Posted by Ken Campbell February 19, 2009 0 Comment 862 views

Ever since I first stepped onto a Standup Paddleboard (SUP) last summer, I have been thinking about doing an extended trip. After all these years of kayaking – not that I’m done yet – I wanted to try something different and I knew from the first tentative paddle stroke I took on that demo board that this was it. I figured that a paddle up Hood Canal would provide me with a different perspective of the Olympic Peninsula and a sense of how the region is joined and separated at various points along its eastern edges.

I’ve been plotting out my intended course for a few months now, trying to guess at distances that I can cover, putting together a plan. It’s easy for me, after a couple of decades of sea kayaking, to dead reckon my route and be pretty acurate but with a lack of direct knowledge of the same information as it applies to an SUP, it’s still a bit of a guessing game for me.

Yesterday, as I was picking through my mail, I came across the latest mailing from the Washington Water Trails Association (WWTA), and an article about the Puget Sound Challenge, a year-long event put on by the Olympic Kayak Club. The idea is to put in at Belfair and make your way up Hood Canal to the point it connects with the rest of the sound, turning hard right as you pass Foulweather Bluff. The route continues south past Bainbridge Island, through Colvos Passage and the Tacoma Narrows, then winds back up Case Inlet to Allyn, where it ends. That’s 150 miles by water, all the way around the Kitsap Peninsula. The idea is to finish it within the year, and a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the WWTA, which does great work all over Washington on behalf of access issues and campsite management for those of us who spend our days in human-powered nautical pursuits.

I’m not going to go through all the details of the event – you can read all about it here. I’m doing it… it seemed liked an unlikely synchronicity that something like this would so perfectly dovetail with plans I had already made. I’m going to start next week in Belfair, just as I had planned, on a 2-day paddle up the canal. The difference is that now, instead of stopping at Shine Tidelands, near the Hood Canal Bridge, I’m going to continue the trip all the way around. I’m guessing it will take 10 days or so, and I’ll break the effort up into at least three segments.

Because the WWTA has been such a valuable part of my Washington paddling experience, I am planning on doing this as a benefit for the organization, and I will be taking pledges to help raise money so that the work of WWTA can continue strong. I hope you will consider making a donation – email me with your pledge at I will be posting updates on the Last Wilderness website as the trip progresses, and I’ll keep the site up to date with the amount raised as well. My goal is to put together a $2500 donation to WWTA at the end of the voyage.

Incidently, I’m pretty sure this would be a first for an SUP. I know there will be a plethora ofkayaks that do it, and probably a few canoes and row boats, but I’ll bet there aren’t many of us making the trip standing up. (If you’re out there and you’re thinking about it, let me know. I’d love the company.)

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