Weekend Wanderer

Wandering the Weekends in California and beyond



Hanohano Crystal Pier 2013

Eden Broggi, Kate Mead, Kel Thompson, Sarah Warren, Sonya Bersudsky, Pua Whitford
Photo by Chris Silvester

This past Saturday marked the start of 6man Iron season AND the start of the Keiki Challenge that SCORA (Southern California Outrigger Race Association) is putting together though out the the season to get the younger kids on the water!

If you were to walk up to the NAC outrigger tent Saturday morning at 7:30am you would see a large group of kids getting ready to get on the water.

Photo by Chris Silvester

We (NAC) had one boat go off in the 8am Keiki race, which was only about 1.5 miles. What seemed like a warm up to some kids was a long distance race for others! Not only were the nine year olds excited to get on the water for their own race; I think the parents were as equally excited!! They were able to watch the entire race right out front on the beach! The picture above is Ryan in stroke seat, followed by Ethan, Blake, Tommy, Mason and Hayden. With Cade steering on the back. SCORA required an adult to sit not he back of each canoe, as most of the kids on this particular course were under the age of 12.

Photo by Chris Silvester

After the NAC keiki placed first in the 8:00 race, they had JUST enough time to get a quick drink of water before they were out on the water for an 8:30 race. This race was the short course 5 miler. We had two crews go out for this race, with our top boat coming across the line first!

Photo by Malia Kalani

The short course was entirely in the harbor, and consisted of two turns and about 50 other crews on the water. Our NAC boys (pictured above) came in first across the line. They swept the 19U boys division. Their short course race was followed by team building and safety learning skills taught by SCORA officials. Safety skills such as rigging boats and tying knots. As for team building? The kids had a CRAZY TIME!

Photo by Chris Silvester

We didn’t have a big shown in the long course for our older boys, not many could make this race. Leaving Cade to steer a mens crew during the long course that did well also. However, we did have a full boat of 19 and under girls! The conditions weren’t incredibly favorable. They was a gnarly headwind coming into the harbor that was like hitting a brick wall once you entered. It was important to keep everyones morale up at the point or else everyone was going to drop. The long course consisted of 10 miles in open ocean fighting against the messy swell because it didn’t seem like much could go our way. There wasn’t much swell to catch, but that didn’t stop teams such as Lanakila and Imua.

Our top girls crew includes stand out stroker Makena Flotron, followed by 13 year old Isabella, and then Kylie Bergan, Meghan Savisaar and new up and coming steersman Daniella Carresse. They were missing team mate Jenny Jones- but had an awesome fill in from another club! Gabby Green from Dana Point Outrigger. Winning their division and finishing much higher than they expected the girls finished off with a good race! All in all the younger paddlers ALL had a great race and a lot of fun! But what’s next? Santa Barbara this weekend!

My besties Maddie Dierkes and Molly Bishop in a SUPA fast coed boat!
Photo by Chris Silvester

Pictures provided by Cody and Chris Silvester.

Race results can by found at

photo-2 copy
The Junior Girls with their coaches, Malia Kalani Hohl and I.

Instagram: KelThompson

Twitter: @KelThomp

Kauai World Challenge

I spent an amazing weekend in Kauai this past weekend…

with 10 teenagers.


Here’s how it went down. We flew over Thursday night, cruised Friday, raced Saturday and explored Sunday. THEN FLEW HOME.


“The Kauai World Challenge is the most unique long-distance race on Earth. The stunning Garden Island scenery and consistent downwind bump-running course is one draw, but another big attraction is that at 33+ miles long, the Kauai World Challenge can be paddled and enjoyed without the need for escort boats. As a relay race, contestants shuttle from one leg to the next by car instead of having to spend the day wallowing on an exhaust-wreathed boat. The four legs of this year’s Kauai World Challenge begin at the following beaches:

Kapaa, first leg 6.3 miles

Hanamaulu, second leg 5 miles

Kalapaki, third leg 10.7 miles

Poipu, fourth leg 10.6 miles

Finish at Salt Pond in Hanapepe.”

We took 4 teams, and Kamanu Composites graciously helped us out with getting canoes for all the kids! We had three oc1 boys crews and a two man girls crew. These kids were they ONLY juniors in the junior divisions in this race.



IMG_2167IMG_2162This race was put on flawlessly, the safety committee did a great job.

The juniors were tired.

The juniors were hurting.

The juniors raced.

The juniors finished.

The conditions were not ideal, however the kids made the best out of it. They caught the bumps they could, and worked hard when they needed to. The ten mile stretches were rough patches, but the teams fought on; pushing to the end.

The NAC Jr Team was a crowd favorite on the beach. The kids did a great job representing their home club, and making NAC look good. They all finished the race in great time, proving that they weren’t just any regular junior team form California.

It’s a race to remember.


We took the kids to the Waimea lookout. IMG_2283

Within those three days, we fit a lot of activities in. The race was all day Saturday, but Friday we hiked, swam and body surfed. We took them to the “Queens Bath” which is on the North Side of the island in Princeville (where we stayed).

IMG_2293Until our next adventure…


Instagram: @KelThompson
Twitter: KelThomp

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