This Podcast goes deep with the world's best open ocean kayak and surfski paddlers to understand and extract the tips and tricks that all paddlers can implement to continually up their game.
PPP Episode 35: Bellingham Downwind, and Creating a Paddling Community
In this podcast I'm joined by Reivers Dustin, who at 70 years old, is still every bit as passionate about downwind paddling as anyone I've met. Reivers is highly regarded as one of the founding fathers of the Bellingham surfski community.
This story started out with my intent to explore the downwind paddling in Bellingham Bay. Anyone who has raced on the West Coast, knows that there is some serious talent developing in this hotspot and I was excited to learn about the paddling conditions that are making this possible. But in speaking with Reivers, I soon realized the story of Bellingham's success in creating a sustained paddling community, is much more than the downwind conditions. I'll leave the details for the Podcast/YouTube, but to summarize, I believe the five key elements in Bellingham are:
* An extremely welcoming community of paddlers who go out of their way to introduce newbies. This is supported by a simple but effective message board that greatly facilitates communication and open discussion (side note: feel free to join this message board, there is a wealth of information on it)* Although there are no significant dealers or retail shops in Bellingham, there are reps for all the major brands who have boats available to be loaned out* A large multi-sport team race (Ski to Sea) that includes an ocean paddle as the last of 7 events. This is the event that first brought surfskis to Bellingham Bay, and continues to be a big motivator for interest in performance paddling* A long running Wednesday night flat water handicap start style race. This works very well as a non-intimidating, safe, fun way to introduce new paddlers. They can spend the time needed developing fundamental skills, power, and fitness before hitting the ocean* Technical, but not massive, downwind conditions that provide plenty of challenge even for experienced paddlers to continuously hone their skills and build the fundamentals to paddle anywhere in the world.
I don't have the data, but would speculate that Bellingham has the highest per capita number of surfski/OC paddlers of anywhere in the US. They have achieved this despite not having a big ocean sports / surf heritage, and water temperatures that are always cold (see below). I find this all quite impressive.
If you are interested in visiting Bellingham, it is no doubt one of the best outdoor active sports towns in the United States. In the same day you can shred powder in the morning and surf runs in the afternoon. if the wind doesn't blow and the powder isn't dumping, there are endless hikes and world class mountain biking everywhere. Below I've pasted a promotional video for the Ski to Sea race, as I think this tells the Bellingham outdoor story much better than I can with words.
PPP Episode 34: Exploring Cape Town and Durbin Downwind Routes with Oscar Chalupsky
It has been a long hiatus, but the Peak Paddle Performance Podcast is back in action. We're going to try out a new format where we find paddlers enthusiastic about sharing their local downwind routes for the world to see. We'll record via a Zoom meeting with screen share where the guest can walk us through a map view of the paddling hot spots as we geek out on all the wind and wave nuance they've discovered. Additionally we want to collaborate with and cross reference the great work being done by Lizelle Kemp and her team at Downwindable.com. Check out this link for all the downwind routes in SA, many of which Oscar describes in this podcast.
In this first episode, we start with the legendary Oscar Chalupsky as he walks us through the iconic Millers Run in Cape Town SA. Oscar gives us a great sense of the overall Cape Town paddling scene and what to expect out on the water. He then heads north to give an overview of his hometown Durban, SA where the water gets warmer, but the surf and swell gets much bigger and the conditions are about as gnarly as anywhere in the world.
It is never a dull conversation with Oscar, and this one was no exception. While the focus of the discussion is on walking through the downwind routes, there is inevitably a wealth of valuable information around paddling downwind and keeping it safe
We made a few references to water temperature, below are the 10 year monthly averages for Cape Town and Durban from seatemperature.com
PPP Episode 33: Starting a Surfski Journey in Middle Age with Greg Greene
In this podcast I sit down with one of the many dear friends I've met through Surfski Paddling. Greg Greene and I first crossed paths when we battled it out in my first surski race ever in Duluth, Minnesota. Although 20 years my senior Greg managed to take me at the line and despite that first encounter we've been great friends ever since.
I wanted to bring Greg onto the podcast because he exemplifies what the surfski journey is all about. Starting the sport in his late 40s and in a town without a surfski community, he also represents a large portion of surfski paddlers in the US.
While I want to say that Greg's story is that of the "average paddler" as you'll find out, he has had some incredible experiences that make him both the envy and an inspiration for us all.
In this podcast we cover the following and much more:
* Attempting to paddle his first surfski, the Speedster* Moving into a Huki and really taking off in the sport* Doing the big races in the US including US Surfski Champs, The Gorge Downwind, and Chattajack* A trip to Tarifa to work with Boyan the Zen Master of Surf* Learning what intense surfski paddling is all about at the Mocke Brother's Downwind Camp in Capetown* Bringing it all together with the 2019 Molokai World Championship (hint : it almost didn't happen)* Getting diagnosed with A-fib after 30 years of high intensity training and racing* Views on paddling as an aging athlete approaching 64
I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did!
PPP Episode 32: SURFSKI on the Great Lakes with Nick Murray
In this podcast, the tables are turned and I'm in the hot seat as Buzz Burrell (a long time endurance sports athlete and entrepreneur and new surfski addict) interviews me. We cover a wide range of topics from paddling the Great Lakes through the winter months, to trying to make a surfski business viable in a small market with a short season. Some of the highlights of our conversation include:
* Paddling conditions on the Great Lakes* Risks with winter paddling and how I try to mitigate them* What I've gained from paddling a V8 for 6 months of the year* Challenges of running a surfski business* What keeps me going*
In the end, it was actually quite fun for me to be on the other side of the mic. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as Buzz and I enjoyed the conversation
PPP Episode 31: Calm Intense, Silly Songs, and Finding your Flow with Jasper Mocke
Today's podcast guest may be best known as the younger brother of paddling legend Dawid Mocke, but Jasper Mocke is in every way a legend in his own right. Jasper is an incredibly talented athlete with several notable accomplishments including World Surfski Champion in 2014, World Champion in K2 Marathon 2014, and 3x Perth Doctor Downwind champion. You may also recognize Jasper as the star of many of the best surfski promotional videos Epic Kayaks has produced, whether it be breaking the Miller's Run downwind record or deftly maneuvering a V14 in big breaking surf conditions.
In this podcast Jasper shares his wealth of knowledge and passion for the sport including, but not limited to the following:
* Jasper the prankster, stand up surfing on a surfski* Getting to watch Dawid as a junior and Oscar, Lee McGregor and the other legends as open ocean racing was just starting to evolve* Starting out in the Guppie / K1 as a pre-teen before getting into a surfski* Watching the young kids now getting into surfski paddling and downwind at the age of 9 or 10 and trying to imagine where they'll be in 15 years* The differences between surfski ocean racing and sprint kayak river racing* Navigation tactics and tips in racing, both surfski and flatwater* Getting into the zone for downwind paddling* Why you should focus on stability first then stroke rate* Thoughts on feathering the paddle* Examples of cadence and 10k times that the best in the world maintain* Choosing the right paddle blade size* Jasper's experimentation with going to a smaller paddle and even higher cadence
Where to find Jasper
Facebook Athlete Page
Jasper Mocke Personal Facebook Page
PPP Episode 30: Michele Eray, You Regret More The Things you Didn’t Do
In today's podcast I managed to catch up with Olympic athlete, coach, and co-founder of Paddle California, Michele Eray. I somehow coerced her into sitting still just long enough to record a great podcast session. The title of this episode and Michele's personal mantra says it all, "You regret more in life the things that you didn't do than the things you did". Michele takes her mantra quite serious and I'm certain you'll agree after listening to our conversation.
We cover a lot of ground in this episode, below are just a couple of the highlights:
* Michele's early days of paddling in her home town of Plettenberg Bay, SA (see the video below to get a sense of how beautiful it is)* Getting started in surf lifesaving and high school racing* Going to University to study bio-kinetics (Athletic Training / Physical Therapy)* Racing the Berg River Marathon* Making the decision to give up her bio-kinetics practice and become a full time paddler* Seizing the opportunity to race for SA in the 2008 Beijing Olympics* Five years of incredible support from the team at Nelo and racing all over the world* Coaching at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics* The decision to open Paddle California and bring Olympic level coaching and Nelo surfskis to the West Coast* Thoughts on Surfski becoming an Olympic Sport* Thoughts on paddling a K1 versus a surfski* The importance of cadence training and the power of the Vaaka Cadence Sensor to guide training (For an in depth podcast from the co-founder of Vaaka check out this link and to purchase one from TC SURFSKI click here)* Common beginner mistakes * Thoughts on downwind paddling* Favorite downwind paddles
If you want to connect with Michele for coaching or to purchase a Nelo, you can find her on the web at:
Business website: http://www.paddlecal.com
Business Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paddlecal/
Personal Blog: http://micheray.com
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MicheleErayAthlete/