What would you say is the biggest challenge in your profession?
Kalama: Trying to stay competitive is an extreme challenge. I’m probably the oldest top competitor in racing. Most of the guys I’m competing against are in either their upper teens or twenties, and I’m almost 48.
What advice do you have for someone who’s looking to try stand up paddle boarding?
Kalama: My best advice is to find the biggest, widest board you can get your hands on for your initial experience because it will make it so much easier to learn. It doesn’t take very long to learn the dynamics of the balance, but giving yourself the best chance for success is largely dependent upon the stability of the board that you use.
What is the longest solo paddle event that you’ve ever done?
Kalama: In 2004 or 2005, I did 89 miles from Oahu to the south shore of Kauai. Very seldom does this path get crossed under human power so it’s a relatively significant challenge to do it self-propelled.
What was it like working with Richard Hammond?
Kalama: My first impression upon meeting him was that he was very likeable. I quickly knew that he just reduces the stress and makes it easy to communicate with, so I figured we could have fun.
How do you think Richard did as a paddle boarder?
Kalama: I think he showed a lot of perseverance and will, quite honestly. What he tried to accomplish is something where you should have weeks and months of training for, you know? It’s always impressive to me to see people that understand that they’re not very good at a task, but just figure out a way to get it done. I like people who are tough-willed and don’t give up easily, and Richard did it with a smile and a sense of humor.
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