Donna and I celebrated on the eve of our 30th. We paddled around Hanalei Bay on the north shore of Kauai. We rented 10-6 Laird Hamilton SUPS. They are big and heavy, but I caught my share of waves at the reef and Donna paddled to the end of the Hanalei River. I took a little break, ate a cookie, then paddled up the river to find her. That’s what I do. Find Donna.
There were fish, turtles, herons, egrets, flowers, rain, and DONNA. I found her just below the bridge. We paddled back in the rain to another stunning sunset. Even caught a few outrigger canoe teams working their stuff. Check out the scene with this 1 minute video.
30th Anniversary SUP from Tom Adams on Vimeo.
This is in response to the daily prompt: Tell us your funniest relationship disaster story.
I would hardly call her third rate. We’ve been married 29 years. We have two sons and a grand daughter on the way. We have a full life, we’re still in love. But it did not start that way. It almost didn’t start.
I was visiting friends in San Francisco, May 1983, to house warm their new home. It was a wonderful flat in the Richmond District, with bay windows, wood floors, and a garage. I was planning to meet a specific woman, Maria, whom our host thought I would enjoy. She arrived with a female friend in tow. My former house mate Rob showed up at that moment, perhaps with a drink or two under his belt.
“Tommy, Tommy” (he’s one of maybe three people on the planet who call me Tommy)”This is Donna, this is Donna. She’s the one I’ve been telling you about.”
Donna had beautiful green eyes, a big smile, and seemed pleased to meet me. I thought she was beautiful but was quickly bewildered by two women and a matchmaker friend. I excused myself to get a snack, and caught Donna’s eye on the way down the hall. She smiled. I told the hosts I wasn’t feeling well, and left.
Rob called, a few days later, and sang me happy birthday. He was sure I’d really like Donna, and gave me her phone number. I held the number for a day or two then gave her a call. We planned our first date.
Writing prompt: Third Rate Romance
Last night I told my wife, Donna, about the name change and she reminded me that I would lose a fairly wide spectrum of readers if I limit WHAT SUP to Surf. While I love to surf, I’ve also loved paddling through the South Florida mangroves; around the harbor by Jeff Clark’s Paddle Surf, through the Marina at 101 Surf Sports, along the kelp beds off New Brighton Beach, and down a river in search of Manatees.
From a relationship point of view, paddling promotes connection. We strap the boards on the roof and hit the road. We plan a day around getting in the water, exploring new locations, getting great gobs of time out in nature, and after exercising all those muscles we get a nice meal out. It’s been pretty romantic at times.
Plus there’s such a huge variety of topics to discuss like board selection, sites to SUP, fitness, diet, technique and SUP shops. I did a whole post on SOPOSUP, a cool little shop in Portland, Maine. We never got in the water, but being with the owner, reviewing his blog, and checking out the local surf, which was flat, was just fabulous.
I remember the first blog post like it was yesterday. It was from this past mother’s day when I sat on the sidelines with a bit of a cold. It was Donna who wanted to paddleboard. It was Donna to get in the water first. It was Donna who inspired me to give it a try.
She’s even asked about paddling at night. Here’s what it might look like from a pin I found.
Stand Up Paddleboarding for Life will still include SUP Surfing, where my little wave passion ignites in cool water.
I’ve never been to Boston though I remember Wade Boggs. It was 1986. Donna and I had returned from our very romantic honeymoon at Packer Lake Lodge. We took lovely hikes and drove the Gold Lake Highway to Graeagle for supplies and sweets. A large bear strode across the road so quickly that it seemed imagined.
The day after returning to work I got sick. Real sick. Tired to the bone sick. I watched post-season baseball. Redsox and Mets. I don’t remember who won but do remember Wade Boggs running bases on old worn out knees and Lenny Dykstra chewing gum, making stunning center field plays and getting on base over and over.
We’re in the air to Boston. My first trip to New England. There are tours of Fenway Park where I’m sure there are vestiges of Wade and that post season back in 1986. It’s only a mile or two from our friend Letti’s place in Cambridge.
I looked it up. The Mets won in 7. Here’s an image with the left field Green Monster.
My back’s been out since trying to move cinder blocks for the outdoor shower drainage. I’d heard they were only 5 pounds, but they seemed more like 500. When the back is out there’s still plenty to keep me in the game. We walked the length of Linda Mar at low tide. It was one evening away from the harvest moon that peeks out tonight. Slipping and sloshing through the clear cool water, still wearing shorts, but with a light down vest to keep the body warm. The water is cooler in late September, but there’s still a lot of talk about el nino’s warm, wet winter.
There were dozens of surfers, one stand up paddleboarder, and a large number of kids playing in the surf and wading at the water’s edge. Jingling bells announced two ice cream carts strolling up and down the beach.
Donna and I walked hand in hand and from time to time I shot video with my spanking new iPhone 6s plus. I am pleased with the new toy and tried out the iMovie app for the following recap.
What SUP? 29 years, that’s what. We spent our anniversary in a quiet Aptos AirBnB retreat. A stunning little jewel tucked away in the woods. Cora’s of California. Sunday morning we got to the ocean with our SUPs and energy to paddle. The tide was high, so we paddled from New Brighton up toward the Hook. Donna had enough enthusiasm to push us both forward. Keeping us company were sea otters, dolphins, murres, caspian terns, brown pelicans, harbor seals, and kids on the Capitola shore who sounded like they were at an amusement park.
Donna dropped me off at Sharks and continued to Pleasure Point where she stayed well outside the surf zone. She was a spec on the horizon when I lost track of her. But hey. I found waves. Little bitty things. Just right for a newbie riding his bright white F-One Manawa.
And about those waves.
Donna and Tom Celebrate Their 29th Anniversary from Tom Adams on Vimeo.
Some days we paddle and others we pedal. Saturday we paddled into a stiff Santa Cruz west wind from New Brighton toward Capitola. Well, to be clear, which the water and the sky were, Donna paddled all the way to the Capitola pier. It’s simply work paddling into that wind. I sat on my F-One Manawa and paddled like a kayak. I even bent forward at the waist, stuck my paddle in the water, and used my stomach to pull back.
I was more out of the wind than Donna and got to my destination more quickly, but I wanted to save energy to ride some waves at a little reef between New Brighton and Capitola. A place where I could lose my board and not worry about it hitting anyone. The tide was on the rise so I knew my time was limited.
It took maybe 20 minutes of pretty steady paddling to get out to the reef, and another 15 or so to catch the first wave. It was hard to know where the wave was going to break, so I guessed. Another friendly SUPer paddled out. While chatting it up I discovered that he and his wife had just had a baby; a nine week old girl named Lucy.
Donna was returning from the pier at a pretty good pace. I bid Lucy’s father farewell and headed in. That’s when the beauty of down-wind paddling got to me. It was a different ocean, no work, just stroke and cruise. It seemed that the wind kind of disappeared. We saw Otters and Harbor Seals on the easy ride back to New Brighton.
Sunday we stopped into Mavericks Paddlesports to check out some gear, and to try out my new GoPro Hero 4 Silver on a short bike trip with Donna. We saw humpback whales, thousands of Shearwaters, and a fair number of folks out enjoying the warm sunny coastside. Check it out.
First GoPro-HD 720p from Tom Adams on Vimeo.