Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle - September 2019 We're Back -ish Edition

  • Updated: September 25, 2019
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

September 25th, 2019

Once a month -ish a group of us get together and paddle around Newport Harbor after work. We launch from the public beach next to the Newport Aquatic Center in a combination of kayaks and SUPs and paddle out into the main harbor where we find a restaurant that either has its own dock or is within easy walking distance of a public one.  Others sometimes meet us there and we enjoy food, beer, and socializing before paddling back to the cars in the dark. We've been doing this for years all times of the year and in pretty much any conditions. Light, dark, rain, and the dead of SoCal winter where you're tempted to put a sweater on with your flip flops.

You can find write-ups of select pizza paddles here. If you're interested in joining us send me and email and we can let you know when the next one is happening.

We suspended the regular monthly paddles in May due to the whole me not working and spending the entire summer running amok in the outdoors thing. Since then we'd only been out a single time in July and both Jen and I were missing the feeling of paddles cutting through water.

So with me officially (-ish) back in town at the end of September we jumped at the chance to fit one or two more paddles in before we would once again be launching after dark. And as an added bonus this was my first chance to try out the camera on / risk dropping my unreasonably expensive new iPhone.

Due to the volatile nature of my schedule these days we ended up sending out the notice for this paddle only a few days ahead of time. As it turned out most of the other regulars were at Reel Rock, Sierra Club meetings, or out of town on their own trips so it ended up just being Jack, Jen, and myself paddling out of North Star Beach at 6:45 pm.

The fact it was just the three of us wasn't a bad thing as it turned out. The wind hit us the moment we stepped out of the car and we could see the current tugging at the buoy offshore. This was going to be a workout.

Fortunately we all had aggressive hard sided kayaks since I'm pretty sure anyone on a SUP or standard sit on top would have ended up blown back into Back Bay.

Once we turned the corner into the main channel we were no longer paddling directly against the wind and the going became a bit easier though I was still risking quite a bit each time I pulled out the phone to take a picture.

Dinner was once again at Mama's located where Pizza Nova used to be. We've continued going here more because they have a dock vs us loving the place. The food is all passable, the beer selection is passable, the ambiance is generic, and...dammit I really miss Pizza Nova.

On the plus side you can get pretty much any type of food and there's a mysterious $40 plate of nachos I'm constantly trying to convince Jen to let me order. #lifegoals

By 9:20 we'd wrapped up dinner, polished off our coffee / beer, and returned to our boats.

The new night mode on the iPhone 11 Pro was actually pretty damn impressive compared to what the iPhone XS could manage. There's still some blurriness around motion but it did an impressive job considering I was taking the picture in low light from a moving kayak.

The wind and current had died down a bit but it was still rough enough that we elected to go back the shorter way instead of paddling around the backside of Lido.

After a relatively pleasant paddle back we arrived at the beach by 10:30 pm and started the process of loading the boats and driving to a local pay and spray to wash everything down.

In the near term we're planning to do at least one more paddle in October and then there will be another break since I'm out of the country until end of the year. So sadly it looks like we'll miss the Harbor Christmas parade yet again.

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