Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Sep 19 2011

Washed Ashore

Here’s Jeff checking out Henry -
Henry was washed ashore in the form of millions of pieces of plastic

After a busy summer, Jeff and I meandered off the Mendocino Coast to check out The Washed Ashore exhibit at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

It is AMAZING – 15 creations made from trash that washed up onto Oregon beaches. The creations are clever and the displays are educational and thought-provoking (like this one)

Many know that sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jelly fish, but they are only one of many species that are significantly impacted. I was astounded by this whale of a tale -

It is disturbing when you think about how much plastics have become a necessity in our lives. Jeff and I were trying to think how we could live without plastics. It doesn’t seem possible, but we can “Rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, reinvent, and refuse” to minimize our use and impact.

We also can become involved in activities like California Coastal Cleanup Day and support groups that are working to create awareness like The Surfrider Foundation. Seeing their photo of the internal contents of a bird’s stomach has made me obsessive that every little shred of plastic that comes from a wrapper gets into the trash. Be sure to check out their Rise Above Plastics program.

I also have become increasing aware of my impact as a kayaker. Seal launches and landings with plastic kayaks often leaves bits of plastic on the rocks.

While seal launches and landings are fun, we use them only when necessary in favor of lower impact on the environment. Jumping off of rocks into the ocean and swimming to your kayak is good fun too.

Be sure to check out the facebook page – Out of Sight, Out of Mind . Here’s a group of 3 paddlers working to create awareness of the trash issues in our waterways and what we can do to help. For many of us, every day is Coastal Cleanup Day as we pick up trash on our streets, in the forest, and on the water.

If you get a chance, definitely check out the Washed Ashore Exhibit and share it with others. Every Action Counts . . .

No responses yet

Jun 16 2011

Taking One for the Team

Published by under Uncategorized

Yep. Sometimes, you get to take one for the team. In last week’s Tour de Mendo, I took at couple. Sometimes, it is taking one when guiding another paddler through rocks or waves and other times it is being in the impact zone for that perfect photo.

I took 2 on our first day of the Tour de Mendocino. The first was guiding some sea kayakers in through a small, dumpy beach break. I had paddled in to check on a student and then turned to come back out and a larger set came in. I didn’t have the speed to punch through the wave and did a nice end over end. It was quite entertaining, but most importantly I guided all of my students in safely without carnage.

The other was sitting in the wash zone of a pour-over. A larger wave came through and I was photographing Jeff and John coming over the pour-over together. My one handed brace wasn’t enough and ker-plop I went with the camera dangling. All was well though, I got the shot and rolled up (although not one of my better photos, but sometimes its not the photo but the story).

No responses yet

Mar 24 2011


Published by under Uncategorized

Maybe the skunk was an omen or just bad timing . . .

I’ve been looking forward to the Santa Cruz Paddlefest (formerly Kayak Surf Festival) since last fall when we made our 2011 calendar.

Jeff kept telling me about the magic of the Santa Cruz reef breaks. Spilling waves with great right shoulders and channels that were easy to paddle out. The attitude of Santa Cruz surfers though is world renowned so it is definitely a place to watch your P’s and Q’s. I was excited that the Paddlefest would give me the opportunity to paddle one of these fun breaks with minimal hassle.

We left for the contest a couple of days early to visit friends and family in the area and to get a day or two in of surfing. Our dogs, Bear and Aften, journeyed with us. Of course we left later than planned and enjoyed some lovely bay area traffic. It rained heavily for most of our drive. The rain lightened up when we reached the South Bay Area, and we stopped for beer and to let the dogs out for a stretch and pee-break in an empty parking lot.

Having had a good stretch and feeling thirsty, I called the dogs over to the truck. Aften trotted right over and I lifted her in. Instantly my nostrils were inundated with the smell of skunk. The only thing worse than your dog getting skunked is being on the road when your dog gets skunked. I too was pretty smelly. Fortunately there was a creek nearby and the grocery store was still open. I bought some vinegar and proceeded to give Aften a cold vinegar bath. It worked as well as could be expected.

At the time, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was going to be an omen for our surf weekend.

Thursday, we made our way down to Santa Cruz and scoped out a couple of surf spots. It was warm and sunny with some nice surf. The peeling right handed waves were such a treat and I was a little remiss for not bringing my surf boat (I only brought my whitewater kayak due to space and because I was competing in the novice division which didn’t allow high performance surf kayaks).

The weather forecast was for rain and high surf. Despite weather forecasts being consistently wrong all winter, Friday morning was as predicted – rainy and windy. Jeff was competing and my plan was to demo some boats and get a practice run in on the break that I would be surfing for the contest.

The surf was big and it was BLOWING. Quickly Plan B formulated. Dress in rain gear, watch a couple of heats, and enjoy a good book in the hotel room.

Saturday, I was to compete. I woke to the sound of the wind howling. A glance at the ocean showed whitecaps and thumping storm surf. I went to the prepaddle meeting and then looked again at the surf. Why was I here? To surf a fun break. Today looked anything but fun so I decided to scratch. It was a good decision but a hard one.

I watched what would have been my heat. Ugggg – no thanks. The wind was gusting. Most of the waves were storm chop and the main sets that came through were powerful. Hats off to the guys who paddled out there and tried to surf in our heat. They got a few foam pile rides but the green faces eluded them.

I was disappointed but wasn’t totally skunked. Thursdays rides were so worth it and Jeff did well despite the conditions. Next year? We will see.

No responses yet

Jan 16 2011

Whitewater of the Sea

Published by under Uncategorized

We have been intending to get a new kayak rock gardening video posted on youtube but have been paddling more and computing less (not a bad thing). With our Liquid Lounge Night at Silver’s at the Wharf coming up, we knew that we had better get some computing done.

After many hours of reviewing a year’s worth of funness and putting it into a video, here’s what we came up with. Our local Mendocino Coast audience “ouuuuued and ahhhhhed”. We hope that you enjoy it too.

YouTube Preview Image

No responses yet

Jan 05 2011

Return to Rancheria Creek

Published by under Uncategorized

When we returned home from Christmas with the family, our voicemail and email were full of messages from our whitewater paddling buddies. Rainfall Christmas day had all of our Mendocino County rivers flowing. Many were too flooded for fun whitewater but ahhhhh – our closest whitewater river run – Rancheria Creek was running at a playful level.

Nick, Chuck, Jeff and myself set out for a rainy day of play on Rancheria Creek.It was starting to rain and the forecast was for several inches of rain (enough to flood the river and to close the road), but time was on our side.

Last year, we ran Rancheria Creek numerous times for fun and then as research for an article for California Kayaker ( Winter 2010 Issue).

Approximately 500 cfs was a mellow flow with lots of fun eddies to catch and waves to surf. Steady rain kept the flow increasing. Glacial green water, mossy banks, wood ducks, herons, and dippers oooed and ahhhhed us as we played down the river. We saw 3 common mergansers and wondered if they were the same 3 that escorted us last year.

Horse Creek is always a beautiful spot to admire. Today, Jeff and Chuck had other ideas for the waterfall drop. Nick and I of course were up for the entertainment and to be team photographers.

First decent? Nick says that he has run Rancheria hundreds of times with many boaters commenting on running the Horse Creek waterfall but no one to his knowledge has.

As we paddled the rest of the river, I recalled our paddles from last year and tried to determine which was my favorite stretch. Running “The Ledge” and using it as a lunch/surf play spot is definitely a highlight as are some long class 2 rapids. However, I have decided that the aura of the creek – its mossy rocks, redwood lined gorges, and riparian/woodland wildlife are the highlight.

I wish (like most others who have run Rancheria Creek) that there was an earlier take-out option. Rancheria Creek loses its whitewater character and scenic appeal after it is joined by Indian Creek and becomes the Navarro River.

Today, we put a stick at the takeout at Hendy Woods to see how much the river rose while we paddled in the rain. It rose several inches during our paddle; however, over night it rose from 500 to 4,000 cfs which is a lot of water on a creek.

We have been having fun creating photo slideshows with captions. Here’s a link to our December 2010 Rancheria Creek Slideshow.

No responses yet

Nov 09 2010

The Hockey Stick Roll

This week when I was grabbing paddles to take to our Monday night pool session at the CV Starr Center, I grabbed a stick (not a greenland paddle but a hockey stick). Peter Donohue, editor of California Kayaker, inspired the idea this summer. Here’s a video of my first attempt at the hockey stick roll.

YouTube Preview Image

After I loaded this onto YouTube, I discovered that some paddlers in the Olypmic Kayak Club have already rolled with a hockey stick. They call it the Canadian Emergency Paddle Roll.

Pretty fun, eh?

No responses yet

Oct 26 2010

Fall Whitewater Run on the Trinity River

Published by under Uncategorized

After a 5 month hiatus from whitewater river kayaking, we closed Liquid Fusion Kayaking for a couple of days of “professional development.”
We were heading north to attend the Traditional Arctic Kayak Symposium (TAKS) in Trinidad and managed to sneak away from the coast for a couple of days to go to the Trinity River. The flow was holding consistently at 575 cfs so we did ” The Slot” run which is a Class III run from just below Pigeon Point to Big Flat.

This was our first run on the Trinity and we were stoked to have a local paddler share the run with us.

Our whitewater kayaks felt comfortable and seemed happy to be getting onto the water. The water temperature was very cold but the fall air was warm, and we rolled frequently (some of us not necessarily on purpose) to cool off.

One of the highlights of the run was seeing a steelhead launch itself up the Hell Hole Rapid. He didn’t make it but it was a spectacular display of this mighty fish and his efforts to reach his spawning ground. Too bad we didn’t get a photo of it but this is a photo of the rapid that he was trying to go up.

We also enjoyed seeing a bald eagle as that is not a regular sighting for us on the Mendocino Coast.

The run was just beautiful. Fall colors, the whitewater rapids, and surrounding scenery made for some beautiful photos and ahhhhhh moments.

Many ahhhh moments occurred on the river as well as we worked the rust out of our whitewater kayaking skills. I am working on the timing and coordination of my boof stroke.

Jeff took most of the photos and videos of the run as we only had one camera with us and he is much more competent at paddling and shooting on the river. Does anyone know the name of this plant?

Our time on the river went by much too fast, and we are longing for more whitewater river kayaking. We were delighted to return to home to the Mendocino Coast with rain in the long range forecast.

No responses yet

Oct 19 2010

Tradional Arctic Kayak Symposium

Last weekend, we journeyed off the Mendocino Coast with our sea kayaks and greenland paddles and headed to Trinidad, California for the Traditional Arctic Kayak Symposium (TAKS). Beautiful weather, calm wind and ocean conditions, and an eclectic gathering of sea kayakers interested in traditional kayaking made for a fun weekend.

The ocean was very calm and allowed for mellow paddling around and between the rocks of Trinidad Bay.

We fit 9 kayaks in this particular slot. Bob in his beautiful stitch and glue wooden kayak was very happy to have my plastic Avocet as a buffer between his boat and the rocks.

A pair of harlequin ducks added to the color of the weekend.

John Peterson of Shaman Kayaks organized the event. His kayaks are truely works of art. It was fun to see several of them on the water this weekend.

Greenland skill demonstrations included rolling and bracing. Jeff and I thought that the resting brace position looked great for an on water nap.

Wolfgang Brinck paddles over in an Aleutian Kayak sporting an Aleutian hat. Wolfgang is the author of The Aleutian Kayak and teaches skin on frame kayak building in the San Franscisco Bay area.

Despite the roll or drown motto of paddlers dedicated to greenland paddling techniques, Dan and Andrew demonstrate a rescue and recovery of a swamped boat.

Our friend John Henry observes the lunch break from the deck of Jeff’s kayak before going back into his drybag.

We paddled around Trinidad Head – home of the Smack Wall. We paused for a couple of rides on the refractive waves that come off of the Smack Wall. Here’s a link to Ralph Johnson’s video of Tony’s wild ride on the Smack Wall.

Cheri Perry and Turner of Kayak Ways and Jeff of Liquid Fusion Kayaking held a surf zone training and practice session at college beach. Here is Marcella of the local kayak club Explore North Coast catching a wave.

Admiring the handmade kayaks and listening to presentations on the history of kayaking and kayak designs provided much food for thought over the weekend. Here is a photo of Andrew paddling a baidarka into the surf zone. Much debate ensued over the weekend of the unique bow design of the Aleutian kayaks. Any ideas?

I left my skin on frame kayak at home. It would have been fun to have in the surf zone and rock garden and definitely would have been an object of curiosity and critique as it is not a long pointy greenland kayak.

No responses yet

Sep 22 2010

September’s Second Sunday Paddle

Published by under Uncategorized

Beneath a blanket of fog, we ventured in our sea kayaks to paddle and explore a section of the Mendocino Coast on our monthly Second Sunday Paddle. Each month on the second Sunday, we are guiding and playing along different stretches of the coast. Giving our students and visitors a chance to apply their sea kayak skills to the rugged Mendocino Coast.

This foggy morning, the sirens of the sea must have been slumbering . The ocean was calm allowing for safe passages through many sea caves and arches.

We encountered some abalone divers in zodiaks and marveled at how close to the rocks with harbor seals they passed without disturbing the seals. We are very cautious and turned around in a couple of channels to avoid scaring the seals. It is amazing how they seem to be threatened by us in our non-motorized craft while they are complacent about the growling 2 stroke motors. I guess that since they have a long history of being hunted by kayak, wariness has become programed into their DNA.

The visibility when we launched was less than 100 yards; however, the fog receded as the morning went on and was long forgotten when we landed.

Anyone recognize this bridge?

No responses yet

Sep 17 2010

End of a Foggy Mendocino Summer

Published by under Uncategorized

Fall is almost upon us on the Mendocino Coast. Our tomatoes are finally getting some sun and our first rain of the season is predicted. Yes, we get excited about rain which in Mendocino County means mushrooms and whitewater kayaking.

After a super busy summer with lots of visitors joining us kayaking; we are enjoying quieter days, the late summer weather, and calm coastal paddling conditions. Many of the old time fishermen tell us that these calm ocean conditions with lots of fog used to be the norm for our ocean in the summer.

We are enjoying our relatively calm seas and are planning some special trips for the fall of 2011 including a Tour de Mendo with new twists. One of our recent exploratory paddles involved a beach launch at one of our most picturesque Mendocino Coast beaches followed by paddling around giant sea stacks and headlands with sea caves that were interconnected by tunnels. Any guesses where we were? No, it is not Russian Gulch, Elk, or Van Damme.

Jeff and I are also cleaning out the gear closet and kayak rack and having a sale. We borrowed Marna of Kayak Zak‘s idea of a kayak yard sale and put our own spin on it to make it an online yard sale. Check it out and see if there is any kayaks or gear that you need.

We are offering lots of fall kayaking classes for beginning through advanced paddlers. Monday night, our Introduction to Kayaking Class starts at the Mendocino Park and Rec. CV Starr Pool. Next weekend as the Bay Area Sea Kayakers visit, we are offering several kayak rock gardening classes including our specialty – Whitewater of the Sea.

In October, we are preparing for birthday celebrations as both Jeff and I celebrate birthdays in October. Lots of play in short boats is likely to be in store (kayak surfing and rock gardening). We are also looking forward to attending the Traditional Arctic Kayak Symposium just to the north of us in Trinidad, CA.

Planning for 2011 is in the works . . . more Tracks to Kayaks, regular kayak surfing instruction, winter and spring whitewater classes in Mendocino County and beyond . . . are a few more goodies that we are adding in for 2011. If you have a special group, trip, or event that you would like to plan for 2011 – let us know.

No responses yet

Next »

Bad Behavior has blocked 74 access attempts in the last 7 days.