Friday, July 10, 2009

La Dolce Vita and Redneck SUP (stand up paddling)

Summer has finally arrived and my sister and her daughter, Kira, arrived in Northern Michigan for a summer visit with me in Traverse City. To celebrate July 4th we gathered with friends who treated us to a day out on their boat with lamb tacos and wine. We dropped anchor off Power Island and enjoyed the great weather, being together and the freedoms we are so fortunate to enjoy. Later we headed back to the beach to launch our One Design and play some Bocci Ball. There wasn't much wind but I managed to get a little "session" in. Two gal friends were interested in learning to windsurf, so I took them out "tandem" and gave them a taste of what it's all about. They loved it and I think there'll be more lessons this summer. Sharing food, wine and windsurfing with friends, la dolce vita.

A few days later Tara, Kira and I loaded ourselves into our van and drove further into the Great Lakes to visit our folks on Lake Huron. Their place is on an island so they have a small sailboat (called a "JY"), a few old One Designs and a kayak. I've been reading a lot about Stand Up Paddling (SUP) and thought this would be the perfect time and place to try it. The Island is remote and there's no place to rent a SUP. Yesterday it was beautiful & calm so I brought a One Design down to the shoreline and took a paddle from the kayak to do my own Redneck Stand Up Paddle (RSUP) version of SUP. It was a blast! I paddled around Cowen's Island, and because I was standing up I could see the rocks on the bottom and navigate around any shallows. I had the centerboard all the way down so the board was very stable and used my weight to help turn the board. Tara then joined me for a RSUP, this time we went down the Serpent Channel, and we returned later with great full body tans! Kira could tell how much fun we were having so she swam out, knocked me into the water and RSUP'd over to the next island to show the other kids and her friends her new toy. We watched as three young teenagers entertained themselves for hours with one Windsurfer board and a kayak paddle. As the dog ran by chasing squirrels, and hearing the laughter from the kids on the water, it was evident that we were enjoying summer.