Wrightsville Beach’s Harrison Deisroth on the 2017 M2O
Our own Harrison Deisroth( Team NSP) has had the consummate paddler’s summer. From training with the Ka Lahui Kai team and competing successfully at the IVF Va’a World Distance Championships and ending it with winning the three-man relay division in this past weekend’s Molokai to Oahu World Championships with team mates Hobey Moss and Alexandre Bicrell. Harry took a bit of time out between the finish line and the podium to answer a few of our questions about this year’s M2O, which he did for the first time on a SUP. Congrats Harry!
How did this crossing compare to your previous crossings?
This crossing compared to other ones very differently. This crossing, in particularly, there was surf. When I soloed it in 2015, there was no surf at all, it was flat. And then the M2O on prone paddle board, there was surf but there wasn’t very much wind. And then Molokai Ho’e, there was wind but there wasn’t very much swell. So, this crossing in particular had swell, it had wind, there was surf the whole race and and it was honestly a blast! We were going so fast the whole time and it was just glides the whole day.
What was it like doing it on a sup? This was the first time on a sup for you, correct?
Yes. I’d never done it on a standup paddle board. Last year I did on prone but this was the first year I did it stand up. It was really hard, I’m not gonna lie. Since this was my first year doing stand up, my legs weren’t very conditioned for this race. After the first change my legs were pretty tired, especially my right leg because my stance is regular so when I surf a bump it’s behind me and it takes a lot of the forces from the waves, and that leg was dead right off the bat.
On SUPs it was also different because – one, you are standing up and I do a lot of outrigger so that was one of the largest differences, but also because in the bump you have to move around on your board, you have to stay active, you are balancing a lot more and I’m not gonna lie, it was very, very hard for me. But it was a lot, a lot of fun and the surf was fantastic!
What was really key for this race?
What was really key for this race was honestly just getting in downwind runs. Just getting time surfing, chasing waves, being one with the ocean, really learning movement patterns, for SUP in particular – of what you have to do to get into bumps, to stay on the bumps, to connect wave to wave, and to really move around in the ocean – doing downwind runs really, really helped with that, mostly because my conditioning was already there from training this summer for Tahiti, and then kind of maintaining that with interval workouts after the fact. But downwind runs are what really helped prepare for this race, especially since the surf was such a dominate factor.
What were conditions like in the Channel? How did they help or hinder you?
Conditions were big, they were windy, there was lots of swell. The swells were steep…it was like…it was a downwind run the whole race, let’s just say that. Of course, the bumps were coming from your right, so it was a little more complicated than just a straight downwind run but you had wind swell going somewhat north and then you had the ground swell going south – they were pushing us out so you would catch north then surf south – so you’d catch the wind going north then surf the big swells going south.
These factors combined with my skills being favorable to the flats and the small surf, I would definitely say that these conditions hindered me, but also helped me learn a TON in the long run for what I need to work on, what I should do in certain situations, how to surf, what to do breathing wise, how to use my body to get into bumps with minimal energy use and many other things.
What did you like about doing it relay?
What I love about doing relay is you can actually sit back and watch the race and you can cheer your team mates on. Of course you also don’t have to paddle as long as you would if you were to do it two man rely or solo. I did a three-man relay so I would go in for 15 minutes and then sit on the boat for 30 minutes. So you go out and your in for a short amount of time and you have a long rest. You can go pretty hard and then the you sit on the boat you can watch your team mates, what they are doing, see how conditions are treating them and how they respond. So from my perspective, I love doing relay because you can watch and learn at the same time, and then you can also paddle and learn at the same time.
You’ve been working really hard this summer both in OC and SUP – did the two disciplines help each other for M2O? How so?
I would say yes, I have been working really hard this summer, both in OC and sup – it’s been “Two a day” almost every day …just kind of feeling it out…some weights here and there when I can get a ride to the gym, and then downwind runs in the afternoon and maybe an interval session in the morning. But, I would have to really say that the two disciplines help each other, mostly because I have been doing a lot of V1, and in V1 you don’t have a rudder so you really have to get used to the movement of the ocean, and then get a feel for waves and when to bring it up and when to let the bump go so you can get on the next one, The way a canoe moves without a rudder also can apply to stand up.
V1 paddling helped me the most just for the feel for the ocean. Since I have been paddling OC1 for so long, I am so used to being very aggressive and not really listening to the ocean…I mean of course you’re listening to the ocean, but you kind of take advantage of the fact you have a rudder and you kind of skip the feel part. So VI outrigger paddling has helped a ton in the patience and feel aspect. And that translates right into stand up because …just like when you don’t have a rudder and you’re so out of control of your situation, you really have to adapt to the ocean, which VI paddle helps immensely with.
How did your coach Travis Grant help you?
One big way he helped me was he invited me on downwind runs with Team NSP and those runs were great because I had some people to, not necessarily compete against but kind of pace myself off of. And I got to watch Travis paddle and watch Titouan Puyo paddle and just by watching them navigate the bumps, as they of course scream past you going twice as fast as you are, I got to pick up some small things as to what they were doing – how they were moving back on their boards, how they were responding to and navigating bumps – that really, really helped me.
How was it to see Grant break the world record?
Honestly, it is the coolest thing ever! One, because Travis and I – he was our six-man outrigger coach and then he and Paddle Monster — it’s cool to know you’re on the same program as he is on. It’s just cool ‘cause that’s your coach, that you’re friends, and it was an honor to see him do it and he was absolutely stoked, and we’re all stoked for him!
What are you going to do next?
Whew! I’m sitting at home now, got a little bit of food in me, then the awards dinner …we’re gonna hang out with our team members and just have a good time with friends. I leave the Islands on Tuesday (August 1) and then from there I am going to enjoy being home for a little bit, take some time off and then jump right back in training for Chattajack! There’s a race at the end of August and I will have a race almost every weekend in September and October. So, a week off when I get home -I’ll be happy to get home- and then from there, it’s time to work!