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Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond

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pacific ocean

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

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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Santa Barbara Rig Run 2013

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Photo by Chris Silvester

The morning start off at 3:15 am when Bruce and I left the house (our roommates were just going to sleep) and headed up to Santa Barbara with Maddie and Jimi. Reef Runner in tow. We arrived in Santa Barbara two and a half hours later. Looking at the VERY still palm trees and feeling the non existent wind, I braced myself for another flat race.

We didn’t have any kids from the NAC race in the short course, we only had one boat racing in the long course. Three boys , three girls…they absolutely killed it! Even beating the NAC women’s crew that was out there that day by a boat length! Daniella, Kylie, Meghan, Cade, Ian and Liam all had a great time and together it was one of their best races. I get so happy when I see the kids I coach succeed. It’s an silent fist pump when I see them on the course!

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It helped that it was probably the BEST downwind we had had all season. I can easily say that this was one of the best races I’ve done in Southern California! The downwind portion was perfectly lined up (thank you Billy Whitford!) and our crew kept it hot! The girls stayed positive the entire time and we RAN. There was about 70 crews in the women’s race that day. The water was perfect, the wind was perfect and the temperature was perfect. I love racing with the girls, and hottin and hollerin at the other crews around us. We are all a big group of sister paddlers all out wanting to do the same thing…BEAT EACHOTHER! The intensity is brought up when passing another crew, the excitement is through the roof when you can feel that swell pushing the back of your canoe and the POWER is so great when everyone is working together; I can’t think of a better feeling right now.

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NAC Mens second boat steered by Bruce Schwartz photo credit Chris Silvester
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NAC Mens first crew photo credit Chris Silvester

Even though the top mens crew of NAC started late (200 yards behind the start line) they still finished third across the line, out of about 65 boats! My boyfriend Bruce steered a strong group of men in the second boat around all the turns. They had a strong second crew and help their own towards front of the pack! The third boat had a paddler not show up so I stepped in and steered back to back races that day. A good 22 miles seemed like a good idea at the time. I get 5 miles into the first race and i’m like “THIS IS GUNNA HURT”. All in all it was a great day in Santa Barbara! You can’t complain with waves like that! A sun beaming down on you and all your friends around!

Marina Del Rey here we come!

instagram: KelThompson
Twitter: @KelThomp

52 Lists- Week 2 & 3

I’ve combined these two; I’m trying to catch up anyway! So I’m probably being brief but hold on here we go- lets get crazy!

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Week 2

List Of My Greatest Comforts

1. Teen Mom- watching this trash tv show on MTV every monday night really comforts me. I know that doesn’t matter what happens in life I will NEVER have to go through what those girls did- as I will never be a teenager. More power to ya mom!

2. In all seriousness- I find comfort in the rain. It reminds me that not everyday or everything can be perfect. Raining is the sky showing emotion- and everyone should show emotion.

3. As corny as it sounds, I find comfort in  my boyfriend and puppy either having them at home with me at night. Knowing we made it through another work day, we have a roof over our head and I’m sure we had something to eat for dinner! Whether it was healthy…I’m not too sure. Or even just road trip in to races together! I just like the idea of sharing adventures with them.

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4. Singing in the shower. I have the greatest voice when I’m in the shower. And I find comfort in the fact that no one else can hear me.

Week 3

List of Things You Should Be Proud Of

1. I’m proud of being 23, having a great full time paying job that makes me happy and being able to support myself for the past 4 years. I worked for what I have, I take pride in the place I live and I take care of the things I own. You take care of the job and the job will take care of you.

2. I’m proud that I can tie a bowline on the fly; and can make boats dance (quote BW ha). I can jump start my own car and I can navigate my own boat.

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3. I’m proud of my ability to take care of people. I always want people to be happy and I will go out of my way to make them happy.

4. I haven’t gone crazy yet.

5. I’ve jumped off the most southern point of the United States; and landed in the ever refreshing pacific ocean.

That’s it for now!

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