Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sea Kayak Rock Gardening Classes in Mendocino

This weekend, we taught our first sea kayak rock gardening class of the season on the Mendocino Coast.  We had a full class with 6 students.  For rock gardening, we find this to be the ideal number - 3 to 1 student to instructor ratio and 8 paddlers total on the water.
Sea Kayak Rock Garden Class on the Mendocino Coast
This weekend's class was the first of our Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series.  Several years ago when we were teaching a sea kayak rock gardening class, we asked the students for their goals for the class.  The students' goals and expectations ran the spectrum from strokes to rescues to play to sea caves.  Last year, we decided to specify the skills and topics of our sea kayak rock gardening classes   And decided to make them 2 day classes.  Day one focused instruction and day two was application.   Volia` - the Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series was born and our students love it!!!
Sea Kayaking through one of Mendocino's many arches
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series is
Touring Ocean Rock Gardens - reading the water, route planning, and teamwork for rock gardens
Surfzone FUNdamentals - launch and land with control, safety, and finesse
The Art of the Pour-Over - timing and playing on and in rock garden features
Magical Mendocino Sea Caves - tips n tricks for kayaking in sea caves
Sea Kayaking into Mendocino Sea Caves
Student may select to do one or all four of the classes depending upon their skills and interests.  There is the option of a 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Course over Labor Day Weekend and also the option for paddlers to their friends or paddling club and schedule a custom class.
Rock Garden Safety and Rescue Training
This weekend's Touring Ocean Rock Gardens was a great start to the series.  We had beautiful weather, gray whale sightings, and lots of learning.  Many of the students are coming back in a couple of weeks for Surfzone FUNdamentals.  This is exciting because we get to build upon skills taught to give them a comprehensive skills set for sea kayaking rocky coastlines like the Mendocino Coast, and share with them different stretches of the Mendocino Coast.
LFK's Jeff Laxier teaches navigation basics to plan our route
Of course, the benefit of choosing Liquid Fusion Kayaking for sea kayaking on the Mendocino Coast is that it is our backyard playground both on and off the water.  We are the local experts on kayaking but know the other important things to do, eat, and drink on the Mendocino Coast.
Cate and Jeff sharing kayak crabbing with their students.  Cate is about to put this female Dungeness Crab back in the water.  Photo by Lisa Shapiro



Monday, May 9, 2016

Whitewater of the Sea

Jeff and I returned home to the Mendocino Coast from our Spring Run-Off Tour to find plenty of whitewater at home on the Mendocino Coast.  This weekend we had a foursome of novice (some even first timers) come out to play with us on our first Whitewater of the Sea Adventure of our spring/summer season.
Whitewater ocean kayaking on the Mendocino Coast
Whitewater of the Sea is whitewater kayaking in the ocean.  Also known as rock gardening or rock hopping, whitewater of the sea is a combination of whitewater kayaking and surf kayaking.  It involves timing to work with the ocean's energy to ride features, surf waves, and traverse through rocky passages.
Waves, rocks, whitewater, and kayaking in Noyo Bay - Fort Bragg, California.
We designed our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures to accommodate all skill levels.  We have had beginners and expert kayakers out with us on the same trip.  We run our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures on a Class II Level based on the international whitewater river classification system.  Class II is low threat and high FUN.  For more advanced paddlers, Class II is a great place to build skills and to get ready for our more advanced whitewater of the sea adventures including our Mendocino Whitewater Surf Safaris.  For anyone who wants to kayak rocky coastlines like the Mendocino Coast, we highly recommend our whitewater of the sea adventure as a fun way to learn how to read the water, swells, and currents in and around the rocks.
Kayaking among the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast.
We use whitewater kayaks for whitewater of the sea because of their maneuverability.  Our goal for the trip is not to go far or fast but to have the most FUN.  Whitewater kayaks in the 8-10 foot range have the speed to surf waves and get us where we want to go but also the maneuverability for tight passages through rock gardens and into tunnels and sea caves.  Experienced kayakers who have a reliable roll may use a decked whitewater kayak for the class.  For those without a reliable roll, we have a fleet of whitewater specific sit on top kayaks that are user friendly and fun.
Kayaking and playing in the Pacific Ocean on the Mendocino Coast
The Noyo Bay in Fort Bragg, California is an awesome playground.  We have counted over 30 different play features in the bay.  We have lots of options for play depending upon ocean conditions.
Rock Gardening is kayaking a rocky coastline - waves add to the fun.
We usually run our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures 3-4 times per week May through September 1.  If you are looking for a fun adventure for your family and friends or a way to build your ocean kayaking or whitewater kayaking skills, definitely give us a ring and let us share our playground with you.
Welcome to Our Playground!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Whitewater in the Sun

Last weekend, Liquid Fusion Kayaking offered its Precision River Running Class.  This is a whitewater river kayaking class designed for intermediate whitewater kayakers that are looking to improve their river running skills.  Drills, drills, drills doesn't sound like much fun but really it is.  Several times, Jeff and I had to urge our students down river onto the next rapid because they were having so much fun and success at each spot.
Whitewater kayaking class on Mendocino 's Eel River
The paddlers in our group had quite different paddling backgrounds.  Several were primarily sea kayakers getting into whitewater river kayaking and several were primarily whitewater kayakers looking to crisp up their skills.  I guess anytime you have sunny warm days, whitewater, kayaks, and a enthusiastic crew; fun is likely to happen.

We had a perfect flow on the Eel and had it all to ourselves.
Surfing on the Eel River
I had my first time giving Jackson Kayak's 2 Fun a try on the river.  It took me a day or so to shift gears from the speed and forgiveness of the Zen but after that - it was TOO FUN!
Cate surfing a river wave in the Jackson Kayak 2 Fun.
I have to admit that Monday was my favorite day of the weekend.  After 2 days of instruction, we offered a "Play with LFK Day."  Our goal was to run the river.  Of course we would coach and offer tips but the goal was for the group to put the weekend's training to use and to have a fun day running the river.
Boof!
I knew it was going to be an awesome day when I eddied out at the bottom of the first main rapid and watched our students tick tack toe eddy hopping back and forth across the river as they went down the rapid.  It was affirming that Jeff and I were successful coaches in giving them the skills and confidence to play their way down the river - precision river running.

If you want to learn to whitewater kayak, we are teaching a whitewater kayak course for those with sea or surf kayak experience April 2-3, 2016 and Precision River Running April 9-10, 2016.  Contact us for more information and to sign up.
Whitewater Kayaking on Mendocino's Eel River