Friday, June 17, 2011

Paddle your own canoe

Treading water
One of my most memorable Magnum P.I. episodes ‘Home from the Sea’ begins with Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) honoring his self-promise to spend each July 4th alone paddling the Hawaiian seas. When his surf ski capsizes Magnum ends up stranded in the middle of the Molokai Channel. With his friends unaware of his plans Magnum must somehow keep his head above water until help arrives. . .if it ever does!?

As a 9 year old boy that episode captured my sense for adventure and paved the way for future endeavors.

The Canoe

I’ve had a long-held passion for paddling and it all began with a canoe. As a child I paddled a canoe many times from summer camps to family outings but it wasn't until I was older the spark ignited after I experienced an unforgettable three day canoe trip down the Missouri River in Montana retracing the Lewis and Clark Expedition. It was after that trip when I purchase a big red Old Town Discovery canoe from L.L. Bean. My wife (GF back then) and I tossed that 17 foot long canoe on our little ford focus ZX3 and drove away with visions of grandeur. We had some memorable wilderness trips but moreover I quickly discovered it was impractical, weighed a ton and to solo paddle was a strenuous zigzagging workout. Over the years Old Red and I drifted apart acquiring more time in storage than in use. Eventually I found a good home and sold Big Red to a children's summer camp. I hung up my wooden canoe paddle and transitioned quickly to kayaking and then recently to a faster lighter fiberglass surfski.

Not your average canoe

Over the years I’ve missed the joy and harmony of “paddling my own canoe” until yesterday when I wrapped my fingers around a familiar wooden canoe paddle during an unfamiliar ocean paddle on a Maui Fiberglass "Hurricane" solo outrigger canoe

The solo outrigger canoes are incredibly fun, light, fast and based on their traditonal Hawaiian roots can handle large ocean swells. With more morning outrigger sessions on the radar and additional weekend’s on the surf ski - maybe one of these years I’ll be ready for the OC1 Molokai Channel Race.