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Mixed Company

We tried something interesting at the ranch today: taking SUP paddlers on a trip to Liberty Island.

SUPs, or Stand Up Paddleboards, are a common site on the river these days. I’m surprised when I see them, but after today’s trip, less so. We had a couple of experienced surfer/SUPers, and they did remarkably well. There were five kayaks, three guides and two clients, and we set out south from Pier 40, crossing just above Pier 26 to Jersey City, and then proceeded south past Morris Canal and Ellis Island.

It wasn’t entirely without incident. At one point we paddled by a small heliport, and the prop wash knocked over one of the SUPers. They would have made it to Liberty if we had left sooner; as it was, by the  time we got to Ellis Island, the tide was coming in, and it proved insurmountable. I took the kayaks down to Liberty, we took a glance, and then paddled back to rejoin the SUPers and the guide who stayed with them.

However, that was already against a strong southerly headwind, and with a slightly late start the current turned against us by the time we reached Ellis Island. SUPers catch a lot of wind, given that they are standing. Even after dropping to a straddle position, they were paddling in place, so one of the guides took them to a small beach in Morris Canal while the kayaks pressed on. We got some nice sunset shots of Liberty before turning back.

Overall I was really impressed with the SUPers. The wake and wind waves we’re accustomed to in the river were there, but weren’t an issue for these guys. To be really, really clear: these guys went across the Hudson River standing up. I totally respect that.

Published in 2013 Backpaddle Leadership NYKC

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