Expedition paddler Wave Vidmar made some serious attention-grabbing waves this summer with his plans to retrace Ed Gillet’s historic 63-day crossing from California to Hawaii in 1987. The plans garnered plenty of media coverage, including that of the New York Times, though after numerous setbacks and pushing his launch date well into the winter, Vidmar’s attempt fell far short of the 2,200-mile mark. See the recent statement from his boat sponsor Seaward Kayaks below. The B.C. kayak crafters had equipped Vidmar with a custom expedition kayak suited to the task, featuring a hull nearly twice as thick as the standard layup of the brand’s Passat G3 kayak—a huge upgrade from Gillet’s modified stock 20-foot Necky Tofino tandem.
Here’s a little more info on the pictured boat for the expedition, according to Seaward’s Nick Horscroft: “The brief was to build a kayak to withstand the tremendous forces generated by large Pacific waves and potential impact from tsunami debris. The hull was laid up with multiple layers of matt and roving, with a Core-matt strip in keel area and finally Kevlar. The deck featured an extra wide Core-matt strip, extra matt and also a unique carbon-Kevlar weave. Additionally we reinforced the inside seam and hull with Nytex. This was a seriously overbuilt kayak. A standard Passat G3 weighs approx 105 pounds—this expedition kayak was 125 pounds—it was simply stunning!”
Seaward’s Pacific Expeditions Statement:
The final chapter of the 2012 Seaward Pacific Expedition with Wave Vidmar has now been written, albeit with an ending we didn't foresee. The following is from Wave's account of events:
At 3:50 p.m. on December 24, 2012, after months of testing and preparation, Wave Vidmar launched his 125-pound custom Kevlar / Carbon Fiber Seaward Passat G3 from Bodega Bay, California to begin his solo kayaking attempt to Hawaii. The weather quickly turned and after battling challenging conditions for 15 hours with waves breaking over his head, the kayak began taking on water and was being pushed steadily North East by the current. Wave made the difficult but ultimately correct decision and decided to return to shore to regroup. At 6:45 p.m. he summoned help by activating his rescue transponder. At approximately 9 p.m. Christmas day, Wave Vidmar was met by the Bodega Bay Coast Guard. They received Mr. Vidmar on board and towed the kayak behind their vessel. As they neared shore the kayak was submerged by a large wave and lost.
Throughout the preparations for the expedition the goal for Seaward was to be a part of a great story, to bring something unique to the paddling community and to 'paddle' in the wake of Ed Gillet's famed expedition of 1987. Many of you may not know this, but Seaward's co-founder actually built the kayak Ed Gillet's used to paddle to Hawaii while working at Necky many years ago. This is partly why Wave Vidmar's vision resonated so strongly with us.
Seaward worked very hard in support of the expedition and committed significant resources to this effort. Our over-riding concern has always been Wave's safety. We are obviously disappointed his voyage ended prematurely but Seaward is relieved Wave was recovered safely.
For all of you who have followed this story from the beginning, Seaward Kayaks would like to thank you for your interest and support. In particular we extend our sincere gratitude to the many media outlets who committed time to report on this expedition.
Seaward enjoyed getting to know Wave and his adventurous spirit was indeed inspiring. We wish Wave Vidmar all the best with his future endeavours and hope to see him on the water again soon.