Yesterday morning it was still blowing hard from the south: 22 knots with gusts over 40. The sound was whipped up into endless rows of white-capped waves. A couple friends asked me to join them for a “downwind run.” These are paddling trips where you start upwind on a blustery day and head in the direction of the wind and waves. When the waves are large enough you can catch rides surfing on the waves as you head towards your destination. This is a ton of fun, especially when you can catch multiple waves in a row and link your rides, carrying momentum forward and going really fast.
In order to make it more of a training run, I left the dock and paddled upwind to the spot to meet them. It took me 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the put-in point, which was 4 miles up the sound. In contrast, coming back only took us 45 minutes - half the time! We were really moving once we starting getting some good surfs in.
Going upwind that long definitely gave me some good exercise. I also realized that I can make sustained headway in a 20+ knot wind, but it is a grind. It took a lot of energy just to go a few miles, and I am not sure how that would scale over a long day, or multiple days. On the expedition I will have to balance wanting to get somewhere with choosing the times to paddle that will give me a good return on my energy expenditure. One purpose of these training trips is learning what that balance is for me so that I can make safe choices when I am out on my own. I am glad to be figuring these things out now!
[Below is a video from the upwind-downwind run. I am just starting to use the GoPro and I hope to get some better footage as I continue prepping for the expedition. ]