Do More of What Makes You Happy

The start of the Molokai to Oahu or M20 Paddleboard World Championships is this weekend and we got a chance to speak with Garmin Athlete and Stand Up Paddleboarder Jenny Kalmbach who is preparing make her 8th appearance at the M20 Championships.

“The Molokai to Oahu race is different from any other paddling race in the world because of its unique format; paddling from one island to another,” said Kalmbach. “It’s not just that it is a channel crossing that makes it difficult – it is that it is a specific channel. The Kaiwi channel, or the Channel of Bones, is recognized as one of the toughest races on water and for good reason! You never know what you’re going to get when you get out there. It could be windy with 25-30 mph winds and waves over 10 feet or it could be flat and glassy. Not only do you have to navigate the winds and waves, you have to deal with the intense heat.”

Jenny Kalmbach

Between the fierce competitors and the unruly natural elements, Kalmbach is so excited to be back. “There’s something so profound and special about paddling across the channel,” said Kalmbach. “It’s powerful. I guess maybe that is what I keep going back for – to experience that feeling year after year.”

This race will be different kind of experience for Kalmbach who lost her father earlier this year to esophageal cancer. “My dad was my biggest supporter. I’m the athlete I am today because of him,” said Kalmbach. “He believed in me, more than I believed in myself and he wanted me to succeed because he know I had what it took.” After his passing, Kalmbach wasn’t sure she wanted to race anymore. She didn’t have a lot of time to train, nor the desire to train or race, but she slowly took it day by day and after a few weeks she started to see progress. “I think in that moment, my dad was showing me that I still had it in me. I just had to believe in myself,” said Kalmbach.

Father Daughter

Kalmbach’s father always showed her that the most important thing is to do what makes her happy and to follow her heart and do what she loves. So that’s what she’s going to do. It isn’t about competition this time, it’s about being happy. “This year, it’s about me going out there and being in the channel for my dad and with my dad. I know he would be proud of how far I have come and for not throwing in the towel months ago,” said Kalmbach. “I know he will be out there with me and no matter what happens, I know he will be proud of me.”

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