*Photos by Chuck Graham
The Crew Assemble
We received an email from a guy named Patrick O’hea in regards to a paddle trip he was planning to go Standup Paddle Boarding Santa Rosa Island which is 28 miles off the coast of Santa Barbara. Patrick was looking for an inflatable standup paddle board for this excursion because the ferry to the island prohibits any hard epoxy boards.
This wasn’t a solo trip but instead a group of three guys all whom have their own accolades. Both Patrick O’hea and Will Meyer are former U.S National Rowing Team members and Chuck Graham who is a renowned photographer and has been featured in various SUP magazines and other major publications.
This wasn’t their first jaunt together; back in October of 2014 they all met in Big Sur, CA for a paddle across some of the most dangerous and breathtaking coastline in the world. This particular trip was supposed to last a 3 day weekend but instead was forced to only 24 hours.
“The trip was supposed to be a 3 day weekend but forced to 24 hours”
Below is a recap of their 24 hour trip as told by Patrick
The first day we aimed for an an easy paddle from the pier, where the ferry dropped us off, to the trail that led to our camp site. I quickly found out why this body of water was considered one of the most dangerous channels in the world. With over 50 lbs. of gear, the Isle inflatable board handled awesome with the wind at my back. I caught some nice bumps but found I was being sucked into the channel. By the time I made my way back to shore, I had over shot my destination by over a mile.
“I quickly found out why this body of water was considered one of the most dangerous channels in the world.”
Cruising the Coves & Caves
Later that day we headed over to some nearby coves where Chuck shot some pictures of us paddling in an amazing back drop. The second day we got an early start before the wind got too heavy. We headed upwind to a rock arch where Chuck got some more pictures. From there, we continued our journey to a cove five miles further.
Gone With the Wind
By this time, the winds were kicking up to 20 knots plus. Between the wind and back lash of the waves hitting the adjacent cliffs, it was nearly impossible to stand. We finally got to our destination, took some more pictures, and headed back before the wind hit full force.
The trip back to our camp proved to be much less exhausting with really powerful wind at our backs making for a fun down winder. The boards responded well and were surprisingly easy to control and catch bumps. Later that day, the winds were so heavy, they would put an end to our paddling.
“Between the wind and back lash of the waves hitting the adjacent cliffs, it was nearly impossible to stand.”
A Whole New World Just Off the Cali Coast
I can’t say enough about how amazing the Channel Islands are. There is wildlife and vegetation out there that exists nowhere else in world. Even with their proximity to The California coast, you feel like you’re in a new world. I couldn’t imagine a better way to explore these island then by stand up. Sadly, the ferry to take to the island won’t allow standard SUPs but will allow inflatables.