Archive for paddleboard

I Paddle for the Monotony

Posted in Paddleboard with tags , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by crystalvoyager

Standing in the registration line for a paddleboard race a few years ago, I was talking to the guy behind us in line.  He asked me what class I paddle.  I explained that while I do paddle, I don’t race.  I was just standing in line with my wife who was racing.  A friend interrupted to let the guy know that I don’t race, I just paddle for the monotony.

I guess that’s true.  Fitness is a big part of it but it did make me think about why it is that I enjoy paddling.  There is a lot of time spent staring at the Bark logo on the nose of my board.  Chasing the nose of my board couldn’t be the real reason I paddle, could it?

Perhaps not specifically staring at the end of the board but I do think the mindlessness of the sport has some appeal.  It’s no different than riding a bike or running marathons.  At the end of the day, it’s a lot of time spent listening to an iPod (if you choose) and starting straight ahead.  I never identified with marathon runners, but now I think I can understand them.

There is peace in the monotony.

It’s not always monotonous.  Days with big swell, lots of wind or wildlife all result in dynamic environments.  They require continual attention.  But even those days fall into some sort of rhythm.  Ride one wave, paddle into the next.  Ride that wave.  Maybe it is the monotony.

 

Real Men Paddle Prone

Posted in Paddleboard, Shapers with tags , , , , on May 23, 2010 by crystalvoyager

Endurance sports have never been of interest to me.  I run to maintain fitness but ultimately it is all with the goal of being ready when the first 8 hour surf session is available come fall.  For some reason, paddling is different.  (Note: prone paddling = the real paddling)

Catalina 2009 - 32 Miles to Manhattan Beach

The world of paddling is small.  While it has grown in the five or so years I have been involved, it remains tiny in comparison to surfing, or even, though I hate to admit it, Sweeping.  New board shapers have emerged but there is still only one name in California paddleboards:  Joe Bark.

I recently had the pleasure of getting a board from Joe.  The man is on it – quick, personable and highly skilled.  Having experienced the good and the bad of the surfboard industry, I truly appreciate a guy who not only has his board shaping skills dialed but can also run a business.

Making the purchasing process smooth is great but if the product is inferior, it doesn’t matter.  Joe has paddleboard construction down.  Despite producing thousands over the years, they keep getting faster and better.  Paddling a new Bark is quite an experience.  They are solid upwind (always the painful part) and they surf downwind with amazing speed.  Linking swells together is actually easy.  Of course, as the boards get faster and higher performance, staying on them while riding swells is a whole other matter.

Bark Paddleboard, pre-race

Aside from the production of boards, Joe is the ultimate ambassador for the sport.  He has finished Catalina something like 25 times.  He organizes much of the Catalina race, cooks at the barbecue, then gets up at 5 am to paddle back to Manhattan Beach.  At a recent race, he rolled in with his box truck full of boards and kids.  He delivered new boards to people, picked up boards to be fixed, wrangled his kids who were also paddling, shook everyone’s hand, and made the salsa.

Joe Bark is paddling in Southern California.   In most industries, having one person dominate the way he does would be detrimental.  Paddling is lucky to have him.

Fresh 2010 Bark Paddleboard

If you are looking for a world class paddleboard, there is no need to search.  Get a Bark and save your time.  You will own one eventually.
Bark Paddleboards

Oh, and I have it on good authority from South Bay guys that Joe dominates on a surfboard too.  So there’s that.