I did a triathlon this past year, and really enjoyed it, but the open water swim made me nervous!  So, in order to review a couple of upcoming events, but avoid some hyperventilation, I have recruited my husband to try a couple open water swimming events this summer.  My husband is no Michael Phelps, but he probably won’t drown!  His past includes growing up in Minnesota, where lake swimming is a part of life and he completed a half iron man about 6 years ago when he was in a lot better shape than he is now.

The best part about open water swimming is that it allows for athletes to get out of their comfort zone and into the natural environment (this is also the scary part!).  There are numerous open water swim classes in Southern California for open-water novices.  Swim Velocity, in Orange County, puts on one of the highest rated classes based on a review of Triathlon and Open Water Swim Message Boards: http://www.swimvelocity.com/Open_Water_Swimming.html.  The best part is that it allows for repeated group swim and refresher classes for those who may take a little extra time to get comfortable in the water.
Another great resource is the OC Open Water Swims google group.  They coordinate informal meetups for weekly swims at the state beaches around Orange County, there is a wealth of knowledge and some fantastic swimmers who attend.
My husband has decided to train for two events in June.  The first is a 1/2 mile “Lap Around the Pier” in Huntington Beach on June 8th. The great part about these swims is that the registration fee is reasonable (unlike many of the Triathlon races in Orange County) only $25, including a t-shirt.  A word of warning, wetsuits are not permitted!
The second is La Jolla’s Pier to Cove swim.  This is a 1.5 mile swim from La Jolla Shores (the Pier) to La Jolla Cove.  This is a challenging but beautiful swim that navigates some of the best nautical preserves in Southern California.  Wildlife is abundant (including sea lions, tuna, dolphins and sometimes whales).  What is interesting about La Jolla is it is home to the largest population of sting-rays in Southern California as well as several (harmless) species of small shark!
If you are feeling brave and are a confident swimmer, you may want to consider these as an enjoyable alternative to the local triathlon races. I’ll keep you posted on how my husband’s training and races go!
-K
Read More →

Before my daughter was born, and when she was younger (a little bump on a log) my husband and I enjoyed getting out to paddle board at Baby Beach in Dana Point.  We had one board and took turns paddling or hanging out on a blanket in the grass with our daughter.  Since Audrey turned three we haven’t gone out as often due to the logistics of taking turns and hanging with the kiddo.  I think we have a solution now.  Last week my husband bought me a new paddle board for the 10th Anniversary of our first date!  Now he can put Audrey on his board and we can all paddle together as a family.  We are going to get Audrey a toddler wetsuit and canoe seat pad to sit on (with a PFD on – of course) and head out this weekend for our first paddle.  We are thinking that the back bay will be a perfect first paddle.  It’s isn’t too crowded, has close parking, clean restrooms and plenty of wildlife and boat viewing opportunities to keep Audrey entertained…it’s also close to home so it will be easy to bail out if things don’t go well.  This has me thinking about SUP events for the year.

Standup for the Cure – May 5th

309379_332782283473021_1647337887_n

This is a good event for beginner paddlers as it is all in the protected water of the Back Bay or Newport Harbor (which has a no-wake policy) so there should be few waves to deal with.  The cost is a pretty reasonable $35 and options are for a short paddle to a 6k paddle.

 

Rainbow Sandals Gerry Lopez, Battle of the Paddle- September 28th

 

This event isn’t until September 28th, and that’s a good thing.  It will take months of pretty serious training and open water paddling time to get ready for the amateur races offered here.  The 2012 races made the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest ever SUP race” with over 400 participants in the Open race.

One option is a quick 4 mile loop at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, the other is an epic down and back to the San Clemente pier!  If you’re not racing, but are still in the mood to soak up some aloha vibes, join in on the annual world record attempt for most SUPs on one wave and enjoy the only time of year you can Stand-up paddle surf north of Thor’s Hammer at Doheny State Beach.  There are board demos, swag and plenty of vendors to enjoy while waiting for the paddlers to come in.

I am very excited to get out on the water more this summer.  While getting into SUP isn’t cheap, the family time on the water for virtually free (after the initial buy-in) is totally worth the investment.

Read More →