One of the perks of working with the Oar Board® team is getting to travel to exotic locations for rowing, photo shoots and testing out the equipment. We usually do this when our home waters here in the Pacific Northwest are a bit too cool for bikinis and bathing suits.

Watch the video footage here!

This spring I traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii along with rower Sarah Thornber and the Oar Board® designer Harold Aune. We simply rolled our wheelie bags containing our SUPs and Oar Boards® into the check-in at the airport and met up with them again in sunny Kailua, Hawaii.


The beaches of Hawaii can be a bit rough with breaking surf to launch easily so we visited beaches on the Kona, (or south side) of the Big Island which is sheltered from the trade winds and big waves. Our favorite spot is called Ho’okena Beach Park, and it’s home to a large community of spinner dolphins.

We had heard about these amazing creatures and how they seemed to enjoy the human attention that is in no short supply. Out of respect for their space, we decided to not get too close but if they liked us and wanted to come visit or play, we would be cool with that!

Sarah and I took out a double position Oar Board® setup on our new blue and white Adventure Row 16’ SUP. The surf was light and only two or three feet high as we launched, climbed aboard and rowed out into the open Pacific.


The blue water was simply amazing after out winter grey ones back home, so clear with so many shades of tropical blue. We were just wondering if the wild spinner dolphins were around that day or off fishing somewhere else when Sarah shouted “there they are!”


I think they were quite curious about this new long skinny boat with paddles on both sides as they swam right over for a visit. There were dozens of them and it looked like they were in family pods of up to a dozen or more. Large dolphins, medium sized dolphins and even little baby dolphins swam all around us and seemed to enjoy us being there rowing alongside them in our long skinny rowing boat.

Rowing with dolphins was the thrill of a lifetime and one of those tropical memories that will remain forever, (of course we really loved the warm tropical water too). We will definitely be back and next time, we may even get to see them jump and spin!