Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond



My 10th Catalina Crossing

This past weekend was the Catalina Crossing US Outrigger Championships! It takes a lot of training, a lot of work and a lot of planning just to GET to the start line that Saturday morning. It’s not something I take lightly. It’s something special and different than any other channel crossing. It’s home base.  It’s family – all the girls that you’ve trained all season with on the water together for one last race.


This crossing was a little different. I came to the realization that I have been doing so many other things for so many other people – that this race was for MYSELF. I didn’t need to impress anyone, take care of anyone, babysit anyone. I was 13 miles from land during my race, halfway, and the only person I had to watch out for was myself. This was my tenth crossing. And it was hard.

We paddled into a headwind and side swell for 5 hours. But there wasn’t a time where we wanted to give up, or stop. We kept pressing and we kept going. We rallied together, pushed through our mistakes and kept racing.

The next day, we turned around to come home. The men raced back. It was a fast course, the wind was at their backs. And even though the fastest guys were up front; the most exciting part was in the middle. With the 5 junior teams competing against each other! Teams from LA, Newport, Hawaii and Dana point! It was the largest division of juniors that we have had at that race in a long time. I couldn’t have imagined a better race for these boys that I escorted across the channel. They were the boys that ever gave up, that hammered through the chop and evaded a 500 ft tanker coming across the course. We did it boys!


Catalina Crusades

IMG_1702I’m finally taking the time to SIT DOWN and actually concentrate on this blog. Life has just been so busy lately. It’s nice to sit down and have time for myself…even though my time to myself is me sitting between the boyfriend and his brother on our two person couch while they watch some show I’m not so interested in on the History Channel (talk about a run on sentence).


The past two weekends have been spent both on Catalina. I escorted the girls NAC Jr Outrigger team across the Catalina Channel on an very nice Sunday morning. Took about 5.5 hours and the girls felt every minute of it!! I’ve raced this race many times and it was nice to be on the other side of the spectrum…DRIVING the motor boat instead of paddling the canoe! I’m SUPER proud of these young teenagers for going out and taking on such a challenge as paddling from Catalina to Dana Point. A full 37 miles. It really is something to be proud about. As a coach, I was very impressed by the girls dedication and hard work.

This past weekend was a weekend for the books! How often do I get to go to Catalina for a full weekend with Bruce and the best friends, AND NOT HAVE TO PADDLE RIGHT AWAY. Relaxing on the beach? I’ll tell you all about it. Exploring the parts of the island we never have time to go to, definitely worth the arguing over who is going to drive the golf cart. It made getting up a o’dark thirty friday morning to make it over to drive boats over to the island before nine definitely worth it.IMG_1712

We did end up paddling back to Newport, we had the team come over on the flyer on Sunday morning; then turn around a paddle back. The paddle was rough, the weather was cold; but the spirits were still high! Well at least, us girls were:) The boys may have been a little more competitive!

I am really grateful that I was given the time away from work and paddling to have time to spend with the people I love spending it with. Taking each day, one day at a time and getting up in the morning just to have another adventure. IMG_1705


Instagram: @KelThompson

Twitter: KelThomp

Sneak Peak of Catalina

Sneak peak pictures of my weekend in Catalina. Two weekend in a row. See more pictures on instagram at @KelThompson

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