Thursday, November 17, 2016

LFK in the Fall

As we roll into fall, people start asking us if we are enjoying the off-season.  The truth is that we really don't have an off season.  Most small business owners will tell you this.  There is always something to do.  When we aren't on the water, there are business matters to attend to.  This afternoon, I will be doing inventory at our shop while Jeff teaches a private lesson.

We just presented at the American Canoe Association's National Paddlesports Conference.  We shared our Waves, Wildlife, and Wonder of Mendocino County.  Here is a video from our presentation (it is 11 minutes long so que it up for when you are ready to take a 11 minute vacation in Mendocino)

Join LFK in 2017 on California's Lost Coast.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We have been working hard on our Liquid Fusion Kayaking's 2017 calendar and are very excited about offering 3 new adventures.  For whitewater kayakers, we are offering a 4 day/3 night raft supported kayak trip on the Dos Rios to Alderpoint wilderness stretch of the Eel River.  For sea kayakers, we are offering a 3 day Lost Coast Sea Kayak Camping Adventure and a 5 day Intermediate/Advanced Sea Kayak Mendocino Adventure.
Whitewater MultiDay Trip on Dos Rios to Alderpoint Stretch of the Eel River.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Despite all of this business work, we have been on the water quite a bit.  We have been teaching rolling, surf kayaking, whitewater river kayaking, and whitewater of the sea.
Jeff Laxier teaching the kayak roll in Fort Bragg, CA.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Whitewater kayak instruction on Mendocino's Eel River.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
This weekend Jeff is coaching a 2 day BCU 3 Star Sea Kayak Training and doing the BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment on Monday.  With rain in the forecast, I expect we may take a day or two off next week to run some whitewater.
Whitewater kayaking on Mendocino's Eel River.  Photo by Jeff Laxier

Friday, October 21, 2016

October on the Rogue River

October is a time of shifting seasons for us.  We wrap up Liquid Fusion Kayaking's main sea kayak instructional season with at trip to Oregon to teach at the Lumpy Waters symposium.  Often we enjoy a few days exploring the Oregon Coast on our trip home from Lumpy.  This year, we decided to step away from the salt water and air and get a good fresh water rinsing so we made plans to meet up with some friends for a multi day whitewater trip on the Rogue River.
LFK Friends Jerry and June carrying yummy food and other comforts in the raft.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Fall is a beautiful time of the year to paddle on the Rogue.  The weather was warm and we enjoyed the changing leaves and scenery.  The run that we did was from Grave Creek to Foster Bar.  At a flow of around 1900 cfs, it was a leisurely run of 34 miles with class II/III whitewater rapids.
Sunny skies and a calm stretch on the river resulted in beautiful reflections. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
It is a fall tradition for the raft and drift boat guides to put pumpkins along the river.  We enjoyed spying the many pumpkins and gourds along the river.
A pumpkin gourd marks the entrance to a small rapid on the Rogue. Photo by Jeff Laxier
Of course we enjoyed running the whitewater rapids of the Rogue.  Both Jeff and I enjoyed running Blossom Bar.  While tricky for a raft, it is a fun rapid to run in a kayak with lots of options for eddy hopping and slaloming one's way down river.
Jeff running Blossom Bar on the Rogue River.  Photo by June Ruckman-Albright
To spice things up a bit more, Jeff had to take a leap off the traditional Jump Rock on the Rogue.  He made quite a splash.

The Rogue can be quite busy in the summer with hikers and river users (kayakers, rafters, drift boats).  October is a quieter time on the river.  Many of the commercial rafting companies wrap up their season in September so we were sharing the river primarily with drift boats with fishermen and a couple of gear rafts carrying equipment for hikers.  Many of the fishermen, river users, and hikers were staying at the lodges along the river so most of the prime campsites were open.  My favorite camp was at Clay Hill.
Camping at Clay Hill. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
On day 3, we were setting up our final camp for the trip at Clay Hill. When across the river from us, a mamma and baby bear appeared.  We hooted and hollered to let them know that they were not welcome to come visit our camp.  Baby scurried up the hillside and out of sight pretty quickly.  However, mamma bear continued on her course along the river.  It looked like she was looking for fish.
Mamma and Baby Bear checking us out from across the river.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne

I bet none of us slept much our last night on the river.  We were a little concerned that mamma bear might come visit our camp.  She did not but it started raining around midnight.  It was a beautiful steady rain.  Jeff and I both enjoyed listening to it while we were all snug and dry in our new tent.  the next day we packed up and paddled in the rain to the take out.
A warm rainy day finish to our Rogue trip. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Here is a link to more photos from our October 2016 Rogue River Trip.
A great blue heron fishes on the edge of Blossom Bar Rapid on the Rogue River. Photo by Cate Hawthorne

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sea Kayaking on the Mendocino Coast

September is a great month for sea kayaking on California's Mendocino Coast.  Liquid Fusion Kayaking has had quite a busy September.  We run sea kayak adventures year round but September typically has the best ocean and weather conditions.
Calm conditions for sea kayaking in Mendocino's sea caves.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We kicked off September into the Sea with our 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Class.  In this 5 day course, we had students go from intrepid ocean paddlers to playing in ocean rock gardens and exploring Mendocino's sea caves.
A new paddler discovers the thrills of rock gardening on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
The second weekend of September was LFK's BCU 3 Star Sea Kayak Training and Assessment.
BCU 3 Star Sea candidates demonstrate landing in 1 meter surf. Photo by Jeff Laxier
After a busy summer and heading into a busy fall, we took a few days off to sea kayak into the Lost Coast.  Check out my blog - Lost Coast Sea Kayak Trip 2016.
Jeff Laxier paddling into California's Lost Coast.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Just back from the Lost Coast, we rallied for Coastal Cleanup Day.  This was our 8th year hosting an on-water cleanup of Fort Bragg's Noyo River and Harbor Area.  Despite our small number of participants, we brought in a big haul.  See and read about our BIG HAUL.
Jeff Laxier towing the garbage kayak in Noyo Harbor. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
September continued with sea kayak instruction for the Bay Area Sea Kayakers during their annual Mendo Madness Trip.  We had a gorgeous sunny day and perfect conditions for The Art of the Pour-Over - a sea kayak rock gardening play class.

Laurie getting her timing down to ride a pour-over.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
We wrapped up September's sea kayak instruction with a custom Whitewater of the Sea Adventure for some friends of the Tsunami Rangers.  Susan, Patty, and Melinda had a blast with Jeff and are looking forward to using their new skills to paddle with Tsunami Ranger significant others and friends soon.
Patty builds her confidence in dynamic waters.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Our September wrap up has us preparing for Alder Creek's BCU Week and Lumpy Waters.
Surf zone class at Lumpy Waters in Pacific City, Oregon.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
After that we dust off the short boats for surf kayaking, whitewater river kayaking, and whitewater ocean rock gardening.
Cate Hawthorne kayak surfing on the Mendocino Coast.  Photo by Jeff Laxier
Planning is under way for 2017.  If you would like to come paddle with us in 2017 or have an event that you would like for us to attend or host, please let us know.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Noyo River Clean up

For 8 years, Jeff and I have hosted an on water cleanup of the Noyo River and Harbor as part of California Coastal Cleanup Day.  Usually we have a dozen or so paddlers and rowers.  This year, we had 5.  Despite the small number of participants, we had a huge haul and a fun day.
Jeff Laxier tows a recreational kayak full of garbage picked up in Noyo Harbor.  Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Part of our large haul was this floating foam barge.  Each year it keeps breaking up and we have managed to wrangle parts of it out of the water and into the dumpster.  This year, rowers Jim Blanton and Stan Halvorsen and myself went for the whole barge.  Jim and Stan towed as I pushed from behind to get the barge to the ramp to get it off the water.  This was extremely important as the styrofoam is in a serious state of decay.  We picked up hundreds of bits of it on the beach under the Noyo Bridge.  If we would have left it in the river for another year, it would have broken up further and puts thousands of pieces out there.
Traditional Small Craft rowers Stan and Jim towing a barge of trash. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
Styrofoam from the decaying barge. Photo by Jeff Laxier
We didn't get all the foam and trash under the Noyo Bridge. We are planning to head over there this fall to get it better picked up for fall.  If you are interested in joining us, let us know.  We would love to have some company.
The styrofoam barge about to be hauled out of the river. Photo by Cate Hawthorne
If you didn't make our cleanup this year, mark your calendar for the 3rd Saturday of September in 2017.  We will be back at it on the Noyo River.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Sea Kayak Classes on the Mendocino Coast of California

As summer moves along, we are solidifying our fall schedule.  We are particularly excited to be offering a variety of fun sea kayak classes at home on the Mendocino Coast.  
Magical Mendocino Sea Caves August 13-14 - 2 days of sea kayak rock garden skill building and sea cave exploration
Sea Kayaking in Mendocino's Sea Caves
Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino September 2-6 - 5 day instructional sea kayak adventure on the Mendocino Coast
Sea kayaking the rugged and rocky Mendocino Coast
Sea Kayak Surfing Class September 9 - Surfing and playing in the surf with sea kayaks (reliable roll required)
Sea Kayak Surfing Instruction
Rock Garden 101 Class September 10 - Introductory rock garden class - perfect first rock garden class or refresher
Rescue practice during a rock garden class with Liquid Fusion Kayaking
BCU 3 Star Sea Training September 10-11 - Comprehensive sea kayak skills training including strokes, towing, navigation, seamanship...
BCU 3 Star Sea Training - Skills for intermediate paddlers in dynamic waters
BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment September 12 - Skills assessment and opportunity to earn the BCU 3 Star Award
Sea Kayak Navigation is a part of the skill set for an intermediate sea kayaker
Art of Pour Overs September 23 - Perfect your timing and precision paddling maneuvers to ride rock garden features like pour-overs (reliable roll required)
Kayaking ocean rock gardens and riding pour-overs on the Mendocino Coast.
Private Lessons/Custom Classes  - Sea kayaking, surf-zone, rock gardening, surfing, rolling, whitewater of the sea - contact us with your interests and we will style you with a custom class.  1/2 and full day options available.
Sea Kayaking and exploring the Mendocino Coast and landing in hidden coves.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Kayaking Fun!

From mild to wild, Liquid Fusion Kayaking's summer tours on the Mendocino Coast have been a blast.  On the dry and mild side, the Noyo River Estuary has been gorgeous with fun wildlife sightings.
A great blue heron watches observes LFK's Sunset Bird Paddle.
On both the Noyo River and in the Pacific Ocean, we are having fun introducing the sport of kayaking to first timers and facilitating some good old family fun out on the water.
Family kayaking fun!
On the wet and wild side, LFK's Whitewater of the Sea Adventures continue to delight paddlers who want to play and experience the thrills and spills of rock gardening in the Pacific Ocean.
The thrills and spills of Whitewater of the Sea
Last weekend, we had our third class in our Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series.  This class was all about play as our students learned the skills and timing for playing in ocean rock garden features like pour-overs.  This class was called The Art of the Pour-Over
Rock Gardening on the Mendocino Coast of California
The class was super fun.  The students in the class worked well together as a team - supporting and cheering for one another.  They also played hard - working on their own personal skills, pushing their limits, and laughing and playing on ride after ride.
Teamwork make for fun rock gardening adventures
The class was so much fun that we decided to schedule another one for this fall.  If you are interested, check it out The Art of the Pour-Over.  Join us in September or rally your paddling pals and we will schedule a custom class for you.

We are still in the midst of summer and are looking forward to many more fine adventures on the water.
Kayaking through the Tunnel of Love Sea Cave

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mendocino Kayaking with Liquid Fusion Kayaking

The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce is creating videos to showcase local businesses.  This month, Liquid Fusion Kayaking is their feature business.  Here's the video.  We hope you enjoy it.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Sea Kayak Rock Gardening Classes in Mendocino

This weekend, we taught our first sea kayak rock gardening class of the season on the Mendocino Coast.  We had a full class with 6 students.  For rock gardening, we find this to be the ideal number - 3 to 1 student to instructor ratio and 8 paddlers total on the water.
Sea Kayak Rock Garden Class on the Mendocino Coast
This weekend's class was the first of our Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series.  Several years ago when we were teaching a sea kayak rock gardening class, we asked the students for their goals for the class.  The students' goals and expectations ran the spectrum from strokes to rescues to play to sea caves.  Last year, we decided to specify the skills and topics of our sea kayak rock gardening classes   And decided to make them 2 day classes.  Day one focused instruction and day two was application.   Volia` - the Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series was born and our students love it!!!
Sea Kayaking through one of Mendocino's many arches
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Series is
Touring Ocean Rock Gardens - reading the water, route planning, and teamwork for rock gardens
Surfzone FUNdamentals - launch and land with control, safety, and finesse
The Art of the Pour-Over - timing and playing on and in rock garden features
Magical Mendocino Sea Caves - tips n tricks for kayaking in sea caves
Sea Kayaking into Mendocino Sea Caves
Student may select to do one or all four of the classes depending upon their skills and interests.  There is the option of a 5 day Art of Sea Kayaking Mendocino Course over Labor Day Weekend and also the option for paddlers to their friends or paddling club and schedule a custom class.
Rock Garden Safety and Rescue Training
This weekend's Touring Ocean Rock Gardens was a great start to the series.  We had beautiful weather, gray whale sightings, and lots of learning.  Many of the students are coming back in a couple of weeks for Surfzone FUNdamentals.  This is exciting because we get to build upon skills taught to give them a comprehensive skills set for sea kayaking rocky coastlines like the Mendocino Coast, and share with them different stretches of the Mendocino Coast.
LFK's Jeff Laxier teaches navigation basics to plan our route
Of course, the benefit of choosing Liquid Fusion Kayaking for sea kayaking on the Mendocino Coast is that it is our backyard playground both on and off the water.  We are the local experts on kayaking but know the other important things to do, eat, and drink on the Mendocino Coast.
Cate and Jeff sharing kayak crabbing with their students.  Cate is about to put this female Dungeness Crab back in the water.  Photo by Lisa Shapiro

Monday, May 9, 2016

Whitewater of the Sea

Jeff and I returned home to the Mendocino Coast from our Spring Run-Off Tour to find plenty of whitewater at home on the Mendocino Coast.  This weekend we had a foursome of novice (some even first timers) come out to play with us on our first Whitewater of the Sea Adventure of our spring/summer season.
Whitewater ocean kayaking on the Mendocino Coast
Whitewater of the Sea is whitewater kayaking in the ocean.  Also known as rock gardening or rock hopping, whitewater of the sea is a combination of whitewater kayaking and surf kayaking.  It involves timing to work with the ocean's energy to ride features, surf waves, and traverse through rocky passages.
Waves, rocks, whitewater, and kayaking in Noyo Bay - Fort Bragg, California.
We designed our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures to accommodate all skill levels.  We have had beginners and expert kayakers out with us on the same trip.  We run our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures on a Class II Level based on the international whitewater river classification system.  Class II is low threat and high FUN.  For more advanced paddlers, Class II is a great place to build skills and to get ready for our more advanced whitewater of the sea adventures including our Mendocino Whitewater Surf Safaris.  For anyone who wants to kayak rocky coastlines like the Mendocino Coast, we highly recommend our whitewater of the sea adventure as a fun way to learn how to read the water, swells, and currents in and around the rocks.
Kayaking among the rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast.
We use whitewater kayaks for whitewater of the sea because of their maneuverability.  Our goal for the trip is not to go far or fast but to have the most FUN.  Whitewater kayaks in the 8-10 foot range have the speed to surf waves and get us where we want to go but also the maneuverability for tight passages through rock gardens and into tunnels and sea caves.  Experienced kayakers who have a reliable roll may use a decked whitewater kayak for the class.  For those without a reliable roll, we have a fleet of whitewater specific sit on top kayaks that are user friendly and fun.
Kayaking and playing in the Pacific Ocean on the Mendocino Coast
The Noyo Bay in Fort Bragg, California is an awesome playground.  We have counted over 30 different play features in the bay.  We have lots of options for play depending upon ocean conditions.
Rock Gardening is kayaking a rocky coastline - waves add to the fun.
We usually run our Whitewater of the Sea Adventures 3-4 times per week May through September 1.  If you are looking for a fun adventure for your family and friends or a way to build your ocean kayaking or whitewater kayaking skills, definitely give us a ring and let us share our playground with you.
Welcome to Our Playground!