Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Horizons

This week has been one of discovering new horizons.  I'm guilty of being a creature of habit. I'm incredibly lucky to have access to the Chesapeake Bay just minutes from my door step. It is really easy to grab the board, walk around the corner and then go for a paddle. I love it!

The Chesapeake Awakens
 I got an invite from a friend on Saturday to meet in  Baltimore the next day for a paddle around the Inner Harbor of Baltimore and check out the Tall ships and boats that were in town for the 200th anniversary celebration of the Star Spangled Banner.
We met the group Sunday morning at the Under Armour facility and launched off a nearby dock. As I said above, I love paddling in Annapolis, but it was exciting  to be padding someplace new and to be surrounded by the Baltimore skyline. The view of the Coast Guard Tall  Ship Eagle and all  of the other vessels from the water was outstanding.
USCG Eagle

Once in the Inner Harbor, the group sort of split up and everyone, or at least Sarah and I went off in different directions taking in all the ships and sights of Baltimore. It was fun exploring a new place to paddle. It was different. It was invigorating.

Urban Horizon
While we were putting our gear away in Baltimore, we were approached by a 30-something guy that had questions about Stand Up. He said he wanted to learn to do it, and his goal was to paddle across the river from where we were, to Canton and then probably take a water taxi back.  We had just paddled from there, and for us it was just a short paddle across the river to get back from where we started. For him it was a distant new horizon and a new goal. It was so cool. I hope he gets to do it.

Paddling in the shadow of Michael Phelps
Sometime you can discover something new in your own backyard.
Tuesday night was my night to lead the East of Maui Group Paddle. I met a  friend  at the Maritime Museum and we paddled around to Horn Point Park to see if anyone else was joining us. We picked up another, and the three of us paddled upwind towards Annapolis Harbor.
I  need to back up just a bit, my friend is Captain Jen. She probably spends more time on the water than anyone I know aboard one of her beautiful Schooners Woodwind and Woodwind II taking tourist and locals sailing on the Chesapeake.  Jen is just getting into stand up. We had a bit of breeze and we had to work to paddle upwind. I about fell off my board laughing when Jen said " well... this gives me a whole new perspective on the wind". Keep in mind this is coming from someone very capable and confident sailing her 74 foot schooner in just about any wind just shy of a hurricane.
 We  paddled around Annapolis Harbor, under the draw bridge and headed up Spa Creek.  Once again, Jen surprised me when she said " I had no idea there were this many boats on moorings up here". We were literally just around the corner from where she docks Woodwind, yet a  short paddle on a stand up board had just opened up a whole new horizon for her to explore.  Paddle on Capt. Jen!

Captain Jen and Sarah paddling across the harbor, with Jen's Schooner Woodwind in the background. 

One of the greatest things about selling, teaching, and introducing people to SUP for almost 10 years is seeing the expressions on their faces the first time they feel the board glide across the water, or they see the Bay Bridge or City Dock from the deck of a board. For me, it is just another great day on the water, for them it is possibly a whole new way of life.

Spa Creek

 Whether you are paddling someplace for the first time, or paddling in your own backyard, every paddle stoke, every sunrise, every sunset has the potential to open new horizons. Get out there, go paddle, explore, open your eyes, expand your world.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Labor Day Sale

Boga Tsunami $1275
Bark 12'6" Competitor $1799
Bark 14'    Dominator $1799
Bark 14'  Eleminator  $1799
Jimmy Lewis Cruise Control 11' $1399

Call for new board pricing and availability



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Time Flies!

Holy Smokes, the summer is flying by with nary a blog post since Memorial Day. It is already August and Labor Day is just around the corner. I don't know what any of this has to do with Stand Up paddling except that time flies when you are having fun, and I've have had a whole bunch of  fun on the paddle boards this summer.  From solo morning sunrise sessions, to afternoon group paddles, teaching lessons, a full race calendar, and even a few night paddles I have been paddling my butt off this summer. 

You might think with all the time I spend on the water that I would get tired of this but, I don't.  It just keeps getting better and better.

It is hard to pick out the highlights of the last two months. There have been so many, but I have to think at least for the shop, pulling off the 3rd Annual East of Maui/ Eastport YC Chesapeake Stand Up Challenge has to be one of them.



We had over 100 racers in 8 classes on two courses. The weather was about as perfect  as could be, and with the exception of a computer registration and timing problem  everything ran smoothly, and I think, and hope everyone had a great time.  (Sarah and her friend Leslie did a great job of doing the scoring by hand and then loading the results on the computer, so everyone could see the results by Sunday morning).  There are so many people to thank for helping East of Maui  pull this off, but special thanks to Joe Donahue and Ramzi Bannura  at EYC for providing us with such a great venue.  Also to the sponsors, Naish, Da Kine, Raw Elements,Supreme, Landshark, Refllekt, Starboard, and Wise & Donahue, thanks for helping us make it happen.

Before the race I had decided I wanted to do something special for whoever was the last person to actually finish the long 6.5 mile course. Not to take anything away from the people who win, but sometimes I think  it is harder to finish some of these races than it is to win.  While the leaders are  fighting it out for glory at the front of the race, it can be an awfully long day and lonely day at the back end of the race. It takes a lot of motivation to keep on keeping on when you know everyone else is a ashore and the party has started without you.  Just before the start, Mark Colino  gave me a carbon Starboard paddle and told me to use it for a prize. I immediately knew what I was going to use it for, I just didn't know who.   That who, turned out to be a guy by the name of Allan Navo.  I began the awards presentation by announcing that I had a special award to the last place finisher for completing the tough course and rising to the Challenge.  I think Allan was in shock when I presented him with the paddle. At the time I didn't realize just how a big a challenge Allan had conquered. Allan stopped by the shop the following week to have us size up and cut his new paddle. Turns out he had on recently completed  rather aggressive chemo for cancer in April and was just retuning to Stand UP after a long absence. He may not have had the fastest official time, but Allan is the new Champion of the 2014 Chesapeake Challenge.

Which somehow brings me around to the beginning of this mess. I have been paddling and selling Stand Up boards for 10 years now. I can't believe how fast the past 10 years have flown by. It seems like just yesterday Trip Foreman loaned me his board, showed me how to hold the paddle (correctly I might add) told me to "have fun and don't  f' up his board". Every minute, every hour, every day I have spent on water on a stand Up board the has has flown by and be insanely fun (well actually not some of the long upwind paddles but that's another story), and like I said before, when you are having fun time flies.  

Mark Saunders and I having fun several years ago. Note the state of the art aluminum paddles!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Raves and Rants


Spring has taken its' sweet time getting here, but it looks like it has finally arrived.  The water is still a little on the cool side, but everyone at the shop is finally getting out on the water with some regularity. Yay!
I  had a great time at the Carolina Cup a couple weeks ago  and hope to get around to posting a full recap in the near future. Just in case I don't, let me say now, "It was an awesome event." Yay!

Testing out the Surftech 14' Bark Dominator

East of Maui started our weekly Tuesday Night Group Paddles this past week, and will continue all Summer, weather permitting. Yay!

Details: Join East of Maui for a weekly Stand Up Paddle around Annapolis.  We paddle out at 6pm.  Suitable for  recreational paddlers, however,  this is sometimes an open water paddle, and is not recommended for 1st time paddlers. We are happy to pass on some paddling tips , but the Group Paddle is not a lesson.
We will usually paddle about 2 1/2 miles with a longer option for more experienced paddlers
This a FREE event if you have your own board.  Rental boards available by advance reservation $20.
Stop by or call East of Maui for more information.

A Typical Tuesday Night! 

Some Great Upcoming Events: 

May 31st. Bliss on the Bay:
Bliss On The Bay is Baltimore’s premiere SUP race event. The day will include different levels of stand up paddle board (SUP) races, a corporate challenge event, and will be followed in the afternoon by Ultimate Watersports' annual Paddlefest! In addition to the events taking place throughout the day, there will be a racers’ village for attendees to visit throughout the duration of the event.  

June 1st. Surf Swap Challenge

The Surf Swap Challenge is an event that covers all levels of stand up paddleboarding. It is a full day of racing, eating, and enjoying a wonderful day on the bay at Fager’s Island Bar & Restaurant, 60th St. & the Bay, Ocean City, MD.Proceeds from the event will go to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.  Dawn runs a great event. This is a don't miss!
July 12th. The East of Maui/Eastport Yacht Club Chesapeake Challenge. This an open water race set in Annapolis Harbor and the mouth of the Severn River. There will be two course options: The 6.5 mile Challenge for more experienced paddlers and a 3-3.5 mile Challenge suitable for more novice paddlers. Both courses can be subject to wind, chop, and boat traffic. This is a MASRA (Mid-Atlantic SUP Racing Association) Points Event.
Food, drinks, awards, and live music following the race.


Buyer Beware

As the sport of Stand Up continues to explode,  more and more people are getting into the business from from all sides. 
From the manufacturing side, it seems like everyday I get phone call from overseas, from somebody wanting to build boards for me CHEAP! I have been the board business a long time, you get what you pay for. A turd with a fancy paint job is still a turd. Sorry,  I don't want to sell turds. 
It also came to my attention this spring, that there is an online company that has copied/stolen the designs of a well know brand, and then are having them built using inferior materials, and then trying to pass them off as the real deal "but with different graphics". Buyer beware!   -Boo!

From the retail side, there are a lot of people selling Stand Up. There are many quality retailers that know what they are doing, and do a great job matching up the customer with the right equipment. -Yay! Unfortunately there are many people selling boards that have no clue. It really is a bummer to hear that someone bought a board that is totally unsuited for them. Instead of being stoked on an awesome sport, they are turned off, maybe for ever. -Boo!

 Myself, my business partner and our employees all paddle. We know what really works, and what really doesn't. We have chosen the products we want to sell, represent,  stand up on, and stand behind in our store.   Having the right gear is fun.   East of Maui has been helping people have more fun since 1979. 
 If you or one of your friends a looking to buy a board or learn about Stand Up Paddling, please stop by and visit East of Maui. We promise to do our very best to put you or your friends on the right gear.  

Aloha- Mark B 

Like East of Maui on Facebook! Friends don't let friends paddle junk!

Friday, April 18, 2014


The 2014 Carolina Cup is now just a week away. My training for the race is more like a train wreck. I have paddled very little this winter, and I don't think I have paddled at all this month. What the hell am I thinking?

The following is an excerpt from SUP : " The Carolina Cup, held in humble little Wilmington, North Carolina, is fast becoming not only one of the biggest races on the calendar, but one of the most significant events in the entire world of SUP racing, period.
 – in fact it might just be the second most competitive race in the world this year, after only the BOP), or because luminaries such as Dave Kalama, Jimmy Terrell and Larry Cain will be doing clinics, or because pretty much every major brand will have a presence there, but also because the event will have HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of recreational paddlers competing."

"Competing"?   I'm just hoping I  survive. I haven't paddled 6.5 miles since last November. I'm going to die!  

You may have heard the phrase "Eddie Would Go".  Eddie Aikau was a famous Hawaiian big wave surfer and life guard.  Eddie would go surfing or out to rescue someone when the conditions were too dangerous for anyone else to go.  I never knew Eddie, but I have a friend named Frank.
 Frank is an ultra-marathon runner. He would never admit it, but he is a serious athlete, perhaps.  Frank does crazy things like run 3 back to back marathons to raise money for the families of the of the Boston Marathon bombing victims (after doing an SUP race in the morning), and then  personally RUNS the money to Boston.  By his own account, he does many of these unbelievable feats, at the last minute, and with very little training and planning. While most athletes are carefully monitoring their diets before these events, Frank is likely to work all night, slam down a few chili dogs, and show up at the starting line and still have a respectable finish. The bottom line is Frank has never let the lack of preparation stand in the way of going out and abusing himself in the name of adventure and a good time.    
 Frank on top of the summit of  Australia's highest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko, after finishing the  Coast to Kosci Ultramarathon
So, what  does all of this have to do with Stand Up paddling?  Actually nothing at all, but as I question  my sanity and my own lack of preparation for the biggest, baddest Stand Up paddle race of the season, I  ask myself, "what would Frank do? "   FRANK WOULD GO!
So, with that in mind, I guess  I have to put my big boy surf trunks on, load the truck, and head to Wrightsville. I'm going to bypass  Frank's chili dogs, but there is a real good chance I'm gonna stop along the way for some  North Carolina BBQ!
Frank stopping for fuel mid -run

Time  to dust off the old raceboard

See you at the Carolina Cup!