Archive for the 'mendocino coast' Category

Jan 16 2012

Do IT!!!

If your new years resolutions are to get in shape, learn a new sport, improve your skills, or paddle more – let’s do it!!! One of the best ways that we have found to stick to resolutions is to set a goal and to recruit a friend, training partner, or coach to work with you toward the goal.

Here are a couple of ideas for kayaking goals for 2012.

Make it FUN – What ever the goal or resolution. Find a way to make it fun and it will be more attainable. This is where recruiting a fun-loving friend, coworker, or family member will help.

Learn proper skills and technique. Some aspects of kayaking are intuitive; however, there are many nuances and tricks that one can learn that will make kayaking more efficient and more fun for paddlers of at any skills level. We (and many other instructors) often share tips on twitter, facebook, and in our blogs, but, the best way to develop proper technique is to work with an instructor or coach who can give instruction and feedback. Kayak symposiums are a great way to meet different coaches to find that right mentor. Two of our favorite west coast symposiums are the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in February and Lumpy Waters in October.

Try a new discipline of paddling. The skills that you learn with a different type of boat or paddle will improve your overall skills in all disciplines. If you like to paddle a sit on top kayak, take a sea kayak lesson in a decked sea kayak. If you like to sea kayak ocean rock gardens, try a whitewater river class or rock gardening in a whitewater kayak. Jeff and I are expanding our paddling skills this year to include Stand-Up Paddling (SUP).

Sea Kayaking – Pick a BCU Star Award to work toward. The BCU system is a well organized guide for skill progression. It gives a paddler a way to assess their skills and plan for improvement. Trainings and assessments are available throughout the US and in many other great kayaking destinations (Baja, anyone?). If you are new to the BCU, consider taking a 2 Star Assessment or 3 Star Sea Training this winter or spring. Here’s a link to LFK’s BCU schedule.
Whitewater River Kayaking – Make 2012 the year that you style the river rather than survive it. Perfect your eddy turns and ferries and dial your wave surfing by a few minutes of focused practice on each of your river trips. Either with a class or with friends, see who can ferry across the river with the fewest strokes or time each other on surfing waves.

Surf Kayaking – How about training for an event? The Santa Cruz Paddlefest is March 16-18. See some of the best kayak surfers in the world as well as have a chance to surf at Santa Cruz Steamer’s Lane. Here’s our video from 2011.

Have a Reliable Roll - For the safety of yourself and others, you need to have a reliable roll if you are paddling challenging waters. For most of us, this takes a lot of focused practice and often some good coaching. Often there is one little thing that we can do or focus on that will improve the success of our rolls. How do we find that one little thing? Usually it involves feedback from a coach or friend who analyzes your roll. That one little thing can be as simple as making sure you finish ( Creating a Reliable Roll by Phil and Mary Dereimer) or using an active leg drop (Shawna Franklin’s tip in Adventure Kayak Magazine) or just relaxing and taking a moment to relax before rolling.

Improving your fitness
– We of course advocate cross training. Cardiovascular training will make long paddles or slogs through a headwind easier. Hiking, mountain biking, and swimming are our favorite cardio exercises. Recruit a friend, family member, or coworker to power walk, hike, bike, or swim 2-3 days a week. Set a schedule with specific times and days and try to stick with it.

Strength and flexibility are equally important and will help with injury prevention. I am a reluctant yoga participant, but Jeff has been rallying me to regularly practice. We do our strength and flexibility workouts first thing in the morning so that they get done and we feel great the rest of the day. It is best to work with an instructor, but I have a hard time getting myself to the gym or studio and prefer to practice at home. My two favorite yoga workout dvd’s are Yoga for Cyclists and Anna Levesque’s Yoga for Kayaking.

Be prepared for emergencies – Prevention, prevention, prevention is our motto; however, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. CPR and First Aid are a must for anyone. This year, we have recruited Sierra Rescue to come to the Mendocino Coast to teach a Wilderness First Aid Class for the outdoor enthusiasts in our area. If you are playing in whitewater, a swiftwater training is a must as well. If you have had training, rally your friends to practice scenarios and to maintain a dialog of contingency plans.

Part of our emergency preparations includes our OSB’s (Oh Shit Bags). These are part of our kit on all kayaking trips and include essential first aid, communication, and repair materials.

Most important – DO IT and make it FUN!!!

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Jan 03 2012

A Series of Unexpected Events

Surreal would be my best adjective for 2011. Of course phenomenal paddling is to be expected when one’s regular paddling playground is the Mendocino Coast. However, 2011 seemed to be the year of the unexpected.
Jeff catches air and Kathe gets a saltwater facial.
As I reflect on 2011, I recall regularly thinking, “Really? Someone pinch me so that I know this is really happening.”
Cate and Amy coasteering on the Mendocino Coast.
From befriending a garter snake

Cate's friend Hairy.

to testing strip-built sea kayaks, 2011 was a bizarre year.
Cate takes the strip built sea kayak in the rocks.
Probably one of the most unexpected events of 2011 was helping Jeff salvage a sunken sit on top kayak from the bottom of Noyo Bay.
Salvaging a sunken sit on top kayak in Noyo Bay.
Equally unexpected was stepping my game up to run some Class IV whitewater.
Cate descends Double Drop on the Eel River.
My favorite adventure of 2011 was our 169 mile Paddle to the Sea on the Eel River. In 8 days, Jeff and I paddled whitewater kayaks from Lake Pillsbury to the Pacific Ocean on the Eel River.
Setting off on Day 2 from Hearst.
2011 was a year of fun and adventure but also of frustration (Tales from the Surf Zone) and disappointment (Skunked). And also sadness as 2 of my beloved pets – Button and Aften passed away. It is these moments that remind us that we are human and things aren’t meant to be perfect.
Aften's first kayak trip on Fort Bragg's Noyo River
What will 2012 bring? More fun adventures I hope. Jeff and I will be traveling a little bit more in 2012 and sharing the fun. In January, I am meeting with Risa Shimoda to consult with her on The Ladies’ Project. Later in January, we are road tripping with the toys to Bodega Bay for Crabfest 2012 sponsored by The Headwaters and Promar. In March, we will be sharing our Eel River Paddle to the Sea Adventure with several clubs including Explore North Coast.

Unexpected has been the positive response that I have gotten from readers of my blog. Initially, I was surprised that people were reading my blog. Thanks for reading and sharing the adventures. Here’s a link to some of our favorite photos of 2011.

Best wishes for fun and adventure in 2012.
Looking for Pearls?

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Dec 14 2011

Out to Sea

Just shy of her 100th birthday, Marion Osterloh made her final journey out to sea. Marian was an amazing woman – a teacher, actress, and writer. She taught for 27 years in the Chico area before retiring to the Mendocino Coast in the 70′s. In 2003, she published a book Fate’s a Fiddler about her life in Mexico City during and after the Mexican revolution. Marian was active in our local community and involved in many groups including Delta Kappa Gamma (an honorary service organization for women educators). I knew Marian through Delta Kappa Gamma.

Marian lived in a home on the bluffs above Seaside Beach. Marian’s wishes were for her ashes to be taken out to sea off the coast of her Seaside home. Marian’s good friend and fellow Delta Kappa Gamma member, Kathe, approached us about helping with Marian’s last wishes.

Seaside beach is a beautiful county beach north of Fort Bragg. Occasionally we will see it in magazine and television ads. One of the beauties of Seaside Beach is its thunderous surf zone. Even with the calmest ocean conditions, there is always surf at Seaside. It is a surf zone that surfers want no part of and paddlers view with at with the upmost respect. We knew that it would have to be a small day to fulfill Marian’s wishes.

On December 8, the day came. We had been having a stretch of uncommonly calm ocean conditions and the predictions were for another day of small seas. We loaded up the tandem sea kayaks and headed out. At Seaside, it was a gorgeous day – sunny, warm with thumping surf.

We got the tandem sea kayak to the water, and Jeff and Kathe headed out.

The local funeral home had packaged Marian’s ashes in a biodegradable box specially for the occasion. Jeff helped Kathe secure the package in her lap as they prepared to launch into the surf zone.

Jeff coached Kathe on paddling through the surf zone. They would try to time their paddle-out to avoid waves breaking on top of them by waiting for lulls and hovering to let the waves break in front of them.

Kathe did great. Paddling or tucking as Jeff directed. As they made it through the first impact zone, a large set loomed on the horizon.

The virtues of speed and stability of our 18.5 foot tandem sea kayak were evident as Jeff and Kathe launched over waves. They reported being airbourne at least twice on their journey out to sea. They successfully made it past the surf zone and paddled about 500 yards offshore to put Marian’s ashes to rest.

The return journey looked mellower for the most part with the exception of a tongue of a wave giving Kathe a saltwater facial.

Jeff and Kathe even surfed on their way back to shore.

Mission completed – feelings of exhilaration and relief swept over us as we felt the warmth of the sun and perhaps the tickle of Marian’s laughter as she completed her on her final journey.

Rest in peace Marian.

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Nov 26 2011

CAR – Crab, Abalone, Rocks

A storm out of the Aleutian Islands is heading our way. The marine forecast for the next couple of days are for gale force winds, combined seas in the 15-20 foot range and rain. As the storm brewed and winds started to pick up, we figured that we better get out and stock up on food and play. Our whitewater paddling buddy Nick joined us for the adventure.

A 10 knot southerly breeze had started with some gusting in the 15-20 knot range. The texture on the water was definitely showing the effect of southern winds with occasional whitecaps on the outer waters. Our plan was to paddle our sea kayaks out of the Noyo Bay, drop our crab pots, play in some rock gardens, abalone dive, and then pull our pots and head for home.

Of course, we could have dropped our crab pots in the protected areas of Noyo Bay, but instead had to charge out to where things get interesting. I think that Jeff wants to simulate the drama of Deadliest Catch on our crabbing missions. We are definitely getting a lot of towing practice on our sea kayak crabbing adventures.

We dropped our pots and off we went in search of adventure and abalone. First we paddled into a favorite spot and had to stop and admire the US Coast Guard plane doing maneuvers out at sea. This is not an everyday occurrence on the Mendocino Coast, and it was fun to watch.

The area where we were going to play and dive was really gusty with the southerly winds so we modified plans and tucked into a more protected area. Despite the small swell, Nick and I had some fun rides while Jeff took photos and prepared to dive for abalone.

Both Nick and I regretted that we didn’t bring our dive gear. Jeff plucked his abs easily but lingered in the water for a bit marveling at the beauty of the vibrant underwater colors of sea life.

Eventually the fish got out of the water and we strategized how to pull our crab pots in the windy conditions. I was going to pull the pots as Jeff used a tow to keep me from drifting into the kelp and onto a reef. Nick was going to stabilize my boat and help with strapping the pots onto my boat.

I was excited to get to pull the pots and be the first to see our catch of the day. I was a little apprehensive though as the last time we pulled a pot in this area there was a giant octopus on it (feeling crabby). The first pot that I pulled didn’t feel heavy so I knew that there wasn’t a giant octopus on it. It also didn’t feel heavy with crabs. There were 3 crabs in it though. One was a nice sized dungeness crab. Into the cockpit of my boat he went.

When we pulled the next pot, I was excited to see 2 crabs. One didn’t look right though. He was a beautiful dark red color and had latched his claws onto the bars of the trap. It was a rock crab. It took some finagling to get him to let go and out of the trap. After I got him to let go of the cage, he latched on to my finger. OUCH!!! Fortunately I was wearing my gloves and he didn’t break the skin. I got him off and happily sent him on his way back into the drink.

Back to shore we paddled – happy that we had 3 abalone, a crab, and a fun day on the water.

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Nov 16 2011

Feeling Crabby?

We are working on planning our 2012 calendar and updating the Liquid Fusion Kayaking website. Lots of time on the computer has me feeling a bit crabby so I figured a good cure for crabbiness might be a little kayak crabbing .

We decided to put our new Dagger Alchemy sea kayaks to the task. Mostly because they are very stable. We also wanted to get a feel for their outfitting and performance (review of the Dagger Alchemy will be in a future post).

Saturday before our Mushroom Paddle, we paddled out into Noyo Bay and dropped our crab pots. It was a gorgeous morning with calm seas and the full moon setting to the west.

Quickly we dropped our pots and headed to the woods to gather mushroom specimens for my mushroom identification and ecology lesson.

After the mushroom paddle, we paddled out to pick up our pots. Wind and seas had picked up considerably. Also, quite a few more pots were dropped in the vicinity of ours. I was glad that I had my towline. As Jeff pulled up our pots, the wind and currents were blowing him into the lines of the other crab traps so I had to use an anchor tow to keep him from drifting into harms way.

Jeff was stoked as we pulled up the first pot because it was quite heavy. We both envisioned a pot full of tasty Dungeness crabs. As the pot neared the surface, we were dismayed to see a Giant Pacific Octopus wrapped around the top. The tentacles on this guy must have been 5 feet long. It took some coaxing and prodding to get him back into the sea.

Obviously, the octopus was as interested in the contents of the trap as we were. Inside the trap were 8 Dungeness crabs. Four of the crabs ended up being too small so we put them back. Jeff stuffed the 4 keepers inside the cockpit of his boat – No, they didn’t pinch him.

Off to the next pot we went. This pot was heavy too but we were cautiously optimistic about its contents. By darned if there were no crabs in it but 2 large slobs. Slobs is a term that crab fisherman use for Sunflower Starfish which are notorious for getting into pots and devouring crabs.

We stowed our pots and happily surfed the swells back to the beach. We would be having fresh crab and Chanterelle pizza for dinner.

Special thanks to Jimmy Callian for tagging along with us and taking photos (and keeping us laughing).

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Aug 23 2011

Crash Test Dummies

A couple of strip-built sea kayaks were dropped off for us to demo. “The Mattang” was designed to be a rugged, nimble surfing and rock gardening sea kayak. It was specifically built for the surf and rock gardens of the Mendocino Coast. “The Sundance” was a gorgeous, 18.5′ long, pointy sea kayak with Greenland and British design influences.

We slipped out for an evening paddle. I paddled the elegant 18.5′ Sundance and Jeff paddled the rugged Mattang. A couple of minutes after we launched from the beach, the bulkhead on my boat came loose and shifted forward of my feet, and the right thigh brace came unglued. I didn’t come unglued over these outfitting details (story of my life) and enjoyed the smooth, effortless feel of her gliding through the water. She was surprisingly nimble and turned well with a little edge. She was fast, sleek and efficient and very different from my 16 foot plastic Valley Avocet.

It was a mellow evening, and we enjoyed a couple of rides on a rock garden feature called “The Toilet Bowl.”

We meandered over to Chicken Point which was breaking on some of the larger sets. I was content to sit on the edge of the break and admire and photograph Jeff and the Mattang in action. Jeff was tearing it up with her!!! He made that boat dance on the water.

My friend Amy and her family were spectating from the bluffs. Of course they goaded me into catching a wave at Chicken Point. I thought, “Sure, great idea – surfing a rock-strewn break in an elegantly crafted 18.5’ wooden sea kayak with a hull design that had never been tested in the surf.”

I contemplated . . . worst case scenario . . . I would not be able to control the boat and end up broach surfed into the rocks . . . at least my friends would witness some spectacular carnage.

As my friend Amy says, “I nutted-up” and got into position. The boat accelerated with ease onto the wave. As I dropped in, I felt totally in control. The bow and stern both rode high in the water allowing me to control the boat’s direction. I edged her slightly and surfed her across the face of the wave.

Huh? An 18.5 foot sea kayak that drops into a wave and edges and carves. The builder was ecstatic. He had no idea what she would do on a wave. Jeff and my friends were hooting and hollering . . . . I was grinning from ear to ear and paddling back for another wave. And caught another, and another, and another. On one wave, I actually dropped in and cut right toward the rocks and then cut back left. It was amazing and so much fun.

So much for being crash test dummies . . . this time.

Here’s a video of our session using the rapid fire photos that Amy took from above on the bluffs.

YouTube Preview Image

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Jul 06 2011

Sunken Kayak

While 2 red flags flew above the US Coast Guard Station in Noyo Harbor, a green sit on top kayak bounced and bobbed beneath the surface of the water.

Around 2:30 a phone call came in about a sunken kayak in Noyo Bay. It was an office day for me. I was in a stupor of paperwork and bookkeeping and didn’t know how to respond so I gave them Jeff’s cell phone number.

An hour later, Jeff walks into our home office and starts assembling his dive gear and kayak rescue kit. I couldn’t let him have all the fun so I wrapped up my office work, grabbed my kayak and gear and headed out to catch up with him in the Noyo Bay.

As I drove down the hill past the US Coast Guard Station, I noticed 2 red flags flying indicating a small craft advisory and rough sea conditions. A glance out at the ocean, it showed steep seas pitching the buoys sideways. The tide was high and waves were breaking over many of our favorite rock garden play spots.

When we arrived, Scott (the guy who had sunk his kayak) had an entourage of family and friends waiting to see what we would do. He had quite an adventure already – sinking his kayak and being rescued by the Coast Guard. They had called the local diver who does subsurface repair and salvage work, but he wasn’t going out due to the conditions. They expected us to come out on a boat to recover the kayak and exclaimed their surprise when we started suiting up and unloading our kayaks.

Scott borrowed his dive buddy’s kayak and came to assist us with the retrieval mission. We launched and paddled out to the spot where the kayak sunk. When the kayak sank, the guys cleverly tied a float tube (used for abalone diving) and anchor to the kayak to mark its position on the bottom of the bay.

When we got to the spot, Jeff suited up with his dive gear (fins, snorkel, and weight belt).

The kayak had sunk when the paddler had the front hatch open to store his weight belt and lost balance and capsized the kayak. If the weight belt had fallen out, the kayak would have been flooded but would have been neutrally buoyant. However, the weight belt slid into the bow taking her nose down into Davey Jone’s Locker.

Jeff dove down and assessed the situation. The bow of the boat was bouncing on top of a submerged rock about 15 feet below the rolling surface. Getting the weight belt out of the bow was going to be key in recovering the boat. Not only did Jeff get the 25 pound weight belt out of the boat, but he swam with it up to the surface. We stowed it in Scott’s borrowed kayak and I braced his boat.

Jeff had tied a line to the sunken kayak to one of the carrying handles. I stabilized Scott’s boat as he attempted to pull her up, but the handle broke. Jeff dived down and retied the line, and we successfully pulled her up.

Without the weight belt, the kayak was neutrally buoyant and floated just below the surface of the water. We thought that we could bilge her out and tow her back to the beach, but her drain plug was missing and she continued to take on water. Plan B – tow the waterlogged, submerged kayak back to shore.

We got her back to shore with lots of cheers.

After getting the water-out, she didn’t look too much worse for wear with the exception of her bow.

After bouncing and bobbing on the rock for 3-4 hours, the bow was considerably banged- up but still intact.

Just another day at the office.

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Jun 24 2011

Tour de Mendo June 2011

We love running Tour de Mendo trips. Each trip is different with different venues and different paddlers. The primary goal of the Tour de Mendo is to explore and play in kayaks along the Mendocino Coast – FUN, FUN, FUN!!!

Our most recent group of paddlers came from San Diego, Orange County, and LA. Of the 6 paddlers, only one had paddled the Mendocino Coast before with us so Day 1 was an instructional tour day. We launched from Liquid Fusion Kayaking headquarters on the Noyo River and headed out to the coast. Once in the ocean, we started with teaching (reviewing for some) the basics of kayaking in ocean rock gardens including safety and play.

And of course enjoyed lunch on a beach.

And lots of rock garden play.

Day 2 was a paddle out of Russian Gulch. This is probably one of the most spectacular stretches of the Mendocino Coast to explore by sea kayak. We explored many of the sea caves, tunnels, arches, and hidden coves as we paddled north to the Point Cabrillo Lighthouse.

It was an outstanding day with lots of wonder and awe as well as lots of play. Everyone’s highlight of the day was negotiating some technical routes that through rock gardens with chaotic waters. It is super fun to lead a group of skilled paddlers through these tight, technical passages.

This year it was fun to have the group staying in the vacation rental at Dolphin Isle. It is a great space for a group of paddlers. A large private deck is perfect for drying gear and the location is within 50 yards of LFK headquarters.

It was also a great staging point for food preparation for an evening potluck and campfire at LFK.

We had a very special trip in mind for Day 3. It is definitely off the beaten paddle, and we were looking forward to having a group with the skills to share it with. However, the Fog Bug that has been plaguing our cameras decided to envelope us for the day. We shifted gears and decided to go paddle and play on the Noyo River.

It was a nice relaxing rest day for the group followed by our Eel River Paddle to the Sea presentation at Silver’s at the Wharf.

We had been having unseasonably calm conditions. Wind and rough seas are typical for June so we were fortunate to have had a couple of calm days with small swells. Day 4 was more typical of spring paddling on the Mendocino Coast. The wind and the seas had kicked up. We enjoyed some really fun technical meandering along the Fort Bragg Coastline with a little bit of rock gardening and surfing play.

We returned to the Noyo Beach for some play in short boats (whitewater kayaks). This was an introduction to some members of the group and conditions had picked up so we kept things on the mellow side.

The Tour de Mendo is one of our favorite trips to guide. It is fun to share our backyard with a group of competent sea kayakers. This trip was special because it was the first one that Jeff and I got to guide together. We are looking forward to guiding more Tour de Mendo’s together (If you want to join us, we have a couple of spaces left on our September Tour de Mendo’s and offer custom/private trips).

Here is a link to our photo gallery from the trip.

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Jun 06 2011

Black Oystercatcher Survey

It was raining so we took Friday afternoon off to help out the Audubon Society with a black oystercatcher survey. I guess most people take a sunny afternoon off to go to the beach or something, but we live life a little out of the box.

The black oystercatcher is a species of concern. They are coastal birds that are almost prehistoric looking with their jet black bodies and bright red bills, pink legs, and glowing yellow eyes. They live on coastal rocks and feed on mollusks like mussels. With lots of rocky reefs and coastal rocks, the Mendocino Coast is a prime habitat for them. The California Audubon Society decided to organize a citizens in science project to survey the oystercatchers with special attention paid to nesting behaviors.

Of course kayaking is our favorite way to explore coastal rocks so we loaded up our sea kayaks and took them to Noyo Beach. Our survey area was Noyo Bay and the area just to the north and south to the southern headlands of Hare Creek. We had unbelievably calm ocean conditions. It was fun to meander through the rocky passages that are often inaccessible due to waves exploding through them. We had binoculars, our waterproof tablets, waterproof camera, and GPS.

We found 4 nesting pairs of oystercatchers in our survey. We knew of 2 of the pairs from watching them over previous years. We also saw quite a few Western gulls and pelagic cormorants sitting on nests in our survey area. We saw a common raven nest with 3 young as well as a couple of common ravens raid a couple of cormorant nests. The ravens swooped in and scared the brooding parent off the nest and rifled through the contents of the nest.

We haven’t been out in our sea kayaks much so this was a great way to get some of the rust off our long boat skills. We used our greenland paddles because they are stealthy and quiet for wildlife watching. Of course we had to surf a couple of waves at Hare Creek and ride a couple of pour-overs and slots. I took advantage of the south swell for a fantastic ride over a wash rock with a gorgeous cascading backside (Of course – Jeff didn’t have a camera). Here’s Jeff coming over Nick’s Nightmare.

And Jeff blasting through Angie’s Angst.

After our paddle, we drove up to Pomo Bluffs with our spotting scope to scope out several of the nests that we had seen. From on top of the headlands, we had a better vantage point to see the oystercatchers in their nests.

The Mendocino Coast Audubon had local birders covering most of the coastline during the 4 day survey period. It is great to see people rally to help out with these citizen science projects. We were happy to be able to help out with a portion.

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Apr 14 2011

Chicken Point

Pomo Bluffs is a headland on the south end of Fort Bragg’s Noyo Bay. It is now a city park and has a nice paved walkway with interpretive information and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. The north end of Pomo Bluffs where it juts out into the ocean is called Chicken Point.

Fishermen/women and urchin divers call it Chicken Point because that is where they go and look at the coastal conditions and decide if they are going out or chickening out that day.

Chickens is a name that local surfers have called it. It has a reef break that on a good day produces overhead to double-overhead waves with nice left shoulders. The trick is that surfing the break becomes a game of chicken with the rocks that are scattered within the break. Needless to say, one doesn’t see it getting surfed too often.

Chicken Point is always a point of wonder and awe when we are kayaking in Noyo Bay. On a very flat day, one can paddle around the rocks of chicken point. It is beautiful and fascinating with a healthy and colorful intertidal zone and a rugged rocky backdrop.

On typical days, it is awesome to watch the waves roll through the reefs at Chicken Point. It is exciting to sit on the edge of the breaking waves and witness the power of the ocean engulfing the rocks. To those that surf, we are mezmorized by her dangerous beauty. We try to visualize a line to surf through the maze of spilling waves guarded by the rocks.

Jeff is not one to be disuaded by rocks and I remember the first time that he and our friend Josha surfed Chickens. WOW!!!

As we rock garden in Noyo Bay, Chicken Point draws us like a magnet. Surfing Chickens is a bit out of my comfort level, but I have become comfortable enough with the break to position myself on the edge to watch and take photos. I am always stoked to see those with the skill and the nerve get in there and surf her waves.

Jeff has been encouraging me to get in there and catch a ride. Several times, I have eased myself into the break only to withdraw (chicken-out) when looking at the wall of water building behind me and doubting whether I have the composure and skill to surf the wave and not be caught in the foam pile and swept into the rocks.

It is very fun to watch Jeff. Many days the waves are just to0 big and scary to even tempt me but I am drawn to the challenge and really want to be able to surf it. In preparation, I have started getting my rock gardening boat out more in the surf zone to hone my skills, focus, control – and most importantly my confidence.

Occasionally another paddler will be in town and be game for surfing Chickens with Jeff. Several weeks ago, a skilled whitewater kayaker and his girlfriend were passing through town and connected to paddle with us. Chicken Point lured him from the moment he drove into the parking lot of the beach. As we rock gardened and played in the bay, she kept beckoning to him.

His creekboat was not the idea craft but good paddlers have a way of making things work – check it out in this video.
I have had this post in my mind since filming the guys this day but just haven’t had the chance to write it. As I am writing it, I have had my first rides at Chicken Point under my belt. We don’t have any photos or video to post, but I can tell you that I was not swept into the rocks and am now drawn even more than ever to surf Chicken Point.

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