Surfacing, Up for Air, Part II: 2015 Ta-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival

early Saturday morning, the beach beginning to fill

It is good to get away from the bike. There, I said it. Countless number of teeshirts have been printed, Facebook posts posted, etc, extolling the "cycling is life" sentiment. But dig deeper and everyone will tell you the thought is something less than true. Balance is key. Carve out slices of time for other activities you enjoy as you would carve around a tight turn. The good thing about the bike - it is always there, always waiting for the next turn of the cranks.

It is good to get away from the f'ing computer. That is obvious, and goes without saying. Except, of course, that I just said it. Every moment spent in front of the screen trying to come up with something to say is time away from riding. Every post makes you wonder if it is worth the effort. Every race you attend in order to cover it for the blog is time away from riding. Those realizations hit in stages, at different times, and add up like a weight. They slow you down because, well, because you are not riding as much.

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Don't the waters of Lake Tahoe look refreshing? Of course they do! While I was refreshing in them, and being refreshed by them, the "homeland" was sweltering beneath the stifling weight of 100º F days. I didn't think about the heat, I didn't think about the computer. I did occasionally think about the bike - mostly mostly in the sense that it was good to see so many other people out riding around on them.

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I often envy some of my fellow cycling bloggers who have signed off, content that they have said all there is to say, maybe finally convincing themselves that they would rather spend their time riding than writing. Though the idea has flashed across my mind numerous times over the past five and a half years, it has never taken hold. I just can't get myself to do it.

And so little breaks, like this, in the routine take on added importance. They offer up a chance to refresh and recharge. The Ta-Hoe Nalu Paddle Festival, cofounded by Uncle Ernie (who by the way, and as I found out, is known by that moniker well beyond the family confines) was founded in 2007, making it (as their website notes) the oldest stand-up (SUP) paddle board event of its kind. The activity, as you may have noticed by visiting virtually any waterway, has exploded over the years. SUP'ers are everywhere. It is not difficult to understand why. SUP has challenge. It has adventure (Uncle E has SUP'ed on the Amazon, not to mention Lake Tahoe in the middle of winter, and will soon be SUPing on never-before SUPed upon backcountry lakes). You can race SUP, tour SUP, or simply cruise SUP. Like cycling, mobility is pretty much up to the pedaler on the one hand, the paddler on the other. 

Many of the world's best SUP competitors attend Ta-Hoe Nalu each year to race in five and ten mile events, but it also offers beginners and novices an opportunity to try the activity on boards produced by some of the finest makers around. It is a complete three days worth of festival atmosphere, with food, music, vendors, padding, where it is oh, so easy to immerse oneself and willingly float away.

SUP'ing with mans best friend

off the board and sprinting for the finish - you must cross the line with paddle in hand, but not board

in to the finish

Goal Zero sponsored a headstand competition, with the winner taking home one of their mobile solar recharging devices. The victor is in this shot, but to find out who, you'll need to check the Flickr album, a smaller one and far from representative of this three day celebration.

charging in, a water level view

the helper crew brining in the boards

By the way, if you like the Ta-Hoe Nalu Facebook page you will find more, and much better, photos of the event.

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