News and Events
For those who have not been obsessively scouring Paddleguru waiting for a local race to pop up you may have missed out on the Friday Night Brights race at the Newport Aquatic Center this past Friday. Now, if I’m being honest, I missed racing so much that the listing on Paddleguru could have said that we would race on inflatable rubber ducks in a puddle in the parking lot and I still would have signed up. Fortunately, however, I got to use my Starboard Sprint that hadn’t seen a race since I bought it the first week of March 2020. As promised, the race was informal, no awards and no shirts, but still organized and well run. In a rare paddle race feat it even started on time. The course, for those who never attended a previous Friday Night Brights, is a fun five miles from NAC to Linda’s bridge that, at least on June 11, saw up, side, and downwind bumps and the occasional boat swell from a wayward direction to help keep you on your game. Additionally, the free burgers from the TK food truck were just as good as one could hope.
As great as a Friday night race can be, it was not the well planned course or the weather that made this memorable. The first time I ever entered a SUP race I was amazed at the combination of competitiveness and camaraderie that was almost palpable as you walked around the beach waiting for the race to start. Everyone was happy to see each other, but it was also clear that everyone was there to compete, and that plenty of high level athletes were on the beach ready to unleash their weeks/months of training post starting horn. Never has this been so apparent as it was on Friday night. I could hear excitedly raised voices of greeting even before I got out of my car. Since I live pretty far inland I got to see friends I hadn’t seen in over a year, but there were plenty of OC natives greeting others with happily raised voices and smiling faces that were clear from across the beach.
As was expected, however, this all shifted as we moved to the water. Like any water start, the start line was pretty malleable as we all took half strokes to try to gain a little advantage before the whistle. Then the whistle came, the craft took off and the churn of all the paddle strokes and boat wakes were everyone’s main concern. All the thoughts I hadn’t had in over a year came back. Did I want to try and catch up with that draft train of four teenage/twenty somethings? What kind of pace can I maintain? Am I allowed to draft off this OC-1 in front of me even though I’m on a SUP. Then that rhythm that is equal parts pain and joy set in as I found my place and my pace and remembered why paddling has taken up so much of my brain for so much of my life. There were definitely some bright spots throughout. Not falling off my 21.5 inch wide board in the side chop, trying to chase down the silhouette of the OC-1 that passed me as we turned into the setting sun. (I didn’t catch him, I came close though), finishing and seeing my buddy who I paddle with every Wednesday look as happy as I was to return to racing, and of course, that burger at the end.
In case you all had any doubts, racing is just as fun as you remembered it. I look forward to seeing you all out there, and to the guy in the surfski I bumped into early in the race I’m still sorry. I caught a funny wake and lost myself in the excitement a bit.
(Image and video credit to Kristin Thomas of KT Outside. Thank you!
Team Writer Bret Warner - Paddling truly got its hooks into me when I, on a whim, watched the 1999 Santa Cruz Paddlefest with my dad. I had kayaked a little before, but from then on the addiction was palpable. My first kayak, a purple and turquoise Necky Rip, came soon after. The following year I was that kid at UCSD who had a surf kayak in the common study area instead of a surfboard in my dorm room. I also taught sea kayaking all through college in San Diego, and up in Santa Cruz after I graduated.
When SUP came around, however, the paddling addiction became even more rabid. The garage started to fill up with different types of boards, and is now more than half full of hollow wood boards I have built myself,both for environmental reasons, and because it’s awesome to get to talk about how you built your own board when people ask you about it after a race. I love the paddle racing scene in California right now. Everyone is so stoked to be on the water competing, and the fierce competition is matched by the smiling faces when the race is over. I have gotten to paddle crafts that I never really considered before, and can see myself getting hooked all over again on something else: prone, OC-1, surfski,whatever, I just need more garage space.
Three years ago I founded the non-profit Stand up to Alzheimer’s. An organization that raises money and awareness for Alzheimer’s research through paddle races. This organization was born from lacking a tangible way of dealing with my father’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s, but has now become a way, hopefully, for other to help cope as well. Our next event is on July 9 in Monterey at Del Monte Beach, just a little north from Monterey Bay Kayaks. Visit us at www.sup2alzh.weebly.com.
We could not be more stoked to talk to Will Reichenstein of the Wa'a House about the new V3 design that he has created and is ready for the paddling community to embrace. We talk story about the vision, the supporting cast, the successes and some failutres along the way to get to the final release version. Why wood strip? Who he looked to for inspiration and late night calls? Biggest challenges and how fast it has gone so far. Dimensions, weight, transport, rigging....we cover it all! Including some footage of it in action!
[In addition to the many names mentioned throughout the video, Will also wanted to give some shout outs to Brian Dalbey of Ozone and Maika Scott who helped with ideas, the whole Poppler family, his parents Willie and Liz, and of course his wife Bobbie who has been a sounding board for ideas and as well!]
All that said, we wanted to take a moment and give you a PERSONAL update on Cali Paddler. As you probably know, in-person events are where the majority of our connections are made. Where our story is best told. And where our products can be seen and tried-on to witness in person how your friends gush at how awesome you look wearing it. So with the cancelling of the various seasons we have really missed connecting with you, showing off our newest lines, and hearing how your race went. We have maintained our online website and orders have come in through that avenue, and gosh we are so grateful to you all. We had to make a tough call to hold off on replenishing many sizes and out of stock items that continue to be very popular. Our apologies if you found an item online you wanted, only to see your size was not in stock. Ugh, that sucks - we get it! We also had to hit the brakes on many of our new designs that we planned to launch in May and June for you. The amazing feedback you always give drives our products, and we are sad to not have had them ready for the public as we intended.
All that said, we have found some ways to introduce new items that hopefully brought some smiles. We have added gift cards this year for a little while so paddlers can brighten up the day of their friends. (And a big thank you to a very special friend who bought a bunch for his teammates!) And we also added our PupLid Trucker Hats for Paddle Dogs. Yes we know this is a little unorthodox, but we felt a little levity might bring smiles and part some clouds. :)
Some really good news this year was the addition of Cathie and Daven to our Rock Star Sales Team. It is always fun to add to the energy of the team and these two paddlers will continue to make sure the entire paddling state feels loved and connected. Once we get back to the event scene, expect these folks to represent at events. We can't for you to meet them!
So where do we go from here?
Well at this time, we are doing our best to be in a position to come out next season bursting with more awesomeness than ever. We hope to introduce new designs and bring back some classics. Increase the articles and posts with more great content. And grow our cleanup initiatives and non-profit give-backs to new heights.
Thank you for continuing to be Cali Paddlers. Seeing pics of you rocking the gear, tagging us, and taking the steps to be empowered stewards on your own has lifted our spirits. And held true our hopes that we can come out of this better. We will continue to support all the paddlers out there as best we can with our stoke and mission, to be EPIC (Every Paddler In California).
As grateful as ever,
Your paddling friends at Cali Paddler
it is with great sadness we share the press release below about the Sunday Sunday Sunday Paddle Race series being put on hiatus indefinitely. We are so grateful for Revolt and West Coast Paddle Sports and all the volunteers and sponsors who made this our favorite race in California. What selfless individuals and sponsors will pick up the mantle ?
For Immediate Release: RVLT Surf & Paddle postpones all 2019 Pro Am Events till further notice
May 6, 2019 - San Diego, CA - Attention all RVLT athletes, industry professionals and media outlets. After much thought and consideration Brian and Leslie Terhorst have decided that their main focus for 2019 must remain on their newest business venture MESO Healthy TRUE Full Spectrum CBD Products, and until further notice, the entire 2019 seasons of the Revolt Summer Surf Series - Pier II Pier - Pro Am and the Sunday X3 Paddle Race Series have been postponed.
As part of our 5% Paddle Pledge, Cali Paddler regularly adopts new non-profit groups that care for our shorelines, waters and the wildlife that live there. We donate 5% of all sales proceeds to these groups during specified quarters. We are proud to announce our newest partnership and share with you all the amazing things they are doing. We proudly introduce WILDCOAST! Thank you to their team for sharing below a little bit about them.
West Coast Paddle Sports Giving Away Reusable Water Bottles with Cali Paddler at Hanohano Ocean Challenge
Cali Paddler and Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge team up to create an environmentally friendly paddle event.
On October 9th, a fellow paddler posted about one of the biggest bummers we could encounter. Cathy was visiting San Diego from Lake Havasu, and had left her canoe strapped to her roof. It was in a cover. It was cable locked. And it still managed to attract the attention of an evil thief who managed to cut it free and steal it. Imagine the sinking feeling when you walk to your car and see your beloved craft no longer there. A feeling of bewilderment and question must flood you: "Did I not have the canoe there?" "Is this even my car?" "Maybe a friend is playing a trick on me?"
But alas, the worst case scenario, was the actual scene. Someone stole it.