I’ve always wanted to go to Maine so when I got the phone call from Todd the owner of Pau Hana Surf Supply about doing a multi-day paddling trip through the Maine Island Trail I knew I couldn’t miss it! He was telling me about a touring board he had made for 2017 that is built to hold 90lbs of gear and still glide smoothly in the rough currents and chop. He even designed the deck pad to be a sleeping platform that accommodates a bivy sack! The board sounded awesome and I couldn’t wait to test it out!
I noticed the scenery was particularly spectacular. The rocky coastlines, 12 foot tides and giant pines immediately had me feeling like I was on a rugged adventure. On our way to base camp at the southern tip of Deer Isle we stopped at a lobster pound shack and enjoyed some of the best seafood I’ve ever had.
The next morning we loaded up our boards with gear to test out how much weight these boards could hold. We brought along our Kialoa Insanity Paddles for their perfect combination of high performance, lightweight and durability. We each needed to bring a gallon of water per day so 3 gallons total on each board, along with food, cookware, sleeping gear, fishing gear, maps, compass, Russian mules, and camera equipment. Stepping on the board I was surprised how stable it was. We started paddling toward Green Island Quarry where we heard of a scenic hike and fresh water swim. Todd was the lead navigator with his sweet nautical compass mounted to the board. As we passed a few kayakers and boaters everyone seemed to be in awe of five people paddling on stand-up boards with all that gear.
It was sunny with a slight breeze pushing us toward our destination. We passed thousands of lobster crates and weaved in and out of multiple islands. When we reached Green Island we had to anchor our boards along the granite cliffs and climb up a steep wooden ladder to get to the trail head. The hike was green and lush and felt like a fairy land. When we got to the Quarry I went for a swim it was so tranquil and refreshing after a few hours of paddling.
We then headed toward Steve Island, our camp for the night, and on the way I was trolling for some dinner but had no luck. Around sunset we reached Steve Island and beached our boards. We found the perfect camp site and started to cook dinner and enjoy some Russian Mules. Todd turned one of the boards into a table/cutting board. He designed the boards with a Ricochet technology which made it extremely durable, enough to slice an onion on. Since we didn’t catch any fish it was rice and beans for dinner. We sat up on a boulder with a full and warm belly to watch the stars. None of us had ever seen the stars so clear and bright.
it was low tide and the beach we had last night was now 100 yards out covered in seaweed boulders. In the small tidal pools were loads of mussels. I started hunting immediately and Todd started boiling white wine and garlic. I never liked mussels until that day. There is something about catching your own food that makes it taste so much better! Our next destination was Isle au Haut. Everyone told us it was an extremely long paddle but we were all up for the challenge. Before we headed out we wanted to eat a good lunch to fuel us up. Todd made an earthen oven under a large rock and we made pizza. The wind started to pick up and the tide was beginning to change. Not ideal paddling conditions for this long paddle but we took off anyways. We were paddling against the wind and tide but made it to Isle au Haut in a few hours. The channel to get to town was beautiful with granite cliffs, a lighthouse and some really cool coastal homes. We explored for a bit before hopping back on our boards to return to Steve’s Island luckily with the wind at our back. It was a chilly night with high winds. I found a space on the south side of the island where I was protected from the winds and got a decent night’s rest before the long paddle back to Deer Isle the next day.
We had 16 knot winds gusting 20. It was an extremely difficult paddle back and we were all tested at the end. Trying to reach our base camp was so hard. You physically couldn’t stop paddling for a second or you would over shoot your destination point. The winds were pushing so hard I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to make the take out. Once I saw it I paddled my hardest across a channel but behind me one of the guys capsized and I wanted to make sure he was ok.
Luckily he was wearing his Kokatat Centurion life vest and had a leash on. He was able to tip his board back over and get back on. With the strong currents and high wind, by the time he was on his board the wind had pushed us so far back I knew we were going to miss the takeout. We paddled across the channel until we finally reached the granite cliffs on the other side. The closer we got to the cliffs the more shelter we had from the wind and we were able to paddle up wind a bit to make it back to the take out! I felt so good after the challenge I couldn’t wait to reward myself with some fish and chips and lobster rolls!
I love the feeling of having everything you need to survive right there with you as you paddle along with new scenery around every corner. It’s such a freeing feeling. I can’t wait for the next one.
Team Pau Hana launched this stand up paddle excursion from the Old Quarry campground in Deer Isle, Maine. The trip was made over the course of a 3-day weekend and they wanted it to be an easy and accessible paddling adventure to showcase the glory that Maine has to offer. Among the team were two of Pau Hana’s white water sup athletes, Christian Edie and Kevin Cullen. They were joined by Austin King and Ed Miller as well.
In this segment, the team loads up the Endurance with coolers, fishing and camping gear that they will need for three days of paddling on the water. Incredibly, the 12’0 Endurance board holds all that weight, plus rider, to make for easy paddling throughout their adventure. The guys are stoked that the board maintains its buoyancy and ability to track loaded down with all the gear. Check out the amount of gear they have on board to explore some of the best paddling in the world.
The team paddles to Green Isle and hikes to the legendary emerald green quarry for a much needed swim and exploration of the island. Throwing each other off the rock ledge creates laughter and fun for the days ahead. After a serious dunk fest, they paddle to on Steve’s Island, a whimsical half acre of granite and palm trees where they decide to make camp and explore the territory further.
Steve’s Island proves to be an excellent mini-adventure with a gathering of freshly caught mussels that are quickly steamed with white wine and garlic making for a perfect sunset meal. This small island on the Maine Water Trail is one of the most precious stops on the journey.
Sometimes, having a destination in mind is a good motivator. The next day, the crew decided that Isle Au Haut needed to be visited in order to stock up on fresh beer. Unfortunately, a head wind and strong current made this trek more challenging than anticipated. A few miles away doesnt seem bad until the headwind kicks into full throttle and the high tide rips away the shore.
“We’re aiming for Isle Au Haut. There’s supposed to be a store over there with cold beer and that’s, like, the mission right now.”
Using a mantle rock and clearing a space underneath, a ready-made pizza oven is created! By building a fire within the confined space and utilizing the heat from the surrounding rocks, the Pau Hana team make their own pizza in the wilds of Maine. Bet that tastes good!
On this final segment of Boarding Pass Excursion, we reflect on the things we love about paddling among America’s first waterway. As the team heads back from Steve’s Island, they hit some of the hardest paddling conditions they’d seen yet with 15-20mph head winds pushing them backwards. And still, the attitude was jubilant and the perspectives reached were heartening as Pau Hana reports,
“The strongest feeling was the sense of freedom I got from being out in nature…to enjoy the simple pleasures of camping in the woods and paddling with friends. I’m already looking forward to the next adventure.”
Thanks for watching!
Watch the whole BOARDING PASS series on our YouTube channel!
Christian is a professional stand-up paddleboard athlete that is a team rider for Pau Hana Surf Supply, Kialoa, and Kokatat. She specializes in stand-up whitewater paddling, expedition SUP, SUP Yoga, SUP Surfing and is also an accomplished rock climber and ice climber. She loves sharing her passion for the water with others and helping people connect with the outdoors.
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