I love everything about the recent story in the Canberra Times newspaper in Australia where people have been reporting the eerie sight of a man dressed as an undertaker while on a stand-up paddle board shaped like a coffin. I'm serious; you can’t make this stuff up.
Jeanne Mclauchlan was one seasoned paddler who spotted the man during an early morning venture to the lake on Saturday morning.
"In the distance, as we came towards the Carillon we noticed a figure emerge from the thick fog," she said.
"It was a figure of a man dressed in a tuxedo and top hat on a stand-up-paddle (SUP) coffin, complete with flowers, paddling toward us.
"We asked 'coffin man', 'Where are you going'? His response was, 'To Queanbeyan cemetery as I have a 3pm grave site to prepare'."
But of course some people have their coattails in a knot as some relatives of patients at Clare Holland House (a local hospice) felt that looking out and seeing him paddle by was both inappropriate and insensitive.
So the mystery lives on of who the paddler is and what I think is one of the greatest paddling costumes ever.
More info: canberratimes.com.au
Photo credits: Jeanne Mclauchlan
Last Sunday (July 13) thousands gathered in Newport Beach, CA to pay tribute to Ben Carlson, a lifeguard who gave his life while attempting to rescue a struggling swimmer.
The highly respected 15 year veteran lifeguard got the call and jumped into the water to save the swimmer struggling in the 6-8 foot surf waves. Both men were pulled back into the water by a large wave as they struggled to get back into the rescue boat.
Sadly Ben was pronounced dead after an exhaustive 3-hour search.
If you are unfamiliar with surf culture, when a fellow surfer passes away (either in an accident or non-surfing related cause), the community will organize a memorial service out beyond the surf. Typically they will form a ring, have a moment of silence and throw flowers into the center of the circle. It's been a tradition for years.
Watching the video of the memorial for Ben Carlson above, it makes me wish that the sea kayaking community had a traditional way of mourning those who have passed away as well. I guess we tend to keep things more internal and that's ok but there really is something very powerful about getting the kayak family together and going paddling in someone's honor.
I remember attending a memorial at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium three years ago for a fellow Great Lakes paddler (and former student of mine) who died doing what he loved. Rev. Bonnie Perry led the short service and spoke about the impact he had inspiring others to get out and live your dreams. I got to admit it was pretty tough one to get through but even while standing on the beach, I remember thinking that this should have taken place out on the water. Bob would have thought that would have been even cooler.
It might be a weird but maybe it's time to brainstorm our own method of mourning the loss of a fellow community member. Any ideas?
Photo credit: Associated Press
This past Monday, a concerned citizen called BC search and rescue saying that a paddle boarder was struggling out in gale-force winds and need help.
Crews geared up and went out to save the day only to find it was Canadian Olympic medallist triathlete, Simon Whitfield who was fine and told the SAR techs that he was, "having a blast in the swells."
All of the excitement took place in the Enterprise Channel off Oak Bay shores just outside Victoria, BC.
"Search-and-rescue [members] are volunteers and I felt badly that they dropped what they were doing and put on all their gear to come out for me," he said, adding they were "all class" on Twitter.
While he had all the gear including PFD and a drysuit, his would be rescuers suggested to him that he carry a VHF radio when out on the board as he could have responded to the general marine broadcast on Channel 16 and let everyone know he was not in difficulty.
Simon Whitfield has had a hugely successful triathlon career. Before retiring 2013 he won the Canadian triathlon championships 10 consecutive times along with gold in the 2000 and silver in the 2008 Olympics.
Glad his adventure turned out ok in the end.
Photo credit: Simon Whitfield
All through my teenage years (and pretty much up until mid-last week) I wanted to be a rockstar so bad and the fact that I couldn't play and instrument or sing didn't stop me from dreaming I was Slash in GnR's wicked awesome video for November Rain. I mean how cool is that scene where he leaves the wedding service (half way through!) and walks into the desert just to go play a guitar solo? Both amazing and inspiring.
So with all those rockstar dreams floating around in my head, I always had a little soft-spot for them doing stuff on the water while they are not rocking it out on stage.
Here is a little round-up on rockstars out on stand-up or surf boards:
If you are just getting into the world of SUP and interested in taking a lesson you don't need to look any longer as SUP Professional, Rod Mentor is here to give you a FREE lesson. In just over 4 minutes you will learn to strengthen your core muscles, learn about the spiritual side of SUPping and learn to dress properly for the water.
Even though you will be looking and talking like a pro in 4 minutes from now, actually paddling like a pro might be a different story but hey, that's over-rated anyways.
You might think you are cute when out paddling your SUP but I can pretty much guarantee that you don't look as cute as Kiara Goold does while learning to paddle an SUP in the video below. She is two.
Check out this quick promotional video for Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak centre in North Vancouver, British Columbia. There is just something about aerial video that makes paddling look like the most relaxing activity in the world.
Watch the whole thing then watch the opening shot again. That big, sweeping single shot is brilliant.
SUP and surf board manufacturer, Blue Planet recently released a comprehensive factory tour showing the manufacturing process of their SUP boards from end-to-end.
I find it amazing that the stickers are all hand-cut with scissors and applied to the board after a good soaking in in water just like model airplane kits you built as a kid. For some reason I always pictured this step as being done with giant robotic arms.
Oh look, another rock star is out on a SUP during his family vacation in
It seems that the Aerosmith frontman, Steven Tyler, suffers from Morton's neuroma which the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes as, “an injury to the nerve between the toes, which causes thickening and pain. It commonly affects the nerve that travels between the third and fourth toes.”
World renowned reporting journal, Celebrity Fix has all the details:
It seems he has had the problem since the 1970’s of wearing poor footwear and rockin’ it out on stage to much.
Steven has previously talked publicly about getting surgery to try fix the damage done by his hyperactive dancing on stage.
"The doctors told me the pain in my feet could be corrected but it would require a few surgeries over time," he told People magazine.
"The 'foot repair' pain was intense, greater than I'd anticipated. The months of rehabilitative care and painful strain of physical therapy were traumatic.
"I really needed a safe environment to recuperate where I could shut off my phone and get back on my feet."
Sorry about that. I know you can’t ever unsee those toes.
Photo credit: celebrities.ninemsn.com.au
Charlie Head was paddling along the shoreline in the
Charlie just happened to be in the right spot at the right time when he was paddling by as part of a 600 mile SUP expedition from
Mr Head, from the
Isle of Wightsaid: 'I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
'He was just sat there wondering what the hell to do. He was absolutely terrified.
'In about ten minutes the rock would have been covered with water. I managed to paddle out to him and then get him on my board.'
You can read the full story here.