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Once again, sitting on an airplane about to taxi and fly to Tennessee. I’m not complaining. This summer has been full of flights but this one comes on the tails of a classic fall road trip I just took with my 4 year old son to California.

The plan was simple. Get to the coast quickly and be in the water as much as possible. The big difference in this excursion is we didn’t take any boats, only boards. On my roof was the new Jackson SUPerFishal and SUPerCharger as well as my 11’6 Laird. A perfect quiver for touring, surfing, cruising and fishing the Cali coastline. Two weeks of fun in the San Diego sun.

One of the biggest highlights of the trip came within the first few days when we paddled the SUPerFishal out to a break that is only accessible by boat. While you are allowed to drive to the point at Cabrillo National Park, it is illegal to paddle out there. Due to that law you either paddle several miles out or hop on a boat for the three mile one way trip to uncrowded waves. We loaded the SUPerFishal up with a cooler, dry bags, three surf sups’ and fishing poles and took off from Kellog beach at about 9am. By 10:30 we were looking at perfect reeling head high surf with only three other guys out (they accessed it by power boat). I anchored the Fishal, untied my surf SUP and was riding waves in minutes. The plan worked flawlessly! The versatility of that board continues to amaze me and everyone that sees it on the water.

Another day that won’t soon be forgotten by me or my son was a paddle in La Jolla that brought us face to face with seals and leopard sharks. While I’m a huge fan of running rapids on the SUPerCharger I have come to love it for getting my two boys out on the water with me. It’s stable, buoyant and can be loaded up with gear. In this case mask, fins and snorkel along with my camera and gear. The board was the perfect tool to not only access the area the sharks were in but to also act as a dive platform. River (my son) was nervous at first but was soon hanging his head in the water to check out what was going on and then moved into the water to swim with the sharks too. At one point he simply hung off the back grab handle and let me tow him around while he searched the clear water for more sharks. He was so proud and stoked at the same time. It’s all he has been able to talk about in the week since the swim.

One other notable session came when I decided to see how the SUPerCharger would surf in the ocean. Keep in mind this board was designed with river running and standing wave surfing in mind and until then, had never caught a moving ocean wave. A chest high swell at Sunset Cliff’s break known as Garbage was an ideal spot to see what it could do. From the paddle out to the first wave I caught that connected all the way thru to the inside, I was instantly surprised at it’s performance. I’m not going to try and convince anyone this board is a wave ripping ride but it worked way better then I expected. Easy to catch waves on and make some small bottom and top turns along the ride. It’s stability made it simple to stand on while waiting in the shifting currents and it’s deck design made punching waves easy for the paddle back out to the line up. While I prefer a more modern specific surf shape, the Charger was a fun option and proved to me once again that this is the most versatile SUP I have ever stood on.

And to round out our trip and wear out my son before the 15 hour drive back to Colorado, we did an urban paddle around the USS Midway in downtown San Diego. It was an easy adventure made possible once again with the SUPerCharger. Pull up in the parking lot, throw the board in the water, load two kids on it (I took River and his three year old friend Holland) paddle over and up close (close enough to touch it) and give the boys another experience they won’t forget. From bow to stern, under the anchor to the back of the flight deck we were able to see this aircraft carrier from a much different vantage point then the ships one million visitors do annually. And I dug it as well. Seeing this massive decommissioned military vessel from my little 9’6 river runner was humbling. Not only from the sheer size of the ship but to also realize and remember all the sacrifices our service men and women have made over the years and are still making. Gob bless the USA and the people that protect it’s freedoms.

And now back to the plane. I’m stuffed in the back with my IPad in my lap and my gear bag in the overhead, landing in about an hour now. My next stop will consist off slaying fish, paddling the Ocoee and Caney Fork, surfing Rock Island and enjoying time with the Jackson family and their incredible network of retailers. I’m feeling really blessed these days. Not only for the paddling but for the time I get to spend with those I love in amazing places. It’s important to keep the adventures going but also include others. To get people stoked and out of their cubicles, shells and comfort zones. We need to keep each other motivated, inspired and pushing forward. And I can only imagine my son in day care right now. He’s firing up the other kids with his stories of swimming with sharks and seals, surfing waves and touching aircraft carriers. Makes me smile just thinking about it. Get em’ son!