‘Runs in the family’: A father and son paddle Hawaii

Paddle Hawaii

Gary and Matt Wise competed in the Sharkbite Challenge at Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Fla., held in April 2014.

Special to The Sun
Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 12:33 PM.

Three hours, 16 minutes and 23 seconds. That’s how long it took Gary and Matt Wise to cross 26 miles of Pacific Ocean on a tandem outrigger canoe.

And that was just another day at the office.

Gary and Matt Wise are a father and son who live in South Walton and compete professionally in water sports. Their latest venture took them to the islands of Hawaii to compete in the Kai Wa’a Maui to Moloka’i race, 26 miles of open water and unpredictable conditions.

“When the Hawaiians describe the conditions as ‘epic,’ you know you’re in for an exciting and challenging experience,” said Gary . “There is no way to really prepare here in Florida other than to get out and train in all the different conditions we get here.”

But nothing could prepare them for Mother Nature’s wrath.

“Ten-foot ocean swells that form 20-foot faces and push you along like riding on the front of a freight train,” described Gary .

It was the biggest obstacle his son Matt had ever faced.

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