Stand up paddling 55 miles in a day

On May 28th at 3:00 am John quietly slipped into the Ventura Harbor

After turning 55 years old, John Nordin set a personal goal to stand up paddle board (SUP) his years in miles. For nearly 20 years John was an avid surfer along the California coast. Reading articles in magazines and tracking storms hitting the coastline, he’d drive to beaches and camp in his car hoping to have a memorable surf session. While reading a surfing magazine he spotted a photo of someone stand up paddle boarding (SUP), and thought, “what a great way to stay in the ocean when there wasn’t any waves.” Not knowing how it all worked, he purchased his first SUP board and paddle. “Teaching yourself wasn’t easy, with only having magazine photos to observe,” but John was determined. As his paddling improved so did his boards, and along the way he met fellow paddlers through the Channel Islands Paddlers. Derek Turner introduced John to racing and they began training together. Entering his first race in April 2014, John enjoyed the paddling community even more.

John and his family frequented the races through the years, participating in as many as he could. He and his wife Jessica have a daughter with Autism and had a custom SUP board built to take her along. On January 2020 John and his daughter entered and won first place for tandem SUP in the Hanohano Ocean Challenge and were ready for more, but that’s when the pandemic hit. Shutting down all live races for 2020-2021, John found virtual races like the 16 mile Molokai 2 Oahu race community. It was during this time he started watching long distance paddle races, researching the necessary gear and meeting a new group of guys to paddle within the open ocean. This opened John’s abilities and desire for more endurance paddles. Leading him and a buddy Larry Veilleux to paddle 13 miles around Platform C off the Santa Barbara coast.

The California River Quest, 2022 was to be his first endurance race, but due to the California draught it too was canceled. Over the years John had challenged himself with distance paddles, with the longest being 29.5 miles from Santa Barbara Harbor to Ventura Harbor.

On May 28th, at 3:00 am, John quietly slipped into the Ventura Harbor off the docks of the Ventura Yacht Club and began his 55 mile solo paddle. With the dark sky meeting the black waters, the only sounds were his paddle hitting the water with the occasional sea lion breaking the surface for air behind him. He had packed music in his drybag but chose to paddle the 9 laps through the harbor and Ventura Keys with only his thoughts and laminated encouraging quotes, enjoying the company of fellow paddlers for a lap here and there. His wife nourished him at their check point. Fellow Channel Islands Paddlers cheered him on throughout the day. Strangers began to recognize him and cheered him on from boats, docks and the shores as he passed them once again. By his final lap John had outlasted his Garmin watch and at 7:28pm he finally collapsed back onto the dock he started from, surpassing his 55-mile goal.

Not sure what the next challenge maybe, John does have his eyes set on a race called Seventy48. Paddlers paddle 70 hours within 48 hours.

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