Catalina Island, California
LOCATION: Catalina Island, CA | DATE: Spring 2011
Resting off the Southern California coast, Santa Catalina Island has been a symbol of escape and adventure for centuries. From early Explorers who cherished the safety of its harbors, to modern day vacationers, Catalina Island possesses the ability to transport its visitors much further than the 22 nautical miles it lies across the sea. The iconic harbor town, befittingly named Avalon , from the legend of King Arthur, means Bright Gem of the Ocean.
The perfect location to launch the first EXPLORE Project, an ongoing journey, intended to share with the audience a glimpse at the lifestyle and experiences that become possible through the sport of stand up paddling. Of course, adventure begins when things don’t go quite as planned and the team gets a little taste of just about everything along the different coastlines of Catalina Island.
Klamath River, California
LOCATION: Klamath, CA | DATE: Fall 2012
Winding through the temperate rain forests of Northern California and the coastal Redwoods, the Lower Klamath River offers a passageway to an ancient ecosystem. A place where the harmony of nature is on full display at every turn and the importance and meaning of the water can be seen in the eyes of the Native Americans who have lived there for over 7000 years.
The EXPLORE team spends 3 days on the River, absorbing the beauty of the area and knowledge from local guides who claim the group could be the first ever to standup paddle down the 23 mile approach to the river mouth.
Let the water move you, as it did us, to the Pacific Ocean along the Klamath River.
Hood River, Oregon
EXPLORE LOCATION: Hood River, OR | DATE: Spring 2013
EXPLORE Project: Hood River ventures to the iconic outdoorsy town on the Oregon banks of the Columbia River Gorge. A haven for windsurfing and kiteboarding, the region has quickly become a SUP destination with perfect downwind conditions that are formed on the Columbia River and great access to flatwater conditions on the area mountain lakes.
Tahoe SUP dealer, Big Winds, is right in the center of all the action in Hood River and are the experts on the conditions. Our guides wasted no time in showing us the goods and the group scores a perfect day in the epic downwind swells that run up river and chill out on Lost Lake at the base of Mt Hood.
LOCATION: Florida Keys, FL | DATE: Summer 2013
The non-profit, Mother Ocean, created a project called “Expedition Florida 500” to mark Florida’s 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing. XF500 spent 2013 in a year long exploration of the waterways of Florida raising awareness to the critical condition of the states main attraction, it’s beautiful aquatic environment. From atop his custom XF500 Tahoe SUP board, founder Justin Riney took on the challenge of utilizing a human powered Stand Up Paddle Board to empower a swelling number water enthusiasts.
Perhaps most importantly, the project created the “Ocean Hour” which invited anyone to join them each Saturday through stages of the trip, to coordinate a focused area cleanup of beaches and waterways. From the St John River, Indian River Lagoon, the Everglades and the Florida Keys, the group, with dozens of volunteers at each location, would collect impressive amounts of trash, debris and plastics from coastlines and spoil islands in the Sunshine State.
Through the Expedition Florida 500 Facebook page, Riney chronicled the journey and the miles covered by himself and paddle partner, Gabriel Gray. The XF500 page is brimming with photos and prolific observations from Riney out in the field, that is, when he doesn’t have a paddle in his hand.