Kiyomi Sheppard was the sole SUP paddler in the Kaiwi channel at the virtual M2O this year. This is her story:
Crossing the Kiawi channel for me is very special thing. I love the feeling of resetting my mind while out on the ocean.
This year the conditions were difficult because of the strong NE winds at 20 miles per hour and the tide going low. My game plan was to go north for about 3-4 hours or until I reached 20 miles, and then go in towards Hawaii Kai. It was so hard because I couldn’t catch any of the swell for the first 20 miles, but I knew I had to keep going north so that I wouldn’t get stuck South at the end like I have in previous years.
My game plan went well until I got very sick at the 20 mile mark. I fought it and fought it, but the sickness never went away. The water was so rough and at the end and I didn’t have the strength to stand up on my board. I couldn’t keep my balance and if I tried to stand up, I would fall right away. At one point I fell and hit my head on the top of my board and was under water for a little while. I think it took me a solid 2 hours to get my balance back to be able to stand up, but once I did I had only 3 miles left until the finish at Hawaii Kai- that’s when I started to cry, I was so close.
It was a very hard paddle this year, but I never gave up and I’m so happy that I finished safely.
I’m so thankful for the support from my husband and my two beautiful children- I couldn’t have done it without them.