmus, ambitious planners in Port Townsend dredged it for a shipping canal in the 1890's.  A bridge connecting to the mainland wasn't built till 1951.

The South and SW end are public. The SW corner south of the bridge has two paddler's launches, a WA Water Trails campsite (wwta.org) and is listed for great shellfish fishing. 

I wrote to the Navy to get a solid answer on paddler's restrictions on the island as few had consistent info and the Navy site is confusing. Here's the answer:

Mr. Casey: 
In response to your questions concerning Naval Magazine Indian Island, the following answers are provided for your information.

Civilians are not allowed to bring their vessels to land or physically stand on dry land on Naval Magazine Indian Island. 

When a Navy ship is present at the Naval Magazine Indian Island pier and the red flag is flying, civilian mariners are to avoid violating our restricted area as outlined in 33 CFR 334.1270 (Main Ammo Pier) which is patrolled by the Navy's Harbor Patrol Unit. 

There are NO restrictions of vessels coming alongside the Naval Magazine Indian Island beach.

Once again, civilians are not allowed to step foot on Naval Magazine Indian Island dry land, including both Piers.

If you have more questions related to Naval Magazine Indian Island, please refer them directly to me.
Phillip L. Guerrero
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Naval Magazine Indian Island
100 Indian Island Road
Port Hadlock, WA 98339
Work: (360) 396-4955
Fax: (360) 396-7127

Honor.  Courage.  Commitment.


How to Train your Kayak / SUP Guides to Protect Themselves and their Guests

Just in, a tragic Yellowstone area kayak guide fatality last summer. 

Poorly or (not) trained guides in cold water thus leading to an easily avoidable outcome.

How to avoid:

-Train your guides on cold water immersion issues.

-Train your guides on self and group rescues which includes rescuing other water craft - kayaks, sups, boaters, swimmers.

-Only hire PSUPA, ACA or similarly certified instructors as guides. Or hire then pay to train your instructors through one of these programs before giving them co-lead or lead positions. 

-Make sure staff have a clear understanding of how and when to hire Emergency Medical Services and have the tools to do it - cell and/or vhf?  Do you have reception on the trip?

-Make sure your guides can swim.  What??  Yep, once a raft guide in WA State drowned on a Class 1 river as he didn't know how to swim.  

-Require guides to always wear a PFD and leash. It's common in the SUP industry for guides and instructors to go without one or both even while their students are equipped. Lead by example.  

Back-up emergency rescue options:
- Laser Flare - Great option but not as bright in daytime and can't fire high if you're obscured.
- Rocket Flares - Shoot to direct others to your location. 
- Whistle - Required by the  CG. Simple, light, no reason not to have one. Doesn't work upwind.
- Plastic Signal Mirror - super light small mirror that can be used at night as well if a light is directed in your location.
- Wear hi-vis colors. Popular with downwinders, can be seen 1 mile away in most situations.  
- Know hand signals to alert EMS or passerby folks or other boaters / paddlers. My SUP book has a page dedicated to hand signals. Our PSUPA Flat Water 1 manual also covers VHF protocol, hand signals, risk management etc. 
- White blinking or non blinking light for night seen in 360 degrees.  Great time for laser flare in distress.  
- Establish a Float Plan. Tell your staff or a friend of your departure time, route, plan and time of return - then contact them when you return.  Our local paddlers have a FB Messenger page for Float Plans.   

 I've found people are reluctant to call 911.  It's ok to do so even if you're not sure.  Better to call than not.  If you are planning to perform a rescue, call first then go.  Or if the rescue is out of your league or may put you into danger, lead a visual rescue directing EMS services to the scene. 

-Consider making a Staff Training Manual and hands-on and on-water Training Class to teach these tips plus your company's mission and procedures on-water. 

-Ask guides to carry extra non-cotton thermal clothing on-water for themselves and/or guests. A small neoprene hood can go a long way on a cold day. And/or hydration in hot climates.

-Dress for the water temp. I was in a 5/4 full suit yesterday, air was in the 70's but water was 45f. When i get hot, i jump in to cool off.  We regularly put our students in immersion clothing in colder air/water temps.  If they're not sure if they need it, bring it anyway.  

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification. www.salmonbaypaddle.com
Seventy48 Training


SUP Rescues Classes April 28 & May 3rd

My students have already been involved in rescuing rental kayakers from the cold waters of Shilshole Bay twice this Spring!

The silly season is here - occasional blue sky days that inspire summer thinking paddlers to get out in 46F waters dressed in summer clothing - usually lacking basic skills.  

Last week, my student Lisa was out downwinding and came across two capsized rental kayakers who didn't have PFDs on, were dressed in cotton and were paddling in 25kts of S wind, 50F air temps - 46F water temps and 5 knots of snow melt Locks current.  Both lost their boats and paddles beyond the Shilshole jetty.  

Equipped with basics SUP rescue skills, Lisa pulled one of of the water onto her board, and a sailboat helped to complete the rescue.  

A month before, my instructor training class had the opportunity to rescue another kayaker capsized on a sunny yet cold March day.  The paddler was in a cocktail dress and her loose fitting PFD rose above her head while in the water. 

We plucked her out and pushed her gear to shore.  

This happens a lot in Spring-Summer here.  Be ready for it.  

My SUP Rescue Skills Class will teach you how to rescue SUPs, Kayaks and fatigued swimmers.

- The Flip Rescue so you can pull people out of the water onto your or their board
- T-Rescue to rescue capsized kayakers
- Towing - to tow fatigued or capsized paddlers to shore
- Alternative tow/push techniques to get folks to shore
- 3 Ways of getting on your own board - and how to instruct others to do so.
- Inflatable SUP rescues and re-mount (6" thick makes it hard to get on). 
- How to conduct a visual rescue - Direct EMS services to a situation if you can't help.
- How to be aware of trouble, be ready for it, what gear to carry and how to improvise.  

Thurs Evening 5/3 - 6:30 - 8:30 pm - $45ea  

*Add $45 for a toasty wetsuit, booties, gloves and a hood? (Recommended for this class)

Contact me to RSVP - salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206-465-7167

Seventy48 Training Links:

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification. www.salmonbaypaddle.com
Seventy48 Training


Paddler's Tips - How to Move Forward with Less or No Effort

If you're planning a long trip, expedition or for those of us participating in the first annual 70 mile Seventy48 race on Puget Sound, you're probably trying to figure out how to get to your destination within a specific time frame with the least amount of exhaustion and/or pain. Some like pain, but that's not my thing, so I'm always looking for the easiest way to get there.

Here's a few tips on how to get there easier and to take advantage of every opportunity to move forward, especially when fatigue sets in..

Ready to Take a Break?  Take your Break on the Board..
If you have river current, tidal current or wind going in the direction of your destination, take advantage and take your break on your board or other water craft while moving forward. I'd rather gain a few hundred feet or more floating forward than sitting on a log on-shore getting cold and not moving.  

Drafting is an easy ways to save your energy for a long haul trip or race. And it's commonly practiced during long paddling races, even between different types of craft - surf ski on shells, sup on ski's sup to sup, etc.  Draft trains are an interesting thing to see during big races with up to 20 sups or other craft all drafting a single paddler thus stretching the train out 50 more yards.  

Team benefits of drafting - Those paddling with each other or on the same team may draft each other
Draft Train
and take turns, leap frogging every 15-20 min or for set distances. 

How to do it - Paddle up to another paddler's tail (stern) and get within a few inches of bumping them. When you reach the sweet spot, you'll feel a sense of surfing or moving forward without working for it - this is the same as an eddy on a river.  You do have to paddle, but for the most part the other paddler in front is doing most of the work.  Front paddlers who can't keep straight are the hardest to track. And pintails (V shaped tails/sterns don't leave much wake to surf.

You can find positive forward movement either directly behind the forward board and in it's wake as it spreads in a V behind their tail/stern.  

Ethics of drafting - Some paddling race rules only allow to draft others within your same craft of division but often it's not enforced.  For more open races, it's whatever works. Once a SUP I know was drafting a sea kayak. The kayaker got pissed and put on the breaks - not a smart move as the SUP could've (or should've?) fallen on him.  

Boat Wake Surfing
Often in races, I see paddlers paddling over boat wakes or trying to avoid wakes as if the wake is in their way. If the wake is going their way - they missed a great opportunity to get a free push forward and/or possibly an epic ride lasting several minutes to dust those around them.  

Boat Surfing
Learn how to surf any wave or wake going in your direction. It takes practice but when you get the basics, you'll ultimately save your energy while getting a free ride, you will increase your speed considerably when surfing (up to 7-10kts) and you'll have more fun vs trudging ahead on flat water. 

When learning to surf boat wakes, respect boats - don't cut them off.  If there's 2 boats coming, take the second boat in case you fall.  

Reverb or Clapotis
Reverb waves are those that bounce off a wall or bridge then bounce back into waves coming in thus creating a triangular shaped funky wave (or a bit of chaotic wave shapes).  Many paddlers avoid these thinking they'll fall.  Learn how to paddle in these as the reverb waves can push you along and give you a free ride.  

In a local Seattle race I used to put on weekly, paddlers always avoided a cliff section at high tide that had a lot of reverb. I plowed through and got free rides and was able to get ahead of paddlers whose go-around manuver just added more distance to their race.  

How to Padddle in Reverb - Short quick strokes, bent knees, stay loose (hands loose too), smile and enjoy the ride.