Durability Test for Kahuna Big Stick Land Paddle (and Paddler) !

Today was a glorious 50-degree day in New Jersey, which is highly unusual for January.  I had to break out the Kahuna Big Stick land paddle and longboard and go for a skate!  Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea. 

I was coming down the biggest hill in Saddle River County Park, ripping fast, lining up to pass some joggers with dogs, when the dogs saw something on the other side of the path and were strong enough to pull over right across the path on their leashes. 

It was a split second decision, me or the dogs, and I decided to ditch instead of running them over.  Ouch!  I tried to brake but it was too late – instinct from on-water paddling kicked in and I ditched to the right side, landing on my torso (probably not optimal for ditching on pavement) – my paddle, board, Windows Phone, and Rudy Project sunglasses kept accelerating down the hill and ended up abut 50 feet down the path in front of me.

I have been experimenting with the RunKeeper software, and happened to be tracking my ride.  Here’s the moment before the crash.  I am the blue dot heading north on the map.  You can see just ahead where the GPS track goes nuts as the phone goes flying.  Just before I ditched I was going about 23 miles an hour.  You can see in the speed graph how the phone continues to accelerate down the hill up to 34 mph after it left my body before coming to a stop.  That means the paddle did the same.  Good thing I got the paddle and board pointed off the path before I bought it.


The good news is that no dogs or humans got really hurt.  I figured I’d be covered with blood and possibly have a dislocated shoulder.  But I had my safety gear on and escaped with only minor abrasions and a strained right pectoral muscle.  The rowing calluses on my hands kept the cuts from going too deep.  I credit my Crossfit work with kettlebell snatches and overhead squats with keeping my shoulder together – if this had been a year ago it probably would have popped.

Now for the interesting parts: 

  • The phone survived and kept tracking the ride!  That’s a pretty nice vote of confidence for the quality of Windows Phone devices. 
  • The paddle flew off the path into a tree, but suffered only scrapes that ruined the graphics.  I took some pics back at my car.  You can see how deeply the aluminum got scored.  I guess its now officially a “battle paddle.”  But this shows it’s a high-quality instrument.  No dents, no bends.


I still can’t believe I didn’t end up at the hospital.  I am sure glad I nixed the shorts idea, because I considered it given the temperature.  I guess 43-year old rowers/crossfitters are pretty durable too, as long as they have their helmets on!

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