SBCKiteboard.com
  SBCKiteboard.COM Twitter SBCKiteboard.COM Facebook

Barrelled in the Marshall Islands

Jun 16, 2009

Author: Words by Gavin McClurg Photos by Jody MacDonald

Aerial view from the Best Oddyssey. MacDonald photo 

 "The pass is now picking up swell and the wave is immediately compared to Fiji’s
infamous “restaurants,” but aright-hander that peels a deliciously long time." 

We’ve prepped for this day for months and now that it has arrived I feel miserably behind schedule. My new First Mate was supposed to show up a few days ago but she missed her flight in Honolulu. This means that instead of handling the expedition’s inevitable logistics nightmares I’ve been making beds and cleaning heads. I’ve only been able to root up the scarcest of information for our planned itinerary; the supply boat hasn’t arrived to stock the stores with goods; my “to-do” list remains way too long. It’s tropically hot and humid and my brain throbs, insisting I give it and my body sleep instead of the endless cups of coffee which have kept me going the past few days.  
    We’ve been operating trips like this for 11 years; you’d think I’d be more relaxed. But today is different. Today our guest list includes four of the finest wave kiters in the world. These people travel the world seeking out the best there is and I’ve talked them all into coming to a place most people have never heard of. I know it’s windy, I know it’s remote, I know from the charts there’s a good chance for waves, but beyond that it’s a crapshoot. It has all the ingredients of what will hopefully be a grand expedition, but my usual optimism has been replaced with rampant doubt.
    My handheld VHF barks to life. “Discovery, Discovery, Discovery this is Bilderback.” It’s game time. Our crew has arrived. I slosh down another cup of coffee and crumple up the to-do list. Things will have to be left undone. I race into the wharf with the dinghy to meet two large vans; one stuffed with jet-lagged bodies, the other with gear. Smiling faces emerge and I am instantly more at ease. A great expedition begins with great people and in this regard we are not in short supply.
    I meet Pete Cabrinha for the first time but we embrace like old friends. His body is sculpted from a lifetime of surfing and, though slighter than I imagined, he exudes strength and power; yet his smile is humble and magnetic. I turn to meet four-time world champion Kristin Boese and am instantly smitten. She is a goddess, there is no other word. Moehau Goold and Mauricio Abreu return for their third trip on the Best Odyssey and I’m already anticipating watching these guys go to work. John Bilderback and Jody MacDonald will capture all the action on film and camera. Two guests and shareholders round out the kiting group (the boat operates as a time-share for like-minded kite explorers): Bruce Marks, a lovable doctor from Australia and Scott Wisenbaker, recently relieved of his obligations in New York as part of a recent Goldman Sachs “reorganization.” Sole, our Chilean chef tells me she’s scored what she needs at the store, and I finally meet Pia, our new First Mate, also from Chile.
    I give a quick safety brief after everyone gets settled and describe the itinerary. We must sail a long way to get to a place that beyond what lies on the chart, little is known. The Marshall Islands stretch over a great expanse of the Pacific Ocean some 2,000 miles west of Hawaii and consist of 29 atolls dotted with more than 1,200 islands scattered around their perimeters. Only two are serviced by air. The rest are sparsely populated, fantastically isolated and inaccessible except by an offshore-capable yacht. There is no safety net where we’re going. No hospitals, no stores, no supplies. 
    The first leg of the journey takes 18 hours at a moderate pace. Bilderback’s stomach disagrees with the motion in the most violent of ways and my own doubts increase. What have I gotten us into?
    The island has two passes on the north side and the first proves totally flat. It has promise, but there is no wave. I’m on the brink of tears as we sail down to the second pass. What if we completely bomb out? I know these people are not the types to place blame, but I feel like I’m on the wrong side of a pressure cooker. Thankfully the second pass is picking up some swell and our forecast shows a big surge heading our way. We decide kiting is the perfect medicine for queasy stomachs and one by one everyone launches directly from the stern of Discovery. A dozen or so locals appear out of the trees like a mirage in the desert. We’d all assumed the island was deserted and I find myself staring at them in disbelief as you would an apparition. Their eyes are drawn to the sky for their first-ever view of kitesurfing, and soon they are whooping and crying out a song of “whoas!” and “wows!”

Getting Barrelled>>>




Extra
French Polynesia - A Cabrinha Quest
October 2, 2014
Origionally published in SBC Kiteboard magazine Issue No. 50 I’m trying to get a better...
Extra
My Bucket List - John Bryja Editor
September 18, 2014
It doesn't get much better than Solo Sports camp at Punta San Carlos, Baja. Merritt photo I have...
Extra
Off the Top - Brandon Scheid
September 18, 2014
Rider: Brandon ScheidPhotographer: Vincent BergeronLocation: Mayreau, St. Vincent and the...
Extra
Triple-S Warm Up - Sliding the boat basin
May 31, 2012
Rider: Davey Blair Photos: John Byja Davey Blair was in town last month for the Naish Nation...
Extra
How to Win at Roshambo
November 17, 2011
A cult. A state of mind. A rock band from Milwaukee. And the fairest way to determine who rides...
Extra
Kiteboarding wind minimum?
September 27, 2011
What do you think is the lightest wind a person can kiteboard in? We posed this question to North...
Extra
TDZ: The Ultimate Kite Porn
September 13, 2011
Somewhere on a small, densely populated island on the Indian Ocean, an American-born photographer...
Extra
Photographer Bryan Elkus: Self Portrait
April 18, 2011
 "My goals for this year are, the same as every year, to continue shooting and riding as...
Extra
Youri Zoon Recorded
March 22, 2011
Youri Zoon just won the most recent PKRA event in Thailand. What better way to get reaquainted...
Extra
Airush’s Designer Clinton Filen
February 9, 2011
Upon meeting Clinton Filen, Brand Manager and unofficial sensei of Airush Kiteboarding, one would...
[1] [2] > » 

Editor's Video Picks!

 

 

THE LATEST

Video
Spray Lakes Snowkite Destination
November 27, 2014
News Wire
Flysurfer extends Free Repair...
November 27, 2014
Video
Onix feat. The ManiaC
November 27, 2014
Video
Gloomy
November 27, 2014
News Wire
Team Riders Wanted!
November 27, 2014
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] > » 

SBC KITEBOARD ON FACEBOOK

What's Hot!!!

 

2014 Kite Reviews
SBC 2014 Kite Tests:...
March 12, 2014
2015 Kite Reviews
2015 Slingshot Rally
August 29, 2014
2015 Kite Reviews
2015 Slingshot Rally
August 29, 2014
2014 Kite Reviews
2014 Cabrinha Switchblade Review
March 12, 2014
Travel
Florida Kiteboarding Guide
September 11, 2006
[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] > » 

Download Kiteboard Desktop App

Newsletter Signup

 

SBCSKATEBOARD SBCSURF SBCWAKEBOARD SBCSKIER SBCKITEBOARD WINDSPORT SNOWBOARD CANADA SBC RESORT GUIDE  CONTACT ADVERTISE