OUTSIDE TELEVISION BLOG

Morgan Hoesterey is no stranger to audacious ocean challenges. In July 2008, with just eight months of paddling experience, she became the first woman to attempt and complete the legendary Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race solo on a standup paddleboard. Since opening the doors to women’s endurance racing, she has gone on to compete and place in the sport’s most prestigious events. This year she and fellow paddler Jenny Kalmbach became two of five people in the world to ever have standup paddled the entire Hawaiian Island Chain. The expedition, named Destination 3 Degrees aimed to raise awareness for plastics contamination in our oceans.

Currently, Morgan is a standup paddleboarder, surfer, freediver and photographer based in Honolulu Hawaii. She is sponsored by Joe Bark Paddleboards and Surfboards, Dakine, Quickblade Paddles, and Surf Stronger and is always on the lookout for her next big adventure.

POSTS

Submitted on

“That old line about life being a journey is true: If you are always looking to be satisfied by completing something, then you never will be. It’s about being out there and doing it. Accomplishing the mission is just one little part”

-Shane McConkey

“That old line about life being a journey is true: If you are always looking to be satisfied by completing something, then you never will be. It’s about being out there and doing it. Accomplishing the mission is just one little part”

-Shane McConkey

I have developed man-shoulders. Not since I “retired” from swimming back in 2004 have I looked quite as burly in a tank top as I do at this moment. My newly acquired masculinity can be traced back to all of the training I have been doing for the 32 Mile Molokai to Oahu paddleboard race that will take place tomorrow morning. A mixture of anxiety, excitement and a healthy amount of fear have caused me to spend as many hours out in the ocean as possible acclimating myself to as many different conditions as I can.

Being that the ocean is an inherently mysterious and unpredictable place, those training hours have been anything but boring. Each training run has come with a different situation, some good and some, well, let’s say…interesting. Like this morning for instance, when I was trying to come in to the beach through solid overhead surf. I was paddling along minding my own business ignoring the worried looks of the people around me as an overhead bomb of a wave detonated on top of me, taking my board (and half of my leash) with it. 15 minutes of swimming-induced punishment later, my board and I were safely on the beach being laughed at by my training partner who had just watched the entire thing take place. Or, the other day when we decided to paddle through an area that has proved to be “the portal to hell” time and time again…think balancing on a small piece of foam in the middle of a washing machine.

These situations are mostly difficult, often frustrating, and are always a challenge, which raises the obvious question: Why? Why do I do this to myself?

The answer is simple:  Because it’s fun. Training-induced Man Shoulders included.

Because the ocean hands you a different challenge each time you cross the Molokai channel, the last 8 weeks have been a giant learning curve all leading up to the unknown.  Each training hour logged has taught me more about myself, more about the ocean, more about overcoming a challenge and has been a consistent reminder that nothing is worth doing if you aren’t having fun. Going into a race like this, you can never be sure of the outcome, but for me, more than ever before it has been about the journey.  The fact that I am sitting on a balcony on the island of Molokai with more confidence in myself than I have ever had before already makes this year’s race a success.  The hard part is over.  Now all that is left for me to do is to go out into the channel, catch some waves and have a good time.

Accordion
Submitted on

Lately, I have found myself in constant adventure-planning mode. We have a fun one on deck for June/July of this year (details to come later), but for now it is all about the planning.

Once a trip transitions from a “little adventure” to something more along the lines of an “expedition,” its success lies in the details. Experience has taught me that one of the most important details is choosing whom you decide to travel with.

A friend once told me that there are two rules to adventuring:

#1. Come back alive
#2. Come back as friends

Lately, I have found myself in constant adventure-planning mode. We have a fun one on deck for June/July of this year (details to come later), but for now it is all about the planning.

Once a trip transitions from a “little adventure” to something more along the lines of an “expedition,” its success lies in the details. Experience has taught me that one of the most important details is choosing whom you decide to travel with.

A friend once told me that there are two rules to adventuring:

#1. Come back alive
#2. Come back as friends

Believe me, the second one is not always as easy as it sounds. No matter how well everyone knows each other, an adverse situation will bring out unexpected parts of each person’s personality, and it is important to know what kind of personality you are dealing with (including your own) prior to committing to a big trip.

Recently, I read this article by Steve Graepel on National Geographic’s Adventure site. In it, he breaks down adventure-types into four general groups: the Artisan, Rational, Guardian and Idealist.

Past adventures have taught me to really appreciate the Rational; “the Rationals have a no-nonsense, logical approach to decision making—either the plan is going to work, or it isn't…Without a doubt, these are your navigators with instinctive mapping skills.” My favorite Rational is a guy named Wayne Schaut--I find it best to bounce all crazy ideas off of him first. Inevitably, he will begin by reminding me that I am a glutton for punishment, list the reasons why, and will then pull out a map or a chart to help me come up with a way to make my ridiculous idea work. Here is a video of Wayne explaining the hazards of my desire to paddle across the Alinuihaha Channel, the water that separates The Big Island of Hawaii and Maui.

Another type that I really appreciate is the Idealist; “their strength is in their ability to be inclusive, protecting democratic input. As such, they will often rise to roles leading teams through friction.” As the peacemaker, this person is arguably the most important member of the team, making sure that all others feel important as well. In the same channel crossing adventure that Wayne was involved in, my father filled this particular role. His official title was “still photographer,” but the reality is that he was the glue that held the group together and his presence on that trip made it clear that every following expedition must have someone like him involved.

Graepel states that “people are complicated; we’re not likely to radically identify with [any of the four] temperaments,” and I agree. I think that anyone with an adventurous spirit will possess qualities from any or all four of the personality types. I tested as an Idealist, but frequently call or text my friends with the phrase “so, I’ve got an idea…before you say no, just hear me out...,” an Artisan trait. The Guardian in me “becomes antsy until a decision is made in times of change,” and “prefers the meticulousness of a timeline.”

It is difficult to know how an expedition will play out until you are right out in the middle of it. For me, the past has taught me to understand my own faults and weaknesses and to be more tolerant of those of my friends. Right now, in the middle of the planning process, there is only one thing that I am sure of: at some point, something will go wrong. Down the line, we might not remember what exactly went wrong, but we will remember how we chose to handle it…together.

For more on the personality groups and to find out which one you fall into:
http://www.keirsey.com/sorter/instruments2.aspx?partid=0

Accordion
Submitted on

“So what you are saying to me is that you hold your breath…swim to the bottom of the ocean…into a dark cave…that is full of sharks…and you think that this is normal?”

“So what you are saying to me is that you hold your breath…swim to the bottom of the ocean…into a dark cave…that is full of sharks…and you think that this is normal?”

I get this response quite a bit when people find out what I do for fun. Lately, my go-to activity when I don’t have a lot going on is to freedive down to visit my shark friends that live in a wreck found on the south shore of Oahu. Most people see this as an activity that combines several of our worst fears: drowning, the dark, claustrophobia, sharks, etc. For me, however it is my happy place. I feel comfortable there, and while I understand that people might think that this is weird, it brings up the question: what is “normal”, anyway?

I just finished reading the most recent Outside Television blog post by Laurenne Ross, where she writes about crashing at 75 mph while skiing. Certainly that isn’t “normal.” I will take a cave full of sharks over gravity any day. And speaking of gravity, each post by Majka Burhardt or Kim Havell about climbing or winter ski expeditions give me butterflies in my stomach just thinking about them.

The point is, that I think all of us “outdoorsy types” have a skewed sense of normalcy. One person’s nightmare is another person’s adventure and pushing ourselves into situations that are challenging is what ultimately keeps us going. We do it because we love it, and sometimes there is no explaining the things we love. While out of the ordinary for a lot of people, these challenges are a normal part of our lives, and I think that the other bloggers would agree that if going through life without doing the things you love is normal, then who wants to be “normal” anyway?

Accordion
Top