BRIAC – FRCC
Hmmm…just got back from a ridiculous paddle, and question whether my arm and hand controls are indeed receiving signals from my brain. More about this later. First, I forgot a few items. We’re staying and training just off of Hawai’i Kai. This is on the South-East corner of the Island of Oahu, and we are about a 20 minute drive east of Waikiki beach. During practice, we are able to observe the beckoning island of Molokai in the distance (site of the race start). It’s a ways off, and calls to you saying “come on over, I’ll be nice, but trust me you’ll sleep well when I’m done with you!”.
So last night was a nice relaxing evening. We sat around and discussed some of the finer points that we the crossing. Everyone was relatively surprised at how comfortable people feel in the boats, in the swells. But basically, we’re just trying to ignore the fact that it’s 8pm but feels like 1am. So the house is quiet, and purring by 8:30 to the gentle sounds of Reg’s snores (he wanted to be mentioned). Your days start early, so everything is shifted.
At 5:30am the next morning, everyone is up and shovelling massive amounts of breakfasts into them, and we’re off to Pearl Harbour to load the boats. After a quick security check and some bad jokes about not calling Moe by his full name “Mohammed”, we’re at the loading pallets. We see our boats alongside teams like Rai and Hawaii/NZ and wonder how long that will last. The pallets have boats packed 3-4 per, and fork-lifted onto a barge. This is the second load to go over. We see Kelowna loading their boats…good to see some friendly faces. Shane completes our registration, and we’re off for surf session #2 (Todd Bradley mentioned during a recent visit to Gibsons that surfing is essential to understanding how to catch waves, so we’re following his advice to a ‘T’). Waves are small and gentle, so no injuries to report.
On a side note here, drinking water has become the equivalent of a part time job.
Next on the agenda is some eating, a few naps, and head out to
practice for 2:30pm. Our first hard practice. The water is very
confused, with a very strong off-shore breeze, and swells coming the
opposite way. We do a number of runs through the chop sideways, then
some up and down wind sections, and then we head out around the point by
some scenic cliffs (which you can see in the picture section posted by
Lori). We’re paddling close to the cliff, at times less than 2-3 metres
from the cliff, and waves are absolutely pounding the faces, yet the
boat sits relatively calm. Very odd sensation, paddling water like back
yet Hell is unfolding immediately next to you. Fatigue is starting to set in, as we head back.
As we’re pulling up to the club house, 30-40 surf-skis are racing up and down the coast. The’re all being paddled by high school kids, and it dawns on us why the Hawaiians know what they’re doing. These kids are all being coached, and doing race pieces. Kind of like an after school hockey practice back in Canada….a very healthy looking program.
We pull onto the beach, and everyone is absolutely ravenous. Talk of eating horses and the like abounds. We rush home, and a scene like you’ve never seen unfolds: like a pack of wolves, the kitchen counter is swarmed by 13 wilting paddlers, meat and cheese and packaging is flying through the air. Innovative new ways to ingest more food faster are being developed left and right. Ok, we’re watching a video of the 2001 crossing, and we’ll crash hard tonight. Lesson of the day: when you think you’ve had enough to eat, have another plate, and then top up with anything else you can find…and then squeeze in a snack as soon as you can.