The Pain Continues, Part II of the Tahoe Masochist Tour:
P.net: Have any of you ever done a long paddle like this before?
Rich: Joel, Tyra, and I competed in the Ocean Ohana Catalina Challenge in March of 2008. Catalina to Dana Point, 40 miles on a SUP, good fun.
Photo: I'm not sure if the descriptor "glassy" really covers what we're looking at here.
P.net: As far as gear goes, did you have any specialized boards or paddles? Talk about the logistics of an adventure like this; was there a safety plan, a paddle plan?
Rich: We brought four SUP boards: One 12’ Ron House custom (thanks Jay), one 12’ Laird, one 11’ 11" SOS Big Red (thanks Matt), and a 14’ Infinity custom that was first raced in the Catalina to Dana Point race and then used by me throughout the paddling season in various events. Also en tow was a 14’ IRB (inflatable rescue boat) with a four-stroke 25 hp motor. The boat was used to transport all the camping equipment, food, ice and beer for the duration of the trip (thanks Capt. Stabenow).
Photo: In the company of life guards, you never dive in head first- and no running on the deck!
Logistically, we covered the entire circumference in four days of paddling. Over the five days we were on the lake we each spent one of the five operating the boat and the other four days paddling. Whom ever was in charge of the boat for the day ran support; bringing up water, passing food and setting a course. Everyone took a different shift operating the boat and it worked out pretty evenly in the long run.
Photo: Paddling what looks like an inland ocean.
P.net: Did you train for the trip? Any words of advice to others who might be considering a trip like this?
Rich: No more training was done then what we normally do – if there were a way to train your hands not to crack and blister at 6800 feet, I’d look into it.
P.net: What was a standard day on the lake all about.
Rich: Morning wake-up with coffee and chow, clean-up camp, pack the boat, pick a destination, and shove off. We’d paddle to a pre-designated location and call it a day. Paddling times varied between 4-6 hours per day depending on where/how frequently we would stop. Pull up to camp, check-in and set-up for the night. Cold beers and campfire awaiting the next day’s paddle.
Photo: Done. Cashed in. Out. Five hours of paddling, some food and a few beers... the ultimate insomnia cure.
P.net: Where did you camp out at? Did you need reservations? Was it crowded? What were the conditions like- cold, hot, mosquito infested, perfect?
Rich: We camped at various locations throughout the basin and even made more reservations than those that were needed (due to the fact that we were unsure just how long we could paddle towards the end of the trip). Towards the end, we all decided to make a run for it and skip the last night of camping. Good idea? 5 hours of paddling and we reached our intended destination. Conditions were pristine for almost the entire paddle – the last day of paddling we pulled the boards out at our final destination and a thunderstorm and rain storm ensued for the next two hours.
Photo: Tahoe pit stop, change the tires, fill the tank and burn it up out of there.
P.net: What was the toughest part of the trip?
Rich: The third day of paddling, covering the entire west shore of the basin in 75+ degree heat and dead calm conditions. Good paddle, long paddle.