Adventurer plans solo kayak journey from CA to Maui

Adventurer plans solo kayak journey from CA to Maui
Published: Aug. 10, 2012 at 7:21 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Experts are calling it the kayaking equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. It's only been done one other time in history. Now, a self-proclaimed "professional explorer" is hoping to kayak solo from California to Hawaii. He launches this weekend.

48 year old Wave Vidmar - yes, "Wave" is his name - has made it his personal goal to kayak 3,100 miles from the Monterey Peninsula to Maui - with no support boats. His customized, tandem kayak will be a tight squeeze over two months.

"Being in small quarters, that's a tough deal," says Vidmar, "and to not have anywhere you can go, not to just be able to get up and walk around, stretch your legs. That, I've spent actually quite a bit of time mentally preparing for."

Other things to prepare for - everything from loneliness and isolation to sharks and hurricanes. He'll bring enough food for 80 days and a filter to get potable water - plus solar-powered electronics, like a laptop loaded with music and movies, satellite and mobile phones, and cameras. Vidmar says he's been visualizing this trip for some time.

"Basically, I've been in living in that kayak for many, many days before I've even gotten into it. I went through all the procedures of how I'd bathe and clean, cook, repair equipment, do the videography," Vidmar explains.

This isn't the first - or even the toughest - expedition for Vidmar. In 2004, he traveled from Siberia to the North Pole.

"It's funny. A bee sting or a mosquito will really bother me, but large waves and doing battle with polar bears or alligators, I quite like, and I feel comfortable with," he adds with a laugh.

If he paddles an average of eight hours a day, Vidmar expects he'll arrive on Maui within 45 to 65 days. The first thing he'll likely do once he gets here: eat a cheeseburger and take a shower.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.


How long will the expedition take? Approximately 45-65 days

What is the distance between San Francisco and Honolulu? 2047 miles in a straight line,

'as the crow flies.' My route is 3,100+ miles long.

There are other people with you, right? No, there are no shadow or support boats, just me.

Why are you doing this? Personal challenge, pushing the limits of what humans are capable

of, to inspire others, a strong educational component, and light research

Has this expedition ever been done before? Yes, once, in 1987. It's never been attempted

before or since.

How will you get drinking water? Using manual desalinators –water makers - I can pump

seawater through special filters to get potable water. It makes about 5 liters per hour.

What will you do if there's a storm? Ride it out. I'm even prepared for a potential hurricane.

How will you go to the bathroom? I'll hang over the side

Will you be fishing? Yes, I love sushi! But I won't count on fish for my daily food rations.

How have you been training for this expedition? Kayaking, bicycling, swimming, and

weights - I've been training for over a year and a half for this expedition.

Are you using sea anchors? Yes, I have three.

What happens when you sleep at night, won't you drift away? No, once I am off-shore my

route can vary hundreds of miles.

How will you sleep? I am using a tandem kayak and will stretch out inside between the two


How will you stay dry at night? I have two different covers: a hard cover that allows the kayak

to roll and self-right, and a lighter weight nylon cover.

How will you get power for your electronics? Using flexible solar panels strapped to the

deck of my kayak. They recharge the batteries and electronic devices on my kayak.

How long will you paddle every day? Roughly 8 hours, give or take. I'll let my body, and at

times, the weather, decide.

What happens if you get sick? I can talk with my expedition doctors and I carry an extensive

first aid kit.

How will you move about your kayak? By deploying inflatable sponsons and pontoons for

stability. In calm seas I can scoot about the kayak without aid.

Will you have pontoons for stabilization? Yes

Loneliness, isolation…. How will you deal with this? I generally don't get lonely, and I can

call anyone at anytime, send/receive emails, and have lots of things to do when I'm not

paddling, like wash clothes, conduct lite research functions, etc...

How much food will you bring? Approx 2.5lbs of food a day for 80 days.

How will you carry everything you need for 2+ months? Everything I need to survive - food,

water makers, gear, spare parts etc, all fits in my tandem kayak.

What will you do for entertainment? I have lots of music and hundreds of movies I can

watch. I'll also compose and record music during the expedition.

How will you cook your food or heat up water? Using an expedition JetBoil stove in a

special mount I designed, I can safely cook and paddle at the same time.

How many calories a day will you consume? Approximately 5,500 calories per day

What dangers will you face? Giant waves, being run over by ships that will never see me,

storms, hurricanes. Floating debris from the Japan Tsunami last year is probably my biggest


What about sharks? I'm not too worried about them. I have a special shark-repellant pattern

painted on the bottom of my kayak to repel Great White shark attacks. The pattern mimics pilot

fish and lion fish, both species that sharks avoid.

How big are the sharks you might encounter? The Great White sharks are around 17-20 feet long and can weigh 2 tons.