Archive for February 2013
Hey there this is Leslie Kolovich. Chip Walter and Ian Wogan join me just two days before they set off to paddle the 8 day, self supporting, grueling 300 nautical mile Everglades Challenge . Keep in mind this event in it’s 13th year has only seen kayaks, canoes and sailors compete in this challenge. This year 3 stand up paddlers have entered to compete.
Chip, a Miami native has been paddling for around 3 years and competes on an elite team called the Cocoplum Navy. Ian has been a waterman for most of his life surfing all over the world. He found Stand Up Paddling about 3 years ago when he came back to Florida to finish school. They both talk about what drives them to do endurance type events on Stand Up Paddle Boards.
Being locals to the area just may give them a bit of an edge. They have been training in Biscayne Bay, and in the open ocean for the past 8 months. These guys have taken their training seriously as anyone even thinking about doing this event must do. From nutrition, rest, and route planning they are ready. The event website has warning after warning about the dangers of doing this challenge including “you may die”. Chip and Ian have no intentions of that in fact state “we geared ourselves for success”. They are going for both routes to win the Alligator Tooth award as well as the Shark Tooth award. Completing this race on a Stand Up Paddle Board is a bucket list for both of them. Living in Florida, and both being watermen the environment is important to them, they are raising funds for their local Surf Rider Chapter. They will be riding an Edge and Alpha Coreban 14′ boards carrying all of their gear.
The race starts March 2nd at Fort DeSoto Park in Tampa and ends March 10th in Key Largo.
You can follow their progress on spot tracker .
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I had just quit my 9-5 uniform-wearing, clock-punching, rules-and-regulations, numbers-game job, working as an Activities Director at a nursing home! Interestingly, it was the sweet residents there who were encouraging me to fly out that big white door, and live my life with passion! I will cherish their wisdom forever. They are the angels who guided me to Kelowna British Columbia, Canada, to cover an event which would change my life.
The mountains of the Okanagan sent a vibration to my heart from the moment I first spoke to Bob Purdy who had been paddling everyday since January 2011, to draw attention to his cause, “To Change the Way We Live on the Planet”. When Bob asked me to join him for World Paddle For The Planet Day, I was honored, but I had no idea this edition of ‘On The Road With Leslie’ would touch the depths of my soul. I know the planet is struggling, but it is easy to look at pictures and see only the splendor.
At 1:30 a.m. on Friday, June 16, 2012, we packed into the van in the light rain and headed out to Penticton, our starting point for World Paddle For the Planet. Bob’s plan was to paddle the entire length of Okanagan Lake, roughly 80 miles, in one day. Rayburns Marine World provided the support boat and two captains, one for each half of the event. The rest of the crew consisted of only the photographer, Joan Vienot, and Chief Support John Anderson. Bob’s wife, Sharon, would join us at mile 40.
The morning was still dark when we launched our paddleboards. Knowing I had not trained or ever paddled more than 7 miles, so that was my goal. Bob and Stefan Idzan, (Bob’s friend and training partner) went on ahead, their pace being much faster than mine.
I was alone in the middle of the lake. The dark of the night began to lighten as the sun was about to make a morning appearance. My senses were in an acute state. I could hear individual raindrops falling on my jacket, hitting the water, and I noticed the sound the blade of my paddle made as it sliced into the water. Surreal. I also heard my heart beating, not because of exertion, because I was ‘in the moment’ and I knew it. I always talk about how stand up paddling is the sport that truly puts you ‘in the moment’ — well, this experience nailed that statement completely solid!
It was then, alone on that lake, that I understood why Bob was so passionate about Paddling for the Planet. I fell in love with the lake that day. I also fell in love with the Planet. I heard her heart beating, I felt the pride of her looks, I saw the moods of her weather, and her desire to be there for the humans who need her every single second they breathe.
I have interviewed many people who have paddled some astounding distances, and I have been truly amazed, but I never really understand why anyone would want to do that. It was when Bob told me that I had just paddled 10 miles, that my tears began to flow. I actually had done something I had never done before, nor thought I could. I felt so good, knowing I was doing it for a cause greater than just personal satisfaction.
The rain started to come down even harder, but the water remained calm. Bob was focused, his breath steady, his balance perfect. Always smiling, always concerned, and always appreciative, he encouraged me to take it just one hour at a time. So I kept paddling. At mile 16, even though my breath was steady and my heart was strong, my arms were on fire, and I couldn’t take another stroke of my paddle. I kneeled down on my 12’ Naish board, knowing that my guardian John Anderson would see me, and bring the boat back to rescue me.
I crawled into the boat, tears in my eyes from the pain and also because I had just achieved another milestone, a 16-mile paddle. Mr. John, expertly massaged my spent arms and shoulders as I sipped our magic elixir, coconut water, and ate an avocado-tuna sandwich. Bob carried on, strong and steady. About an hour later, I felt recovered enough to get back on the water.
This is when I surprised myself by paddling 4 more miles, but that’s when my body said, “Hey girl, I believe you understand the needs of the planet now, and you will not be any good if you kill me!” I felt pretty damn good, with 20 miles under my paddle.
But enough about me!
Around hour 16, I saw Bob waver for the first time. A downwinder, with big twisting waves, so close together that it took all of his energy to stay standing. Wisely, he put on a lifejacket. I began to wonder if this was worth the risk. I began to be scared for his life, and I think we all were, but we said nothing. It was getting dark, with more rain and wind, and we still had 3 hours to go. I could easily have called it good at that point, but Bob was determined, continuing to take food and water every hour, still managing to speak kind words. Telling us how close we were to the finish, he was the one giving the pep talk!
With darkness quickly approaching, we were concerned that we would not have enough light to keep track of Bob on the water. Miraculously, we saw this bright alien vessel coming towards us, and to our joy it was Kevin O’Brien with glow lights on his board and paddle. Symbolically and literally he lit the way for the tiring Bob and crew.
Nearing midnight, after 19 hours on the water, a surge of energy came to us all when we saw the glittering lights of our final destination, Vernon. Bob glided into shore ahead of the boat, and we all cheered as we heard him call out, “WAHOOOO!!!” There was no fanfare, no TV cameras, just the lucky few who were there to witness the super-human strength of this Planet Paddler. Tears and emotions of all kinds poured from us exhausted earthlings. I’m pretty sure Bob’s completion of the 80-mile length of Okanagan Lake is a world record for continuous paddling.
The story doesn’t end here, as Bob continues to paddle daily for the Planet and has not missed a Daily Paddle since his mission began on January 1, 2011.
The next World Paddle For the Planet Day is set for Lake Powell, in Panama City Beach, Florida, October 10-13, 2013. You can join Bob and me, Leslie Kolovich, along with many other Planet Paddlers and Planet Changers from around the world, for this important Planet Summit. We invite you to be a part of this. Be the change you want to see! For more information you can check out the Facebook page “World Paddle for the Planet” at or contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also see the published story with additional photos at ThePaddler.co.UK
Hey there this is Leslie Kolovich. Join me today as I talk with the legendary Mickey Munoz. We talk about the upcoming 4th Annual Mickey Munoz Mongoose Cup, and the significance of the beneficiary “Sport of Kings Foundation“. The Sport of Kings Foundation was set up after his brother-in-law, great friend and shaper Terry Martin passed away from Melanoma. The mission is to provide assistance to the lives of the people in the Southern California surfing industry to meet their health and human service needs.
Mickey tells us his view on the ever growing problem of plastics in our oceans, and feels bringing awareness to issues by events such as the Mongoose Cup and educating our youth is very important. The Mongoose Cup is part of Dana Point’s Festival of Whales, which is in it’s 42nd year. People get to go out on boats and physically see these beautiful ocean creatures. Mickey feels when people actually see a whale like this, it gives them a deeper understanding of the importance of keeping our oceans clean.
He and his wife Peggy paddle 3-5 times a week. Staying active in life is key to good health. I ask him his philosophy on life right now, and what is most important to him. His answer, “there are those you love, there are those that love you, and your health, and the rest of it is all bullshit”.
We discuss the book he wrote “No Bad Waves: Talking Story with Mickey Munoz“. In the podcast the recording jumped a little on one of my most favorite lines. Mickey is telling me about the Patagonia producers asking him when he was going to stop with the book, and I say, “you don’t tell Mickey Munoz to stop”, and Mickey replies, “No, No you don’t“. We had a good laugh over that.
It’s always a pleasure to speak with Mickey, his passion for everything he does is contagious. And, if you are lucky enough to hang out with him at the Mongoose Cup, or actually anywhere, consider yourself Lucky Enough!
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Hey there this is Leslie Kolovich. Joining me today is Martin Burzynski who recently returned from his cross country road trip. Martin tells us the opportunity that presented to him when he flew to Oregon to pick up his new van. Paddle with Purpose, Tampa Bay Crossing 2013, benefitting the Wounded Warrior High Five Tour was held this past weekend. This year the event was all traditional prone paddling. Joe Bark and family were slated to participate, and were needing to get several prone boards to the event. As we all know, the cost of shipping boards across country is quite costly. Martin, volunteered to transport the boards back to Florida. He was on his way to Newport Beach, to pick up his new 14′ Hovie Race Board from Brian Hovnanian as well as meet with the Terrells (QuickBlade), Frank Ornelas and our friend Larry Allison. Perfect timing for everyone! So there’s the purpose.
Martin tells us about his experiences deciding to travel the Pacific Coast Highway. Martin states what was most problematic about the trip was that there were so many incredible pull offs with vista overlooks, hiking, and biking trails, that it forced him to leave his travel plans behind. His new van allowed him to camp in some of the most beautiful areas along the coast from Seaside, Oregon to the Redwood forests. Martin describes his experiences running along a trail in Cape Lookout with the mountain on one side and the crashing waves of the ocean on the other. Martin talks about walking through the spectacular Redwoods, and a hike through Fern Canyon.
His trip continues down the coast to Northern California to my personal favorite city in the country, San Francisco. Martin tells us about waiting 3 hours to eat pizza at the famous Anthony Mangieri’s Una Pizza Napoletana restaurant. The wait was more than worth it. This pizza chef sometimes will not open the restaurant if the pizza dough isn’t just perfect.
Martin did have a bit of a time constraint to get the 8 boards back to Florida before the event, but he managed a trip to see the Oracle and go for a ride in the support boat.
Seeing his West Coast friends, sharing some waves, and great conversations, they loaded up the boards and Martin headed for home back in Florida. He talks about driving through just about every condition Mother Nature could throw at him. Sand storms, blizzards, and heavy rains. Fourteen days from day one in Oregon he drove into Ft Desoto, Florida with 8 boards without one scratch or ding just in time for the event. So there’s the journey.
Through all this Martin is planning on a two month cross country trip this summer, hitting as many races out West as he possibly can. Martin feels some of the main things he learned from this sample trip are, not to be too attached to travel plans, stop and have a coffee and/or a meal with friends along the way, and pull off and explore the trails, the lookouts, and the scenery this great country has to offer.
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Hey there this is Leslie Kolovich and joining me today is artist/photographer, Stefan Daiberl. I first was informed of his project, Hands and Lives when Justin Riney with Expedition Florida 500 was in my studio and running outside to meet Stefan to have his hands photographed by him. Ok, I knew right then I had to know more about this very interesting project. Stefan talks about the inspiration for doing a photographic documentary of hands, and feels “it’s an illustration of life leaping through the pictures”. Stefan says,” hands record life, and the passage of time“.
Stefan has been living here in my neighborhood along the Gulf Coast of Florida since 2003, moving from New York City close after the 9-1-1 tragedy. He tells us his story of transformation from the business world to a more creative existence. Literally coming from “ground zero”, personal transitions, and finding inspiration in the forests that helped him rebuild and reconnect his life through art.
You can view more of Stefan’s work on this project at Hands & Lives.
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