Pictured is Eli Andersen of Portland, Oregon, with a 15’ redwood paddleboard. Eli makes his own paddleboards and kayaks on which he does long, solo paddling adventures. This board was made from wood salvaged from his mom’s deck. It weighs about 50 pounds. Eli made it for a solo circumnavigation of Haida Gwaii in British Columbia that he will attempt this summer. He will paddle about ten miles a day. At this pace Eli will complete his trip in two and half months, his window being June 1st to August 15th.
Eli has already paddled the entire Oregon Coast — which also took him a full summer to complete — and solo kayaked the length of the inside passage from southeast Alaska to Washington. On his Oregon coast trip he paddled about fifteen miles a day, carrying four or five days of supplies and camping gear. Then he would hitch hike back to his truck, drive back to his board, camp for the night and re-supply and then do it all over again. There are very few roads in Haida Gwaii, so he will have to talk fishermen into dropping off supply packs at various locations on the islands.
Eli says he gets in rhythm when he is paddling about two miles from shore. There’s less current out there and it seems to be where he gets his best glide. He said that whales, dolphins and birds seem to prefer traveling along this watery thoroughfare as well. Eli does these paddling adventures for no other reasons than to see a place. No cause, no fanfare — he just really loves being out there.