30 October 2011

Standup Paddle Tybee to Hilton Head Crossing

Tim Malins and Pete Pollak decided to make the crossing to Hilton Head and return.
We left at about 9:30am Thursday November 3rd.
I rode the Naish Glide 17 while Pete opted for the somewhat more stable Naish Glide 12
We left well provisioned with plenty of water and snacks at low tide from Tybee's North Jetty. With a North headwind of about 4-6kts, there was some chop to battle with some waist high rollers in the shipping channel which we crossed after looking both ways.
After clearing the shipping channel, we hit some smoother water and kept a steady pace over 5mph.
We took special care not cross paths in front of shrimp boats.
In just under 2 hours of paddle time, we arrived on the South tip of Hilton Head Island.
After taking a break from some much needed water and snacks to replenish our energy and checking the wind and tide forecasts, we struck out on our return journey back to Tybee.
With the incoming tide and ENE sidewind, the return paddle was a lot more challenging than going. We had constantly keep an ESE course in order stay away from the strong currents around Daufuskie and the Savannah river mouth. However we kept a steady pace and safely made it back to Tybee's North beach.
The Stats:

Tybee To Hilton Head And Back
Nov 3, 2011 9:22 am
(valid until May 1, 2012)
View on Map
13.0 miles
Elapsed Time:
Avg Speed:
2.8 mph
Max Speed:
5.4 mph
Avg Pace:
21' 15" per mile
Min Altitude:
0 ft
Max Altitude:
29 ft
Start Time:
Start Location:
Latitude:32.024711º N
Longitude:80.843956º W
End Location:
Latitude:32.028963º N
Longitude:80.850656º W

I wouldn't recommend this trip to anyone who doesn't have a lot of experience with long distance paddleboard trips, and a lot of local knowledge of wind and tidal currents.
To put it into perspective, most elite class paddleboard races are about 6 miles long. This trip is a like doing two of these races back to back in one day, and dealing with the open ocean wind, chop, and currents at the same time. It's an advance paddle excursion to say the least and about the limit of what and experienced paddler can do in one day.