It's Even Sadder in Adulthood

Posted by ONLINE on Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Over a year ago I stated that I would not rant about the aspects of our society that I deem to be horrible and tragic and focus this minute particle of the world wide web on health and fitness and the beauty of stand up paddling. However, this whole story about the bullying going on within the Miami Dolphins locker room has put me in a mood. Being that this story is related to sports and overall health and wellness, I figured I would exorcise some of what has been bothering me since the news first broke.

I was bullied. For almost two years in 6th and 7th grade I lived in fear of a classmate who thought nothing of punching me in the arm or chest without any provocation. I was nowhere near being considered a "big kid." I always lined up near the front of the line when our class was told to arrange ourselves from shortest to tallest. Also, I was a quiet Christian kid who enjoyed going to church and Sunday school (on most mornings) and I was pretty obedient. My momma raised me well and she took particular care to teach me to treat others kindly. I know, I know things changed when I turned 16 but before that I was an angel...Needless to say, I was easy prey for anyone with a mean streak. What made things worse was the fact that not only was I fairly well behaved and polite but I was the new kid in Mrs. Hatfield's 6th grade class. Being the new guy is awful...

Fall at a new school wasn't so bad. I got along well with everyone in the class, even the bully for most of the time. I joined the soccer team late and soon enough some of my athletic prowess was noticed by the coaches and I took over a starting position. I think this is when some of the bullying started. To sum things up, it continued into basketball season when I purposely asked to be on the "B" team as the competition for starting point guard for the "A" team was between myself and the bully. When I presented my request to make the "B" team Coach Hatfield understood the reason why and did not press the matter but he told me there would come a time when I would have to stand up for myself and it wasn't right for me to not try to reach my full potential. I wasn't ready to stand up for myself. He must have seen the panic flood my face and body because he granted my request. I played on the "B" team that season and watched the "A" team point guard flounder on the court. Despite his lack of ball-handling skills he could throw a punch to my arm that would send pain throughout my whole upper body.

On bathroom breaks it would not be unusual for me to be pushed in a corner and punched by the bully and maybe another one of his friends. There I would cower and take a beating until either more people would come in the bathroom or one of the pugilists would need to pee. This went on for some time, but I was too scared to tell anyone about it.

Also, I didn't fight back because I was scared of the pain that might ensue. Being punched in the arm hurt; in 6th and 7th grade I couldn't imagine how much a punch to the face would hurt. I didn't want to put myself in the position to experience such. (Oh how I wish I had kept that way of thinking in my 20s!)

The bullying stuck with me throughout the middle school years and summer breaks were my only reprieve. The bullying would have continued in 8th grade but my parents finally convinced me to stand up for myself. The climax to my fear happened at dinner on my 13th birthday. My parents took me to Baltimore for the weekend to explore my birth city and have a special birthday. However, I was so scared of showing up to school on Monday that I broke down in tears at dinner at the Rusty Scupper and told my parents all that had been going on for the past 2 years. I think the waitress gave me free ice cream and a lot of napkins that night! My poor parents! They were upset that I had been beaten on for an extended period of time without their knowledge, that I was turning out to be much more of a pansy than they expected, and that they knew this was a situation that I needed to take care of myself. They backed me up and they told me God would be there for me as well. I believed them and I was soon to experience evidence that there indeed was a God that was watching down over His children. I have to give a lot of credit to my parents for staying out of it and giving me the opportunity to take care of the situation myself.

To sum things up, Monday came around and I stood up for myself. No punches were thrown and I was never bullied again.

Which brings me to the story of Jonathan Martin's experiences as a member of the Miami Dolphins. I know what I experienced as a small kid getting bullied so I cannot imagine someone who is tough enough to play in the NFL can be a victim of bullying. If I was a big and strong kid I would have broken some necks if somebody tried to bully me or maybe not. I might have still cried at dinner....but the point is: this is some horrible stuff to come out of Miami. It blows my mind that bullying could happen among adults, much less huge adults, and have such a tremendous affect on someone's adult life. The effect that bullying had on my adolescent years was awful; this has got to be worse.

Imagine the gentleness in this man's heart to be so sensitive to what others think of him that he has to leave such a high paying job, out of fear, to seek solace at home with his parents. This story makes me so angry and upset because I know that being the victim of bullying as a middle schooler is a horrible thing that being the victim of bullying as an adult must be overwhelming. Obviously it is overwhelming. Who turns a blind eye to this type of behavior among grown men? It is so disgusting and there is no other way to put it.

Of course nobody but those involved know the whole story and us outsiders are just speculating. I am speculating but as a victim of bullying; I determine it to be my right. We all need to keep an eye out for bullying in our communities and in the lives of our loved ones. You are not being a "rat" notifying the proper authorities when it comes to bullying. Any time it can be stopped it should be stopped, immediately if not sooner.

Bullying is a shameful part of our society that goes on everyday in every community. This morning I read that bullies are often the victim of bullies, which makes sense but I never knew before. Obviously there are a chain of events that take place and spread beyond just the dynamic of the bully and the victim. Often I see ads for programs that are trying to stop bullying. This is such a great thing to see. Personally, I wish they had these hotlines to call about 30 or so years ago!! :)

I am so glad we don't have these kind of issues in the stand up paddling world despite those mean prone surfers call us sweepers!!

If you know someone who is being bullied here some outlets that offer help:
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Ke Nalu Paddles and Picking the Right Accoutrements

Posted by ONLINE on Thursday, October 31, 2013

How do you choose the right paddle that fits your style of paddling?

Over the last couple of years, I have been fortunate enough to try several brands of paddles. Most are effective enough and will take care of all your needs, some are completely worthless and should be taken off the market, (one super-popular brand is downright un-usable) but there can only be one that is the best. In this paddler’s humble opinion, Ke Nalu paddles hold the crown. They are very competitively priced, super light, easy on the joints and muscles, and the Oregon based company provides enough components with varying degrees of flex, size, and weight to ensure that each and every consumer finds the perfect combination to end up the paddle that suits their style best. When it comes to choosing a paddle from Ke Nalu there are at least 3 different options for each part that makes up a complete paddle so I thought I would write about my experiences with all the components and offer up some feedback as to what might be the best fit for you! AND…read on to find a way to get a good deal on a new paddle!!

Everyone always wonders about blade size. As a guy I hate saying this but: size matters. I think choosing the right blade size depends a lot on technique. When determining blade size I don't go by square inches; I go by paddle width. The first paddle I bought was in my second month of racing and it was the 8.5" wide Maliko. It worked well for me and it felt great paired with a 90 Flex shaft and an Ergo T handle. As I was trying to work on my stroke technique, I did have some shoulder issues that started from using another brand and using a paddle that was way too tall in overall length did not help matters any. My stroke was all about arm strength which is not the best way to avoid pain.  Shoulder pain continued throughout the middle of my first race season and as I closed in on facing a 26.5 mile race I was too broke to buy abnother paddle. I cut 8.5” blade down to 8.15" for the  SEA Paddle NYC race in 2012 and found it effective for the 26.5 miles.  Also, my shoulder pain went away 1 week before the SEA Paddle race! Using the 8.15" blade for races after SEA Paddle that were much shorter did not feel so good for me; I felt like I was pushing water but not moving forward fast enough. However, I was still learning the proper stroke technique and looking back now it was quite apparent that I had no idea what I was doing. I was throwing my blade in the water in whatever way felt good and moved me forward. Any paddle that didn't hurt my shoulders was a good paddle. Ke Nalu worked but as I started to improve my stroke I felt I needed to make a change.  

Here, it is important to note that after changing brands to Ke Nalu my shoulder pain went away. I was able to train through pain for a big race and, eventually, feel the pain go away as I started using a brand that was constructed with shoulder pain in mind!

At the end of last year, I was all about using the strength of my arms to make me go so I wanted to try a larger blade. I bought the 9" wide Molokai blade and loved the way it felt when I planted the blade in the water.  I really felt like I was doing something good planting that beast in the water and I felt my speed improve. The first race I did with a bigger blade (even though it was not a Ke Nalu because I left a paddle at the Orange Bowl in Miami) was the Cold Stroke Classic and I was very pleased with the result. But…I was still trying to push ahead by bullying my way through the stroke. The bigger blade, when used for anything 6 miles or less, worked because I was totally relying on arm strength instead of putting my core, lats, delts, and hips into the rotation. As I have been working on drills and trying to better my technique AND quicken my cadence the bigger blade no longer feels right, epsecially for starts. I am all about the 8.5” Maliko these days. It feels just right whether I am working on mad-dash sprints for starts or getting in a good rhythm for longer distances. Currently the 8.5” Maliko is my weapon of choice.

The first shaft I bought was a Flex 90 and I should have stopped right there. Having started SUP with shoulder pain I did buy a xTuf shaft to get a more flexible shaft but I found the xTuf shaft to be way too flexible, especially with the 9” Molokai blade. The response time between catch and stroke was too delayed. It felt like as I was turning my body the blade was staying behind me then shooting forward as the shaft flexed and spent too much time building up momentum before allowing me to try and push the board past where I planted the blade in the water, if that makes any sense. The feeling might be likened to: if I was throwing a pitch I would wind up and my elbow would go forward but when I would want to release the ball my hand holding the ball would not have caught up to the elbow for the release. There seemed to be too much of a delayed reaction time. This shaft has been untouched in my garage for quite some time and for many months I wondered why Ke Nalu even made this shaft. Then it hit me concerningwho the xTuf shaft is best for – the xTuf shaft is perfect for the elderly paddler with range of motion issues and/or the person rehabbing after an injury to their upper body. The xTuf shaft  with an 8.5” or 8” blade would be ideal for the recreational paddler who is out there to have fun and/or someone who wants to get out on the water but must take great care of their arms and/or shoulders. The xTuf shaft is perfect for moseying, if you just want to mosey and take in the scenery, along the surface of any body of water! The forgiveness in this flexible shaft would make even the most arthritic athlete a very happy paddler!

This summer I bought a 100 Flex, which is Ke Nalu's stiffest shaft, hoping to translate stiffness into speed and found it quite agreeable…most of the time. (I also switched to a classic "T" handle.) This was the paddle I used most of this past summer and it served me quite well in the 12-6 division of the Midwest SUP Series and the series of races in the Mid Atlantic region. Again, as I was working on my technique and still doing a lot of arm paddling the 100 Flex worked. However, by the end of the race season I found the 100 Flex to be too stiff, especially with a 9” blade on the end of it. Last week I changed blades and put the 8.5” blade on the 100 Flex and still found the shaft too stiff, especially for a long-distance paddle. I also found the stiffness to do more harm than good practing sprints and buoy turns, but this was with a bigger blade. All is not lost for the 100 Flex though! I think a 100 Flex with an 8” Wiki blade would be the ideal weapon of choice for a lighter paddler (under 180) who has a fast cadence. I want to buy an 8” Wiki to put on my 100 Flex to have for shorter races 5 miles or less where I can attempt to maintain a fast cadence for as long as possible!!

What you find with Ke Nalu is that you always have a component to make another component work. This can be for the new paddler, the established recreational paddler, or the competitive racer. Throughout the evolution of your stroke you will have options to find the best fit. Right now the Flex 90 is the best shaft for my stroke.

You cannot go wrong with the 90 Flex shaft. This is the shaft that is built for everyone. This shaft feels good with any size blade, although I must say that sometimes using anything smaller than 8.5” can feel like urinating into the wind. I like sprinting with the 90 Flex; I like going 12+ miles with the 90 Flex and I like doing a combination of both distance and sprints with the 90 Flex. If you want 1 paddle and 1 paddle only I vote for the 90 Flex, the 8.5” Maliko blade, and the Classic T handle.

I am rather surprised how my handle choice has evolved as my stroke has.  I was all about the Ergo T to start and I like it but when I first started paddling I loved using a tight grip. The tight grip with my fingers spread over any kind of T handle did not do well for – paddling without pain. I bought an Ergo handle and found myself being able to hold on tight for longer lengths of time befor experiencing any pain. Of course you are not supposed to hold on tight, but I was new and I went with what is comfortable. These days I paddle with a more relaxed grip (which keeps the forearms from cramping on long distance adventures) and I like having more surface area on which to rest my top hand. Also, I like pushing down with my top hand and using the Classic T feels really dang good and is my #1 choice to top off any paddle I am putting to use on any kind of paddling venture.  The Ergo T is not as wide a “T” and isn’t really that different than the Classic T so either makes for a great topper. The Ergo is a smoother shape that makes your paddle feel like a scepter, which is always a good thing to boost the self confidence! They all work well in terms of comfort but in the sweaty months the handles can be a little slippery. After trying all types of tape and even non-skid paint, I found surf wax solves this problem best.

As my stroke has improved (or maybe changed is a better word) so has my preference in paddle size, shaft flexibility, and handle comfort. What is great about Ke Nalu is the fact that there system is suited to providing options for the ever-evolving paddler. The hot-glue system makes changing out a component a breeze and I have yet to have anything malfunction in a race! I like being able to make changes without the hassle of dealing with epoxy. I ding my boards enough to have my fill of mixing epoxy. For paddle research I light up the propane torch (which is not the best way to do this mind you) and make changes within seconds! I ALWAYS like to let my paddles sit overnight when changing out components. I like the glue to settle in and get used to the new surroundings and so far it has worked. 

Any shoulder pain I have experienced this summer (when going back and forth between the 100 Flex and the 90 Flex) has not lasted past the next morning. Last summer when I used several brands of paddles I had shoulder pain until I became a consistent user of Ke Nalu products. I am also sure that using a much shorter paddle that is only 7.5” to 8.5” added to my overall height helps, but the point is that Ke Nalu has taken careful steps to provide shafts that take into account the pressure stand up padlding puts on the body. Their products work well for the body and I am sure if you ask anyone else who uses Ke Nalu products that they will agree with this. 

And back to the filthy urinating into the wind comment…this applies to me as someone who wants to feel the power loading into my stroke from the catch, planting the paddle in the water, through the stroke until I pull the paddle out of the water. The fact that I DON’T feel that power load with a small blade is GOOD for the recreational paddler who wants to do nothing but enjoy being out on the water. I did not mean that a small blade is a bad thing!! A small balde is great for not feeling the work you are putting in when enjoying time on the water!!

My ideal paddle for now is the 8.5" Maliko blade on a 90 Flex topped off with a classic "T" handle. That being said I think the 9" Molokai blade is great to use as a training paddle for resistance so when you grab the 8.5” Maliko you will be ready to fly! The 8” blade is great for ease of stroke.

So much to choose from! It’s all so good for you! Here is my ideal quiver I am striving to complete:
Top Choice: 8.5” Maliko on 90 Flex with classic “T” handle (total length 79”)
Top Back Up: 9” Molokai on 90 Flex with classic “T” handle (total length 78.5”) 
The Caddyshack Billy Baroo to Keep Around for Sprints: 8” Wiki on 100 Flex with Ergo “T” handle (total length 79”)

I buy my Ke Nalu gear from Ben Butterwei at Stand Up Paddle Annapolis who is the closest and best Ke Nalu dealer around. If you want to try a paddle before you buy one please feel free to conatct myself on the Eastern Shore or Ben if you live over on the west side of the bridge. If you just want to order one email Ben at and mention that you are a reader of An Eccentric’s Take to get 15% off the total price of a new paddle along with free shipping!!  This deal goes from Halloween to the Surf to Sound race at Wrightsville Beach on November 16. You can’t beat that deal! Get yourself a new paddle for one of the last races of 2013! 

You will not be sorry for investing in the right components to suit your style of paddling. Ke Nalu takes into account that not every paddler is the same so they try and provide a wide range of components to fit almost any need. Ke Nalu’s customer service is top knotch and they will not hesitate to fix any problem with any of their products. They have also brought on options to make your paddle adjustable and my cousin Neil swears by the adjustable option. Plus, they have super cool t-shirts that look sexy on men and women!!

To read more about their gear check out: Ke Nalu
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The Coolest Thing So Far This Summer

Posted by ONLINE on Monday, August 19, 2013

I brought back a lot of good from the races in Traverse City this past weekend. There were a couple nice awards, some new motivations, lots of laughs, a wonderful compliment, but as I look back on it all nothing compares to being made aware of the gentleman who won the special award for being the oldest competitor at the TC Waterman Challenge. He was 85 years old.

Yes...85 YEARS OLD...and still a competitor. That is frigging fantastic.

This morning the chapter I am working on in my textbook for the Certified Personal Trainer exam talks about Exercise and Older Adults. I paid a lot of attention to what was written because I was able to take the information that I learned and process it in a way that hits very close to home. I compare what is recommended for aging adults according to the ISSA and look back on what went on in the lives of a few family members then compare all that to the 85 year old gentlemen who sat back in his chair like a far younger fellow after an 11 mile surf ski race.

My grandmother stopped moving pretty early on in life...and she owned a dog. We all thought the dog would force her to move a little bit but instead she opened the door and let the dog out into the yard to take care of business. If the dog got out she called somebody to go get it for her. She should have chased it. Fast forward many years later and she trips over her cat and breaks her hip. The doctors said that there was very little material that would hold the necessary screws required for a proper fix. I remember hearing that trying to screw into her hip bone was like trying to screw into wet rotten wood. Nothing would hold; her bone had deteriorated to something along the lines of cork. Then this morning I read Wolf's Law that states the following: "the robustness of a bone is in direct proportion to the physical forces applied to that bone." My grandmother evidences this statement. Hardly any force was applied to her hip bone in her aging years and the result was disastrous.

As I read through this particular text I often wonder about the validity of some of the material. Some of it contrasts the beliefs I held when I trained according to Dr. Phil Maffetone's philosophies last summer. Some of the TRX exercises in my Force workout this morning were in an order that I didn't particularly agree with. This summer seems to be all about experimentation as to what will help me to continue to improve my paddling. As I try to finalize the game plan for the "here and now" I also want to take into consideration the "then." I have my own family members to work off of as examples but then get to observe others in the world around me. The do's and don'ts become pretty clear as we focus in on what is best for our health.

I wish I had gone up and introduced myself to the 85 year old gentleman who appeared in great health and full of energy and just picked his brain for a few minutes to get some of his own personal tips on how he did things to get to where he was last Saturday. I marvel at him and look back sadly on how the sedentary lifestyle of those close to me cost them dearly in their later years. There were many times I told my grandmother that she should go for a walk when I should have said come on let's you and I go for a walk!

Keeping our loved ones active should be a priority in our own lives. This belief was re-enforced for me this weekend and during this morning's study session. That 85 year old gentleman was sitting at a table with a group of people who obviously thought highly of him and supported him in his paddling and they deserve accolades as well.

Seeing theories from the fitness world proven as true is good stuff. I like to have that evidence to back up my statements that I will use on potential clients. Over the next few months and even years I will probably become a huge thorn in my mom's side but she has been the one yelling at me to get a job for a while now. She may regret it once I become a CPT!

Exercise works! It will help those close to us stick around a little while longer and it will improve the quality of the time spent together! I know it can happen because I saw that table full of fellows, including an 85 year old competitor, sitting around having a good old time and that was the coolest thing I have seen so far this summer!

Better start getting ready, Mom!
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Here we go again...but you MUST buy this watch!

Posted by ONLINE on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Unless you are a useless lazy slob who has no desire to better themselves you must buy the Vestal Brig watch. Run out of your home or office right now screaming, with your hands raised in the air and buy this watch. Or go to Amazon and buy it there where it is a little cheaper than full retail and keeps you from looking like a crazy person...

Now I know a great review was already done by the Mullet family over on the Distressed Mullet website and I am only repeating what they said but the value of this watch to your training program is undeniable. The Mullet review made me buy the watch 5 minutes later. I hope you will buy this watch five minutes after reading this. In fact, here is the link to do so now to keep you from reading the same old thing again and shaking your head at my grammatical errors: BUY ME NOW

There are far less watches available on Amazon than there were a month or so ago so you better hurry up! And the prices are a little higher but the watch is well worth the purchase. Here's why:

This morning I did not feel like training again. My body and my pride still hurt from doing dipsy-doos off my board in the race on Sunday. I am bruised like a peach and rug burned like a you-know-what from having to claw my way back onto my board a hundred million times. Also, I knew I needed to run to get some of that vacation weight off (thanks a lot Mom for keeping peach ice cream around...) and I had about as much desire to run today as I did to finish Sunday's race. Despite my lacking motivation, I put on some shorts and a compression top and decided to hit the beach anyway. I also grabbed my Vestal Brig.

On my walk to the beach I realized I had the TRAIN feature readily available for use. I set the SUFFER period for 15 minutes and the RECOVERY period for 1 minute and 30 seconds with the plan being to reverse them and warm up then do some quick sprints between the long aerobic work. At the bottom of the beach entranceway I clicked the start button and heard my first beep. There is just something about that beep that helped me put my first foot forward. Fifteen minutes later I heard another beep and picked up the pace. As I ran at just under an all-out sprint I began to wonder if I had set the watch properly then came the second beep letting me know it was cool to slow down again. Then BAM...all of the sudden I felt good. I felt ready to do more than I had planned on! As I ran and started to feel the busted-ass feelings from the other day slip off my shoulders I realized 15 minutes was too long to wait to sprint so I was able to re-set the SUFFER and RECOVERY times, while maintaining an aerobic pace, in the TRAIN mode to 5 minutes and 1 minute. BAM...I was back to full-on-training focus. Five minutes of aerobic work then 1 minute of a good sprint. It felt so dang good! People on the beach were looking at me like - "what is this guy doing?" So what. I was Forrest Gump running and feeling good to be doing so. I felt so good I started to change directions when I heard the beep and added a little lagniappe to the program. What a way to shake off the ick!

 I must have Pavlovian traits because I obeyed the beeps and let them direct me toward a mind, body, and soul cleansing. My head needed to focus elsewhere besides what is now in the past, my body needed a little hard work for the waistline, and my soul needed a whole lot of new oxygen brought into the system. Today, I honestly don't know how just a plain old jog could have accomplished what I absolutely needed. I desperately needed that little push to get me going toward a better place and the Vestal Brig provided that for me. I had not done sprints since high school lacrosse practice!

This watch is the best piece of gear I have bought this year and because it has done so much for me I really wanted to share this testimony to others who are over 40 and sometimes need that extra push to go beyond the norm when it comes to training. Do yourself a favor and don't go out to dinner one night this weekend and get yourself a good watch that is handsome and useful. There are several color schemes to choose from if the model you want is sold out. You won't be sorry buying this!

And thanks again to the Distressed Mullet family for letting me know about this watch so I could reap some much needed benefits in my own training program. Check out TONS of other cool stuff on the DM website:


Shake off the ick and get a Brig!!
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The Art of Falling

Posted by ONLINE on Monday, July 22, 2013

All summer long I have been telling myself..."you need to practice falling off your board, getting back on, and paddling to try and maintain momentum."

I heard about Danny Ching at the Orange Bowl back in January who when he fell looked like he hit a springboard underwater as he hopped back on his board so fast it didn't look like he missed a stroke. Mother Nature can be your best friend on the water or she can completely humble you. To compete at an Elite level you have to be ready to paddle in all conditions. I was feeling a little too confident on the MHL yesterday...

I have been in a few races that crushed my spirit due to the number of times I fell in (Surf to Sound 2012 and Miami Orange Bowl 2013) and knew that with a narrower board this would become an even bigger issue. Who wants to practice falling in and crawling back on their board? I certainly don't but I certainly should have leading up to the Skyline SUP Series event in Chicago yesterday. I had gone three races in some chop and not fallen off the MHL so I thought I was ready and wasn't worried about the fact that I had not practiced what I told myself I needed to practice...OOPS!

During my warm-ups I was having a blast out in the conditions!! There was a steady 2 foot chop and the occasional 3 foot boat wakes coming through and although I was falling in I was feeling good! The water was so refreshing that I would even say I felt great! This was a race in downtown Chicago to take place in front of family and friends and the course was super cool, close to North Avenue Beach with plenty of buoy turns so people could actually watch the action. With buoy turns there usually is plenty of action. The Rec race was super fun to watch and was the hardest Rec race I have seen anybody ever paddle in! Big congrats to those folks!

The Elite Race started off okay. I fell at the start but managed to stay with the lead guys for a short while...then came the falls...lots of them. At first I didn't care because there were 6 grueling laps so there was plenty of time to make up for mistakes. I wasn't huffing and out of breath like usual after a start; I was in a pretty good place...then came the falls...lots of them.

I fell a ridiculous amount of times! I'm saying close to 50 falls and I fell in every which way and in every direction. I even did a one-handed handspring off the nose of my board! After one fall my sunglasses were off to the side, my paddle was off to the other side and my board was way out in front of me. You cannot make up time while you are trying to gather accoutrements off the surface of the water all around you! By the end of the race my PFD was hanging off my butt and my sunglasses were bent completely out of shape. My will was being crushed with a steel-toed boot.

It stopped being a race for me on lap 3; it became a practice session then a battle of the mind. For the first time ever I thought about quitting a SUP race. I look back on yesterday and I really don't think I would have been upset with myself for a DNF. On lap 4 I could not get back on my board to stand up after almost 5 attempts in a row. It was a battle not only physically but mentally. I would have quit but Rob Patton offered words of encouragement early on and watching him persevere helped me persevere. Crossing the finish line was humiliating and I can only blame myself. One friend asked if it was the board. I wish! Yesterday was 100% operator error!!

I was angry after the race. Today, I'm still angry. I'm angry at myself for racing poorly. If you want to achieve good results you have to be able to stand on your board in ANY and ALL conditions. I like traveling around to races all over the east coast and I would like to be able to keep up with the Florida folks and the California folks. I'm not upset about getting lapped yesterday or being far off the podium; I'm upset about not being able to perform to the standards I have been working so hard to try and achieve. Those guys that made the podium deserve it because they were awesome out there in really really REALLY tough conditions. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Ross, Kevin Joseph, and Matt Lennert who kicked ass in the 12-6 division and took the spots on the podium!! Westy had a great race and won 1st overall and I was with Westy in Miami for the Orange Bowl and let me just say...he looks like a brand new paddler and kicked that course's butt! Dimitry raced the rec course then hopped on a 14 and did the Elite course and placed 2nd! Awesome job! Rob Patton took off on the last lap and grabbed the 3rd spot on the podium to round out the winners. They all deserve high accolades for doing well yesterday, as does Windward Board Shop in Chicago for putting on a great event and setting up a really cool course!

Today I would go out on the lake and practice falling off and hopping back on but my body is so sore I can't even drive to the store to get a six pack of beer to help drown my sorrows! Today is about accepting a poor performance and learning how to properly respond to it! I am going to do some mental work first then I am going to get out on the lake and fall in love with my beautiful narrow MHL all over again! At least I hope I do!

Remember that review I wrote on the Starboard 12-6 Touring board??? That board won the 12-6 class yesterday and came in 2nd overall! I told you it was a good board...should have kept the one I had :)!
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