Kevin Cody

Novice paddlers get stand-up advice from Laird Hamilton

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Emma Rawitz, 6, of Manhattan Beach gets a paddling lesson from Laird Hamilton. Photos by Kevin Cody

Emma Rawitz, 6, of Manhattan Beach gets a paddling lesson from Laird Hamilton. Photos by Kevin Cody

Emma Rawitz, 6, of Manhattan Beach was in tears on the King Harbor Marina dock, waiting for stand-up paddleboard lessons to begin. A dozen people, including Emma’s sister Bella, 8, and her mother Caroline were waiting for the free lessons Tarsan Stand-up Paddleboards offers every Wednesday.

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Her mother assumed Emma was afraid and sought to reassure her. But she wasn’t afraid. She was mad. She didn’t want to be paired with her big sister. She wanted her own stand-up paddleboard.

“Give the little girl her own board,” a big voice boomed. “Usually little kids are afraid. If she’s not afraid, don’t discourage her.”

Bella, 8, and Emma, 6, tandem paddle in King Harbor.

Bella, 8, and Emma, 6, tandem paddle in King Harbor.

The voice belong to Hawaiian waterman Laird Hamilton, the person widely recognized for popularizing modern stand-up paddleboarding. Hamilton also pioneered towing into big waves. He was visiting Tarsan owner Gene Smith to thank Smith for selling Laird StandUp paddleboards.

Hamilton suggested Bella sit on the board put in the water for her, then wrapped her tiny hands around a paddle and continued coaching her as she paddled away from the dock.

Rupert Nottall-Smith, Gene Smith and Laird Hamilton discuss Hamilton's new paddle.

Rupert Nottall-Smith, Gene Smith and Laird Hamilton discuss Hamilton’s new paddle.

Hamilton then took time to sign boards and talk to the paddlers about his new monocoque paddle. Rather than the blade and shaft being joined by a collar, the two pieces are woven together so the full length of the shaft bends, reducing stress to the body and improving recoil, he explained.

Tasan's Brad Fiffe and Gene Smith with shaper Pat Ryan and Laird Hamilton.

Tarzan’s Brad Fyffe and Gene Smith with shaper Pat Ryan and Laird Hamilton.

Earlier in the afternoon, Stabler was interviewed by Hermosa Beach-based StaticRadio.com

The interview will air from 7 t o 10 p.m. on StaticBeachRadio’s Friday Night Live. It may also be heard on demand after July 22.

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