Our newest Isle Ambassador Ikaika Pidot recently traveled to Hawaii for one of the most difficult SUP races out there. He did a spectacular job especially with the conditions he was faced with. After the race Ikaika spent a couple weeks on his home island paddling and exploring the Hawaiian waters.
Na Pali Coast Race
The Na Pali coast is a 16 mile portion of the Kauai coast which is a protected region of the Hawaiian State Park. Though it is inaccessible by any vehicle you can either hike or travel by water. This was the 6th annual Na Pali Race which is notorious for its beautiful scenery and challenging waters. When Ikaika came to us about this paddle we fully supported him and hooked him up with a local shaper to create something is fast and can cut through the water. Although we all didn’t foresee the conditions that day we should’ve designed the board to be more of a downwider instead of a flat water that handles minimal chop. That being said we now have an ultra-fast Race SUP which is designed for speed and should have some future podium finishes.
Can you describe the Na Pali Coast Race?
It was by far the most beautiful race I have ever done. 17 miles around one of a handful of untouched coasts in the state, I had to constantly remind myself to keep paddling and stop staring at the mountains. The race itself was pretty technical. The first 5 miles was pretty wet; there was heavy refraction off the cliffs and the current was against you so the waves were breaking top-bottom, most of the competitors were falling more than usual. Unfortunately, my camelbak nozzle fell off around mile 2, and I didn't notice until mile 4 when I noticed my pack was empty. The next 13 miles were pretty difficult, but I'm happy I didn't tap out and call an escort boat because after Kalalau it cleaned up and the next 8 or so miles were insane. Perfect downwind run with a shoulder-high windswell! I don't get set ups like that in San Diego, so I was yelling like a grom haha.
Thoughts on the custom race board?
It accelerates quickly, and tracks much better than previous models. It has minimal rocker, and I wouldn't use it in an open ocean race again, but in the river and the flats it was fast! The fat tail and bottom concave increases stability, and all in all, the lines on it are a huge step forward for Isle race boards.
Testing the 12’6 iSUP Touring
Our NEW 12’6 iSUP Touring just got in and we wanted Ikaika to take it through the paces of airline travel. With the custom race board being delivered by cargo ship, Ikaika brought the iSUP with him and checked it easily with the airline. The 12’6 allowed Ikaika to clock in some water time while his board was being delivered.
Thoughts on traveling with the new 12’6 iSUP Touring?
Way easier than I expected. I'm a light traveler, and every time I go back to Hawaii I just bring a backpack with 5 board shorts, a few tees, an extra pair of slippers and my Natty Block. I thought lugging around a sup was gonna be a pain, but it packs so well that it was really easy to travel with. I never used an inflatable board before and what surprised me was it is actually as good as most touring boards. Took it around the Mokes on Oahu, took it surfing a couple times, and it handled.
How was your Kayak trip along the Na Pali Coast?
The kayak trip was mental! Paddled it to Kalalau and camped on the beach for a night. We hiked back to the ponds, slid down some falls, and just kicked it for hours. We packed food for the trip in the kayak, but we realized we shouldn't have brought so much because the end of July is the heart of mango and lilikoi season. Livin off da aina!