Ride Out Reflections - Ride Out Stay Out
Posted by Jordan Curet
It can feel daunting to head out on your SUP for an overnight, or even multi-day paddling adventure. So to learn all the in’s and out’s, do’s and don’t, and ups and downs, we brought in a master adventure to lead a Ride Out Stay out for our Red Ride Out in Squamish.
Kevin Trotter, a long time Squamish paddler, with some serious mileage under his belt was the fearless leader for our group. And like all adventures, he started out the Ride Out with a talk on trip planning and packing. He took us through all the gear he brings with him for a trip. From lightweight cooking tools to immersion clothing, navigational tools to safety equipment, he has everything packed into a pair of drybags, packed at the front and back of his 13’2” Voyager.
Pro tip: Kevin has laminated checklist cards that he can reuse for each adventure, to make sure none of the essentials are left behind). See the image of his checklist below.
Our next lesson was in trip planning. Like all activities on the water, we are subject to the weather. And this day we studiously reviewed tide and wind conditions to make the safest decisions on where and when to paddle. To stay current on changing forecasts we listened into to the Marine Radio channel and plotted our course with apps, like @savvynavvy. You are your own best resource when headed out to paddle, whether its short or long, so making sure you have all the information and safety gear is of the utmost importance.
Once we felt prepared it was time to start packing the boards. This can be a delicate balancing act, how to load your gear, distribute weight, and tie everything down in the most efficient and effective way. Luckily, we were paddling Voyagers, both 12’6” and 13’2”, so each board had plenty of real estate as well as multiple d-ring setups.
With our things stowed it was time to put the paddle to the metal, and start heading across the Howe Sound to our destination on the opposite shore. As we made our way across the Sound we took in the Squamish skyline, the Chief looming high above us, saw seals and Bald Eagles. Kevin offered pointers and tips along the way, on paddling technique, how to read the water and more. With about 5km of paddling we came to our campsite for the evening, and began unloading our tents, sleeping bags, kitchen, food and more. The afternoon provided a chance for additional paddling or talking at camp. Our group shared their SUP goals, while our guides shared some of their amazing adventures. And after dinner, wrapped in Pro Change Robes to keep the drizzle at bay, we gathered around the campfire and shared more stories.
The true test of a SUP trip comes when its time to repack the board in the morning – can everything fit back into its correct place in the drybags and then on the boards. With rainy weather moving inland toward us we paddled along the steep granite cliffs of the northern shore. Just as we came to our crossing of the Squamish River we regrouped for a safety meeting. Kevin walked us through how to navigate the tide versus the river current and combat any wind. The group moved together across the Sound, and back towards our landing in the marina.
At the end of the trip the goal was to feel empowered with the knowledge and skills to plan your own SUP trip. It was great to hear participants eager to investigate new locations they wanted to paddle to. Sometimes it just takes the first tour to work out the kinks and figure out how to manage all your gear. To learn more about overnight SUP adventures head over to https://red-equipment.ca/blogs/sup-life/what-is-a-touring-paddle-board-the-red-paddle-co-guide to find out what a touring board is all about.