Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jellyfish Stings

Well, Saturday they finally got me.  I've swam many miles in this body of water over the past 5 years and nothing.  I've put my hands through them while swimming, and...nothing.  This time, I fall off the board and I'm in the water for maybe 10 seconds and bam, they light me up.  Some might say "well, he had it comin'" and they're probably right.  As of today though, I'm paid in full.

They got me on the lower back, left arm and left chest.  Funny thing is, I didn't realize I was stung.  While driving home, my back really started to itch.  I figured I just scraped it on my board or paddle when I fell.  Sunday night, I'm a little worried because I still don't know what's wrong: my skin hurts, my muscles hurt and I'm having stomach cramps.  Monday night, I realized I had been victimized by a gang of gelatinous fauna.

I spent some time last night reading about how to treat the stings.  Here are the steps for treating a jellyfish sting:

  1. Get out of the water (goes without saying).
  2. Flush the area with sea water (fresh water can activate the nematocysts).
  3. Scrape off tentacles if they are attached to the skin (they can continue to sting even after the tentacle tears away from the jellyfish) with a stick, shell or anything other than a bare hand.
  4. At any sign of anaphylaxis, call 911.
  5. Apply vinegar to the wound (not everyone agrees that this is effective).
  6. Some people recommend applying shaving cream to the area and removing it with a credit card to scrape off the barbs.
  7. Ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling.  Anti-itch ointment to the wound provides some relief.
  8. If stung repeatedly on the body, on the eyes, or if having a reaction, seek medical care.

Here's a picture of my lower back Monday night.

EDIT:  A sincere apology to all jellyfish.  Turns out, it was Shingles!  Awful stuff.  Talk to your doctor about the getting shot so you don't have to suffer through this.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pivot Turn

For getting around buoys during a race or just for turning your board quickly in a tight space, practice the pivot turn.  It's a really valuable skill to have for surfing too as it allows you to quickly turn the board 180 degrees to catch a wave or to orient your board (nose facing the waves) after you take a ride to the beach.  It's a fairly advanced move and you will have to practice a bit to really get it down but once you do, you'll be happy. You can have a lot of fun practicing this turn.  If you really want to get wild, move way to the back of the board, really sink that tail and get the board spinning.  It's a great way to learn how to maintain stability on your board as the more weight you move to the back of the board, the more unstable the board will become.

When I was first learning this, I would always try to keep both feet on the center-line of the board.  It's possible to do it this way, but you will have much more control if you keep some weight on the rails.  When you start learning this, find some deep water away from obstacles (and other people) and prepare to get wet!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monster Paint Traction Review

Chris Brackett from South Tahoe Standup Paddle recommended this product to me so I thought Iwould give it a shot.  I wanted to apply some traction to the front of my board and also to my paddle so that it's not so slippery when I have sunscreen on my hands.

Very impressed with this stuff.  It's barely visible, even up close yet provides really good traction on the board.  It's easy to apply as well and dries really fast.  I think the can says 5 minutes between coats and that was about right.  I put two coats on the front of my board and two coats on part of my paddle shaft and handle.  I paddled all day on Sunday, applied sunscreen 4 times and never had a problem with my hands slipping.  A lighter grip on the paddle is always better.  I even have about 1/4 of the can left so I have enough to do another paddle.

Make sure you clear the valve by inverting the can and spraying until only propellant comes out.  I did this after each coat and did not have a problem.  It's good stuff.

You can order it directly here.

8/20/2013 - I'm still on my original can and I've sprayed 1 board, and 4 paddles and still have enough left for one more coat.  One can goes a long way.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Werner Nitro Carbon 1 Piece SUP Paddle Long Term Review

Werner Nitro Carbon 1 Piece SUP Paddle Long Term Review

Look at this review from CKS, good honest review and not a sales pitch for Werner.  I have a two piece adjustable Nitro.  There are only two things I dislike about this paddle:

  1. Like other carbon fiber shafts, this thing is slick as grease.  If you have sunscreen on your hands, forget about getting a good, light grip.  You have to add some wax, tape or something to hold on to.  I'm going to try some Monster Paint Traction that I recently picked up from my new friends at South Tahoe Standup Paddle.
  2. One section of the paddle is a bit sharp.  When the adjustment piece is in the lowest position, there's no problem but once it is extended, there is a 90 degree ridge between the top layer and the part that inserts into the receiving end of the paddle.  It's small, just a few millimeters, but you really feel it when sliding your hands quickly up the shaft.  A little bit of that sharp edge should be taken off.
I love my Nitro paddle though, it is a work of art.  Werner knows how to make paddles.  If you want to experience something magical find a shop that carries the new Werner Grand Prix one piece.  It's incredibly, amazingly light.

Edit:  I taped off my paddle and added 2 coats of Monster Paint Traction.  I think it's going to be great.  You can't really see it and it gives you some texture without being too rough.  I also taped up my board and sprayed  coats on the nose.  I have not tried the board or paddle in the water yet but I think it's going to work well!  Be warned, the stuff is expensive.  It retails for $24.99 for one spray paint sized can.  Make sure you read the instructions on the can before using it.

1/7/2014 UPDATE - A little follow-up on this Nitro review.  First thing, I don't know how I missed this initially but my paddle is a two piece and NOT a one piece.  I've bought two paddles since this one: a Ke Nalu Molokai and a Werner Spanker.  Both of these blades are pretty big compared to the Nitro.  The Nitro is my go-to paddle for surfing, it just allows me to take quicker strokes and feels really nice.  I like the Ke Nalu better for downwinders.

The monster traction is fantastic.  It's a little hard on my hands at first but after a few sessions, some of it wears off and it feels much better.  After a few months, you have to re-apply it.  I'm still on my original can though.  I've done my board with it and my two Werner paddles twice and STILL have some left.  It's really good stuff.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Unlike the Jelly-of-the-Month Club, Stand Up Paddleboarding is the gift that keeps on giving.  I spent the last week at beautiful Lake Tahoe and went down to Lakeside Beach on the South shore every day.  I gave six (or was it eight or 10?) people their first taste of this amazing sport.  I had the 11'6" Surftech Bamboozle and the Red Air 10'6" inflatable on the beach daily.  I also had two paddles, 3 leashes, and 2 PFDs on hand.  Everyone that asked about it got a little mini-SUP lesson.  These people were complete strangers but ended up being friends.  People are fascinated by this sport and would continually come up and ask questions about it.  I was thankful to be able to let these nice people use my gear and my instruction to get their first stand up experience.  Some picked it up a bit faster than others but everyone had a smile on their face (and I have the video to prove it!)  I will post the youtube link on here in a few days.  I wish I had more time to work on the videos and this blog!  I hope some of the people that I trained will take the next step, get a full introduction training and end up getting a board!  It's so much fun!

Most people would describe me as quite and introspective but when it comes to SUP I'm Mr. Social.  I want to talk about it, I want to share it with everyone.  Why?  It feels good to give a gift.  It feels good to make other people happy.  Because we all want that glide, we want to surf, we want to be riding a board on the water and feel the waves, feel the current, feel the breeze, feel connected, feel alive.

Here's Casey, trying SUP for the first time.  The paddle was too long for him, but that didn't slow him down.

Here's Crystal, trying SUP for the first time.  She arrived a kayaker and left a supper.