Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Jackson Karma RG Video

Last week, Jeff and I were stoked to take Jackson Kayak's Karma RG out for a test spin and were honored to be able to help Jackson Kayak make their promotional video of the boat.  The timing was perfect.  We had a streak of warm, sunny weather and sizable swell, and the Eel River was flowing from a recent rain making the waters of Mendocino County the perfect place to film the RG's promo video.

Sean Morley and Marty Cronin of Jackson Kayak pulled up to our house and we unloaded and outfitted 3 brand new Karma RG's.  Our friend Bryant Burkhardt came out to paddle and help with the video project.

Whitewater expedition kayaker Ben Stookesberry was the videographer for the project.

The Mendocino Coast was a perfect testing ground for the RG as an whitewater ocean play boat.  We put the it through the paces in Mendocino's rock gardens riding pour-overs, surfing waves, traversing through technical areas, and paddling through sea caves.

On day two of our adventure, Chicken Point was firing!!!  A 20 second period west swell was stacking up 15 foot walls.  There was definitely some chickening out, some carnage, and some spectacular rides.
Sean Morley rockets down the face of Chicken Point
There aren't many places in this world where you can surf ocean waves and within 1.5 hour drive be running a whitewater river.  This is not always the case in Mendocino County but when we have had some rain it is possible so off to the Eel River we went to see how the RG's would perform on the river.

Enough ado about making the video - you gotta watch it!!!

This video embodies a lot of what we love about our home waters of Mendocino County - whitewater, surf, rock gardens, beauty and shows off a new boat that we are really excited about.  We hope you enjoyed watching it - we sure had fun making it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Surfzone FUNdamentals

The surf zone is one of the most dynamic areas that kayakers will paddle in.  Many paddlers love to play in the surf zone but for many others the surf zone is intimidating.  Most paddlers will agree that they need more time in the surf zone (even those of us who love to play in the surf crave more time to further our skills there).
Jeff demonstrating in the Valley Gemini SP.
In 2014, we started offering 2 day Surfzone FUNdamental classes to give our students more time and experience in the surf zone with our instruction and coaching.  With 2 coaches and a maximum of six students the classes are very individualized to the needs of the students.  Last weekend's class was sea kayakers looking to develop the skills to safely launch and land in the surf.

Typically we will teach this course on the Mendocino Coast, but last weekend's the gang convinced us to travel south.  So we loaded up the truck with toys for the surf and journeyed down to Dillon Beach.
Sea kayak, whitewater kayak, hp surf kayak, sit on top, boogie boards - a truckload of FUN!!!
We of course had to start the weekend off with a little bit of playing in the ocean.

The main focus of this weekend's course was safety and control in the surf zone.  We drilled on the skills necessary for the surf zone like bracing.
Cate reviews low bracing technique.
And worked extensively on launching

and controlled landings.
Landing with precision control in the surf zone and avoiding broaching.
In both sit on top whitewater kayaks and sea kayaks.

It was fun to see our students' skills progress over the weekend and to see the "ah-ha" moments occurring.  Everyone left the class sandy, salty, and grinning from ear to ear.

Our next Surfzone FUNdamentals class is for whitewater kayakers interested in playing in the surf and kayak surfing.  Come play and learn in the surf with us!!!  We will add more Surfzone FUNdamentals classes as needed so call us if you are interested.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Advanced Whitewater n Surf Safari

Whitewater and Surf Kayak Safari's on the Mendocino Coast are one of our favorite events to host in the winter and spring.  Our goal is to hit the triffecta of a kayak surf session, a whitewater river run, and ocean rock garden play.  This weekend we nailed it!!!
Kayak Surfing on the Mendocino Coast
Whitewater Kayaking on Mendocino's Eel River
Whitewater Kayaking Ocean Rock Gardens
Winter and spring are the only seasons that it is possible for us to attain our triffecta of surf kayaking, whitewater river kayaking and ocean rock garden play in Mendocino County because our whitewater river runs are rain fed.  Winter and spring are the seasons when we have significant rainfall that will make the rivers flow.  These winter and spring storms can make for perfect surfing conditions but also quite challenging ones.  Winter and spring storms often generate longer period swells that can be great for surfing, but winds from the storms can make for challenging conditions and stormy surf.
This weekend we had 2 skilled boaters from Southern California journey north for some Mendocino Whitewater and Surfing Fun, and the storm systems aligned for surf kayaking, rock gardening, and whitewater river running.
We started with a bit of a warm-up in the Noyo Bay.
Our journey there had us surfing in rock gardens, dancing over pour-overs, threading our way through technical passages, and of course surfing and chickening out at Chicken Point.

A rainy, stormy surf day didn't dampen our spirits but made us giddy with excitement for whitewater boating on Mendocino County's Eel River.

And a perfect sunny day we had on the Eel - catching ever eddy, surfing every wave, and boofing our way down the river.

Day Four we had tons of options - another river run, more surfing, rock gardening - we returned again to Noyo Bay.
Chicken Point was calling.
And we were answering.

Here's a link to a photo gallery from last week's Advanced Whitewater n Kayak Surf Safari.

The rivers are primed, more rain in the forecast, surf is up, and there is always rock garden play in the ocean - let's go boating!!!