Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Team Minnesota

It was the end of January 2017.  The high temperature was 5 degrees.  Winter was in full-on, cold, blustery force . . . in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Here on the Mendocino Coast, we had a break from the rain and 4 glorious days of sunshine, surf, and whitewater.  It was quite a treat for the crew of 7 Minnesota paddlers who came to California to paddle with us.  Guest instructor Ben Lawry joined us in sharing the fun of whitewater kayaks in the surf and on the river with them.
Ben Lawry does a hilarious broach surf imitation.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Day one we began with outfitting whitewater kayaks and then headed to a local flat water estuary for a warm-up in the boats and introduction to skills specific to whitewater kayaks. 
Outfitting whitewater kayaks for surf and whitewater kayak fun. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We played, drilled and drifted with the ebbing tide to the mouth of the river and for surf zone training.  Jeff, Ben, and I tag teamed instruction and coaching roles.  I of course got to play in the sand.
Cate Hawthorne coaches students on surf zone etiquette. Photo by Jeff Laxier
The group got their first thrills and spills in the whitewater kayaks in the surf and set the foundation for our upcoming days.  A highlight at the end of the day was watching the United States Coast Guard helicopter come in and pick up the crew that was doing maintenance work on a navigational aide on an off shore rock.
United States Coast Guard at work on the Mendocino Coast. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Day two, we had more sunshine and perfect spilling waves for learning to surf.  Our paddlers started to get the hang of the short boats (of course they had some expert coaching).  The day was full of lots of rides and smiles.  It was fun to have a trio of coaches.  One coach was on shore taking giving feedback and assisting swimmers.  One coach was in the paddle out zone, and one was in the take off zone. 
Deb dropping in on a friendly wave. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
The most challenging but my favorite role was coaching from the take-off zone.   It is a juggling act of sitting just inside the breaking waves, constantly assessing and reading the swells and ever changing conditions of the beach break, coaching students with different speeds and skills, and sneaking in the occasional surf.
Jeff and Fred finding room to share a wave. Photo by Jeff Laxier
Day three, we headed inland to share a whitewater river kayaking experience with our team from Minnesota.  Of course our destination was the Eel River.
whitewater kayaking Eel River
Whitewater kayaking on Mendocino's Eel River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
It was another sunny day but snow on the mountains reminded us it is still winter.  We used a favorite 2 mile stretch to coach the team on river running skills.

whitewater kayak eel river
Snowy hillsides remind us that it is January. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
A highlight was scouting and running Hearst Falls.  At this water level, Hearst Falls is a full class II rapid with multiple routes.  Jeff coaches the team on scouting technique and helps them pick out their lines.
Jeff introduces scouting technique on the Eel River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne.
There were many successful runs of Hearst Falls.  Jeff snapped this shot of the river right route from an eddy mid way down.
Midway down Hearst Falls on Mendocino's Eel River. Photo by Jeff Laxier
Day four was back to the surf.  This was one of the best days as we saw everyone's skills coming together as they got some really fun rides.  
Peggy catches on quickly to short boat kayak surfing. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We are looking forward to helping our new friends from Minnesota get a mid winter break.  Don't let them have all the fun - rally your paddling posse and contact us about a special kayaking vacation.
Kayak surfing in the winter on the Mendocino Coast. Photo by Cate Hawthorne

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Get the Scoop

Did you know that Liquid Fusion Kayaking has a new email newsletter?  
Mendocino Kayak Instructor and Guides
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Instructors Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne. Photo by June Ruckman Albright
Our new newsletter has photos, information on upcoming classes and events on the Mendocino Coast and beyond, and a monthly coaching tip.  Subscribers will get first dibs on our specials and early registration on our special events.

LFK's classes and events include sea, whitewater, surf kayaking, and ecotours.  New for 2017 are our multiday Lost Coast and Eel River kayak camping trips.  Subscribe to get more info and first chance to sign up

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    Monday, January 9, 2017

    2017 Mendocino Kayaking Classes and Trips

    Grab your calendars and plan to play with us in 2017.  We have lots of fun adventures planned in Sea, Whitewater, Surf (and the pool).  We are especially excited about our 3 day Lost Coast Sea Kayak Camping Trip and our 4 day Eel River Kayak Camping Trip.
    Whitewater kayaking and camping on Mendocino's Eel River.
    Sea Kayaking - In 2017, we will be expanding our Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Programs to include 5 day Intermediate/Advanced Adventures.  We will be continuing our monthly 2 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series May - August and offering our advanced beginner/intermediate 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Course over Labor Day Weekend.  BCU 3 Star Sea trainings and assessments and private lessons/custom tours will round out our sea kayak instructional program.
    Sea Kayaking in sea caves and rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast

    Whitewater - LFK's 2017 river kayaking program features LFK's Whitewater River Kayaking Class.  This class is designed for sea kayakers and other paddlers who have a solid foundation of paddling skills and are looking to learn to run whitewater rivers.  LFK's systematic approach will build upon your current skills to give you the skills for running whitewater rivers.  The next class in our progression is Precision River Running.  Precision River Running is for experienced whitewater kayakers looking to improve and expand their river running skills.  LFK is also offering guided whitewater river runs.  These are scheduled on the Monday after our weekend classes for our students to apply their skills and enjoy a day of river running with us.
    Whitewater river kayaking on Mendocino's Eel River

    Surf Kayaking -  We have been excited about our students' success in our 2 day surf classes so we are offering more of these in 2017.  Whether you are learning the surfzone for the first timelearning to surf, or working on making moves on the wave; our 2 day surf classes are paced for maximum success.  With 2 days, you get different surf zone opportunities and a skill progression that builds on the previous day.  For those looking for specific skills, we have private surf lessons and safaris.
    Surf Kayak Classes and Lessons on the Mendocino Coast

    Rolling - We have a beautiful community pool and a flexible schedule.  If you want to learn to roll or need a rolling tune-up, we can help.
    Rolling in Mendocino Recreation and Park District Pool
    Wilderness First Aid - Know how to help others in the wilderness.  LFK and the Mendocino Woodlands are hosting Bobbie Foster to teach a 16 hour course that includes a 3 year Wilderness First Aid Certification.

    Mendo Your Way - We are running our private lesson and custom tour special November 2016-March 2017.  Come see us to dial in your skills and play and explore the beautiful Mendocino Coast.
    Sea kayak surfing on the Mendocino Coast
    Family Friendly Kayaking Adventures - We are currently creating our 2017 Summer Tour Schedule for our family friendly Noyo Meander, Sunset Bird Paddle, Whitewater of the Sea and Ocean Adventure Tours.

    Family kayaking fun on Fort Bragg's Noyo River
    Whitewater Ocean Kayaking aka Rock Gardening on the Mendocino Coast