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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

 

Lake Arrowhead – Last Minute Adventure

IMG_6564Sometimes the best weekend getaways are the ones that don’t take much planning. I’m lucky enough to have a family cabin up in Twin Peaks near Lake Arrowhead and a great tribe to travel with. This used to be one of the only “vacation” spots my family would regularly go to, with 5 kids it’s hard to go anywhere. It always surprises me how easy it is to head up the mountain, and every time I go up I’m stoked on the weather and surroundings. IMG_6598

What makes the weekend trips epic, are the people you travel with. Luckily we had a good vibe tribe heading up the mountain with us. The loop our cabin is on isn’t filled with AIRBNBS or VRBO’s, it really is a quiet family community. We barely get cell phone service, cable has a few channels and we’re forced to actually interact with each other and spend the night trying to figure out how to play pictionary properly. The mornings were the best time, I’d wake up first and let Biggie out for his morning roam. That was my favorite time of the day, when it was literally no other sound except for the pug snorting around the nearest tree. We’d make waffles and bacon, and within 37 seconds the entire cabin was awake by the smell of breakfast. Which really isn’t that hard, because you can stand in the living room and see into the other two rooms and bathrooms without rotating. Hey, everyone likes to be cozy.

But as usual, where ever we go, we find something to paddle and somewhere to paddle on. Lake Gregory  has a greaIMG_6567t spot to set up a chair and drop a cooler for a few hours while enjoying the fresh air and the lake itself. It’s one of the best kept secrets in the area, as most people spend their time on Lake Arrowhead or up in Big Bear. You can bring your own equipment, however they have a fee to launch. During the summer the water is super refreshing, which is convenient when your sisters try to flip your boy scout canoe!

Friday night the electricity went out, a power outage that affect the entire loop. It was about midnight and we were still awake playing board games, just like you normally would in any cabin setting – am I right? Once we got over the IMG_6487“OMG this is a horror movie waiting to happen” mode, we grabbed all the candles we could to lighten up the small cabin. But the best lighting we got was outside under the stars. Everyone laying down on the porch just staring up at the stars and watching them appear from behind the trees was one of the most relaxing moments I’ve had in months.

Lake Arrowhead has a killer summer set up for concerts at the lake ( http://www.lakearrowhead.com/village.html ) and also fun things to do all day. I mean, we just walked around, stopped for tacos and fed the ducks; but we totally could have spent the entire day there like we used to. We just wanted to head down the mountain (which took all of 20 minutes) before the sun went down.

Fresh hikes, fun days and a margarita to join the sunset. I need to spend more time up the mountain. IMG_6522IMG_6658

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

Campin California!

It was so awesome to spend the weekend away from Newport, away from work, away from the teenagers I coach (no offense guys) and just escape to the mountains, and then the beach, with Bruce and Biggie. We packed up the truck on Friday afternoon and headed out for our weekend adventure!IMG_8883ROSE VALLEY, LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST: First night was a cold one! There were about 12 spots in this camping area, but you felt like you were all alone. We set up the tent (well Bruce did, the wouldn’t allow me to help) made some dinner on the grill and hung out around the fire! We woke up to SNOW. Not necessarily at our campsite, but when we drove to the top of the mountain it was COVERED in snow. We decided we wanted to just continue through the mountain range. We took that windy road all the way down, it landed us in Maricopa. A very small country town we probably won’t return to. We then decided to head on over to Carpinteria State beach for some “warmer” weather camping.

CARPINTERIA STATE BEACH: This place is PERFECT for a good time. 12 miles of open beach, and grass campgrounds. I had SO much fun just setting up our home base for the day. We pitched our tent underneath a huge shady tree and went for a walk along the railroad tracks. Dog’s aren’t allowed on the beach but we snuck Biggie up onto one the dunes for a few minutes. Just to see him play! IMG_8951IMG_8954When the clouds moved in, so did the rain. We realized we had about an hour before the rain came in! It’s 5 o’clock and rushing to make our dinner! Bruce made an amazing dinner of corn, steak, and chili on top of the fire pit!

We knew there was bad weather at home, our friends were warning us, but it didn’t make us want to come

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home early. We were in it for the long haul, well however long the rain lasted which was only 45 minutes. While Bruce made dinner, I stood around taking pictures of course, and watching the amazing sunset with Biggie. We woke up the next morning, took another long walk and packed up. I made Bruce stop at the local bookstore because I had just finished my book, and then headed to Malibu! We were supposed to go home that day, Sunday, but since the next day was new years eve anyway and we didn’t have to work; we decided to head to another state park on the way home! Malibu here we come!

MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK: Now this place was a little difficult to find, but I’m sure if we had listened to our directions we would have found it…anyway. This is the state park were Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H was filmed! AND it was not full at all! We were the only people around! IMG_8986

We got to the park, and once again we set up camp and headed out for a hike! This park has a lot of great trails, but since apparently dogs aren’t allowed on the trails we had to take a hike of our own! The forest was just a football field away from our tent so we headed up into the trees! Biggie was having a blast. This place was a lot cooler than the other two campgrounds we had been too, even Rose Valley. We were deep in a valley surrounded the mountain range. It was a good night to end our trip on. We talked around the campfire, played fetch with Biggie and just waited for our fire to burn out. We got in our tent and realized this was the COLDEST night we had so far! I wore two pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, 2 shirts and a sweatshirt to bed! Along with mittens! We woke up the next morning with frost IN the tent! IMG_9040All in all, it was a great trip and I can’t wait to see where we go next. With plans to go to more places and explore more of the coast, I’m sure we will have some more adventures coming up! IMG_8988

 

From The Road

Check out the Instagram @kelthompson to find more pictures from the trip as we take it! Heading to Leo Carillo today.

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