Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Triffecta of Fun

Whitewater, rock gardens and surf zones are a few of our favorite things!!!  The weekend between Christmas and New Years of 2012, Jeff and I decided that it would be fun to shoot for this triffecta of Mendocino kayaking fun.  If all the stars aligned, we could rock garden one day, surf kayak another, and whitewater kayak the next.
Photo by June Ruckman

We created our Holiday Whitewater and Surf Safari.  We were joined by 5 students looking to play and improve their skills.  Our students had all played with us in the rock gardens on our Mendocino Waves n Caves Weekends but did not have much formal instruction in whitewater or surf so our weekend morphed into an instructional weekend.

It was AWESOME!!!  Our first day we surfed

And rock gardened.

Day two was on the Noyo River teaching river running skills.

Day three we knocked the frost off of our whitewater river kayaking skills (literally) and headed to the Eel River for a gorgeous day of whitewater training.

That ended with our students running a fun Class II rapid.
Photo by Jerry Albright

Mark your calendars for the holiday weekend of 2013. In 2013, we plan to run the Holiday Whitewater and Surf Safari at an intermediate to advanced intermediate level so start training now.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Over the River

Over the Noyo River and through the Redwoods to the Eel River Valley we go!!!

The Eel River is one of the largest river systems in California.  It travels through Lake, Mendocino, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties with 4 main stems - the South Fork, the Middle Fork, the North Fork, and the Main.  The Eel has whitewater stretches that range from Class I to V, wilderness stretches, and lots of wildlife. In 2011, Jeff and I paddled the 169 mile main stem of the Eel to the ocean.  See the Summer 2012 issue of California Kayaker Magazine for my article on the trip.
Double Drop.  It sure looks a lot bigger from the water.

The past 2 weekends, we have had the pleasure of sharing the wildlife, whitewater, and wilderness of the Eel with our students.

Our Whitewater Kayaking I Class enjoyed the views of snow capped mountains as we drilled eddy turns, ferrying and river running skills.

Of course we ended the class with the thrills of a Class II Rapid.
Photo by June Ruckman

and spills.

Last weekend, our Whitewater River Kayaking II Class enjoyed the Eel as they learnied river running skills.

Skills included peeling into and out of eddies

Eskimo rolling

and swift water swimming.

Everyone has their own reasons for running whitewater.  Adrenaline is an obvious one.  Jeff and I really like the challenge of running whitewater as well as the wilderness and wildlife that we get to experience running a river.  Our list of wildlife sitings on the Eel is considerable and continues to grow.  Winter time, we have the salmon spawning which brings lots of wildlife to the river. 

Eagles perch in the trees looking for salmon

Bears patrol the banks for salmon
Black bear swimming on the Eel River.

and river otters bask in the sun (there are many stories about this old-timer).

In less than 2 weeks, we plan to be back on the Eel with our Precision River Running Class.  In this class, we will be coaching our students to perfect their whitewater kayaking skills and playing our way down the river. 

We are really excited to have students who want to learn to whitewater kayak and a venue like the Eel for wilderness, wildlife, and whitewater FUN!