Paddle Articles

Understanding Eddy Currents in Rivers

We aren't going to lie, we are baffled sometimes how one stretch of water, be it in a river, or even a bay during a tide swing, can have completely different speed and dynamics than something mere feet away. And we are also always looking to understand the waters as best we can for safety...and let's be honest, speed!

So if you have ever been curious about eddies, where to be, and where not to be when you are paddling in certain directions, this article is for you. We reached out to Davide Sartoni, who's experience and understanding of River SUP and water dynamics blows our mind. Enjoy!

Understanding Eddy Currents in Rivers

As a river flows past an obstruction, water backfills the space downriver of it, forming an Eddy. Whitewater paddlers often use eddies for scouting, regrouping, and resting spots while systematically moving down rapids. Eddies are also used as safer areas to recover swimmers and equipment during a rescue. In order to effectively and safely move in and out of eddies, paddlers need to better understand the hydrology of these features.

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California Race Preview - Hanohano Huki Ocean Challenge


Time for some more SoCal Racing! One of the longest running races in California, 20 years as the Hanohano Ocean Challenge and 6 years prior to that when run as the Excel Surfski Race, this race is a huge destination for paddlers of all ages, experience and speed. You WILL find someone at your level here. And as is often the case with these races, you will also find some really friendly paddlers. Learn more here about the race, the courses and some tips and tricks to make it a positive experience for you.

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Outrigger Canoe Tips for Padling In and Out Through Surf

At some point or another, you might enter a race where you have to enter through the surf to get to the start line. Or maybe you go for a paddle and want to beach along the way but there is some surf to account for. This can be intimating to some. And others may not understand how a simple extra second can make all the difference. Here are some important tips, Dos and Don'ts and lessons learned the hard way which may help you safely get to your destination and not have to worry so much about that upcoming race with a beach entry.

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SoCal Winter Series Preview - La Jolla Invitational

SoCal Winter Race Series
This series of race previews is an 'unaffiliated' effort to share experiences from each of the races that comprise Southern California's Winter Series of Races for OC1, OC2, Surf-Ski, SUP and Prone Paddlers. - This week we spotlight the La Jolla Invitational! All ocean. Beach Launch. A great opportunity for those first timers wanting to try oc1, surfski, prone or sup.
And be sure to check back for other race previews as they come up this winter. Gonna be a fun season! NorCal, if anyone is interested in contributing similar paddle and race previews, we'd love to team up!

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CP Explorations - Monterey to Morro Bay

Monterey to Morro BayJoin us on a Cali Paddler Exploration journey along the Big Sur Coastline. 4 day, 120 miles from Monterey to Morro Bay. From socked in fog, to gorgeous sunny days. Hillsides, cliffs, dolphins and sea otters. Helpful tailwinds to horrible up-winds. And a finish for the ages!

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CP Review - SharkBanz Shark Deterrent Band

SharkBanz Review


I recently embarked on an adventure OC1 paddle from Monterey to Morro Bay that placed me in some of the sharkiest of waters. In fact I paddled in what is called the Red Triangle. Don't know what that is? Here is a Wikipedia excerpt for you:

The Red Triangle is the colloquial name of a roughly triangle-shaped region off the coast of northern California, extending from Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, out slightly beyond the Farallon Islands, and down to the Big Sur region, south of Monterey. The area has a very large population of marine mammals, such as elephant seals, harbor seals, sea otters and sea lions, which are favored prey of great white sharks. Around thirty-eight percent of recorded great white shark attacks on humans in the United States have occurred within the Red Triangle—eleven percent of the worldwide total. The area encompasses the beaches of the heavily populated San Francisco Bay Area, and many people enjoy surfing, windsurfing, swimming and diving in these waters.

So, yea, I was in THAT. Paddling alongside delicious elephant seals, dolphins, otters, sea lions and tons of fish. Solo for long stretches with no beach-able entries, access to towns, roads or nearby people. I figured if I was going to willingly put myself in this situation I better take some precautions. One of those was acquiring two SharkBanz to wear and affix to my canoe.

SharkBanz Review

A little bit about the product

So if you know me, sea-life is something I love. Including sharks! My respect for sharks and their importance of our ocean balance goes hand-in-hand with me being in their home when I paddle. So the last think I want to do is disrupt their habitat or harm their ability to thrive. So when I heard about SharkBanz I was interested to learn more. Their goals are to "develop simple, effective and affordable strategies to reduce the risk of a shark bite".

Their device and approach can be described as follows:

"Sharkbanz utilize powerful permanent magnets to create an effective shark deterrent that’s always on and requires no batteries or charging. When sharks approach Sharkbanz, they detect the device’s strong electromagnetic field, which provides a sudden sensation that is thousands of times stronger than the signal produced by anything in a shark’s normal food chain. Consequently, sharks are deterred away from Sharkbanz. This cause and effect is analogous to having a bright light suddenly shined in your eyes in a dark room. You would not be hurt, but you would want to turn away." (

So I had two of these bands which were very much like a heavy watch band. I wore one on my left ankle which fit fine in my foot-well. The second one I strapped to my ama behind the front iako/ama joint. This way I always had one in/near the water and one on me should I fall in, lose my craft, or need to swim for any other reason.

SharkBanz Review

SharkBanz Review

My impressions

Once I strapped the items on I never noticed them again. In fact the only time I had any reminder of it was when I climbed up on my van to unstrap my canoe and my ankle pulled to the side of the vehicle and my leg attached to the steel metal side. After chuckling at the powerful magnet, I just pulled my leg away and proceeded to do my task. While the bands are heavy by comparison to a watch, they are not so heavy as to impede my movement while paddling, or make the canoe and ama so heavy that I couldn't paddle efficiently. In fact, I paddled over a hundred miles with them, and never gave it a second thought. Except of course the thought of what they are helping me avoid.

So let's be honest, if these really worked I would have a boring story to tell. And as far as sharks go, it was in fact very boring. Thank goodness. An average of 7 hours a day, between 23 and 30 miles, in calm and overcast to windy and surfing conditions. I never encountered any sighting of a shark. That doesn't mean they weren't there, but for whatever reason, I was not very interesting if they were. Which is exactly what I would hope for. I did encounter otters, sea lions, a sunfish and a dolphin. All within 4 feet of the canoe. I had a fin whale breaching about .25 miles away. They all seemed to have no problem keeping me company during the trip. I even had a curious seal follow me for over a mile surfacing every minute or so with a big exhale and make me flinch.

Disclaimer regarding Great White sharks

One disclaimer that gave me pause about how effective this product would be was that Great White sharks are ambush predators. They see you from a distance, and levy a high speed attack on their prey. This is different than bull, tiger and other breeds of sharks. So in my case, they might not sense the magnetic pulse and be deterred until they had gotten so close it was too late to pull back. So the website makes a point to say that Great Whites, are not included in their list of shark species that this is designed to help with. That said, if one was curious about me, and not throttling towards me to attack, it would be helpful.

Final info

Cost: The cost is $84.00 per band. So not as affordable as the awesome "I am not a seal" stickers by Better Surf than Sorry. But considering the potential hospital bills of a bite, perhaps a bargain! I had two, one black and grey, the other black and turquoise (which matched my canoe perfectly). Other styles and colors are available too, but really, I was mostly worried about their effectiveness. And well, I am here writing a review, with all my fingers (and toes) intact, so I am going to say I am pretty pleased. Would I wear them every time I paddle? Maybe not both of them. Perhaps just on my ankle in case I have to go for a long swim and lose my canoe in conditions due to broken leash. But the piece of mind when I paddled, especially solo, and even when I huli'd on a lunch break and wasn't paying attention to a rogue wave is pretty nice to have. So if you have visions of long ocean paddles, solo or with groups, and happen to be in areas that have been run by 'the landlord' or frequented by 'the man in the grey suit', I would consider this a worthy accessory. Plus, one last thing, having these helped my wife and mom feel "better" about my crazy adventure ideas. And you can't put a price on that. :)

See you on the water!


Cali Paddler Team Writer Clarke Graves

Team Writer Clarke Graves - If there is water, he will paddle it (regardless of craft). Clarke is a surfer turned paddler who grew up in San Diego but has traveled every corner of California enjoying its beauty and appeal. He has had the privilege of racing SUP, OC6, OC2, OC1, Prone, Dragon-boat and surf-ski.

One of Clarke's goals is to paddle as much shoreline in California as he can, with as many paddling friends who are willing to join him. If you have an idea for Clarke to write about or any questions, send it our way and we will pass it along!

CP Spotlight - The Wa'a House and Will Reichenstein

CP Spotlight - The Wa'a House

[ One of the great things about the paddle community in California and worldwide is that the business owners in the industry are generally paddlers. They saw an opportunity to make the sport better and harnessed their entrepreneurial skills and courage to bring services and products that help us get on the water and enjoy it. The CP Spotlight Series shines a light on paddlers, coaches and in this case, the businesses that deserve to be showcased for all.]

The Wa'a House was started by Will Reichenstein and his wife Bobbie in 2018 to service paddle-craft repair needs. Wa'a (pronounced vah-ah; Hawaiian for canoe) are certainly the main craft he works on, and one stroll through the shop and you will see a variety of outrigger canoes from old Stringrays to new Ares. The shop is located in  Oceanside, just 5 minutes east on the 76 freeway in an industrial area that is perfectly centered for the San Diego, San Clemente and Dana paddle communities to drop off a wounded craft and pick up a shiny repaired one.

Wa'a House Shop

There are so many stories that cause us to need a repair. Ranging from getting caught in the rocks after surfing your canoe at your local jetty ("you should have seen the awesome wave though!", to getting t-boned by a backyard fence post as you transport your canoe to the car ("I swear it came out of nowhere!"). And everything in between.

Puakea Designs Kahele Repair

At the time we were in there, it was after the Gorge Downwind Champs. During the week the coconut wireless had spread a story about a paddler who's canoe had been ripped out of the hands by a 30mph gust of wind and wrecked pretty badly. Stuff happens. Thankfully, SoCal has The Wa'a House to give us piece of mind that a quality repair (without adding tons of weight!) is possible. Even a canoe that flew off the roof of a moving vehicle is on the list of saved and repaired craft.

Outrigger Canoe Repair

In addition to repairs of severe paddle-craft damage, sometimes we just want to get a few more years out of a loyal craft. Spruce the ole beauty up and make it solid and shiny. Or maybe there is a small collection of dings that have occurred over the years and you want to bring the canoe back to its glory days. The Wa'a House does that too.

Outrigger Canoe Restoration

Will Himself

For those of you that know me from my articles and Cali Paddler in general, the character of people really matters. It is why we love this sport so much. The few times I have had a chance to interact with Will (and his wife Bobbie) as well as watched him with others, it was clear that each paddler is just as cool as the elite paddlers he trains and races with. Never did I witness an ego or someone too busy to share a wave or beer with. Which, considering Will's resume of paddling and his international network of paddle superstars, is even more awesome to see. Not to mention, he has always been approachable and willing to take the time and your call. Know that when you are at The Wa'a House, you will be with someone who will listen to your paddle stories as much as he will tell them.

Will Reichenstein Wa'a House Rudder Cable Repair

From a business standpoint, integrity matters too. So often professionals might see dollar signs with each client who walks in the door. But in my personal experience, when my beloved canoe got its first ding and I freaked out, Will assessed the damage and then shared that it was actually not that bad structurally. And it would be more cost-effective to wait until I had more urgent dings to tackle them at one time. He said he would of course make the repairs, but wanted to make sure I understood my options. Even if it meant turning down work in the short term. Will even worked with me to find a time he would be in my part of town to look over the damage to save me a trip to his shop.

Wait, he does more?

In addition to knowing the ins and outs of canoe repair for just about any model out there, Will is the Southern California Kai Wa'a and Fai Va'a Rudderless V1 rep. So if you are in the market for an Ares, Anteres, Gemini OC2 or Fai3x, he can help you find a great canoe! (Read our interview with Will about paddling rudderless v1 here).

One last thing Will offers, is paddle clinics. Group or one-on-one for technique, or as I had the pleasure to join, a downwind run at the Gorge. Will has a great voice in the canoe that helps even an average-joe like me up their game at reading the water and seeing untapped potential (in the waves and in the stroke). There are many talented paddlers in California that offer clinics to improve our abilities. Definitely include Will Reichenstein on this list. Weeks later I am still applying the tips he shared with me in various situations like he was in the canoe with me.

Wa'a House Collage

Magic takes time.

No place is perfect and as you can imagine, working on your craft with quality attention takes time. If there is anything we want to stress if you need a Wa'a House repair, is to account for time. At this time there is only so much Will to go around, so his ability to take on your project may require some patience. We suggest you reach out to him with a description of the project, send some pics or arrange maybe to see in person. And then be willing to work with his schedule to take it on. After all, we need to make sure Will still gets his water time so he can continue being one of the fastest and most stoked paddlers in the state.

So, after having experienced the shop, and talked to several other paddlers who have brought in their OC1s, OC2s, and even an OC6 to be brought back to life, we would encourage you to give The Wa'a House a chance on your next craft repair. You will be supporting a fellow paddling couple, who has done a lot to make our community better. And will take amazing care of your craft!

The Wa'a House
326 Via Del Norte
Oceanside, California 92058
(949) 701-8647

p.s. Stand-by for more exciting announcements of how The Wa'a House will be connecting the paddle community to great products. Some pretty exciting things happening

Cali Paddler Puffy Vest

Why Change Season is Outrigger's Best Paddle Time!

Change Season Outrigger CanoeChange season. 9-man season. Whatever you call this amazing time of year for outrigger paddles, it marks the best part of the season in our opinion. And so we wanted to express our enthusiasm for all of you entering in to the dungeon of awesome because this part of the year is what truly makes you a bad-ass paddler.

Why? Because everything is fluid and you have to adapt and overcome. Traits that the best paddlers find themselves able to do. You have to be a pro out there and roll with whatever happens. What you might ask it so unique vs. sprints or long distance season? What makes it so fluid? Glad you asked!

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OC1 Essay Contest - How Has Paddling Changed Your Life?

How has paddling changed your life?

Winner Announcement:

Please watch the video above to understand the true depth of this gift. And the legacy it leaves. That said, It is a great honor to announce the winner. We were so blown away by the entries. We read each one, and voted with multiple judges, but we all but agreed it was very difficult to choose. Every one was beautifully written with talent and heartfelt sincerity. And we felt after each one that that person was certainly worthy in their own way. We encourage you to read these entries and be reminded about how powerful our sport can be, for the mind, the body, and the soul.

Congratulations to Jessica Struble who entered not for herself, but for her unsuspecting mom who she will be giving the canoe to. Jessica saw from her perspective the life-changing impact paddling has had. Truly as generous, selfless and moving as the donors gesture. Read her story here. And then read the others from 6 states, and 2 countries. Some as young as 7 years old. We promise, you will be moved by each and every one.

Original Essay Backstory:

We were recently approached by a VERY generous paddler and friend of CP. They have an OC1 in great condition but she does not paddle it anymore. It is in wonderful shape, but needs someone to make it glide again!

They asked if we knew anyone that would be worthy of being GIVEN the canoe, instead of trying to sell it. As you can imagine, we were blown away by such a generous thought. Immediately we thought how every paddler we knew was pretty awesome. And we know they would all appreciate the gesture. But picking just one would be too hard. So, in partnership with the donor, we decided to create a contest.

Thank you to all the entrants. We invite you to read them ALL below, as they were each moving tributes to a sport we love and the community as a whole. You will be a more grateful paddler learning their stories. We promise.

Choosing a winner was not easy, but involved the donor and Cali Paddler choosing their top three and then assigning points (3-2-1) based on their rank. Then combining results and points to determine the winner.

Essay Requirements:
Part 1: “Describe how paddling has changed your life.”
Part 2: “How do you plan to use this canoe, and perhaps someday pass it along?”

Official Posted Rules

  1. Entries must be received no later than Sunday, June 16th, 2019 at 11:59pm PST. To be emailed to
  2. The donor requests that they be given the honor of presenting the canoe.
  3. The recipient/winner promises not to turn around and sell it. This is a gesture from the heart to the paddling community so someone can enjoy the freedom and joy an OC1 can bring. They ask that, should the winner ever decide to part ways with the canoe, that they “give” it to the next owner, and make its story known to future owners so they also give it to a deserving paddlers. Cherish, paddle and then pass along!
  4. All entries are submitted with permission to Cali Paddler, LLC to publish in any medium (print, web, social media). Full authorship credit would be given to the author.
  5. Pickup and transportation is the responsibility of the winner. Donor lives in greater San Diego area.
  6. Winner will be contacted directly and announced no later than Saturday, June 22nd, 2019.
  7. Winner entry will be determined based on compelling content, and presentation.
  8. All ages may apply. If under 18, parent/guardian permission and acknowledgment must be provided.

All eligible entries will be mailed a Cali Paddler sticker and $5.00 1-time use discount code to the store (expires December 31, 2019).
About the Prize and Canoe
Package includes:

Huki V1-Z OC-1, Canoe cover, Rooftop transport system, Leash, Cali Paddler hat. (paddle shown in pictures not included)

OC1 is well cared-for. Water-tight with professional level repairs performed as needed. Full description at: Dimensions: 21' 10 " LOA, 13.85" BOA 21' 4 " LAW @ full speed, 12.8" BAW @ 190 Lb. paddler 20.5 Lb assembled main hull (Carbon/Kev)

OC1 Essay Contest Entry - Jessica Struble

The following submission was made as an entry to win a OC1 from an amazingly generous donor, who wanted to see the canoe truly enjoyed, rather than turn a profit. Entrants were asked to submit an essay answering the following:

  • Part 1: “Describe how paddling has changed your life.”
  • Part 2: “How do you plan to use this canoe, and perhaps someday pass it along?”

< View all entries


Jessica Struble, California

A Canoe is Worth a Thousand Words

I am meant to describe how paddling has changed my life, and I intend to do that. It may seem strange, but I have never picked up a paddle in my life and somehow I find myself describing it’s life-altering effects. I find that the strongest life alterations are those made through the lives of loved ones. If I am to accurately describe how my life been changed by the sport, I will have to start at my own birth.

When my mother was very young, she fell in love with her high school sweetheart. They were wed, they led a peaceful white-picket life, and they introduced myself and my brother to this beautiful planet. They were married only until I was two years old, and prior to that my older brother was plagued by many sleepless nights as he lay awake listening to their desperate bickering. When I was too young to remember, both found new partners. My dad quickly fell in love with a wonderful woman whom he has retired with, and my mother experimented with her fair share of women. My mother is a wonderful person, but she is insecure, and she is lost. She often feels powerless, and her features are often arranged into a sad, regretful smile. I can see it when she watches me succeed, or when she sees my dad with the love of his life, or when she fails in her own adventures. She has learned to accept powerlessness

That is until she found herself in a canoe. When her current partner Barbie moved here from her tropical Hawaiian paradise, she convinced my mom to have a taste of what Hawaiians do for fun. They joined an outrigger club together and, much like Cinderella and her shoe, the paddle fit. My mom’s whole persona changed, her eyes were brighter than the sun reflecting on the ocean, her arms stronger than any oncoming wave, her skin salty with sweat. And finally--I’m lucky to have been able to see it--she found her power.

She took control of her life in much the same way she could take control of the boat. All of a sudden, she found herself leading, encouraging, pushing toward a better horizon. Her paddle was the key to open countless doors of opportunity. The salty air seemed fresh to her, and the dolphins and whales were better friends than she had ever had. She had described this competition to me in passing, and I have taken it upon myself, with her permission, to bring a little more light to her future. She paddles recreationally, but sometimes it is just not enough. She would paddle in rain or shine, in murky or clear waters, she would slice her way across a frozen lake if it meant she could paddle. The power she finds in paddling is medicinal to her joy. Her joy, in turn, is my joy. I live with her, and I have supported her through the ups and downs of her beautifully flawed life. So here I am, describing to you how amazingly strong the influence of paddling has been, and how it has strengthened my mother to the core. It taught her that when her canoe or her world is turned upside down, she can always get back in again with a little help. I am merely a bystander to this magical growth, but I now realize that I can make a difference in her life

This canoe, if I win it, will go to my unsuspecting mother.  If it ever comes time to part with the canoe, I will personally make sure that the new owner can see the magic as well as my mom could. She does not know that I plan on giving her the canoe, and I believe that the surprise will not only inspire her to focus on her personal growth, but also to share in her joy. She had always wanted to paddle with family, and now she would have that opportunity. They plan on retiring near a river or lake, that is my mom’s only wish in terms of location. So, with this constant water access, we will be able to take the whole family out. My mom, myself, Barbie, my grandma, my cousins, aunts and uncles, and even my dog buddy. He’s got his own life vest so we could even go swimming in the lake together. We are a water play family, and we would all love the opportunity to paddle together, my mom most of all. It would warm her heart to see me, her daughter, paddling the same boat, experiencing the same beauty which had changed her life.

I would like to take a moment an thank you for this opportunity. I think that this is a wonderful thing you are doing and I sincerely hope that, if it does not go to us, it will go to someone who can find the magic in it as well. We certainly have.


My name is Jessica Struble, I am a seventeen-year-old recent high school graduate who has an aspiration of being an author. My mother is Trisha Struble, and she is a member of the Makaha outrigger club in San Pedro, CA.


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