Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mixed Blessings

Some times the stars align and sometimes they don't. Last weekend we were scheduled to teach a Whitewater Kayak Class on the Eel River. We were stoked. We had a bunch of students interested, and the flow on the river was perfect for instruction and play.

As life (or work) issues came up for our students, we didn't have enough students to run the class. The river was still running so off we went for some professional development. Of course, it happened that quite a few of our "foul weather" friends had rallied for a day on the Eel too.

Too much sunshine made photography difficult so after the second rapid, I stowed my camera and paddled the river. I decided to work on my river running skills and focused on peeling in and out of eddies, ferry gliding across the river, and surfing waves.

Like earlier in the week, a variety of craft were represented on the river. There is more than one way to go down river. And looking at the smiles on everyone's faces - they are all fun.

Nancy glided down river in her glass slalom kayak.

Diane finessing her way down the river in her C1.

Hans surfed and eddy hopped in his open deck whitewater canoe.

Paul and Matt cruised in their inflatable kayaks.

Jeff and Don played and surfed their way down the river in a playboat and river runner.

Chuck boofed and played in his creek boat.

The flow of the river was playful and fun - perfect for eddy hopping down through the rapids and taking more challenging routes.

We have started a tradition of doing the 7 mile run twice. It is an easy shuttle and fun to take different lines through the rapids the second time down.

Looking at our weather forecast, it appears that we are going to have a wet spring. Guess that we will just have to go with the flow - down river.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Back Home

Today, Jeff and I are home catching our breath from a weekend of adventures and preparing for new ones.

Last week, Jeff and I diverged paths as he journeyed south to the 26th annual Santa Cruz Paddlefest (formerly Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Festival).

As Jeff journeyed south, I enjoyed a couple of quiet rainy days at home. Tom Cat and I watched the Surfline webcam for glimpses of Jeff and other friends competing in the contest at Steamer's Lane.

We also kept an eye on the river flows and correspondence with all of our "foul-weather" friends. Tom of course stayed home, but I went inland for whitewater fun on the Eel River (photo by June Ruckman Albright).
Cate - photo by June Ruckman
On Monday, Jeff and I met up - at the put-in of the Outlet Creek to Dos Rios Stretch of the Eel River. It was fun to get together with a bunch of old and new friends for a fast, high water run down the Eel.
The eddy line-up.
Of course, Jeff, Don and I couldn't get enough and had to run the river twice. Jeff and Don vied for every surfable wave while I caught a few and worked on peeling in and out of eddies and ferrying.

As Jeff and I drove home together, the truck was a buzz with tales of our adventures:
waves surfed

our foul weather friends

new friends

beatdowns n mystery moves


and new adventures - brewing was a discussion and a big decision that we would have to make the next day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Weekend on the North Coast

A huge thank you to the Explore North Coast Club and local ACA instructor Mike Zeppegno for hosting us for a weekend of Humboldt kayaking fun.

On Saturday, we had the pleasure of introducing 8 sea kayakers to Whitewater of the Sea in their home waters off Trinidad. It was fun to see the "ah-ha" moments as they enjoyed the playfulness and maneuverability of the "short boats."

On Sunday, we taught our Intro to Sea Kayak Rock Gardening Class in Trinidad.

In each class, we had our students working on personal skills, group skills, and rescue skills.

It was a great experience for paddlers who regularly paddle together to train together and for their instructors to shadow us as we shared our progression and techniques for kayak rock gardening.

Paddlers got to sort out their equipment specific to paddling in ocean rock gardens including modifying their towlines and rescue techniques for kayaks without bulkheads.

As we were teaching experienced sea kayakers, it was fun to see Hawk Martin of Humboats Kayak Adventures sharing an ocean kayaking experience with some first timers.

On Monday night, we completed our weekend by entertaining the club club with tales of our 169 Mile Paddle of the Eel River.

We love traveling north to the Humboldt area where there is lots of great paddling and fun folks to paddle with. For more information on paddling in the Humboldt area - be sure to check out Explore North Coast's new guide book - Sea Kayaking the Redwood Coast or do a kayak adventure with our friends at Humboats, Kayak Zak's, or Greenland or Bust.

Here's a link to photos from our Trinidad Whitewater of the Sea Class and a link to our photos from the Intro to Sea Kayak Rock Gardening.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Month of Funness

For those of us that like to kayak and play in the sea, river, and surf - March is looking like a fun month.

We kicked off the month of March with a weekend of British Canoe Union (BCU) events - 2 Star Assessment and 3 Star Sea Training.

This weekend we are off to Trinidad to teach rock gardening classes. We are especially excited to have a full class of students who want to learn the nuances of ocean rock gardening in whitewater kayaks.

On Monday March 12, we will be presenting photos and tales of our 169 mile Eel River Expedition in Eureka, CA at Explore North Coast's monthly meeting.

We will be kayak surfing the 3rd weekend of March at The Santa Cruz Paddlefest (aka Santa Cruz Surf Kayak Festival).

And then we will be doing our rain dance so that we have a good flow for a whitewater river kayak class on the Eel River the following weekend. (Link to our Eel River YouTube Video)

Life is good playing in the sea, river, and surf. We hope that you will come play too!
Setting off on Day 2 from Hearst.