These past few weeks have been a whirlwind

We’re early, we know. It’s by design. From now on, CHUM Newsletters will arrive on Wednesdays to reflect on the past weekend’s events and give you time to jump last minute into next week’s events.

The weather has a funny way of cancelling or changing plans

The past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind. Carolina Cup had the most challenging conditions we’ve seen since its inception. Day Two events had to be cancelled due to thunderstorms. Move one week later to the Key West Classic where they saw the worst conditions in the history of that event and shortened the course for the paddleboard divisions; then to the Olukai which was postponed a day on Saturday, then saw the course changed on Sunday;  and the Bay Bridge Challenge where the course was changed and shortened because of windy conditions. It sounds kind of like a trend. And it sets up our 100 paddle challenge on Facebook extremely well.

The one thing I did notice about the changing of courses and of the way these events are run is that when a race director decides to run a race in challenging conditions, they aren’t saying you should go. They are saying that you have the opportunity to go if you have the skills necessary to be able to finish the race safely. It’s a really good lesson that we all have to learn about personal responsibility. And the next 100 days we can all strive to get better and aim for new goals.

100-Paddle Challenge

The second 100-Paddle Challenge on Facebook of 2017 started on May 1 and has paddlers recording their overall mileage and mileage that they paddle in conditions that are challenging to them. The whole idea is to get us to focus at least some of our time on the areas in where we need to improve. And furthermore, to find a way to appreciate and enjoy those conditions that we once found… well, the opposite of fun. Un-fun. For those of you who don’t know about the Facebook group and 100 challenge there’s information below. #lovetheconditions


One of those aspiring challenges is Chattajack, which sold out 500+ spots in a few hours on May 1st. People set their alarms for midnight and raced to get their entry accepted so that they could start training plans for the race in October. I was one of them and this will be my fourth Chattajack. The next step was to get accommodations because those sell out quickly as well.  And then to text all of my friends to see if they got in. The 31 miles represents an amazing flat water challenge in and around Chattanooga,Tennessee. For most paddlers who put the time, this is a completely achievable goal. But you have to do the work.

New Training Cycle Begins

Paddle Monster begins a knew training cycle in May that will prepare paddlers for peaks in July and August around the Molokai, OABI, SUP Cayuga and the NYC SEA Paddle among other summer races and then a second peak and a second cycle to prepare paddlers for PPG and Chattajack and other October races. #trainingworks

Thank you Lazy Dogs

I just want to send out a huge thank you to the Lazy Dogs in Key West and Sue Cooper. The Key West Classic is in its 20th year this year and it is a respite for many of us after a long winter. I appreciate your friendship and support, and I’m so proud of the work you  do with the Special Olympics. I’m excited to root for Jennifer and the rest of the athletes as paddleboarding is a new Olympic event, largely because of your work and the work of Special Olympics Florida.

Safety First

And finally I want to beg all of you to consider putting safety first the summer. Wear your leashes when appropriate based on where you’re paddling and the conditions therein. Wear your PFD and make sure it works. And take all the steps you can to make sure when you step on a board or canoe or boat, that you’ll be able to step off  of it safely. Check your leash strings. Replace velcro. Let people know where you’re going and when. If it all possible paddle with a friend and use the buddy system. And remember that safety preempts fun. That doesn’t mean it has to be easy and that difficulty is synonymous with unsafe. That just means that you are prepared physically, mentally, and logistically for anything you may encounter. Have fun and be safe.