Paddling by a Tall Ship

Paddling New Hampshire with the Seacoast Paddleboard Club

A Blossoming Community.

A paddle community of strength
A group of paddlers from the Seacoast Paddle Club on their way to the Isle of the Shoals. Photo by Kylie Shields

Driving through the backroads of New Hampshire. Weaving through the rolling green hills. Single lane roads. Then eventually into a touch of city scape. Before sending it quickly into the rearview mirror.

Traveling through many quaint country towns in southwestern New Hampshire. Many a funny looks were shot my way. Not sure if it was because I greeted them. Pinky finger and thumb out rocking back and forth. Also know as a shaka. Or the 14′ raceboards stacked atop my Subaru. Either way as some shook their heads and others stared with the jaws wide open. All of them pleasantly returned the wave and smile back.

As the smell of the ocean. Worked its way through my open windows. Fully engulfing me in the salty feel and small of the ocean. As I began to peer out the windows, like that of circling osprey, looking for water. I found myself overwhelmed with the sounds.  Thump, thump, thump.

It was the cobblestone and brick roads of downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

As I made my way over the bridge. The site of boards on roofs. On the land. And some moving around on the water. Brought the biggest smile to my face. I knew I was in the spot.

Seacoast Paddle Club

My good friends at Seacoast Paddle Club

invited me out to share some tips and paddle along with them. Having the chance to paddle in this historic place. With new friends. Was truly a surreal experience. And unbeknown to me. Our paddle was blessed with the arrival of a Tall Ship. One that extended high above the waters edge. Mesmerizing us as we paddled by and stopped for a few candid photos.

The paddle lasted for a couple hours. Were we talked about varying situations. And our experiences on the water. But most importantly preparation for the up coming event. One that almost all of the paddler who attended had their sites on.

Preparation for an Experience.

Seacoast Paddle Club
Paddling through fog. 14 miles. Out and back raising awareness for Big Brother, Big Sister Foundation. Photo by Kylie Shields

Before I joined the crew from Seacoast Paddle Club. Chris, the founder and visionary of the club, and I spoke about what I could do to help share some of my knowledge. He spoke about an event that has been running for six years.

The Isle of Shoals Invitational.

The event is a personal challenge one that has 6 5 person teams. All paddling a round trip journey to the Isle of the Shoals. 6 miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. And the main reason behind the event. Besides the personal accomplishment. Is raising money and awareness to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire.

This event, now on my radar. Puts paddlers into the Atlantic Ocean. Where a variety of conditions can be thrown at the paddlers. From glassy, mirror like conditions. To head, side and down wind conditions in rolling swell.

Learning about these conditions and this event. Helped me share some tips to get the paddlers comfortable as possible in any of the conditions the Atlantic could throw at them.

A Success.

Paddling by a Tall Ship
A Tall Ship in Portsmouth, NH harbor. Stand up paddlers pass by.
Paddle to the Isle of Shoals.
A group of happy paddlers. After the Isle of Shoals Invitational.

Last weekend, following from a far. I watched these paddlers through social media. Take on this challenge. The first set back was Mother Nature delivering a day of storms. Forcing the event to be moved one day. But on Sunday. The team headed out to the shoals. Completing the journey.

Knowing that these paddlers. Many unsure if they were able to complete the task at hand. Conquered their fear and accomplished a goal. Was inspirational. And truly honored to have been able to paddle with them on their home waters.

These type of events are the reason why I love paddling.

Congratulations Seacoast Paddle Club. You all are amazing.

And if you are as interested in this event. You can sign up for next years experience, here.

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