Watertribe OC-6 Ultra Marathon - 6 men working as 1 for 68 miles

YOLO Board riders Christian Cook, Michael "Westy" Westenberger, Chad White and Gary Wise, joined John Edwards and Rob Mirlenbrink to tackle the 68-mile, YES 68-mile, OC-6 Watertribe Ultra Marathon paddle on March 3. The 6-man team faced 25 mph winds on their 14 hour trek. The incredible journey of 6 men working as 1 is summed up best by Christian Cook:

Yesterday we paddled an Outrigger 6 Man Canoe in the Water Tribe FL Ultra Marathon - A 68 mile trek from Ft Desoto, FL to Grande Tours in Placidia, FL - With 20 to 25 mph winds with plus gusts in our face 99.99% of the time, and currents that seemed to try to rub the paint off our Canoe. Forty something miles in and I'm not sure of how many hours, and my personal moment had arrived. This is the... moment of "Doubt and Pain" that you realize why we are drawn to do what we do. This is one of my favorite places to be - although you have to pay a serious price to get to this starting point. Maybe it's because my thoughts are so crystal clear as my body ignores it's crys - I nick named this "Pure Honesty" - No longer is it physical but you have to decide with your head and heart whether this journey will continue. At this moment I looked around @ our crew, Chad, Rob, Gary, Westy and our Hui Kai Waa OCC leader John Edwards - And I was overwhelmed with pride and emotion as I witnessed all them as their break came up they would duck their heads to drink as shoulders and bodies were spent, filling their mouths with food and chugging their drinks on top of it, then while still chewing mumbling for the next guy to take his break they would quickly grab their paddles and get back to work. Knowing damn well their bodies were demanding they take a longer break. Then before their break was over their paddles hit the water with Precision and Power - it was like watching a badass machine do it's job without question - Smooth, Strong and Precise with no regard to their own personal challenges. I'm not sure what they felt on the inside but on the outside they were without a doubt the "Watermen" that I hold in highest regard.

It was truly an honor to paddle with our crew and the memory is branded into my Heart and Soul - Special thanks to our ladies for running to bridges to cheer us on, and Karen Mirlenbrink for going above and beyond to make sure we're dialed.

Big thanks to our loved ones and friends as you are the backbone of our commitment and strength.

When asked WHY, Westy responded: I thought about it for a day as to why I did this & it's tough to answer but really it's about one thing a friend said to me once. "Westy you can be one of two guys. The one sitting at the bar listening to the story or you can be the guy telling the story. You have to decide which one you want to be." I guess the 6 of us decided!

Rob Mirlenbrink added: I knew the word Ohana , but it wasn't until Saturday's 68-mile upwind journey that I experienced its true meaning. I am forever blessed to have five brothers, each which shared a personal connection during the journey that will stay with me forever. I joked when planning this adventure that I needed 5 guys "dumb" enough to want to paddle an OC-6 for 10-15 hour...s...non-stop! In reality I received an amazing gift, one in which words can only scratch the surface of. It was somewhere in the middle of our struggle when we were blasted, yet again, with wind that I looked around..."Chad's unyielding smile, Gary's silent leadership, Westy's contagious energy, John's amazing intuition, and Christian's ability to put our thoughts to words"...It became clear..."Ohana"...together we are equal, we are ONE!!!

Gary Wise: Christian, like everything you do, at that "forty something" mark yesterday not only did you over come the "Pain and Doubt" but turned it into a true motivation for all.... It was an honor to paddle with you blokes yesterday, and share those 68 miles. Awesome job mate,

True inspiration.

Gary Wise responded: Christian, like everything you do, at that "forty something" mark yesterday not only did you over come the "Pain and Doubt" but turned it into a true motivation for all.... It was an honor to paddle with you blokes yesterday, and share those 68 miles. Awesome job mate.