Sunday I left for St Louis to meet up with Shane to do a little paddling, little did I know a couple days before I left Shane told me I would be able to take Makuahine’ on the paddle. I was excited to finally SUP my very own board, and it’s a big board at that. Even though I have lost a ton of weight I am still unable to paddle standard boards unless it’s a bigger inflatable. I like inflatable boards, but I love the little bit of extra performance out of a rigid board. I had paddled Makuahine’ back in October , but only for about a mile or so. To be able to stand up and paddle my own board down the Meremac River with my friends was pretty special. Though it was a short float ” 6.5″miles or so, it was the first step of what will be many longer and longer trips to condition myself for the MR340 race from Kansas City to St Louis. I was shocked to find out my feet only got sore for the first few miles and I did not get as fatigued standing and paddling as I do when I am kayaking.
This trip was also a little on the odd side and something you don’t see every day in Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I brought some extra clothes, water, and a couple nut bars, Darren brought his water, Phil brought pretty much the same thing. Shane however, brought his Chainsaw. The area of the Meremac we paddled floods pretty easy and on some of the bends in the river there are some down trees that cause paddlers to get hung up. Shane wanted to cut some of the down trees to help people navigate these bends. This still does not make the paddle normal although we are the type of group that will do just so.
This paddle also let me finally use my Malta paddle from Aqua Bound. Now, I can be the first to say that I have yet to learn the many styles of paddles that the SUP world has to offer, but I can tell you that it’s going to have to be a hell of a paddle to beat this. I think one of the small reasons I did not get fatigued is due to the Malta. At 18 ounces, no it’s not the lightest paddle on the market, but it is close, however for the price you’re not going to find a better paddle. Is this a corny plug for Aqua Bound, YES ! ! reason being is, I sell them at Ozark Mountain Trading and all of my kayak paddles are Bending Branches and Aqua-Bound. I have a couple expensive “other brand” paddles that are good, but weight a ton more. I also like the fact that I can tell people about very high-quality paddles at prices they can afford. This is important when you go to shove off shore or even if you’re like me and use your paddle as a tarp pole. Buying a big box store paddle could result in you literally be stuck up river without a paddle.
Chainsaws and Paddles aside there is one thing I took away from this weekend. I was able to finally start my journey in the Ultra Distance Sup world and with a little blood, sweat and tears I will be able to take a 6.5 mile paddle and turn it into a 65 miles paddle and soon a 340 mile paddle. This is my goal, not only for this year but for years to come. I am now able to get out on the water daily to train and become a proficient SUP Paddler. My second goal will be to paddle from my hometown to St Louis to show everyone where I came from to where this journey in Stand Up Paddleboarding started. After this, who know’s what I will want to do, but I do know it will be to better my life and explore the mighty and awesome waterways we have, and I will do it by SUP….