Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to the Mendocino Coast

Charts are spread across the kitchen table and photo galleries are zooming across our computer screens as Jeff and I reconnect after our separate paddling adventures over the past week. Of course our best adventure of the week happened when we both returned to the Mendocino Coast for a sweet sea kayak rock garden session with some special guests.

Jeff just returned from the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium. He ventured down a few days early last week to take a BCU 4 Star Assessment (yes they were the group that was on the channel 5 news jumping off the sea wall). After the 4 Star Assessment, he was there for the weekend as an instructor in their rock gardening classes.

Jeff had a great time. He passed his BCU 4 Star Assessment, got to coach paddlers in around the rocks, reconnect with old friends, and meet new ones. We are both stoked that Jeff had the winning raffle ticket for a new drysuit of his choice from Kokatat. Thanks for all the suggestions and comments that it should be a women's size small; however, Kokatat just gave my drysuit some love and I am happy to wear it for another season.

Yes, last week was a drysuitless week for me as my suit was in the shop but not one that didn't see me on the water. My adventures included focused work on our 2010 books in preparation for tax season (not the funnest adventure), teaching private sea kayak lessons, and playing with the Gold Country Paddlers on the Eel River.

The 2 days on the Eel were fun as significant rainfall during the week had the river running at a moderately high level. On Saturday, we did the Outlet Creek to Dos Rios Run at about 4200 cfs which made for some big waves and big hydraulics. Here's Jerry the organizer of the weekend doing a little river surfing.

On Sunday, I joined the group for the Hearst Run - a 17 mile wilderness stretch. This is a Class II run with one Class III rapid that is known for good wildlife viewing. We were a chatty group and didn't see a lot of wildlife but it was a gorgeous paddle at a fun flow.

I was excited to get a photo of one of the wild boars that we saw trekking up the hillside.

I also got a photo of the remains of a Wenonah Canoe on the banks. Geee . . . no roads around. I hope that they didn't have to hike out.

The highlight of our week though was the unexpected guests that showed up at our house after the symposium. The guys had a great time paddling together and decided to indulge in a play day in the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast on their way north. It was AWESOME to share our playground with such a talented group of paddlers. These guys definitely ROCK!!!

Dave White - P&H Team Paddler and Alder Creek Instructor

Matt Nelson - BCU Instructor and P&H Team Paddler

Bryant Burkhardt - Paddle California and instructor for California Canoe and Kayak

Paul Kuthe - Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak in Portland, OR

Monday, February 14, 2011

Paddle Your Sweetie!

Tandem Paddling- couples either love it or hate it.

Jeff and I don't paddle tandem much but sure have fun when we do.

Happy Valentines Day!!! Take your sweetie out for a good paddling!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Back into the BCU

When Jeff taught for Aqua Adventures in San Diego, he had the good fortune of being introduced to the British Canoe Union (BCU). The BCU has developed a structured progression to guide and measure paddlers in their paddling skill progression. Paddlers can earn star awards in sea, whitewater, surf, and canoe. Star awards range from 1-5 star with 1 being introductory and 4 and 5 being advanced skills including leadership.

Jeff has been working toward keeping his coaching and star award certifications current. Jeff has BCU star awards in Sea, Canoe, and Surf and is a level 3 Sea Coach (one of only 2 in California). This weekend we held our first BCU events on the Mendocino Coast.

On Saturday was a fun 2 Star Assessment that involved basic paddling skills in a variety of craft. We used sea kayaks, whitewater river kayaks, and canoes as well as a variety of paddles.

The canoe portion of the day was the most challenging as most participants did not have much canoe or single paddle experience. It was also probably the most fun. We had an audience at times when we were purposefully flipping the canoes over.

On Sunday, we had a 3 Star Sea Training. From theory of navigation and first aid to strokes and rescue and recoveries, it was a full day of sea kayak training.

Flat water perfection drills had the paddlers fine tuning their edges and torso rotation through a variety of maneuvering skills.

Towing practice gave students the opportunity to try out different tow methods and work the kinks out of their gear.

It was great to have 2 days of focused skill work. All of the paddlers showed significant improvements in their skills and Jeff got to do what he loves - coaching. We are looking forward to offering more BCU training and assessments. Even those who are not interested in BCU star awards, it is a great way to practice and hone your skills.

Our next scheduled BCU event is a 3 Star Assessment on Saturday May 7. Please contact us if you are interested in our future BCU training and assessments.