Stand-Up Paddleboarding Hawaii: Gear Essentials

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When we first contemplated the idea of stand-up paddling across the Hawaiian islandchain, it sounded so simple: All we would need would be a boat, a willing and able captain, and some boards and paddles. What we've learned is that planning a trip like this requires a great deal of logistics, preparation, gear, and patience. These are a few of our “must-haves” for this trip.

1. Board and Paddle: When it comes to paddling from one island to another, choosing the right equipment is crucial. Stand-up paddleboards come in an array of shapes and styles, each best-suited for a different aspect: surfing, cruising, or racing. For our adventure, one of our boards is a 17-footer with a rudder system. The length is designed for better glide and speed, and the rudder system, which allows you to steer, is a must for crossing channels,especially when the winds are strong. As for a paddle, we prefer a wooden onebecause the wood flexes and is gentle on the shoulders. We recommend the Naish Glide 17' board and the Pure Paddles custom blade.

2. Escort Boat: We have been asked numerous times if we will have a boat escorting us across thechannels, and my answer is: “Absolutely!” When you're paddling on the ocean, especially in between islands, you have to be prepared for the worst. Whether your board breaks, you cramp up, or the seas are just too rough to paddle, you need to have an escort boat to help you. Finding a captain and crew you trust is important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

3. Personal Locating Beacon: What's a personal locating beacon (PLB)? Well, in case we find ourselves in a rough situation in the middle of a channel and our escort boat is nowhere to be found, we will flip open the PLB and, with the press of a button, the Coast Guard will know where to find us. It is a safety precaution we will not cross any channel without. Our recommendation: ACR Aqualink.

4. Hydration and Nutrition: Staying hydrated and properly fueled during a long paddle is extremely important. Not drinking enough fluids causes you to lose power and feel fatigued. The same happens if you don’t eat often. To avoid this, we aim to drink a liter of water per hour and eat a small snack every 45 minutes. Our recommendation: Dakine Waterman Hydration Pack.

–Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach

Morgan Hoesterey and Jenny Kalmbach launched Destination 3 Degrees, a stand-up paddleboarding expedition, from the Big Island of Hawaii on April 7, 2010. It's an adventure that will take them through the Hawaiian islands, across three degrees of latitude, over 200 nautical miles, and acrossnine legendary open-ocean channels. Their goal is to raise awareness and funds for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation,which works to identify and understand the impact of plasticscontamination in our oceans and on marine life and the human food chain.

Photos: Top image by Ryan Lopossa, bottom image by Chris Aguilar

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