If you’ve ever thought your commute is long, try paddleboarding 90 miles home.
“We’ve been wanting to do that paddle for a while, but a lot of people we talked to made us nervous,” said Kaitlyn Tolin, who, along with her partner Amanda Painter, paddled from Sunshine Cove to Haines over three days. “We almost feel safer. If you flip over you can just hop back on. In terms of me personally I’d rather not be sitting for eight hours.”
Inspired by friends who made long trips, including Karl Kruger, who paddleboarded from Ketchikan to Port Townsend, this is the first long trip they’ve made, Painter said in an email. Much of their work was making sure that they had the gear for the trip, Tolin said.
“We made sure we had all the necessary safety gear each, with about 30-40 pounds of gear: dry suits, rain gear, wet suits, life jackets, extra paddles, water, enough food for over a week, a VHF radio, cellphones, contact with fishermen friends in the canal, air horn, bear spray, first aid, etc.,” Tolin said. “We felt ready.”
Preparing for about a year, Tolin and Painter stepped off on the afternoon of July 5 after several days of uncertainty about the weather as sunny skies dominated the Southeast over the Fourth of July weekend.
“I was really inspired to do something that would push my comfort zone, push my physical mental limit,” Tolin said. “I was looking at the weather thinking we were gonna need to worry about heat stroke. In the end I think we were happier with that. We didn’t have to worry about bugs or heat exhaustion. The wind helped to push us back to Haines.”
The pair arrived back in Haines on the afternoon of July 8 after about three days of paddling and camping.
“The trip felt a bit nerve racking before we left, but after seeing a humpback mom and calf one hour into our first night, we knew it was a good omen. We went on to see many eagles, a pod of orcas, bears and seals who kindly took up our stern,” Tolin said. “By the third day we were very sore, but elated to know we would safely make it back to Haines. We were finally greeted with a bit of sunshine and waves coming into Mud Bay. “
With this trip under their belts, they’re looking forward to longer future trips.
“I liked traveling on the SUP (stand-up paddleboard) as it provided more flexibility for my body. You have the ability to stand, sit, or kneel which makes it versatile in various weather conditions,” Painter said. “The connection is different with the water when you are sitting on the board. It was a beautiful place to paddle.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.