Monday, June 25, 2012

Lake Tahoe Paddle Festival 2012

The Lake Tahoe Paddle Festival June 20-24th, 2012

Kawaiulu 'o Tahoe canoe club paddling demo

I went out to El Dorado Beach June 24th to make a video of the Lake Tahoe Paddle Festival for my YouTube channel.  Described as "A solstice celebration of human powered watercraft" this event celebrates all the ways people can paddle all over the world.  They're having a weekend of workshops and events to teach about the practices and history of canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddling, as well as all kinds of other human paddle-powered transportation.

Stand Up Paddling

Stand Up Paddler on Lake Tahoe
I talked with John Thomaselli of South Tahoe Stand-Up Paddle, who told me a lot about why he loves paddleboarding: "I moved up from San Diego this month 40 years ago and when I moved up to this lake, I said to myself 'If there was waves and we could surf this lake, it would be heaven.' And what's evolved is the stand-up paddle. It's brought us on the lake. We are now surfing the lake, riding waves.  It's been a lot of fun.It's the newest, latest, greatest sport, and it's evolving at record speeds!
It's evolving so fast that it's just unbelievable how it's taken off.

"But it's really a sport that brings a lot to you. I can't tell you how good it is for your body and your mind. You can go out and paddle on a beautiful glassy day and it's just unbelieveable
that you don't have to get out there on a boat.  You're out there by yourself, paddling around: no gas, no noise. I've had a boat all my life and I havn't had it in the water for 3 years now because
I'm out on the lake more, and enjoying it more than I ever had before."

Thomaselli continued "I'm almost 60 years old and I can honestly say I'm in the best shape of my life because of stand-up paddleboarding. My back's messed up from skiing, my knees are messed up from bicycle riding, and anyways this sport has allowed me to get in incredible shape, and has done unbelieveable physical and mental benefits to myself.  We're just bringing this sport here to turn people on, To give them a new altenative form of recreation that's low-impact, but has a high intensity volume of life fulfillments. "

It's turned into racing, we have races now on the lake. We're having a big race at the end of the month of June. June 30th through July 1st, come out and check out "Race the Lake of the Sky" You'll see some of the top atheletes here.

Kawaiulu 'o Tahoe canoe club

The Kawaiulu 'o Tahoe canoe club is a non-profit canoeing club that paddles out of Timber Cove in South Lake Tahoe.  They do recreational and competition paddling all over northern California and southern California, and this particular day they were giving free canoe rides in their 60ft Hawaiian outrigger canoe.  

As their man Alex Bebou told me: "It's a 44-foot, 400-pound spec boat for 6-man paddling. Very capable, seaworthy for any ocean, any distance. So if you want to learn the proper technique and stroke, especially for you stand-up paddleboarders out there, the outrigger canoe technique and training is your best prerequisite.  So come out and paddle all paddle sports: it's always a great exercise - an exercise in humanity."

World Tribe Canoe Project

Hand-made wooden Hawaiian outrigger canoe made by Tom Pohaku Stone
This year’s event will highlight the World Tribe Canoe Project ceremony and starting construction. This 70’ trimaran will be carved by Craftmaster’s from around the World and when completed will sail on tour the Earth educating peoples of the threat to our most precious resource… WATER.

Since that boat is just beginning, they also had this amazing hand-made traditional dugout Hawaiian outrigger canoe made by famed shaper of surfboards, paddleboards, paddles, and Canoes: Tom Pohaku Stone chief of Ouahu, Hawaii.  According to its owner, John Preston: "He shaped it last year with 3 hawaiians and the Washoe children, the children of the Washoe tribe helped shape it and carve on it.  And I got to be lucky and spend 300 hours to finish it."  It was made exclusively with pre-electirc vintage tools, including a hundered year old draw knife from the Wilkinson Sword Co and a set of planes in use since the 1860s. 

"Being a fishing canoe, the front of the canoe has all of the things they need for fishing:
like this coa wood gath so they could catch big tuna with this, and mahi mahi and wahu which are native fish,using these whale bone lures.  These are made out of whale bones. These are like over 100 years old. You can't get these anymore, but these are just... they can be found once in a while.
And the hand tools and the hand drills, and there's no metal in it. It's all wood." Says Preston.
The paddles and Alma that holds the outrigger are made from a 600 year old native Cedar tree, while the boat itself is carved from a 125 year old native cedar tree.  All the wood is local to the Tahoe area because, as John puts it "I've been here 40 years, I've carved on trees forever on other projects like surfboards and furnature, and it's just that the wood up here is incredible and it's just fun to do a project like this." 

Weapon featuring DJ Synthesis setting up for the FREE music show

Live At Lakeview Commons Music Series

This event featured live music from DJ Synthesis and local reggae-rock band Weapon.  It was a part of the Live at Lakeview Commons summer music series.  Other dates in that series:
  • 6/20 - Jump Start
  • 6/28 Dead Winter Carpenters
  • 7/5 Frutition
  • 7/12 Keyser Sose
  • 7/19 40 watt hype
  • 7/26 Huckle
  • 8/2 Congress
  • 8/9 Forest Day
  • 8/16 The polyrythmics
  • 8/23 New World Jazz Project

Keep Tahoe Blue by cooperating with watercraft inspections!

Lake Tahoe's famously clear waters are threatened

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District (@TahoeRCD on twitter ) had a booth doing outreach to paddlers for their new Tahoe Keepers program which teaches paddlers how to clean, drain, dry, and properly inspect their own canoes, paddleboards, and kayaks to keep Tahoe blue by preventing the influx of invasive species into Lake Tahoe  such as Eurasian Millefoile, asian clams, quagga, and zebra mussels.  "We have inspection stations set up all throughout the entry points to the lake"  Check out my Tahoe Environment playlist and  video of the Tahoe Summit for more information about the problem of invasive species.


And, of course, no event is ever complete without vendors.  I talked to Luis Rubio of Tall Treez designs a screen printing shop who make tank tops, hoddies, and hats.  He told me " Everything we make we try to make locally. We have a couple of things out of house, but we have our own screen printing shop here in Tahoe. We basically try to promote a more local way of being, a less consuming lifestyle; and it's kinda easy living here in this great area and being around all these great personal businesses."  I also talked to Kelsie Kronig of which sells reversable vests, furry hoods, goggles, and other burning man attire.

Possibly the coolest vendor was Richie Levitt from Crystal Canoe and Kayak Company  They sell transparent canoes and stand-up paddle boards He said: "Any time you sit in it, anything this big magnifies to the size of your head! So, you can imagine what the view is like."