Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Gone Surfing

Greetings Friends of Liquid Fusion Kayaking,

While parts of the country are putting their kayaks away and getting out their snow toys, we are spiffing up our surf kayaks.  This is the time of the year when you can expect our phone to go to voicemail because we have GONE SURFING.  We are thankful that Mendocino has a variety of breaks, and we have a quiver of surf toys for maximum fun in the surf!
Cate's HP Surf Kayak
Come surf with us!!!  Check our calendar below for numerous surf opportunities - Surfaris, Performance Surfing Classes, and Private Surf Lessons.  

You will also notice that Whitewater River Kayaking is starting to appear on our calendar.  Our fall rains have been priming the rivers.  We are expecting our favorite whitewater runs to be flowing well all winter and into the spring.

The holiday season is approaching.  Give the gift of adventure this holiday season with an LFK gift certificate (or put one on your wish list).  For convenience, we have a fast and easy online system for gift options.  Check out LFK's Gift Certificates.

Below is our fall/winter schedule.  Remember our special fall/winter private lesson rates are available through March.

November 2015
11/21-22 BCU 3 Star Sea Training - Have fun and speed your learning in personal skills  and group sea skills. (2 spaces available)
Rock Gardening in the Rock n Surf Safari
11/23      BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment - The paddler will demonstrate their ability to skilfully control their craft in the prescribed conditions through blending their body, boat and blade positions. (2 spaces available)
11/27-11/29 Rock n Surf Safari - Burn off some of those Thanksgiving calories surfing and rock gardening with LFK (2 spaces available)

December 2015

January 2016
1/1-1/3 Whitewater n Surf Safari - Go for the Mendo Whitewater Kayaking Triffecta!!!  Whitewater River Kayaking + Ocean Rock Gardening + Surf Kayaking = FUN!!!
1/16-1/17 Performance Surf Kayaking Class - 2 day surf kayak class for those looking to have more fun and skill kayak surfing
1/18 Surf Kayak Safari - Full day kayak surf safari - exploring and surfing various Mendocino County surf breaks

February 2016
2/1-2/3  Sea Rock N Surf Safari - Special 3 day sea kayaking, rock gardening, and surfing adventure on the Mendocino Coast
2/5-2/7  Paddle Golden Gate Symposium - 3 day symposium with kayak, SUP, and Outrigger classes.
2/13-2/14 Precision River Running Class - 2 day whitewater river kayaking class for intermediate paddlers
2/15  Class III Whitewater Run - run the river with LFK
2/27-2/28 Performance Surf Kayaking Class - 2 day surf kayak class for those looking to shred
2/29 Surf Kayak Safari - Full day kayak surf safari exploring and surfing various Mendocino Coast surf breaks
Performance Kayak Surfing on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by David Charles Smith

2016 is coming!!! - Next month, we plan to unveil our 2016 programs and classes but here's a preview of what's on the agenda of fun -

New for 2016 is LFK's Sea Rock n Surf Safari.  This Mendocino Trilogy involves a day of sea kayak rock gardening and touring the magical Mendocino Coast, a day focused on rock garden play - specifically pour-overs, and a day of surfing.  We have our first one planned just before Paddle Golden Gate Symposium to give paddlers the opportunity to paddle two of California's premier coastal environments - the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.  

In 2016 we are bringing back our 2 day Performance Surf Kayaking Classes.  We are also added "Play Days with LFK."  These include Surf Kayak Safaris and Whitewater River Kayaking Runs.

Whitewater Kayak Class on the Eel with Liquid Fusion Kayaking.  Photo by Mark Boyd

Best of days on the water,
Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Lumpy Waters 2015

If you missed Lumpy Waters 2015 - you missed a really fun symposium.  The good news is that the gang and Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak is doing it again next year so mark your calendars and sign up soon for Lumpy Waters October 7-9, 2016.

Lumpy Waters is much more than a sea kayak symposium - it is a community of enthusiastic sea kayakers.  There are opportunities for students of all skill levels to build skills for lumpy waters including surf zones and rock gardens with coaches who specialize in the lumpy realm of sea kayaking.  It is a training ground for upcoming sea kayak coaches and safety boaters and a showcase for industry leaders in sea kayak products.  Beyond the classroom, it is a fun event for like minded folk to gather.  Off the water, we share tales of adventures, plan new ones, and engage in silly symposium activities like Saturday night's pub quiz.

This year's Lumpy had a bit of everything including weather, coaches, classes, and entertainment.  The weather was spectacular.  There were sessions where we had both sun and rain but no wind.  The ocean was as cooperative as can be expected affording many good learning opportunities for our students.

Off the water, well let's just say sometimes what happens at Lumpy - stays a Lumpy.  We will share that Jeff and I were honored Friday night in the big tent to share our video - Mendocino County - Waves, Wildlife, and Wonder.  If you missed it or would like to see it again, we will share it with you here.  Be sure to turn the volume on your computer and carve out 11 minutes to see the wow's and wonders of our backyard playground.

For those who have been to Lumpy before but missed this year, Jeff was one of the celebrity coaches during Saturday night's pub quiz.  Like previous years, this year was full of antics.  All will remember Jeff's handstand lap dance.  Enough said about that.  It was all in good fun.

A huge thanks to Jackson Kayak for helping sponsor our attendance at the event.  Who knows what Lumpy Waters 2016 will bring, but one can count on it being FUN!!!  We have marked our calendars for Lumpy October 7-9, 2016 and encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Shifting Gears

Our gears shifted this month from our summer routine of daily nature history and wildlife watching tours and whitewater of the sea adventures to sea kayak instruction.
Sea Kayak Instruction in the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast of California.
We kicked the month off with our 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Training.  The students who completed this training raved about the instruction and experience.  We were stoked to see their skills increase exponentially.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino gets 2 Thumbs UP!
After the 5 day training, we managed to get away for a couple of days.  We were invited again to join the Tsunami Rangers for their annual retreat.  This year was their 30th annual retreat.  During this year's retreat, Jeff took his test to become a Tsunami Ranger.  Jeff is now a lieutenant in the Tsunami Rangers. Here's a video of the Tsunami Ranger's 30th Annual Retreat.

We left the Tsunami Ranger retreat a day early so that we could teach and present at the Headwaters Albion Bash.  Just before we departed, our Tsunami tribe gathered to wish us off.  Captain Kakuk issued the official invite for me to take my Tsunami Ranger test at next year's retreat.  I feel incredibly honored by their invitation and look forward to many more adventures with the Tsunami Rangers.
Colorful boats and colorful characters of the Tsunami Rangers kayaking in the rock gardens of  the Mendocino Coast.
So we left a little later than planned from our hidden beach on the Mendocino Coast and paddled at a steady pace to get to Albion for a 1pm class.  We paddled in at 12:20 and saw a couple of our students gathering for our class.  One commented that he thought it would be really neat if the instructors paddled up rather than drove up to the launch location. Hmmmm - we may have to do this again.

The Headwaters Kayak Shop in Lodi is run by Dan Arbuckle and The Headwaters Adventure Company in Redding is run by his parents Joe and Terri Arbuckle.  Each year they put together several kayaking retreats for their local kayak clubs and invite other kayakers to come as well.  The weekend after Labor Day has become a traditional weekend for them to come to the Mendocino Coast.  The Albion River Campground is a great venue as it provides camping and access to the beautiful Albion River Estuary and the Pacific Ocean.  Sterling Donaldson of Sterling Kayaks often attends and brings demo kayaks with him.  This year he brought the new Progression.
Sterling Kayaks Reflection and Progression.
We unloaded the camping gear out of our kayaks and rallied up our students for our Rock Garden Safety and Rescue Class.  This was a fun class as we had folks who had never had rock garden training before and some who have had quite a bit.  We had our experienced students building on their skills as we taught the basics.  It was great to have a variety of kayaks in the class as well - sea kayaks, long whitewater kayaks, and a sit on top kayak.  The principles of safety are the same regardless of the kayak and it was fun for everyone to learn the nuances of capsize recovery with the different kayaks.
Rock Garden Safety and Rescue Class on the Mendocino Coast.
Saturday evening, we did a presentation.  We have gotten in the habit of showing rather than telling folks what we do.  We didn't have a screen so a huge thanks to our friend Mark Boyd for keeping his van spotless for the LFK show.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking on the Big Van! Photo by Dan Arbuckle
Here's a video that we showed that we created to represent Liquid Fusion Kayaking.

We also did a video presentation of some of our adventures in the Lost Coast.  Here's a the Lost Coast video - (Please note if you are attending Lumpy Waters you may see some of this footage again.)

On Sunday, we guided a sea kayak rock garden tour.  We had great conditions.  There was enough swell and bumpy waters to challenge everyone's comfort; however, the swell was mild enough for us to explore some beautiful sea caves.  Jeff and I got to paddle the Sterling Kayaks Progression.  We had fun testing the Progression as a platform for rough water paddling, rock gardening, and guiding.

Many special moments happened during Sunday's tour.  As I assisted Jeff, I took time to watch our students faces as they went through challenging moments but also moments of pure bliss.  Several members of our trip have physical challenges and this tour was a monumental experience for them.
Sea kayaking in dynamic waters along the Mendocino Coast.
After the tour, I was feeling quite complete.  The past 10 days were packed with what Jeff and I enjoy about kayaking and why we run Liquid Fusion Kayaking.  However, the weekend wasn't over yet.  After lunch, we joined up with Dan Arbuckle  and a couple of other paddling friends for some rock garden play.  We took out the Progressions.  They ROCK in the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast!
Jeff and Cate Rock'n Sterling Kayaks Progression in the rock gardens of  the Mendocino Coast. Photo by Dan Arbuckle
It was a magical afternoon full of smiles and fun rides and a great completion to our fall shifting of gears into performance sea kayaking instruction and play.
Marcella enjoying an afternoon on the water in her Sterling Illusion.