Feb 09 2013
I woke up pre-dawn (about 5:00am) excited to be part of another great day. It is Saturday morning and we are on day two of the 2013 Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium. (GGSKS). The hustle and bustle and excitement was not mine alone but of other coaches and paddlers excited about the day ahead.
Today Paul Kuthe of Alder Creek , Graham Mackereth of P&H Sea Kayaks and I were to coach Advanced Rock Gardening by Sea Kayak. I was excited to paddle the Valley Sea Kayak “Gemini SP”. A new high performance sea kayak designed for the oceans rock gardens and surf!
|Jeff Laxier Photo by. Bryant Burkhart|
Our plan was to get a quick assessment of our participants, then move out under the Golden Gate Bridge. We would work the Northern shoreline looking for fun features among the rocks to learn and play on.
Out under the Golden Gate Bridge we went.
|Lime Point and the Golden Gate Bridge Photo by Cate Hawthorne|
Everyone worked hard to improve and learn new skills around the rocks. Along our journey, we swooshed up and down the rock walls. The flow of the class meandered up and down looking like a sea dragon handrailing the cliff for snacks.
We meandered among the rocks and drilled out to Point Diablo where we turned east to go back toward San Francisco Bay. An unruly student started paddling west for the Farallon Islands (opposite of where the class was headed). I made a quick dash out to him and gave him a few encouraging words as we turned back toward the rest of the class. The wind and swell at our backs gave us surfable low angle waves. My efforts were little and rides were long as the Gemini danced on the waves.
During lunch with a grand view from Kirby Cove, discussion of strategies on getting back inside the Golden Gate Bridge began. After lunch we had some fun surf ops, and Paul determined the plan for our return under the bridge.
|Keeping the L in CLAP along the eddy fence. Photo by. Bryant Burkhart|
At the Golden Gate Bridge, I sat on the eddy fence watching each student cross the fast eddyline and successfully drive into the strong current and the safe eddy beyond Lime Point. The strong currents tried to rip a paddler off course, but Paul gave a deflective tap setting the paddler back on target.
I was last to negotiate the eddies and currents and timed it just right. A few paddle strokes and Whammo! – the Gemini and I caught a nice wave and surfed up to the awaiting class.
After the successful trip back through the gate, we notched the challenge level up again with rolling and swimming self-rescue drills where the waves, cliffs, and currents meet inside of Lime Point. The students were exhilarated by their day, Paul and I enjoyed getting to coach together and I was really excited about paddling the Gemini SP.
But the day was not over yet. Evening festivities were held at the Sausalito Yacht Club. The program included ‘Ikkatsu – The Roadless Coast’ with Ken Campbell and Steve Weileman, The Search for the Perfect Day with Shay, Jason, and Chris, kayak songs by the talented Steve “Hull-Cracker” Wilson”, and a goodie-laden raffle benefiting the Marin Mammal Center.
A big thank you to the event organizers Matt Palmariello and Sean Morley! The coaches, students, and other participants were well taken care of and a good time was had by all. Thanks also to Bob Burnett (RWA) and Rob Avery (Valley Sea Kayaks) for getting the Gemini SP to me! And thanks Cate Hawthorne for the motivation and positive energy.