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Rower wanted more than a world record during his epic voyage to Hawaii.sports

In the early morning light on Sunday, July 24, a strip of land suddenly peaked on the undulating blue-green horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

Adrian Smith had to blink doubts. He may be a distant cloud of mist.

“It was exciting, but we were still unsure,” she said.

For more than a month, she and her crew of three had been paddled non-stop across the Pacific in two-woman shifts. They had been told hours before they should be able to see Maui.

“We were looking for it,” Smith said. “But it took a long time.”

Smith and her crew members Sophia Dennison Johnston, Libby Costello and Brooke Downs set out from San Francisco Bay on June 21 with the goal of sailing to Hawaii faster than any other female crew member in history. Did. Their quest, The Great Pacific Race, was the brainstorm of a Danville adventure and leadership development company called Lat 35.

By late afternoon last Monday, their 29-by-5-foot boat, “American Spirit,” had finally made it through the ordeals of the Hawaiian islands and reached the finish line at the Waikiki Yacht Club.

The journey of over 2,400 nautical miles (equivalent to approximately 2,800 land miles) took 34 days, 14 hours and 11 minutes. Their time smashed the previous record by 12 minutes a day.

reunion in tears

A celebration of their arrival was played the next day by ABC-TV’s Good Morning America. All the emotions came to a head when Smith and her 5-year-old daughter, Reese, ran to each other at the boat dock later this month. They crumbled into each other’s arms and exchanged a long tearful embrace, soon joined by her husband Jason.

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Adrian Smith had an emotional reunion with his daughter Reese after traveling more than 34 days from San Francisco to Hawaii. (Lat 35 photo)

“Perfect love with Reese and Jason,” Smith described their reunion to Noozhawk.

“What’s really unbelievable is that while I was cutting ties with my husband, something happened that I can’t exactly put into words,” she continued. has some space and a feeling that stems from having a strong desire to see him again.

“It felt like we were meeting for the first time since we started dating 13 years ago. , a rekindling of deep love and compassion for one another.

“There’s so much going on, especially with the logistics of this line.”

Smith, the owner and operator of a Santa Barbara yoga studio called The Power of Your Om, attended a crew training session last September. I was looking for a fourth rower when I asked if there was one.

At 42, Smith became the oldest member of the crew.

She was also the only one with no boating experience. The rest of her three were all in their mid-twenties and had just completed college careers in sports. Dennison Johnston and Costello were both competing at UCLA. A USC alumnus, his Downes was Costello’s teammate at Mountain Lakes High in New Jersey.

rower’s family

Lat 35 rowers hug after arriving at the Waikiki Yacht Club.
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Lat 35 rowers hug after arriving at the Waikiki Yacht Club. (Lat 35 photo)

The quartet became close like sisters.

“By sharing a little boat with each other, we made friends for life,” said Smith. We know the buttons, we know where to press and lean back, and we know where to pull back to give each other space and grace.

“I think that’s one of the best things about our team and seeing each of them do it in a gentle way at times and then in a slightly spirited way too. That’s my How to do it.

“I know that each of us comes from a place of love and compassion and that we all have a desire to ultimately enhance one another’s greatness. That was part of our mission statement. Tough love was hard to come by at times, but that’s where it came from.”

Before leaving for Hawaii, Smith spoke about how he sought out physical challenges since he was a child.

“I played competitive figure skating and Little League,” she said.

“I started running marathons when I was in my third year of university, and that led me to start doing triathlons around 2007. I can do it.

Smith admitted that he sought more than challenges and records during the voyage. She also wanted change.

“There were a lot of moments while I was at sea that I wanted a big epiphany moment to come,” she said. I knew I was going to be hit by… I wanted to move forward in the future.”

emotions packed

It gave her hope that at some point during her journey, a message reached her in the vast ocean.

“I was sleeping when I heard everyone was eating bananas,” recalls Smith. “They said ‘Oh my god! I found a note in the bottle! They parked the boat and Libby leaned over and lifted the boat…

“It turned out to be just trash. A large bottle of soap stuck to some barnacles.”

Adrian Smith paddles behind Brooke Downs during his shift in the 'Great Pacific Race'.
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Adrian Smith paddles behind Brooke Downs during his shift in the ‘Great Pacific Race’. (Lat 35 photo)

One day while having lunch on the dock with Costello and Downes, her desire for change hit her.

“I started crying… I said to them, ‘I don’t want to go back to my life and do it the way it used to be,'” Smith said. I’m not saying this, but I was looking for this opportunity to leave across the ocean and do something special and extraordinary.

“It wasn’t just about breaking the world record. The thing is… I don’t want to go back to just selling yoga memberships.

get back in shape

Since landing in Honolulu, Smith has been trying to find his footing.

“I’m starting to feel pain from doing everyday things like walking,” she said. “I haven’t walked in 35 days and my calves are starting to really hurt and my lower back hurts.

“The whole time I was on the boat, I didn’t really have any pain except for my hand that was holding the oars.”

Smith was surprised that the hustle and bustle of Waikiki didn’t upset her.

Adrian Smith dines with daughter Reese after completing a line from San Francisco to Hawaii.
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Adrian Smith dines with daughter Reese after completing a line from San Francisco to Hawaii. (Lat 35 photo)

“It’s a big city, bustling and noisy,” she said. “Coming to Earth, I thought I would be overwhelmed to be around people again, but it’s actually a level of openness and kindness that I personally have never felt before. ”

She and her family spent most of the last week at a friend’s house in the village of Hauula in northeast Oahu.

“Reese is on their horse,” she said. “We’re on bikes too. Jason’s swimming competitively while we’re here. Relaxing and playing on the beach in Hawaii.”

They will return to Santa Barbara on Tuesday. Smith plans to return to the yoga studio by next week.

Lat 35 is already recruiting crews for their future rowing venture.

“If someone breaks my record in the future, it’s great for them,” said Smith. “It’s like Roger Bannister, in mile he broke the four-minute barrier first. You know anything is possible.

“So for all the future sea rowers – women, men, teams of all sizes – if you want to get out there and break that record, I want you to do it.”

The Lat 35 crew waves before making its final approach to Waikiki.
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The Lat 35 crew waves before making its final approach to Waikiki. (Lat 35 photo)