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Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond

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We are H U M A N

This is the same post I shared on my facebook…

W E A R E H U M A N

This happened because we are human.

This happened because we are too comfortable.

This happened because we let our teammates down.

This is not her fault, it’s also not the drivers.

Boat ladders are needed.

Prop guards are needed, yes absolutely. 100%.

But so is awareness, attentiveness, teamwork, and acceptance of mistakes. Her life will never be the same, she has a long way to go. We need to do what we can to support her. We need to do what we can to help the next escort boat driver who finds themselves in this position. We need to do what we can, to control the situation.

I’m 26 years old, a girl, and I’ve been running my own escort boat for only 5 years. Hitting someone with the prop is my absolute nightmare. I’ve been paddling for 11 years. Getting hit by a prop is my absolute nightmare. There are many precautions to take, and you can take them all. But something could always go wrong. What are we going to do when something goes wrong? What’s our instinct? Get mad? No. Our instinct should be to band together, to support, to find a solution, and not place blame. This is our own fault.

A safe boat driver doesn’t mean an older driver; it doesn’t mean a male driver. It just means a safe driver. So those topics of conversation need to come to a halt. This is not on the race directors, this is not on the lead safety boat, this is not on the race. This is on us. What we need more than safer drivers, are safer paddlers. We shouldn’t have let her jump in the water, in one of the busiest spots an escort boat could be; before the race. It’s little things like that, becoming more aware of our surroundings. Knowing when the right time to jump, and the wrong time to jump. Our sport is compiled of jumping off motor boats, into canoes, and then back into motor boats. You can educate someone all you want on when to jump, where to jump, how to jump – but someone will always forget and jump wrong. Because we are human. You can give someone all the tools to be a successful escort captain, but something will fall apart or not work. Because we are human.

As a paddling community, we need to be more aware. And right now we need to band together to support each other. Crossing season isn’t over. But we can be more aware, and help prevent what we have control over.

My thoughts are with you, Aunty Faith Kalei-Imaizumi. My heart is with you Hawaii. My strength is behind the paddling community. Let’s support her together. Instead of placing blame. Let’s make sure her family knows we have her back.

 

https://www.gofundme.com/2pmggu4

 

What I Learned in 2013

DCIM127GOPROAs the year comes to an end, I’ve looked back at it and thought about everything I’ve learned from the last 365 days.

-Pug Lyfe is real life

– Running ain’t Easy – half marathon #1 showed me that, and I always keep that in the back of my mind as I’m training for the next half marathon.

– Dreams and Ideas can come true with a little hard work – PIlialoha Designs is a great example of that and I can’t wait to see how 2014 pans out for us!

– Always be ready for a lifestyle change – 2013 threw me for a loop with a last minute move.

– Thank you notes matter – see last blog post

Kamanu Composites REALLY REALLY care about their clients – being a California Rep for them as taught me a sale isn’t done until the costumer is happy…no matter how many times they change their mind on colors

– Midori Sours – they’re magic.

– And you can get free midori sours even when you’re playing the penny slots – vegas was a trip

– Being self dependent is one of the greatest feelings in the world – knowing that you aren’t depending on anyone to make decisions for you and you’re capable of paying and supporting yourself.

– Taking pictures never gets old – same selfie different place

– There is a lot of satisfaction with meeting and surpassing the goals that you set – this was a big thing for me in 2013. Sitting down and writing out goals, then pushing myself to meet them whether they were personal, work related or athletic goals.

– Christmas Flys by a lot faster when you’re older – this also sucks.

– You can’t make everyone happy – but you can make yourself happy and that can infect others

– Chardonnay isn’t as bad as I thought – thanks Malia

– Don’t hesitate – if you want something go for it

– Don’t plan your day (or night) around people

– Twerking – the new drop it like its hot

– Last minute trips are the best trips – as much as my bank account hates them

 – Instagram is a marketing tool – ie @PilialohaDesigns , @NewportAquaticCenter

– GoPro has changed the way of my picture taking

– SnapChat is just as good as a text – and I usually respond faster

– Don’t believe everything you hear

– Don’t judge a book by it’s cover – as cliche as if sounds, I really learned to live by this , this past year

– Plane tickets do not drop in prices the longer you wait – $900 tickets to Kona for a race, that also sucks

– People move – try to stay in touch as best you can

– It’s okay to stay home and read – I have a great list of books I can share

– Karma is real – what comes around goes around whether it’s good or bad  karma 

– Mermaids are also real

– Be selfish with time, it’s yours and eventually it runs out.

What have you learned? I want to encourage everyone to share something they’ve learned in 2013 whether it be on their own personal blog, instagram or Facebook. Tag #ThingsILearned2013 , so we can all share together!

Motivation Monday

So I am starting something new and fresh. It’s called MOTIVATION MONDAY. Each week I’ll share something that motivates me, and I encourage others to do the same! It can be a person, event, quote or workout! Really anything! I want a set a goal each week and push my self to do it. Whether it’s a personal goal, mental goal or a fun goal! At least I’ll be working towards something each week to better myself in some way. #MotivationMonday

Motivation is defined as a reason one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

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This week I want to concentrate on concentrating and keeping organized. I’m so easily distracted, either by a text message from Malia, Facebook post…or worse INSTAGRAM! I need to put my phone in my drawer, put some headphones in a just concentrate on work here at NAC. Answer questions that need to be answered right away, but other than that Malia is going to have to wait! My desk is a mess…this week I need to just work on making sure everything has a home! I know it’s a weird thing to post about and make a goal out of…however it’s something that’s important to me and something I need to work on (just ask the other peeps in the NAC office).

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Someone who motivates me this week is my younger (yet way taller) sister Kasey. She’s 19 years old and playing volleyball in Hawaii at HPU. This past week she was named Pac West Athlete of the Week which is a very big honor! http://www.thepacwest.com/sports/wvball/2013-14/releases/20131106nolult. Kasey has always been a big time volleyball player and works hard to get what she wants even though most of the time what she wants is to just sit on the couch and watch Duck Dynasty but really has to go to volleyball practice.  Or play with our dog Ashton who is 2000+ miles away #SadFace. Fortunately when Kasey has away games…most of the time she has to fly over here! (you can only play some many teams in Oahu so many times). So tonight I’ll see her smash it up in Riverside (gotta love that in land traffic vibe!)

I won’t have a person that motivates me every week…just thought I would share the good news of an up and coming Thompson girls making headlines (for good reason of course).

Start your week off with motivation. Pick something you need to work on and put effort towards it. No one is perfect and it’s such a great feeling at the end of the week to know that you accomplished something.

#MotivationMonday

We Are Ocean

IMG_7326This past Sunday I was able to spend my weekend with a great group of people.

We Are Ocean  is a non profit organization based out of Newport Beach. Their mission statement is  “to improve the lives of cancer survivors post-treatment. We take cancer survivors on ocean-based adventures. We teach survivors how to surf, sail, swim, fish, dive and paddle their way back into a healthy active lifestyle, post-treatment.” It is an awesome organization ran and volunteered by even more awesome people.

IMG_7303I was excited to be involved and bring over 6-man outrigger canoes for them to paddle. All had never been in a canoe before! They had just finished their SUP paddling adventure and lunch, they were ready for something new! I taught them a little bit about the culture and history of outrigger canoe paddling, followed by a quick 1-2 step on how to paddle. Then we were off! Everyone had a great time, no one cared that the person behind them might splash them.  They took such joy in something that I get to do everyday. It made me realize why I still love paddling and why I still love coaching. It’s not all about the medals and miles, it’s about the connection you make with the people around you on the water. Sharing that with people and seeing how happy they can get from an activity I take for granted (and sometimes dread on bad practice days!). A woman even had said “Well I can cross this off my bucket list!” when she got out of the canoe. MIND. BLOWN.

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IMG_7304I loved the smiles on peoples faces.

I loved the new excitement they had for water sports.

I loved all the effort that We Are Ocean put into this event.

That day those people were more than just the tagged “Cancer Survivor”. They were paddlers, yogis, athletes, and students. They learned that they can still go on day to day and learn something new.

They weren’t just Cancer Survivors. They were strong individuals showing everyone what they are capable of.

They were supporters.

I can’t wait to be involved with the next We Are Ocean event (if they’ll take me ha!). Until then I’ll concentrate on my own paddling and training, and remind myself that some people aren’t lucky enough to paddle everyday like I do.

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Dads Center~ Queen Liliuokalani~ Catalina ~ Breathe!

The last month has gone by SO fast. I’m just now being able to sit down and reflect on how lucky I am to be able to travel as easily as I do (thankful for sisters that live in cool places) and race as much as I do! The last three races I just did were some of the most fun paddling I’ve ever had! I’ve finally had the time to BREATHE and recap on the past three events in my life!

 

Dads Center

I have NEVER done this race before! When my good friend Maddie asked if I had any interest in steering that race- OFCOURSE I jumped on it! Hello! A weekend in Hawaii with good friends, my sisters AND I get to paddle? I’m in.

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This race is on Oahu from Kailua Beach to Waikiki. Roughly a 26 mile change race. I had heard that there is all sorts of different water you encounter in this race. Flat water, rough water, big water and STUPID water. We had all and more. It was the biggest washing machine I had ever been in. I kept looking over at Jimi (our escort coach) and ending up telling Maddie “I just need Jimi to tell me it gets easier!”

By hour two of steering, Jimi can get close enough and say “It’s going to get easier Kel, but first it’s going to get a lot shittier.”1150505_10201889121413666_1145914327_o

I learned a lot in that race, not just about steering an and paddling. I learned that I can put myself in a tough and new situation and by staying calm and trusting the girls I have with me, we’ll come out on top!

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Thanks to Imua Outrigger for letting me come along for the wild ride!

Queen Liliuokalani 

This was my 8th appearance in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Queen Liliuokalani, and my 7th time accomplishing the 18 mile long iron long course. I’m serious when I say it gets easier every time! I got to spend this race with some my best friends!

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We had an open crew and a masters crew! We had another open crew which was filled with just juniors. It was awesome to coach these girls all summer and see them work hard. They set their goals and stuck too it. I’ve never been prouder of a crew I coached. And to see them all working together and having fun to make it happen- that’s the most rewarding thing as a coach in my opinion. When a crew comes together after months of hard work, I feel like there’s nothing better then pushing them off the beach.

My crew lucked out and got another unlimited boat! All wood, very beautiful boat! The unlimited category means that the boat can be of any design and way under the 400 lb weight restriction. The unlimited division starts 5 minutes behind the 400lb boats and crews. We ended up 32nd out of 133 crews and had a blast!

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Catalina 2013

Catalina! The race that means the most to us California people! A race from Newport Beach to Avalon, Catalina! Just about 27 miles! This is TOTALLY my favorite race of the season- and not just for the after party 😉1268510_10201612021996905_1446212873_o

Us girls all come together as one and get ourselves to Catalina! It’s what we work for all season! I love this race just because we know it’s the final race and we are going to give everything we got and leave it on the water!

This year was really challenging. We had a strong headwind and the swells were coming from the side. We couldn’t catch much, but we did what we could with what we had! And we had fun! We did better than the year before, and that’s all you can hope to do! We even made a new friend- Dana! A super awesome girl from Kauai who came in a helped us fill a spot!

We made it in 5 hours and 5 minutes. 1264107_10201612022596920_2004676474_o

We got 7th and at the end all I wanted was a root beer.

The next day, after a good nights sleep of course, I was able to help run the mens crews back. Usually I’m an escort for the second mens crew- but since Sam has that “no girlfriends allowed on escorts” blah blah blah rule, I couldn’t escort the second crew. Which means Sam was stuck with me helping him with the first crew!

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Now that all the racing has slowed down, I can finally breathe! Relax! Catch up on things I never get done during the summer! But I always find myself wishing that distance season wasn’t over. We always have the most fun!

xoxo

State Sprint Shenanigans

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2008 State Sprints First PlaceKelly (stroke seat), Malia (2), Celeste (3), Pam (4), Taylor (5) and Bobbie (steering)

State Sprints in Santa Barbara is a race that I look forward to every summer! Not just because its a beautiful venue for paddling…but because of the fun that comes a long with is. There’s a tradition of dressing up your novice paddlers at state sprints and making them race in them! Well…NAC wanted to play too. And NAC doesn’t have a novice team…weird. Here are a few pictures from over the years of how Newport Aquatic Center jazzed it up for State Sprints every year!

2008 ~ Team Day Glo

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Team Day Glo 2008

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2009 ~ Billys Angels

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5935_1190505917339_1574401_n2010 ~ Village People

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2010 Village People

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2011 ~ Team Tecate

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281919_2174831524864_5223531_n2012 ~ El Mexicano

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2013? What’s it going to be? NAC may be laying low this year…OR dropping it like its hot.

Instagram: @KelThompson
Twitter: @KelThomp

“What did you do this weekend?” “Oh, I ran a half marathon”

Does anyone know how long I’ve been wanting to throw that at someone?! The day finally came! I COMPLETED MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!

I’ve done some (in my opinion) very cool things in my life, that makes my life resume look good. But I got to the start of the race of the Huntington Beach Surf City half marathon this past weekend and thought “I really had no problem paddling into 13 foot waves last September, why am I about to pee my pants at the start of a 13 mile race???”

It was something new to me, I had no idea how it was going to turn out. The whole “I paddled for 8 hours I can run for 3” mindset was not setting in. Throughout the whole race for as far as I could see were PEOPLE. Thousands and thousands of PEOPLE. Sprinting, walking, jogging, running. Tall people, short people, thin people, fabulously curvaceous people. EVERYONE was doing this. And everyone was doing it at different speeds and rates. The hills were a killer! The heat just added to my misery, and the hard pavement didn’t help at all. But to say “I’m a half marathon runner” after the race, was something to be proud of. photo-2

It took me just over 3 hours for my first runway half marathon. My time could have been affected by me taking pictures at mile markers and texting to the group of girls I was running with. I trained with 5 other girls for the last few months to meet this goal. I definitely couldn’t have done it without them! I’m not a runner, and they pushed me to be better runner I am today, than I was a year ago. 

I finished my race with a big smile! Grabbed my foil jacket, medal and snack packs they were handing out! The thought “i could do this again” never crossed my mind. What did come to mind though was I can do better. 

photo-1Next on the list: San Diego Wild Animal Park Half Marathon in May

I think ill have more pics on instagram during the race than the actual mileage on that one…

 

HanoHano Ocean Challenge

Despite the dreary and foggy morning…hell it was raining; the Hanohano Ocean Challenge last weekend had a GREAT turnout.  photoTONS of stand up paddlers from around southern California came to compete in the short course. The best was to see the junior paddlers for the SUP Jr. Team sponsored by Rivera out there. They are based out of Dana and is another great program for junior paddlers. NAC had kids competing in the short course as well, all in either oc1’s or oc2’s. Spencer Lujan got first in 19U oc1, Andres Zourelli coming in 2nd in 19U oc1. David Groke came in 2nd for 16U one man Austin Hwin who got 4th 16U who raced short course 1-man. Ryan Fogg and Miles both competed in 14U two-man. NAC also had a big turnout in the longer from NAC. Megan Savisaar and Daniella Carrese raced on a two-man finishing before a lot of women racers and getting 1st in 19U division, Liam Dixon and Lily Chavis racing together in the coed division on a two-man, getting first in their 19U mixed division. Liam had previously raced the short course in an Aukahi, a rudderless canoe by Kamanu Composites. Cade Sharnell (3rd in 19U) and Gunner Logan (4th 19U)  crossed the finish line both in one mans, followed by Kylie Bergan (1st 19U) and Jenny Jones (2nd 19U) both in one mans as well. There were a 103 racers in the long course, the juniors passed a lot of adults. It’s great seeing all the juniors from ALL CLUBS going out a competing against some people that are twice their age (some even more). Even though everyone is in their respectful age divisions, everyone races at the same time.

Well the next race is at the NAC, the Hal Rosoff Classic. Hopefully the kids use their home court advantage for this one…you can follow my instagram: @KelThompson as I am always posting paddling pictures and race pictures if you want more! 🙂

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Winter Series Races 2012

WINTER SERIES RACES

We’ve had two races so far this month for the SoCal Ocean Racing Winter Series. The Becky Stuart in Oceanside, California and the Tecolate 5000 hosted by the San Diego Canoe and Kayak Team. Both races had a most of the NAC Jr Kid’s competing in.

The first race took place on a cold Saturday in Oceanside. The 100’s of people at this race are as expected as this is one of the more popular races…and not just because of Molly Bishop’s afterparty:)

What was exciting about this ra6mance was that the Newport Aquatic Center had paddlers that had never raced before, and this venue being their first race is perfect. Not only is launching one mans and two mans easy at this race, they also allow for us to race 6mans for the kids. That allows us to have atleast 12 more kids race, and let about 6 or  7 kids race twice! These winter races are perfect for getting kids out on the water and ready for racing. It’s also perfect for the returning Jr Paddlers who are ready to take the next step up in the sport, for example one man long course. We had about 7 kids going long course, a lot of them for the first time. Jenny and Kylie being the two girls from the team going one man in the 9 mile long course race, while Daniella and Megan went two man. Clay, Spencer, Gunnkellyn and isabellaer and Cade all went one man during the race.

Before that, even short course one man is a feat in its own for a lot of new paddlers. Makena won her division in one man, while Liam won his.

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 I can’t wait to see how the start of 2013 will go for Winter Series Racing with the juniors, but I hope it keeps going as successful as its been. But it’s up to them to push themselves during the race, they don’t have a coach out there right next to them encouraging them along the way. It’s all on the paddler, and how hard the paddler wants to go.

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