Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Bird Count 2013

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is the longest running citizen in science project in the world.  This was our 4th year participating as on the water kayak birders.

Due to low water, we did a short hike up the Noyo River to see if we could find the American Dippers.  Fortunately the railroad tracks run alongside the river making for an easy hike.
We did not find the American Dippers but enjoyed the hike and checking out the Skunk Train's newly repaired tunnel.

A Common Goldeneye was a nice siting for the day.

We may have missed the dippers but found 2 of our target birds - Green-winged Teals and Black Crowned Night Herons.

If you are interested in birds and participating in the Christmas Bird Count, you still can.  There are counts through out the country including the Mendocino Coast Audubon Society's south coast count on Saturday January 4.  Many participants count the birds at their backyard feeders or go on walks in their neighborhoods spotting and counting birds.  Counting by kayak is not the most common way to do it but sure is a lot of fun.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Holiday Kayaking Gift Certificate Specials

In Northern California many of us have been enjoying beautiful weather and not staying on top of our holiday preparations.

Jeff and I are totally guilty of this.  At home on the Mendocino Coast, we have been enjoying sunshine, surfing, crabbing, mountain biking, and mushroom hunting.

Christmas is 10 days away.  If you are still looking for stocking stuffers or a special gift, consider a Liquid Fusion Kayaking Gift Certificate.  We are offering holiday specials to help you save money and to share the fun and adventure of kayaking.

Our specials range from dry and mild birding and wildlife watching kayak tours

to wet and wild Whitewater of the Sea Adventures.

My favorite special is our Learn to Kayak Special.  This is a half price gift certificate for our full day Essential Kayak Skills Class.  I love teaching this class and seeing students learn the essential skills for safely and efficiency paddling a kayak.  It is the first step in taking them from being beginners to being competent paddlers.

Each gift certificate is custom made by Jeff.  He will email it to you to print out or print and mail it to you or the recipient.  If you are looking for something extra special or unique, give us a call and let's see what we can do.

On my Christmas list is a private surf lesson with Jeff.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rock Gardening in the Zen

We admit that California's drought has us a little bit stir crazy for whitewater river kayaking.  Our new Jackson Zen whitewater kayaks came in last month and have been gathering dust.  Of course we couldn't allow this to happen so we took them out in our backyard for a little Whitewater of the Sea.

Fortunately, there is never a shortage of whitewater for kayaking in the ocean rock gardens on the Mendocino Coast.
kayak rock gardening mendocino

We were impressed with the Zen as a whitewater kayak for ocean rock gardening.  It sports a fast planing hull for catching waves.

The volume is well distributed throughout the boat, and we really enjoyed its predictable resurfacing at the bottom of drops.

The Zen didn't seem to have too much volume and seems to be a boat that responds to performance paddling.

Without any outfitting modifications, the Zen's were comfortable and easy to adjust.  We especially appreciated the lack of ratchets which always seem to corode and break at in opportune times.  We also appreciate the size range.

Jeff opted for the Zen 75 for its volume and speed as a boat for teaching and guiding.

Elliot has been paddling his Zen 65 for a year now and has it dialed in for surfing ocean waves.
Elliot dropping in on a wave in the Jackson Zen 65.
I was quite comfortable in the Zen 55 and look forward to paddling it more (after a few more paddles, I will write a full review on my Woman on Water Blog).

As long as this drought continues, we will be finding our whitewater kayaking adventures in the ocean and will share more of our thoughts on the Jackson Zen for ocean rock gardening.

Here's a link to some of our photos from the day.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Learn to Whitewater Kayak

Do you want to enjoy the fun and adventure of whitewater kayaking?  

From cruising down wild and scenic rivers to rock gardening and surfing waves in the ocean, the possibilities are endless for those with whitewater kayaking skills.  
Cate whitewater kayaking in the Grand Canyon.
Some like the thrill and excitement of whitewater while others enjoy the wildlife and beautiful places one gets to explore when traveling down whitewater rivers.  In Mendocino County, our whitewater river runs range from class I (easy with current and some ripples) to class V (expert only).  
Whitewater Kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River
And even in dry years, there is always plenty of whitewater and surf in the ocean.
Whitewater kayaking in ocean rock gardens on the Mendocino Coast.

This fall, Liquid Fusion Kayaking has a progression of classes for paddlers to learn the basic skills of whitewater kayaking and to get wet on our local Mendocino County whitewater.

Intro to Whitewater Kayaking (in the Pool) - November 23-24.
Learning the basics of whitewater kayaking in the pool.
Whitewater River Kayaking I (in easy current) - November 30-Dec 1.

Learn to Roll (in the Pool) - December 7-8.
Learn the kayak roll in the CV Starr Center Pool
Whitewater Kayaking II (Class I/II on the Eel River or Ocean) - December 14-15. 
Class II Rapid on Mendocino County's Eel River
And for those that have developed their skills to an intermediate level - come play with us on our 3 day Holiday Mendocino County Whitewater and Surf Safari - December 27-30.  Our goal for this weekend is a triffecta of funness - a whitewater river run, ocean rock garden play, and a surf kayak session.
Whitewater kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River
Whitewater of the Sea!!! Kayaking in ocean rock gardens.
Kayak surfing - whitewater in the ocean

Are you ready for some whitewater kayaking fun?  

Contact us for more information on whitewater kayaking instruction and guided tours in Mendocino County.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Winter is Coming

Fall seems to be whizzing by . . . . .  Winter is coming.  Are you ready?
A river otter basks in the sun on a winter day on the Eel River.
Winter is probably our favorite season of the year - surfing, whitewater kayaking, mushroom hunting, crabbing, and whale watching.
Kayak crabbing on the Mendocino Coast of California.
We are often asked - what is winter like on the Mendocino Coast?  The weather is quite temperate and we often get some of our best weather in the winter.  The challenge is that the weather is unpredictable (seems to be the case everywhere these days).  
Sea lions are plentiful in the winter on the Mendocino Coast.
Winter storms are exciting and beautiful but don't last for days on end or all winter long.  Seeing huge waves breaking through the Noyo Bay is awe-inspiring and hiking in the redwood forest after a storm or during a light rain is magical.  We typically get a cold snap or two with below freezing temperatures at night but it usually warms up into the 50's and 60's during the day.   
Of course a little rain makes the chanterelles grow.
Winter Paddling - we have a variety of venues that we use for teaching to accommodate our students' interests and skills and the conditions.  For those that have visited the Mendocino Coast during the summer, you will be pleasantly surprised at how quiet and peaceful it is during the winter.  We also aren't operating tours on a daily basis.  If you want to come paddle with us, your best bet is to check out our calendar and/or shoot us an email inquiry with your interests and dates.

Here are a few highlights of what we have planned for this winter:

Sea Kayaking-  A week of intensive sea kayak instruction - Ocean Camp Northern California instructed by Jeff and Cate of LFK and Ryan Rushton of Geneva Kayak Center followed by the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium.
Sea kayaking through sea caves on the Mendocino Coast
Whitewater River - New for the winter of 2013/2014 is LFK's Whitewater - "Go with the Flow" email list.  When the Eel River and Rancheria Creek are flowing, we will be offering guided whitewater river trips.  If you are interested in being on a guided whitewater kayak trip with us, please contact us to be added to our "Go with the Flow" email list.  We will send out email updates of river trips and whitewater kayaking classes when the rivers are flowing.
Whitewater kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River
If you are interested in Whitewater River Kayaking, but your skills are a little rusty or you haven't taken a whitewater class before.  Check out our calendar for whitewater classes and/or contact us for recommendations where to start.
Whitewater Classes in the CV Starr Center Swimming Pool
Surf Kayaking - Dial in your surf skills with a private lesson or rally your friends and let's schedule a class or surf safari.  Also if you have a chance this weekend, go out and cheer on the surf kayakers in the Davenport Paddle Surf Classic.
Surf kayaking on the Mendocino Coast
SEA, RIVER, SURF - Wanna do it all with us - join us on our 3 day Mendocino Whitewater Surf Safari.  This is our triffecta of short boat funness - surfing, whitewater ocean rock gardening, and whitewater river kayaking.
Whitewater kayaking in ocean rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast
LFK's Up-Coming Events:  If you don't see an event on our calendar that you would like, contact us about scheduling a private lesson or a custom trip/class.

11/8-11/11 Veteran's Day Weekend - Advanced Sea Kayak Rock Gardening 2-4 days of rock garden and surf zone instruction and play for the seasoned paddler.
11/23-11/24 Intro to Whitewater Kayaking - Class in the CV Starr Center Pool
11/30-12/1 Whitewater River Kayaking I - Introduction to Whitewater Kayak Skills on Class I Water

12/7-12/8 Learn to Roll - Rolling Class in the CV Starr Center Pool
12/14-12/15 Whitewater Kayaking II - Take your roll and basic river skills into whitewater (perfect class for sea kayakers looking to get into whitewater).
12/27-12/29 Holiday Whitewater N Surf Safari - Join us for the triffecta of short boat fun in Mendocino County - our goal is a day of surfing, a day of ocean rock gardening, and a day whitewater river kayaking.  

1/18-1/20 Precision River Running - Perfect your eddy turns, surf river waves, and boof your way down the river with precision and style.
1/25-1/29 Ocean Camp Northern California - 5 days of sea kayak instruction on the Mendocino Coast 
1/31-2/2  Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium - Instruction with some of the top sea kayak coaches from around the world under the Golden Gate Bridge

Can you see why we are excited for winter?  We hope to see you on the water!!!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mendo Madness 2013

Usually life is pretty quiet on the Mendocino Coast.  We have a handful of local paddlers and are used to sightings of the usual suspects out and about town.  But once a year, the Bay Area Sea Kayaker's Mendo Madness hits and all of a sudden there are sea kayaks all over the place.  We enjoy seeing all the colorful colors as they parade about town seeking out the best that the Mendocino Coast has to offer.  Those that have been to Mendocino before know that it is spectacular!!!  We have to admit that one of our favorite parts of Mendo Madness is getting to share the culinary talents of the Bay Area Sea Kayakers at the Saturday evening potluck.

For those planning to come to the Mendocino Coast this fall, we thought we would pass along a few local tidbits -

1.  Fort Bragg has banned the bag.  Bring your own grocery bags when shopping in Fort Bragg.

2.  The light is out - (no not Bobby's Beacon - bet a few BASK'ers have ended up there).  The motor that powers the light in the Point Cabrillo Light House has burned out.  Hopefully it will be repaired soon.  They are posting updates on the Point Cabrillo Light Facebook Page.

3.  COFFEE!!! Support a locally, family run fair-trade coffee company.  Thanksgiving Coffee is roasted in Noyo Harbor and served at most coffee shops on the Mendocino Coast.  For drive-though convenience, there is the A Frame just south of the Noyo Bridge in Fort Bragg and for a great local coffee house experience with free wifi and live music every night - Headlands on Laurel Street in Fort Bragg is the best.

4.  Get fresh goods at Mendocino County Farmer's Markets.  The Fort Bragg Farmer's Market is Wednesday afternoons from 3 to 6pm.  Mendocino's farmer's market is Friday from noon to 2pm.

5.  Plastic kills marine life - please continue your efforts to pick up trash in our marine environment but also try not to leave plastic behind.  The plastic on newer kayaks seems to be getting softer and softer so please be conscientious of features that have the cheese grater effect.  Moves that involve sliding on rocks like seal launching/landings are fun and may look cool to some but please be mindful that plastic shavings are not left behind.

6.  North Coast Brewing Company's taproom has changed its hours and menu.  It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 4-9pm and serves pizza instead of traditional pub fare.  For those hankering for a fresh beer and pub food, Patterson's in Mendocino is your best bet these days (be sure to bring cash).  If you like BBQ - check out The Q in Fort Bragg.

7.  Of course if you are looking to improve your kayaking skills -Liquid Fusion Kayaking are the local paddling professionals - accelerate your learning and fun with our systematic approach to teaching -

Friday September 27 - Whitewater of the Sea - rock gardening in a whitewater kayak - come play with us and learn the whitewater and surf specific skills for rock gardening in a "short boat."  On this adventure, we will share some of our favorite play spots and tips for maximizing the performance and fun of whitewater kayaks in rock gardens.  This lesson/tour will have paddlers learning and applying concepts and skills for boat control specific to whitewater kayaks as well as general skills like water reading, timing, etiquette, and safety/rescue.  All skill levels will enjoy and benefit from this class (we have had class V boaters and athletic non-paddlers have a blast in the same class).

Saturday September 28 - Sea Kayak Rock Garden Class - build confidence and skills in the rock gardens with our systematic approach.  From specific strokes in the rocks to water reading, positioning, and play this is a class that will accelerate your comfort and skills in dynamic waters.

Sunday September 29 - Sea Kayaks in the Surf - Precision, control, and safety are the focus of LFK's sea kayaks in the surf class.  Learn the techniques for controlled launching and landing that will make surf zones a breeze and increase your skills paddling in rock gardens.  If you have taken a surf zone class before and want to hone your skills, this class will give you lots of hands on practice with feedback and coaching from 2 very demanding instructors. For those with no surf zone training, this class will get you started with the fundamentals.

Classes are taught by Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne - call us for more information and to reserve a space. (707) 962-1623  Note:  Liquid Fusion Kayaking offers kayak rentals for LFK classes only.

We look forward to seeing everyone so please drive and paddle safely.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Fall Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

We hope that you had a great summer.  Our summer sharing kayaking experiences on the Mendocino Coast was amazing.  We enjoyed sharing many firsts with a variety of folks.  For some it was that magical first time kayaking, others it was a special wildlife sighting on one of our tours, or getting their family out on the water.
Family kayaking adventures in Fort Bragg, CA
Paddlers who came to us for classes and lessons had many firsts too -first time surfing a wave, first time doing an eskimo roll, first time combat roll, first time riding a pour-over, first time paddling with confidence n chaotic waters . . .
Sea kayaking in the rock gardens and dynamic waters of the Mendocino Coast.

So what does fall have in store for those that want to kayak on the Mendocino Coast?  LOTS of FUN!!!

Whitewater Kayaking in Ocean Rock Gardens on the Mendocino Coast
We are doing a lot of teaching and guiding in the ocean - sea kayakingkayak surfing, whitewater of the sea, and rock gardening so it isn't likely that you will drive up and find us at our shop on the Noyo River.  Check out our calendar for an idea of our classes and special events.

We are offering tours and private lessons daily so if you don't see something on the calendar - call us up and let's get out there (please don't wait until the morning of as you may have missed us).
Werner Stikine Whitewater Paddle for Sale
Also - are you looking for a used kayak or gear?  If so, check out our kayak gear sale.  We are selling some of our used kayaks and gear to make way for new boats and gear in 2013.

We try to update our website and blogs but Facebook seems to be the best way to keep up with our latest photos and news.  Also if you want advance notice of our specials, use the contact us button and request to get our monthly newsletter.

We hope to see you on the water this fall.  Please call (707) 962-1623 or email us so we can share the magic with you!

Best of days on the water,
Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne
Mendocino's Kayaking Couple