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Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond

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Pilialoha Designs

It has been OVER A MONTH since my last post. I’ve been super busy working, getting through the holidays and starting a new small business with my best friend.

It all started with a high school dance outfit, some painter’s tape and a can of spray paint. We were on a budget so we made our own shirts for all the themed high school dances. It then evolved into painting trucker hats and then eventually into designing shirts and paddling jerseys on the computer. We thought we would take this self-taught skill and make it into something bigger!

Pilialoha means friendship in Hawaiian. Malia and I  have been friends since junior high but outrigger canoe paddling sealed the deal. Our love for the sport as well as the ocean is expressed in the designs that we create.

We have three main lines: Dream, Create, Live. Those words also help us stay grounded for our day to day activities. I personally, and I know Malia as well, am always dreaming of the next big thing (in comes Pilialoha Designs). We create it! We live it!

It has been super fun playing around with different designs and being able to put them on hats and shirts. We love making the bath salts, adding colors and different scents depending on what people like. We’ve done our research! As we’ve learned that different essential oils mixed together have different benefits.

I think more than actually designing the shirts and making the products, we like seeing everyone else enjoy them. I love seeing people I know paddling in our hats. I love people having the light switches we design up in their house. The idea of being able to make things that people like is something I love. We have so many ideas, and want to do everything at once! But we know we gotta slow down, get our names out there and set up a base. 945838_325249557615948_1129692313_n 1455974_311672545640316_583703438_n 1459923_322845191189718_867414319_n 1488017_320510571423180_72616984_n 1530381_324930420981195_1942067211_n

Our website is http://www.pilialohadesigns.com and there is a direct link to our etsy store there as well! I can’t want to see how this takes off and what comes next! We’ll keep everyone posted!

Our instagram is: @Pilialohadesigns

Our Facebook is: http://www.facebook.com/pilialohadesigns

Wanderlust Wednesday // Whirlwind Weekends

So taking a cue from one of my besties over at MadDreamDesign , this will be my “Wanderlust Wednesday” post! Check out Maddie’s blog at Mad Dream Design as she is posting EVERY Wednesday about her awesome adventures and trips! As for me – I’ve been up and down Southern California these last few weeks for weddings and other fun festivities!

Went down to San Diego to watch my sister Torey from Chico State play!

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A couple Saturdays ago I had two weddings in one day, one in Dana Point the other in Newport Beach. Both couples are both very close to me and I was so happy that I was able to make both events! I loved how personal and yet simple both weddings were. They both in their own ways matched the couple perfectly, from the beautiful, romantic beach ceremony to the rowdy after party with all their friends!

Danny and Leah

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Danny and Leahs beach ceremony at Doheny Beach
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Mr. and Mrs. Ching!
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Me and my bestie Bobbie, who now lives on Maui.

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Ozzie and Beth

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Mr. and Mrs. Clarke !

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The following weekend was ALSO a wedding. This time in San Luis Obispo! So we packed up for a weekend of fun with old friends and watched an old high school friend tie the not with his college sweetheart!

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The girlies. Bobbie, Kelly, Malia
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The boys! Bruce and Will
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Oh he was NOT having the lipstick kiss!
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Avila Valley Barn

Unfortunately, I didn’t get many good pictures of the bride and groom. The only goods I got was them unwrapping their newly plastic wrapper rental car, and turning it on and getting baby powder flushed into their face through the AC! Gotta love older brothers right??

Whirlwind weekends and they don’t think to stop!

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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Practice 10/24/13

Cool little video I made of the Juniors I coach at practice yesterday. I strapped a gopro to my ama.
Music:
Alt J- Fitzpressure

Kona 2013

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A video I made a few weeks back about our trip to Kona with the Junior Outrigger Kids! Enjoy!

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

Kona Cruizin’

DCIM120GOPROI LOVE the big island. I’ve been going every summer since I’ve been 17. We fly over as a team at NAC for the Queen Lilioukalani race (except this year I spent five days on Oahu before…OOPS! But that’s in the last blog post). You can find out more about the worlds largest canoe race at https://www.kaiopua.org/.

Before I get into the race…I’m going to get into the fun stuff!!

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Okay, I dare you to try to get same to look at the camera during a selfie

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We take the kids to Waipio Valley which is an awesome beach with a gnarly hike down. A 25% grade hike that takes 45 minutes to get down, and an hour and a half to get back up! Brutal.

But the beach is totally worth the work!DCIM120GOPRO DCIM120GOPRO DCIM120GOPRO

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We end up taking the team to the Mauna Kea observatory every year after Waipio Valley. Mauna Kea is a volcano on the island of Hawaii. Standing 13,803 ft above sea level, its peak is the highest point in the state of Hawaii.

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Kahaluu Beach is a new beach we went to his year. It’s so close the hotel I can believe we haven’t gone before! It is definitely one of the best places to snorkel, dive and explore on the island. I could have spent hours there!

DCIM120GOPRO DCIM120GOPRODCIM120GOPROSouth Point  is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and the 50 United States. South Point is also know as “Ka Lae” which means “the point.” The jumping cliffs can vary between 20 feet to 45 feet at any jump! But of course, there is always a way just to walk in and jump in the SUPER CLEAR and SUPER BLUE water! I can’t put into words how beautiful South Point is and the view you get. Just vast amounts of ocean on all sides! photo-15DCIM127GOPRO DCIM127GOPRO DCIM121GOPROIt was a great Kona Trip this year. I’m always making plans for next year! I love the scenery and I love the people! However, after my ten days in hawaii and my four plane rides, I was happy to hit ground in California and be home again! Until next year Big Island!

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Oahu Livin’

Good Morning Kailua
Good Morning Kailua

I’ve spend the last 5 days on Oahu beachin’ and livin’. Paddlin’ and workin’. Just having a good time cruising with my sisters and catching up with old friends I haven’t seen. I originally came over just for a race (post to come later) and have enjoyed the company I have and scenery around me much more than I expected. I remember how lucky I am to be given opportunities like this and to have the job that I have that allows be to take days of work to travel. Not to mention the boyfriend I have that is okay with the face that I left for a ten day trip during the time we are supposed to be moving out of our apartment. Ouch!

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Tristen’s first day of school

I’ve got one sister playing vball at HPU, Kasey, and one sister attending UH, Tristen. The main reason for this trip was to race the Dads Center Race on Oahu from Kailua Bay to Waikiki. (I’ll have another post just from that race in a bit). But a big plus about coming over here, was it was the weekend before Tristen had her first day of college so we had time to get some last minute school supplies and spend lots of time on the beach before she’s locked into a classroom. Staying with Kasey and her roommates Rio, Courtney and Cara has been awesome. It makes it easy to fly over when I have a free place to stay. However, I did buy them a new microwave to make up for it!

Rio, Myself, Courtney and Tristen on North Shore
Rio, Myself, Courtney and Tristen on North Shore
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Playing with the new go-pro at Kailua Beach Park

I’ve been to Oahu over a dozen times, and each time I find out something new about the island or about myself. I find a new beach or a reason to be independent and go to the beach alone while Kasey and Tristen have class or practice.

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We spent hours on North Shore off roading in Corys truck in search for the perfect secluded beach, and we found it! Getting the truck back up the rocks was a little tough…only a little set back though.

We watch the sunrise at Kailua. 

Walked up and down the Waikiki strip.

Ran out of gas on the North Shore.

Had really over priced drinks at Dukes. 

Cruisin' Waikiki
Cruisin’ Waikiki

I always make time to catch up with old friends when I’m on the island! I make this trip at least once a year and able to see people I grew up paddling with and miss seeing all the time! Tomorrow I head out to Big Island for yet another paddling race on Saturday!

 

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North Shore With Rio

Follow the next five days of my adventure on either Instagram (@KelThompson) or this blog! More posts about racing, playing, and having fun to come!

xoxo

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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

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