Monday, June 26, 2017

A Great Afternoon at Hoboken Cove

Test spin on a shiny new Epic V5. Whee! Nice boat. Photo by Epic rep Gerald Kastner, thanks Gerry! My photos are down below. Click on any photo for a slideshow view.

It wasn't as easy to get there on a weekend as it would've been on a weekday, but I did make my way to Hoboken yesterday for the first annual Hudson River Cup, put on by Ke Aloha Outrigger and the Hoboken Cove Boathouse. If you happen to be in the Hoboken area, do follow those links for their regular activities, I was there for the festival but they do public paddling programs all summer, and there's a food truck pier a little ways north of there, you could make a very nice waterfront afternoon of it!

There was actually a moment on the way there when I nearly threw in the towel and went home - the issue was that the map program Facebook uses said that I could catch a ferry from the WTC, which turns out not to be true on weekends. I
f I'd thought to check that, I could've just gone to the 39th street Waterways terminal in the first place, where they did have a ferry to 14th street in Hoboken 7 days a week, that's how I got home and that worked great, but that mistaken direction sent me through the WTC area, which on a lovely summer day was of course swarming with hucksters shoving pretty souvenir books about the time all those people died under all the tourist noses. I know they're just trying to make a living and all but it feels so disrespectful and I just don't handle it well, having been there myself that day. To get to the ferry terminal, looking forward to a nice boat ride across the river after running that gauntlet, only to be told that that ferry doesn't run on weekends, was deeply disheartening, and I really did think about just heading for home. I think it was around noon or so, though, and the festival was slated to go on until 5, it wasn't like I was going to miss ALL the fun, so I decided to suck it up, take the PATH train, and hoof it the mile to the boathouse . 

And I'm so glad that I did, because I started to unwind just walking along the Hoboken shoreline; this was definitely my first trip to the Hoboken Cove Boathouse, and possibly even my first visit to the Hoboken shoreline, and their riverfront is pretty nice, with lots of parks (including a big run-through fountain that I was tempted to run through myself) but still an active little bit of a working waterfront too. By the time I got to the boathouse I was feeling a good bit less rattled, and there was the wonderful musician Bill Wynne singing songs from Hawai'i, and outrigger sprint racing going on in the cove, and so many old friends from Pier 63 days to say hello to. Ke Aloha is one of the area's newest boating clubs, but came about after some kind of split at the long-established New York Outrigger sent many of the original paddlers from that club looking for a new home. It may be a new club, but there's a ton of experience there, they have got themselves a lovely spot at the Hoboken Cove Boathouse and it's great to see them doing well there. I'm on something of a quest to get back in shape this year and with them not being that hard to get to from where I work, joining them for some practices may be an option worth considering.

I got there just in time for the 2 mile kayak and SUP race. I hadn't planned on racing, but when Jon, who's the one who told me about the day, saw me he asked me if I wanted to, and I figured "Why not?", if I could borrow a boat. One of the volunteers pointed me to a Drifter, which is not the boat I would ordinarily pick for a race, but I was just out for fun and figured I'd give it a shot. This actually worked out well - there was a moment when I noticed there were 2 Epic surfskis on the beach and thought "Oh dear, I'm going to get thoroughly smoked here", but those turned out to be demo boats and the only other kayak racer was one of the Cove's volunteers, who was in a Scupper Pro. With both of us in sitatops, it actually ended up being a pretty good race. He had the lead for the entire southbound leg, where we had the current with us, he'd done a better job at the start than me and although I wasn't too far back, I couldn't gain ground, we were pretty well matched in our sit-atops.

I had one horrifying moment when I rounded the buoy and discovered that I could hardly make any headway against the strong current AT ALL in this short, wide boat, for a second I was having visions of how embarrassing it would be if I couldn't get back under my own steam, but I was able to hold my ground while sidling over to get closer to shore and into the shelter of the piers, where I was able to move along much better. The other guy didn't know that trick, and that let me pull away and come in first by quite a ways. He did figure out what I was doing eventually, so he got something good out of it - you only get to pull that trick on a less experienced paddler once, at least if they are paying attention, which he was! You can really wear yourself paddling against that Hudson current, I remember that well. Actually the hardest part of the race for me was probably the last 50 yards or so, where you had to go out around the last pier and on to the finish marker, for that you did have to be out in the current a bit and man, it was a slog (Gerry the Epic guy actually said he was watching me finish and there was a good moment or three when I literally wasn't moving forward at all, and I believe it). I got there though, by that point I was not about to give up. I do hope next year they have more kayakers, it sounds like they had a good turnout from the outrigger community, I would love to see this grow. Spectacular setting for racing, too, with that cityscape across the river and the folks enjoying the Hoboken waterfront cheering us along.

Back at the boathouse, Aloha Hula NYC was performing, cornhole games were going on, and I tried out the Epic V5, which is a totally sweet little entry-level surfski. Someday I'm going to be in the market for a replacement for my Kayak Centre surfski, which I have literally repaired with duct tape and wire, and which I expect to just sink out from under me someday, hopefully not too far from the dock in the Paerdegat. V5 is definitely going to be in the running, I don't use my surfski for racing, more for summer workout paddles, the V5 is much more stable but still moves nicely, and is not horribly expensive. This is a totally unsolicited plug, I just really liked that boat, would be a lovely summer paddling craft. I should've tried the V8 that the Epic rep had there too, but the awards were starting up so I had to go get my coconut trophy! Finished off the day helping bring the OC-6's up from the beach; Aloha Hula NYC was dancing again, and it truly felt like a little taste of Hawai'i right there on the Hudson River shore.

Came home with my coconut and a plumeria lei that's still smelling lovely tonight. So glad I stuck out the bumpy start to the day, it was well worth the trip. Such a nice day!



Haralee said...

Sounds great! Isn't that sometimes the way, you almost ditch the plan and it turns into a magical event. Hey where is a picture of your winnings?

bonnie said...

Oh yeah. I really did have to gather my willpower to keep going after finding out about the ferry, but I'd made it that far and it was a nice day for a walk. Glad I did, if I'd gone home I probably would've spent the afternoon in a bad mood over the unlicensed vendors.

Ha, forgot to take a picture of my ceramic coconut trophy, I'll put that up tonight. :)

shelley said...

You've had some exciting adventures! I've never even thought about trying anything like this.