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Weekend Warriors

30 Mile Amusement Ride on the Vega

For the last couple of months I’ve been wanting to do a release video for our Vega Surfski. We had everything set to go, but needed the wind and weather to cooperate. Here in Hawaii the weather has been pretty wet and inconsistent lately so to schedule a fun long run has been pretty tough. This past week though, Mother Nature decided to grace us with some nice consistent wind that was looking like it would be hanging around all week and into the weekend. We finally received the green light we’ve been waiting for.

On Saturday, March 9 we assembled the troops. Uncle Bozo, our boat captain, was ready to go and Pat Dolan (with a new haircut and fresh shave) flew in from Oahu to play the lead role as our kayaker. Johann Meya, of, and his friend Tony Martie came to document our adventure and capture the quality footage that this run and their trained eyes could put together. Naim Ferguson, from Ozone, was also able to jump in with a day’s notice to document the Vega’s performance for Ozone dealers around the world. Together we all got to witness the fruits of a project that we’ve been working on for the last year and a half ripen into life.

Our downwind run was a 30 mile amusement park ride to a distant point that was miles away from any civilization. You can’t do this run without an escort unless you feel like paddling another 18 miles or so in flat water with a hard side wind to reach the nearest harbor, not recommended.

The Lanai run had a perfect wind direction and swell, which made it the perfect composition to showcase the Vega. Pat and I had a blast chasing wave after wave, connecting one ride into another and we were able to get some great durations of relief throughout the run. Of course, Pat left me in the dust. So for me it was a fun lonely run where I could just play with my new Surfski design and feel how it moved with the ocean in tight and open parts of the swell. Realistically, we were here to video Pat anyway, not the novice surf skier in me.

Because we finished our paddle on the northwest tip of Lanai our plan was to just zip across the Kolohi Channel to Molokai and get everyone up to the airport for their flights. Bozo was stoked because that would be a lot less water time to an already long day for him and Pat had to be at a wedding by 4pm on Oahu. For me, my family was at home on Molokai visiting with Grammy and Papa so I was heading in the right direction as well. Our timing worked out as if we were a pack of professional timekeepers working a normal shift; everyone made their 3pm flights with no problems. This is pretty impressive if you think about all the obstacles we could have faced thru out the day. For me it was now time to relax and brush off a hard week of paddling, hang with the family, and reminisce about the unbelievable opportunity that was accomplished with our 30 mile run

Koa Nui Race

As we were doing our downhill Lanai session there was also a big race happening on Oahu, the Koa Nui, and we were missing out. However, I knew I was doing the right thing with planning to stay on Molokai. The reason why comes later in the story. The conditions were gonna be all time for the race and as a competitor you always yearn to be there and never want to bare the feeling of missing out. This race is a good testing gauge and is always loaded with great competition which is why Triston Santos, who is a rising young paddler from Maui, called last minute and I mean LAST MINUTE (9pm before race day, last minute!!) to tell me he wanted to go and race Koa Nui. He didn’t want to miss out. His work gave him Sunday off, nice boss :) and he was on his way to the airport for an 11pm flight to Oahu. Pat Dolan was with me so Triston was going to be able to use Pat’s canoe. Thank goodness! That made the canoe issue an easy one, but then a minute goes by and Pat asks me, “What’s he gonna use Sunday cause I’m racing Sunday?” I thought, Patski! getting back on the OC-1 again! ACTION. Oh boy, better make some calls for another canoe, haha. Lucky for me Jim Foti was able to lend us his Ares demo for Triston. At this point, even if I wanted to go race, I couldn’t. We were all out of canoes.. Well, this made decision making easier. I didn’t want to burden anyone else into loaning their canoe; I did enough of that on Friday so it looked like a nice mellow family fun day was in the works for Sunday. Now I had the task of just sitting back and waiting for the stories. Hard task, but somebody has to do it.

Triston Kaho'okele-Santos at Koa Nui on O'ahu

Photo Credit: @haydenramler

As I sit on the deck at the infamous Kimball residence, I wonder how the day went on Oahu at the Koa Nui. I sent Triston a text and he, right away, got back to me with a short version of the day’s events. Then he sent me an image of the times. Wow! It looked like a great race for day one. A lot of what I expected had taken place and Triston himself did well. Hmmm, I wondered how day two would go with the added mileage and windier conditions. Well enough thought on that for now, I’m sitting here with a million dollar view and the sun is beginning to drop from the sky to meet the sea. What to plan for tomorrow?

Sunday Funday with the Family

The OC-1 season here in Hawaii runs from late October to late May, if you plan to race from beginning to end that’s a long season for a family so there needs to be time set aside for what is real. Going fishing!… nah, just kidding...more like doing something fun with my wife when we have the opportunity. Being that we have babysitters on Molokai (Grammy and Papa), we took advantage of our freedom this past Sunday and headed off to do a Kamalo run together. Usually when we do runs together I don’t hang around or I let Kealani go for a bit so that I can push through and catch her later in the run. Today was different; I planned to hang with her and give her some tips and ideas with her surfing. I had 30 miles of glory yesterday, so sitting there and playing with her on the run was right where I wanted to be.

We were enjoying our time out there even though the high winds were causing a bit of excess surface chop and shortening the troughs. It gave the run more technical stride and brought up a couple ideas on adjusting and making the most of what we had. Now and then I would get a fun one and follow it as far as I could, giving me time to daydream of what was happening in the race on Oahu. But I was happy to be there on Molokai.

In the big picture, missing out I was not. I was having fun with my wife and she was having fun with me, I think. Hopefully she was able to learn a couple things with her surfing and feels better and excited about her next time she gets out on a run. Another reason I wasn’t missing out is that I know I have a great team out there representing Kaiwa’a well, on and off the water. Who you are off the water is just as important, if not more important, than who you are on the water. No sales pitches here; just humble people doing what they love.

The moral of the story is that it’s good to take some time to push the race aside. Life can resemble such a race and it’s very easy to get caught up in the daily rhythm of go, go, go causing us to miss other important features that life has to offer: a breath, a sigh, and a smile.


Kai Bartlett

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