So Young but so Brave

Thursday, December 06, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (6)

While not directly related too paddling, this post is one of those things that make you appreciate the world we live in.

This happened yesterday outside my front door and it stayed with me all day provoking thoughts of sadness, anger, admiration and a renewed respect for Nature and the way in which she works.

It played out like this .... my first thoughts were to bash the Python and try and save the Mother Possum, but why should i interfere with the natural course of Nature. The python has every right to a meal it obviously stalked and on closer inspection the Possum had already been asphyxiated and crushed by the snake and was deceased.

As i watched in amazement, a baby possum appeared from the bush nearby where it had obviously fled when the mother was dragged into the open. It proceeded to defend its mother as best it could and it was a beautiful but sad thing to watch, as its brave but futile efforts had no bearing on the outcome.

Within half an hour the Python had swallowed the Possum whole and crushed it to a small size within its powerful body.

Another baby appeared out of the bush, so i gathered both, placed them in a Woolen Beanie and rang the Wildlife Warriors who came and collected then within an hour, as they were still being teat fed when their mother perished and need proper attention. They said i did the right thing to allow Nature to take it's course and inspected the Python who was still lying satisfied on the path to my front door.

Still, a gamut of thoughts and emotions effected me throughout the day reflecting on how fickle our own life is and the powerful emotions we experience when our own families are under threat.

What a brave little Possum .. i know he and his little sibling will survive and take their place in the big wide world out there. He certainly taught me a thing or two.


Watch the little fellow fight. That's him bottom left corner of the video.

Python with a full belly.

Team Camel Toe Do Harvey Bay - OC6 Video

Sunday, December 02, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (9)

I went for a laid-back feel for this one keeping the mood in line with the music from "Salmonella Dub". I had 3 Cams blazing. A GoPro Hero3 facing rearwards on the front Iako, another one on a pole mount behind the steerer and a Sony wide-angle BulletCam on the Ama pointing at seats 1 to 4. All this was edited down to 4 mins covering mainly the start and the turns.

Turn the sound up loud ... enjoy.

As always if you can't watch it here go here for HQ full Screen.

Let it Download first, then play for stutter free play back or save a copy

Any Comments on my Steering??? Hahaaaaa.
Jim Foti ... I ain't !!

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For those planning a Hawaii trip 2008

Thursday, November 08, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

There has been a number of people asking for info on a suitable race or two to do on their first trip to Hawaii as a paddler.

I can highly recommend two races run on consecutive weekends on Maui, the Maliko - Kahului run which usually has 140 paddlers participating as a short course (25Kms) or choose the long course run at the same time Keanae - Kahului (38kms). Yep you get to paddle through the tow-in area of "Jaws" in the bargain and experience waterfalls into the ocean along the race route and then a week later the Starbucks 42km Maui-Molokai, with a ferry ride back to Maui for $22. All the top paddlers use this race as a lead-up to the Molo Relay two weeks later and the best news is, you don't need individual support boats, but there are safety craft on the course, so it's low cost.

Thor and i did these 2 races last year and had no trouble sourcing canoes to borrow or rent thanks to the fabulous Don Mehling and Rob Philips. We actually caused a bit of a stir as I won the 50+ Division and Thor placed 2nd 30-39 Division so they now know who we are. Rowdy (Matt Carter) and Longy (Greg Long) have also done these races.

Check out the cool medal Maui style with flashing lights. haha .. I luv it.

Mid week you can fly back to Oahu for some shopping and visit Outrigger Canoe Club etc.

To see what you're missing out on watch this video (at the bottom of this post) of the Maliko - Kahului run complete with tribal drums at the finish line and a top meal and presentation.

About half way through the video you will see some excellent oc1 surfing by Kai Bartlett in moderate conditions for Maui (look for the yellow oc1, no shirt, red hat )
What more could you want ... Two downwind races on consecutive weekends, low cost, great local people, easy to rent/borrow canoes, car hire $15 a day, heaps too do (volcano, scuba, drink, chill out.... etc.)

The Maui race schedule is here
and the race history and results here

And the video .. it's a long one but worth the download.

Or watch full screen from here

Please leave a comment below

Rudderless Va'a Surfing Skills - Video

Thursday, November 08, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (2)

You think your a gun OC1 surfer ..... think again .... try rudderless Va'a surfing on the big breaks in Tahiti.

Full screen here

Cheers Rambo

Please leave a comment below

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New Outrigger book and Calender Review

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

Click on all pics to enlarge

Well travelled Professional Aussie Photographer Harvie Allison has finally completed his book of stunning & unique images from Vaka Eiva and Rarotonga (Cook Islands)

Harv, as he is affectionately known by Outrigger Paddlers and Surf Club members has been shooting 'riggers and clubbies for years and has a huge body of work behind him. This latest book (available from his web site i believe, is his best work too date.

Vaka Eiva, is on again at the end of this month and to help support the event, Harv has also released a Calendar titled Vaka Eiva 2008 with all proceeds going towards developing Junior Outriggers in The Cook Islands. The Calendar is set to be a collectors item and is also available from the web site.

Front cover

Rear Cover


Some crews pick great seat 1's

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

Our German Outrigger friends have obviously figured out the selection criteria for seat 1 :o :o :o ... way to go guys, very futuristic. Girls feel free to comment on the rest of the crew.

or download wmv here ... t1s187.WMV

or play full screen here

Cheers Rambo

First Review of Pegasus

Thursday, October 25, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (12)

Fellow Pegasus new owners, you are gunna love this canoe.

The first thing you notice is you sit IN the canoe not ON it, so you are closer to the water. It's also very comfortable, and the seat shape hugs your butt both sides and at the rear, which gives good control and feedback in a bumpy ocean. Ama feels light and lifts easily out of the water with a quick hip throw and balances just above the water without bracing with your paddle on the right.

Upwind performance is as good as the Hurricane, but it does it in a different way. Instead of punching through the waves, it pops over the top (but doesn't launch) and lands without a slap on the other side.

Downwind, this is where this canoe shines ... it drops in easy and earlier with less effort, once it has momentum it just keeps going and really surprises you how easily it bridges numerous bumps without loosing speed. It tracks straight, even when sitting on the crest and doesn't want to broach. The downwind performance is the main reason i decided this canoe was right for me. With it's ability to drop earlier and easily, it gives more time for you to select the path to the next bump. (i lent the canoe to Johnno for 10 mins to do a run downwind and i won't say what he called me but i accept it was a term of endearment that men call each other when they approve of something only you have)

The Peggie doesn't respond all that well to quick short strokes (like the Hurricane does) so it lacks quick acceleration, it does however respond to long hard strokes and continues too run-on, negating its lack of acceleration. ( i would still use my Hurricane in sprint races on flat water)

Build quality and finish is excellent, you can hardly see the seams. Stiff as, but like all Divinycell foam core canoes, will dent easily. Iakos are easy to fit into the Ama and Canoe slots and were number matched at the factory, so don't exchange Iakos between canoes.

Steering response, the Pegasus will throw you off, if you chuck a full rudder at speed, extremely directional. Ama is very close to the main hull compared to a Hurricane, about 200mm closer. Occasionally i hit the ama with the paddle , but this is just an indication i need to tighten up my recovery stroke.

The Pegasus will reward a good surfing type paddler and improve an ordinary one. The Hurricane is still in my opinion the fastest canoe for young, strong, skilled paddlers, (which I'm not) but the Peggie for me, helps overcome the loss of explosive strength you experience after 50 and allows me more time to make skill type decisions like bump chasing.

Be very interested in hearing what the other new Peggie owners think when they get their canoe.

I wasn't able to take photos of the unloading etc .. but it was a pleasure to bust the security lock on the container and be the first to peak inside (no little China-men jumped out) .... Awesome seeing all those canoes in one place and having the opportunity to unload them all.

You can read my prep- purchase reasons for selecting the Pegasus here ...

Well here she is in all her Glory. .... Just blessed wearing her floral wreath as witnessed by a couple of pelicans prior to being put through her paces in good upwind/downwind conditions.

Click photos to enlarge

What do you think ... please leave a comment below

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Peggies Born Tomorrow

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

Won't sleep tonite, Peggie arrives in the morning at 5.00am. Have not been this excited since my first born kid 25 years ago. Think I've even waited 9 months too. Don't know about everyone else, but i have always had an emotional attachment to my canoes, i still have my 1st one, born 1991, just can't bring myself to sell them as their part of the family.

Just like babies, canoes have there own personality and faults ... some leak, some go off track, some wallow, but all you can do is guide them in the right direction and hope the manufacturer has done his/her job.

After a 3 week trip from China and in the close company of 74 brothers and sisters, Peggies probably looking forward to wetting her nose. First things first though, she must be blessed and named and introduced to the family, then taken out to Carty's and shown the dangers. Might have to take Huri also, as he knows the dangers at Carty's more than me, having been sacrificed on the rocks and reborn earlier in the year. I think Huri knows somethings happening, he's been performing fantastic over the last few weeks.

I'll be at the birthing chamber (shipping container) first thing in the morning to help Chris with the delivery, so will get to see all the brothers and sisters. Yes i will take photos of them and post them here tomorrow night. ... after i have got Peggies bum wet.

Cheers Rambo


Moffat Run - The Video

Saturday, October 20, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

You want lines ..... this video has more lines than the movie "Scarface"

I've upped the Quality on this one, so the file is bigger but worth it. These runs are super fast.

As always, let it download first before playing for stutter free playback.

Turn up the sound, snort a line and enjoy the ride

Play here for full screen size

or Download WMV file here and play on your computer offline.

As posted by me on Ausoutrigger Forum about the above run.

Just a quick report as i'm tired.

The short story is it was awesome, but a handful. Andy took Carties very close and got cleaned up. Slossie's gone in to help him and gets hit with a rogue wave and his canoe (borrowed from Katey) goes up on the rocks. Toddy and i go to rescue Slossie and Andy, retrieve them ok. Amanda turns up and says a few choice words to Andy. In the mean time the others start to arrive and we do a head count. Johnnos missing. Toddy and i wait until dark on the water at Carties (impossible to attempt to paddle back) ... still no Johnno. Amanda finds Andy's canoe in the bay at Mooloolaba and paddles 2 canoes stacked on top of each other back to the rivermouth, one leg straddled over each and in 25 kt winds draw stroking because she cannot steer either.

Andrew and Slossie retrieve the canoe from the rocks (has holes in it but still in one piece) and we all return to the club compound in the dark to find still no Johnno. Just a i hopped in the car to notify coast guard, Johnno walks across the road from the beach with canoe on shoulder and half a paddle. Apparently it broke at Currimundi reef less than half way into the Moffat run. He paddled the remainder with 1 foot of shaft.

All 16 canoes accounted for and we all go home relieved. I'm in awe that all the girls on the run handled the conditions like true waterwoman. That was a mean ocean out there.

Have 2 hrs of quality video and looks awesome.

I'm going to bed.

Please leave a comment below

Cheers Rambo


Mooloolaba - Noosa Run

Saturday, October 13, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

As Posted on Ausoutrigger in reply to Johnno

Johng wrote:I think the Rambo report might be a bit delayed today - the old fella is a bit shagged after a Mooloolaba - Noosa run with lighter winds than expected.

Just woke up from a "self induced coma" Johnno, and shagged is probably not the right word, ... rooted is a more likely description. Can't explain just yet why, as i felt fine during the paddle and for 20 mins after. Might have something to do with the "effects" of a dirty camelbak bladder that i sampled last nite before going to bed. My arse fell off twenty minutes later and i may have gone into the run sightly dehydrated or depleted of my last meal before bed.

Clarkie, you were spot on with the 80 year old "look" comment earlier, that's how i feel.

An interesting symptom is painfully sore eyes and sensitivity to sunlight, so this may give a clue. (going through medical books as we speak)

Yeah we did get lighter than expected winds, but it was still a good run . Can't believe that after 38 kms, Johnno and i converged, after taking different lines, to within 50 metres of each other. As Johhno said , Why didn't we just flip a coin and stay home and suck "Dukes".

The baby Humpback and mother just off the river mouth at Mooloolaba where we started the run, was a nice way to kick it off (see photos below). Andy, Toddy and Thor straight away went way out to the right looking for the wind line, Johnno and i elected to follow the coastline more but still apart, and not risk the chance of the wind turning more westerly and having to paddle with the wind too far on the Ama side. As it turned out the wind did swing more southerly later in the run and would have handed them a better run line after Perigian bck.

When we dropped the trailer and car off at Noosa at 4.00am the ocean was flatter than the bottom of a "Mirage Oc6 hull". ..... Shit ... Toddy rang from his bed to inquire about the conditions not long after and didn't have the heart to tell him .. but Mr WindGuru came good and we had a surprisingly good run with lot's of linkages and periods where the wind was up our back.

Breakfast and a few beers at "The Fish Cafe" at the Mooloolaba Spit put end to a good morning work and i arrived home to a welcome from Mrs Rambo saying " bloody hell, you look 80"

Next run is Wednesday 17th, trailer is leaving Mooloolaba at 3.30 PM .. a Moffats Run, and looks like being a "harry boomer" according to WindGuru.

Camelbak is in the friggin' wheelie bin.

Cheers Rambo

Click pictures to enlarge

Whale in Mooloolaba Bay shot while paddling

Actual wind in Knots below


SQ OC1 Series Race 3 - Video

Monday, October 08, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

This was pretty much the perfect race for me, paddled at just over AT (Anaerobic Threshold) for the entire race and still had a kick at the end. Also happy with the route, but possible could have stayed slightly wider on entering the bay, although everyone else was inside me so they probably covered more ground than i did.

Being on very shallow water the wind runners were so fast and plentiful, but to take full advantage you had to surf and paddle hard to skip from bump too bump. To surf left, you had to take a sweep to the right most of the time to round a hump then fall into the next trough and if you realized this early in the race you could make ground on paddlers who were slow to cotton on. Definitely the time spent in the bumps over the last few weeks honed my skills, that's for sure and most likely contributed to me coming in 4th overall.

I'm definately in top condition at the moment(as planned). All the signs are there, ripped like a body builder jumping out of your skin feeling, no fatigue at high boat speed and heart rate etc. After the Gold Coast Cup in 3 weeks time i will start to prepare for the Red Cross Murray River Marathon, 404 kms over 5 days in an OC2, we're going for the record.

Enough of that .. here's the race stats and video.

And the Video

This ones a little larger than normal but it's longer, better Quality and has pre - race interviews and multiple camera angles. The Full size DVD is Awesome Quality. The full OC1 Series will all be available one day on a DVD so you can all watch on your big screen TV's.

As always, let it play or download, have a cuppa, then play from cache. Or download/play in full screen at the optional link.

Or play - download in better quality here.
Windows Media format....
Or play full screen from my dashboard ....

Enjoy, hope you like it.

Cheers Rambo


Big Ocean on Mooloolaba Bay

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

Download or play full screen here

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Rigging - Rambo Style

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

Download or play full screen here

Fast Bumps

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (2)

Just a simple portion of a free session.

Download or play full screen here

The Gold Coast Desalination Series Surfski - OC 2 Video

Monday, October 01, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (4)

The Gold Coast Desalination Series is a 26.15km Surfski /OC Race run by Paul Mauger, Rowdy Carter and Jody Zerbst and this was the 3rd race in the Series. The participants in this race read like a who's who of Surfski paddling in Australia ... just a couple of the names from the final results ...

Ken Wallace

Fenn 01:37:52
Dean Gardner

Fenn 01:38:12
Rob Pomie

Fenn 01:38:14
Jeremy Cotter

XLR8 01:39:20
Peter Ridley

V10 01:39:56
Guy Andrews

V10 01:41:09
Mick Waide

V10 01:42:33
Mike Murray

RED 7 01:42:39
Trent Robinson

V10 01:43:27
Ian Rowlings

Stealth Spec 01:44:00
Brad Stokes

V10 01:44:24
Rob Dorrough

V10 01:45:32
Matt Carter

RED 7 01:46:36
Jody Zerbst

Fenn 01:47:12

Rambo and Partner in crime Rod Clarkie from Echuca in Victoria (up holidaying with his family at Mooloolaba) decided we would do the race on a Zulu OC2 made by Zulu Surf Spears on the Gold Coast Qld, the idea being to have some fun and give the Skis a run for their money.

The wind surprised us all and blew 15 - 20kts N - NE ... purrrfect for surfing conditons all the way to Currimbin. 26.15kms in 2 hrs 10 mins

Clarkie and i decided to take the longer shoreline route and have fun catching bumps in the OC2 rather than race for placing..... And catch bumps we did, as can be seen in the video below.

I had two Cams running ... one on the front Ama pointing rearwards at Clarkie and one on the rear Ama pointing forwards. At the start of the video you can see us catch Mark (from Zulu Surfspears) and he follows us most of the way.

You can clearly see the enjoyment on Clarkies face when we take the run of the day at the end of the video, or was that left over from Geelongs (footy Grand Final) win on Saturday? :roll: We had hundreds of runs like this the whole way and some big SAVES. Just to keep Clarkie happy we even portaged 200metres crossing the bar at Currumbin Ck (low tide).

Big thanks to Mrs Clarkie and the kids for being our land based escorts and picking us up at the other end .. top lady you got there Clarkie and 3 very patient teenage daughters also. And thank you too Clarkie for being my able Co-pilot.

Enough of that, here's the vid and our race statistics.

Cheers Rambo

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Hammered from Behind

Sunday, August 26, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (4)

After an hour of surfing the point at Mooloolaba this morning a big one finally got me. Another broken iako and a rescue by one of our own ..... "Lemmo" and his daughter on a double ski.

Good news is, i had the GoPro video running to capture it all to keep you buggas entertained.

Thanks Lemmo and Mick Smith for driving me and my canoe back to the club house.

Here's the Video

Or right click and save a better copy to your computer here

Here's some snapshots from the video

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Sq Series Race 1

Sunday, August 19, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (17)

Ok, this next Vid will have you fired up for the next downwinder at Coffs, it's a beauty. For those with a slow broadband connection just start the video go have a cuppa and allow it download to your computer first, then replay it uninterrupted.

Turn up the audio

This was condensed down from 54 mins of footage that ran out before the finish, but it captures the best what was available. I love it.

If it won't play for you go here

To download right click and save

The top guns are all just in front of me .. watch them go.
Enjoy ... Rambo


Rudderless Skills in the Ocean

Sunday, August 19, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

And you thought it was hard surfing with a rudder ....



Race 1 SQ OC1 Series

Sunday, August 19, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

Excellent start to the Sq Series with a 10-15kt SE blowing and no leftover effect from NE's from the last few days. Approx 120 paddlers turned up for the long and short course and all were keen to make the most of the conditions. I wasn't there for the short course so someone else will have to fill in the details. No results as yet but i think everyone enjoyed their downwind paddle from Moffats to Mooloolaba.

The race started from the beach which is unusual for a Moffats Run, as there is normally a sizable shore break, but all was fine and we turned a buoy dropped 1.5k out from shore and then it was downwind all the way to Mooloolaba.

The OC1 woman left 15mins earlier as did the 6 SUP paddlers and 1 dog.

First to the turn buoy were the likes of Rowdy, Maynard, Lemmo and Darren Humberstone (down from Canoe Point) and the OC2's of Phil Thistlewood/Mick Smith and the good looking crew of Cameron/Hollywood (there were notable others, but hey i was racing too and needed to focus).

The Mooloolaba Oc2 crew of Kat Sullivan and partner provided the excitement for the day by flipping just in front of me at the turn buoy and i captured it perfectly on the "Rambo AmaCam TM" see video below. From there on, it was perfect but small surfing conditions all the way to Pt Cartwright and the field soon spread out as the "Bump Kings" turned it on.

One by one they crossed the finish line and of course the front runners had caught and passed the SUPS who would have liked more wind to assist their bump chasing. As yet i don't have any results, no doubt they will follow soon from the fabulous SQ Series Committee and their helpers on the day. On behalf of every paddler a big thank you to the organizers and we look forward to the next race at Coffs on the 8th and 9th of Sept.

My own race data is set out below and the only thing i prolly would have done different would have been my effort to the 1st buoy, i deliberately held back in that leg (as evident in the 1st 10 mins of heart rate data) but in hindsight should have sprinted the 1.5k to be in a position where i could have taken advantage of a downwind situation once around the buoy. This is where you can put serious metres on the opposition if they are still on the non assisted leg. Still i think i won my division.

My Race Data (Click to enlarge)

Kats OC2 Huli (turn on the sound )

Go here if no can play

More Videos of the race to follow


My First OC1 Race for the Season

Monday, July 30, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (6)

Gold Coast Desalination Project
Winter Series Race 2

Whew boy .... was this a tough one this early in the season, 25km of predominantly flat ocean water and no wind assistance made for a long hard slog. On top of that the race was originally for surf skis and 95% of them were, so it was way lonely hanging on to the back markers on ski's with my OC1 Hurricane. Not that i came in last, i actually beat a few ski's and finished 9 mins behind Chris Maynard so i was pretty happy with my time. (2hrs 24mins)

This race was part of the Surf Ski Ocean Marathon Racing that Paul Mauger has put together along with major sponsors the Gold Coast Desalination Project. Paul has done a top job growing this Series and 63 paddlers lined up on the start line on Sunday. The quality of the field is getting better all the time as more elite paddlers realize this series is going somewhere and want to be part of it.

I've put together my GPS/HR data for this race below just click on the pictures to enlarge.

Race time 2hr 24min
Av Speed 10.1kph
Av Heart Rate 156bpm
Fastest Speed 13.1kph
Highest HR 172bpm

Finished 2nd OC1 Overall, 9 mins behind Chris Maynard, so pretty happy with that and $40 bucks prize money paid the fuel down to the Goldie.

That 9 minutes works out to 5% which is spot on the Percentage Behind Maynard (P.B.M.) of most of my races. (yes P.B.M. is one of my Key Performance Indicators that i monitor and record)

I didn't feel i bonked at all, but i did get a second wind when i sighted the last downwind turn buoy. (home Leg)

My race plan because of the distance, was to keep to around 160BPM av for the race or i would have bonked if i had gone out harder. I probably could have pushed a little more on the downwind section but the bumps were so small it was hard to pull over multiples, like the surfskis were doing.

Paul Mauger ... on the horn
The men to beat on an OC2
Some of the Ski's at the start
A very youthful looking Johnny Stewart .. Oc1 and Ski Masters Legend
Worth it just for the beer at the end, can't wait for the next one (race and beer)
I'm still in race gear 'cos the other Guy's finished at least half hour before me on Surfski's.
"Rowdy" aka Matt Carter, "Lat's "aka Ian Rowlings and a bloke in the white cap whose name I don't know ... (only joking it's Dean (Deano) Gardiner of course, multiple Molokai Ski Champ and Aussie Marathon
Ocean Racing legend.

All the results here

BTW a plug for the beer ... this is one of the freshest pure beers i have ever tasted, brewed on the Gold Coast at Burleigh.

Discussion About Paddle Types

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (8)

Ashley raised this interesting topic in an email and i thought it would be good info to share, so here it is.

Hello Rambo, I enjoy your blog and check it every daily for new postings. I saw in one of your postings where you came in .5 seconds from gold and it made me wonder what paddle you are using and whether you have ever tried a ZRE. I have paddled with Kialoa (wood, hybrid, and graphite), Gillespe, etc. In my opinion the ZRE is so far superior that there is no comparison. In my experience the only people who don’t like it are the ones with closed minds and those that have never used it. I can’t help but believe that a ZRE would easily give you more than .5 seconds. Also because the shaft is stiff and the Power Surge face grips the water so well that in my opinion it takes less effort to get that explosive power needed to catch a wave. Also the light weight (mine is 10 oz.) makes it easier to get a high stroke rate. I find that a heavy wood blade uses so much energy on the recovery phase of my stroke that my power phase is reduced. Anyway, have you ever used a ZRE Power Surge blade? What are your impressions? Looking forward to your reply. Ashley

And my Reply

Hi Ashley, glad you enjoy the blog as much as I enjoy sharing the info and my experiences. I currently paddle Oc1 with a 50inch Kialoa Axel series 2 and I’m working my way up to a longer shaft length, as I believe you should paddle OC1 with the longest paddle possible without causing injuries. I do like the feel of a blade heavy paddle in the conditions I mainly paddle in (windy and downwind). It allows me to feel where to place the blade accurately at the point of entry without having to sight it all the time.

I have tried the ZRE PowerSurge with the flexible carbon shaft and hope to use it in an OC2 for the 404km Red Cross Murray River Marathon Race at Xmas. I think you will agree a flexible shaft ultra lite weight paddle will be ideal in still conditions over that distance, and much better for the old body.

I’m not convinced changing paddle types will make you faster in sprint races, as any correctly planted suitable paddle should anchor you to the water and allow you to pull the canoe past it with no or very little slippage. (see attached time lapsed photo)

Changing blade sizes during a long (3 hour+) race is something different altogether.

Checkout this trial Al Ching did with his son Danny Ching during a race.

Interestingly we conducted several tests over the course of a one-man season. Four tests were done with Danny Ching using a different size blade in successive races. The average test was an hour to hour and a half. The results were mixed, since we could not switch paddles in the middle of the race and each was not the same distance.

However, in a five hour Catalina relay race Danny and his partner Dan Barbosa both started with a 9 ¼” blade and averaged a little more than 8.5 knots for an hour. After one hour the average speed began to drop by a half knot, accompanied by the onset of shoulder pain. Switching to a smaller 9” blade, both paddler’s speed went up by more than a half-knot for the next hour, but slowly began to drop. At three and a half hours, they switched to 8 ¾” and both paddler’s speed went up by almost a half knot. At four hours fatigue took over and they could not change speed.

Using three sizes, 9 ¼, 9 and 8 ¾, we found that with the larger blades, two things happened. First the acceleration was good only for about an hour, then the speed slowly dropped. Switching to slightly smaller blades the speed went up, also only for an hour. After four hours, switching sizes didn’t matter.

What we did not test were the effects stroke rate as compared to size of blade. We suspect blade sizes are like shoes, which will tend to regulate your rate to where you can handle it. Some teams are extremely strong with great endurance and can use larger blades. Big blades pull more water, but I always suspect who is doing the pulling? If you plant your blade cleanly, start up front, without cavitating and maintain race pace through out, you should do the best you can for your condition and your strength.

End Document

Very interesting isn’t it.
You might also be interested in these paddles (see attached photos) by Michel Levasseur … Levas Paddles. I believe they are 9 inch wide and 7 – 8 OZ.

It’s good to experiment with different paddles, as it is with canoes, it broadens your knowledge and feel for what is available. But eventually you should settle on what you like and what works for you, swapping and changing too much will not allow you to adapt to the paddle.
Cheers Rambo

For a very detailed analysis of long vs short go here

Anyone else have thoughts on this?? Click Comments below.


Why I'm Changing Over to a Pegasus OC1

Sunday, July 22, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (13)

I recently trialled a Kai Wa'a Chinese made Pegasus (with super stiff construction and the new Ama and Iako's) at Hamilton Island in as many varied conditions as I could, and have this to say about why I have changed over.

Firstly, a few things i found that the Pegasus does better for me (note i said for me) than the Hurricane. I’ve paddled Hurricane for 3 years now and love it, but at 54, I have found that I’m slowly losing my short explosive strength to pull onto some critical bumps that i need to get onto, to stay competitive downwind. After trialling the Pegasus in downwind conditions i have come to the conclusion that it drops in sooner, with less effort than the Hurricane and doesn’t need to be ridden as aggressively to achieve the same result. It’s also more responsive to rudder input and also seems to glide better in small clean ocean swells. Upwind and flat water the Peggie is on par with the Hurricane. (again my opinion, from my trials)

Centre of balance (cockpit) of the Peggie is slightly further forward than the Hurricane and rudder is 15” further forward. These two things explain the downwind differences but don’t appear to effect the flat performance much.

End result is my race times should improve because I’m moving to a canoe that covers my weaknesses in the type of ocean conditions that i now race in.
Yes, i could also do explosive strength exercises or gain more downwind skills, if i was 15 years younger i would probably take that option.

I’m not loyal to any one brand, I'm just trying to minimize my race times in all possible ways, including smart, results based training and skills, as well as, canoe selection.

I think, it’s a smart equipment choice for me, that will result in faster times and more comfort in the longer races. The Hurricane will remain with me, we’re been through a lot together over the last 3 years, actually i keep all my canoes.

Time will tell if i made the right decision, I’m confident i have.

Don’t forget my decision was based on where I paddle and the ocean conditions I race mostly in. If it was a flat water decision, i would have stuck to the Hurricane.

BTW i also found the Fuze to be very similar to the Peggie downwind, but the way the volume is placed in the Fuze makes it feel slightly slower in the flat, but i have not confirmed this in a "one on one" trial. FuZe is awesome for comfort though.

Different boats for different conditions for different people .... it's not an easy choice is it?

Cheers Rambo

What do other Pegasus paddlers think of the canoe, or my reasons for changing?

Please comment below.

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Hurricane Setting

Wednesday, July 04, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (6)

Here are the recommended settings for the Hurricane.

Remembering the Hurricane is a stable Canoe anyway, everyone does have their own theories but basically here's how the Canoe is rigged for different conditions :

1. Tippy Conditions: Ama side

When conditions are rough or very windy, you usually have the front Iako into the Ama on the high numbers 5 or 6 and the back at 3 or 4 that is really stable chasing big runners and heading into cross chop. Iako into Canoe, the plastic sleeve on 4th or last groove from the right.

2. Smooth Downhill Runs

Ocean conditions with following seas but not really rough conditions. Again you can experiment but try 4 , 5. or 6 at front again and at the back try 2 or 3 Iako into Canoe try 3rd or middle groove.

3. Sprint

To level the Canoe out Opposite to Tippy Conditions. Low numbers at the front Iako into the Ama eg 1 or 2. Back 1 or 2 as well. Iako into the Canoe 1st or 2nd Groove closest to the Ama.

Cheers Rambo


One Mans Amazing Molokai Solo Experience

Monday, June 25, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (3)

Click on the Photos to enlarge

Adrian Hybner ... from Sydney Australia trained for 12 months to fulfill his dream of competing in the Molokai Solo, however nothing ... nothing could ever have prepared him for what he was about to experience .... and that was before the race even started.
I'm not going to say any more.

In Adrians own words,

My Molokai 07

Its still dark as I search through the car for a spare set of batteries to replace the ones that have gone dead in my red clip on bike lights. Its 5.30am, its 13 degrees and the sky is just starting to change its colour from a star speckled black to a hint of glowing orange. I reach the water with the canoe on my shoulder, the trip over the cold sand has made my feet welcome the salty warmth of the ocean. Jumping on the canoe I glide past the bombora, feathering with the approaching 3 foot shadowy swells. I spend a few seconds taking it all in as the early offshore wind makes its way over the cresting waves, then I’m off.

For the last 12 months I’ve been getting on the water at any opportunity, doing my best to stick to a stringent training regime which will hopefully place me in the top 20 in the Molokai to Oahu race come Sunday May 20th 2007. It’s this date which my life has revolved around, a goal of mine since I began paddling OC1’s, the goal to compete in the Molokai Solo. The fun of downwind paddling has only sunken the hook of OC1 paddling deeper into my system, and this race was the sports undisputed pinnacle. When I jumped on the plane to Hawaii after so much training, planning, preparation and of course hard earned committed $, I couldn’t have been more excited – like a kid on his first trip to Disneyland.

Hawaii’s a different place, full of culture, great people and a deep history with a direct connection to the ocean. A place which demands respect, yet is there to enjoy for all that visit. This would be my 9th trip to the Islands, (my last being 7 years ago after spending 4 weeks on the North Shore of Oahu competing with the masses for a shot of Pipeline glory). I was glad to be back, and glad to be nearer to something which has committed so much of my time and passion in many ways and for so many years.

Settling in with a few warm up races in Kauai, I was adjusting to the warm weather, a new borrowed canoe, sleeping in, no work, and quality time with my pregnant wife Monique. I kept a note of who was paddling well, trying to gauge myself and my ability. Although a lot of the big names weren’t there, it was obvious Matt Carter was well prepared – winning the first race in front of some well known Hawaiian’s including Mark Fraizer, the Cook Islander Ruben Dearlove, and Schloshy from Moolloolaba. I finished sixth and knew I had a bit left, thinking jet lag was the reason I was only feeling 90%. The next day’s race I watched Schloshy take off chased by Aaron Napoleon and Mark Fraizer with a 20 knot wind behind us. With a tickle in my chest I took off behind them, my body telling me to take it easy, my competitive mind telling me to push over each lump in front of me to catch the next runner. A fourth place for me and a strange suspicion that I was on a downhill slide physically.

The Kauai Relay Race was the next day. I was as crook as but couldn’t let my paddle partner Purlly down. He too had committed a lot of time to this, and I didn’t want to disappoint. I jumped on for the second leg in third last place. Purlly had been doing really well until the front iako came out of its slot no less than 4 times! By the fourth leg we had pulled back a lot of ground but I knew I shouldn’t be on the canoe. At the finish I simply walked up the beach, tried to pack the canoe onto the trailer which was being freighted to Molokai the next day, and then asked my wife to take me to hospital.

I was gone. The doctors initially thought I had Meningitis and did a spinal tap to extract spinal fluid. After 6 attempts, shit loads of pain, 6 IV bags of fluid, copious amounts of morphine, a hit of IV antibiotics and a hit of IV steroids, the results were clear. No meningitis – just viral pneumonia. I was given more drugs and told to rest, the doctors saying that there was a slim chance I could paddle the following weekend in the Solo. Oh Shit.

Back to Oahu and it was sleep, sweat, drugs, fluids, sweat, fluids and more drugs. By Wednesday I was back in the hospital ER, too crook to even go shopping. An xray of my chest confirmed that the pneumonia wasn’t super deep into my lungs. The Dr gave me a 50/50 chance to start the race and prescribed me some more drugs, the head nurse on the other hand saying I had no chance. Two days later we were on the plane to Molokai looking down on the channel in the hope of observing a white cap or two but to no avail.

What a place. Unchanged from 30 years ago, there are no traffic lights, a main street as big as a small country towns’, and an uncanny welcomeness about it. Unlike the other islands, Molokai is relatively flat without similar huge igneous mountains dominating its terrain. Just long rolling hills, which in contrast, are still mountains in their own right. Kaluakoi is where the race starts and is a 20 minute drive from the airport. A golf course resort, it has been weathered by years of minimal attendence and what appears to be financial hardship. Of around 300 villas (all with amazing ocean views), over 100 have been left in degrading circumstances, some with bordered up windows, others with rotted timber stairs and framework. All have overgrown scrappy gardens. A real renovators delight heaven I thought.

The ambience on arrival however, is one of total relaxation. It seems to have a real Kai connection to it. Calming fairways flow to yellow sands surrounded by short, yet dangerous volcanic cliffs before meeting the crystal clear waters of the Pacific and what is to be the course of the race. In the distance you can make out the faint resemblance of what appears to be very dark clouds far far away on the horizon to the west. These “clouds” are in fact the 6000ft cliffs of Oahu. Furthest to the left is the smallest cloud appearing as an island – this is Diamond Head, the simplest straight line mark in which to set your direction for the race. Friday night is whisper quiet, toads hop all over the pathways, and the decision not to turn on your TV in your villa is appreciated. Its such a change from the hustle and bustle of downtown Waikiki, and with only a handful of paddlers settling in for the night, it’s a great opportunity for a good night sleep.

Saturday, the day before the big race. I’m feeling considerably better. Maybe its because the influx of paddlers is creating a vibe of nervous excitement. I search the resort for the canoe trailer from Kauai, its arrived. I find my canoe and quickly take it back to our villa, rig the canoe and reflect on just how much effort I have put in to get here. Relaxing through the day I decide to stay away from other competitors. The forecast of no wind or swell and challenging conditions has pushed a somewhat negative vibe through fellow paddlers. Late afternoon after decaling my canoe with numbers, event sponsors, and logos of those who have assisted me, I decide to go for a light paddle to see how I feel.

After the first ten strokes I know I’m in trouble. The body is unbelievably sore, and my sporadic sweats have come back to haunt me. I paddle lightly for 45 minutes, stopping every 5 minutes to take a drink and have a rest. I try not to think about how far I will get tomorrow or if I should actually start. I enjoy the scenery and fool myself into thinking that I’ll be 100% tomorrow and not the 70% I’m feeling now. I good pasta feed at the race briefing and I’ll be fine.

Race Day. Canoes and skis litter the grassy thoroughfares between villas, paddlers prepare their craft and hydration systems and make last minute checks on anything they are taking with them. Support boats line the cove just off the shoreline, some displaying national flags of the racers they are following. It’s a weird feeling that I have as I kiss Monique before she gets in a taxi to go back to the airport. I tell her I’ll be fine and I’ll see her at the other end in about 5 hours. I am not feeling the best at all but figure if worst comes to worst, I can jump into the support boat when my body fails. Hitting the water I take my first few stokes with a result similar to that of my first few yesterday. This is going to be a long paddle. I look for my support boat which was coming over from Oahu that morning, I’ve been told it’s a 22ft blue hulled boat. That’s easier said than done when there’s 150 boats. 20 minutes before the start my boat arrives, my buddy Purlly says the channel is like what I have been training in at home, no swell and very light winds. I tell him I fell like shit but will give it a crack. “Do a GPS line straight to the finish and make me stick to it” I tell him and the boat captain Jerry.

On the line I have a hint of nervous excitement, I have no idea what is install for me but feel surprisingly relaxed. I have nothing to lose, and am even a little angry at the cards that have been dealt to me in the past week. The hooter sounds and its on. The skis take off and within 5 minutes there are two distinct lines starting to form. One to my right and one infront of me. Within 10 minutes I’m sitting just behind Rowdy who is sitting just behind Millsy. Before long support boats start to dart all over the show, throwing off good wakes as they search for their paddler. It’s the only assistance the ocean seems to be throwing, its actually quite fun and for just a few minutes I forget just how sore and sorry my body is feeling. The pace is fast and after 25 minutes I start missing runners from the support boats. I fall back fast and watch other canoe paddlers pass me like I am standing still. I think to myself “I can’t believe this is as far as I can go” but keep doing the best I can at what is now about 65%. Another 20 minutes and it gets to the stage there are few support boats around and minimal assistance from wash. I tell Purlly I’m stuck in 3rd gear and I can’t do anything about it. I’m hurting all over and have to stop paddling every so often to adjust myself. Paddle in, paddle out, paddle in, paddle out – its all I can do. Its only 1 hour in and I have made what seems to be absolutely no progress on the shadowy mountains of Oahu. I turn to look at Molokai. Its still there in an eerie kind of way, and I realise that all but about ten competitors have passed me. I didn’t care. There was simply nothing I could do, my body was in shut down mode so I figured I’d enjoy the ride.

The water is so clear and cobalt blue, the occasional algal colony passes under your feet, and the swell non-existent. The sky is all but clear blue with a handful of high level cirrus clouds acting to filter the hash suns rays which are now beaming down on me at 29 degrees C. Its now been well over 2 hours. My drink pack is almost empty and with the last few drops left I wash down one of the 8 energy gels I have taped to my canoe. I signal to Purlly that I need my pack refilled. Jerry, my boat driver comes within 3 ft of the canoe as I through my pack to Purlly. I had first met Jerry on the start line and he seemed excited about the expedition after Purlly had talked me up on the way over from Oahu. He had even raised the Aussie flag for the trip. By this time though, I could tell Jerry was over it and that I was proving to be a hoax. Purlly refilled my pack with ice cold Gatorade, threw it back to me and off I continued.

Shit, “whats that” I thought, and within 5 minutes of getting my pack on, my body started to respond. Up to 70% then 80 followed by 90, then within what seamed to be 30 seconds, I’m up to 100%, running on all cylinders and then some. The wind had turned into a 5-8 knot headwind by now though there seemed to be a few more smaller runners coming in various directions but heading mainly towards Oahu. About bloody time! I took off and actually got excited. I was that far behind anyone but just put my head down and paddled. I set my sights on the support boat in front of me, about 800m or so. Within what seemed about 20 minutes I had caught it, actually pushing hard onto the runs, leaning back and even stoping paddling on a few. I figured I should have a bit of fun and went within a few feet of the paddler and surfed past him on a runner like he was standing still. Later, Purlly told me the guy just looked at me and shook his head!

Each paddler passed and another into the sites. I was in my grove and feeling the best I had since the first race in Kauai. For the next 3 hours I had what seemed and endless stream of adrenalin, I was enjoying every stroke and end up passing about 15 people. I got a real buzz when a TV helicopter hovered over me at about 80 ft, the jet fuel providing even a bigger catalyst to the rush I was having. I glanced at the support boat and could actually see Jerry getting excited.

Before long I was nearing the East side of Oahu and the windward side of Hawaii Kai. I gave it everything for the next 45 minutes, concentrating hard on reading the minute swells, which had changed direction to be more head on.

That section was such a mental barrier. Some paddlers chose to go in closer, while others, including myself stayed wider. Every now and again I would look towards land and it seemed that despite the effort I was seemingly in the same spot. Was it currents or just me? Purlly said just keep going and I’m still making good ground. Diamond Head was well and truly in site by now with more paddlers for me to pass en route. Nearing Diamond Head the weathered and worn body was tiring - it was tiring fast. I had had all my energy gels by now and my teeth were killing me from all the acidic Gatorade I had consumed. And **** my hands and shoulders were hurting!

From there I dropped back to a slower pace, the same pace as the guy in front of me (who turned out to be Tapa Worthington). Before long I could see the finish line, and thankfully for me I had paddled this part of the race before on the first day I had arrived in Oahu. Rounding the outer can, I realised that there was actually a good 4ft of surf breaking through the channel! Turning around I picked a wave behind me, but at that moment I realised I was already on one in front of it. Ama up and surfing! The first real runner for the race! Looking both sides of me I saw the wave was breaking. Trying to read it the best I could with blurry vision (from the sun exposure during the race), I surfed it and another smaller wave to get to within 50m of the line. Shit I had come a long way, and at that moment I heard my wife sing out to me and the crowd started to clap and cheer. I had crossed the finish line! Holy shit, that was one long hard mentally draining paddle, but I made it!

Hitting the beach with cameras in my face, Rowdy grabbed my canoe and walked it up the beach. He congratulated me and told me both he and Millsy had pulled out after I asked him how he went. I asked about who had won. Kai first, Longy second! As soon as I finished I couldn’t stop smiling, but hearing that just made everything that more surreal. The atmosphere was amazing, those that finished had a radiant glow about them, and those that had competed and had given it their all were deep in conversation with others talking story of their experience while sucking down Steinlargers. A few minutes later Purlly hit the beach from the support boat. He recon’d I did well to finish and thought I was gone after 1 hour! He said listening to the CB radio on the support boat told a true story as the race was unfolding. Paddler after paddler had withdrawn and he hadn’t told me! That I’ll forever be appreciative of.

Walking back to our hotel, Monique asked me if I would do it again, already knowing the answer! She said "you have to come back don’t you? You have to give it another proper go!" She was right. Despite all the hurdles, this moment was worth everything we had both sacrificed for it. An amazing journey that started those many months ago, an amazing journey which we will no doubt take again!

PS - by the way it took me 7 hours and 7 minutes to finish!
Slug (Adrian Hybner)

All Adrians photos can be seen here

Leave Adrian a message - Click on Comments below


Paddling From the Core

Saturday, June 23, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

Most of us would remember Robyn Singh originally from the Gold Coast, Australia having paddled here for the last 17 years and reaching elite levels with her crews. Robyn is now living and coaching in Hawaii and recently recorded this video about Paddling from the Core. This video and the following article ties in nicely with a paddling technique "power circle focus" that i have been practicing over the last 2 weeks. The "power circle focus" is about engaging the heels, knee, hips, back, shoulders, elbow, wrist and then the planted paddle (completing the "circle") in the correct order to achieve maximum power transfer from the paddle through the "body power circle", to the hull. When you get this right, your feel for the water and the transfer of power to the hull will result in faster canoe speed and efficiency and we all could do with more of that.

I will cover more of the "Power Circle Focus" in a follow up post.

Cheers Rambo

Here's the Video from Richard Ambo of the Honolulu Advertiser.


Trevor Spring, a personal trainer from Adapt Fitness who works with Singh and helps train her paddlers, suggested three basic exercises that can be done three times a week, preferably before you paddle: A squat with side bend, a forward lunge with a side bend, and a backward lunge with a high kick on the return.

Before you start, Spring recommends you loosen up with a brief warm-up. Easy trunk twists, side lunges and high kicks are a good start. You want to get the blood flowing.

# For the squat, stand with your feet apart, shoulder width, and your arms opened wide and parallel to the ground, palms open. Keep your back flat, not bent, shoulders back, chest out and your butt over your heels. Suck in your tummy when you squat, twisting to one side as you go down. The finished position for each repetition should find your lower hand near your foot and your upper hand reaching skyward. Aim for 10 repetitions on each side.

# The forward lunge begins with you standing in split stance — one foot forward, the other at the back. You alternate for each side you train. Again, your arms should be outstretched, parallel to the ground, palms open. As you lunge, twist your trunk toward the side that's lunging, finishing with your lower hand near your foot and your upper hand reaching skyward. Aim for 10 to 20 repetitions per side.

# The backward lunge is a bit more dynamic. Stand with feet apart, step back in a reverse lunge, then step forward and kick your leg up as high as you can. Touch your foot with your opposite hand, then bring your leg backward into a lunge. Aim for 10 to 12 repetitions per side.


Oscar Chalupski on Trans World Sport

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (1)

Oscar Chalupski on Trans World Sport TV paddling and talking about the Molokai Solo. Some great quality footage of bump riding along the China Wall from the big man. Like him or hate him, you can't deny the man's a Legend.


Molokai Solo Photo's

Saturday, May 26, 2007 / Posted by Rambo / comments (0)

Go here to see a great sequence of Moloka'i Solo Photo's from start to finish. The pictures convey the ocean conditions experienced by the paddlers perfectly. Many thanks to Don Kiesling for making them available on his Web Album. Just click on slideshow and they will play in order.

Cheers Rambo