Archive for the 'video' Category

Feb 29 2012

Tearing It Up!

I missed the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium again this year but was stoked to host several coaches and friends afterward for some rock gardening and surfing on the Mendocino Coast.
Playing chicken with the rocks at Chicken Point.
After event paddles are a great way for coaches to unwind and play. Bryant Burkhardt writes in his Paddle California Blog – “After a couple of days of teaching that were fun but hard work, it was great to get out on the water just for fun. On Monday Cate took us to Noyo Habor, a two minute drive from her house (where she kindly put us all up). We didn’t launch until noon and we didn’t paddle more than half a mile. It was a mellow and relaxing afternoon (that still cracked two boats and ripped a drysuit).” Here’s a link to Bryant’s Video.

Yep, I put the holes in my drytop and some nice gouges in my hand as a bigger wave than expected reared up, threw me down, and raked me over a pour-over.
Photo by Bryant Burkhardt
Photo by Bryant Burkhardt
Richard didn’t get as big a wave as expected and ended up repairing the bow of his boat.

A submerged rock claimed some of Paul’s shiny red gel coat.

After a few repairs, we were all good to go and off to surf Chicken Point.

Chicken Point is a tricky break made trickier by the consequences of rocks. To catch the waves, one had to be among the rocks or drop in toward them. (This is spot for expert paddlers only). After studying the break and a few runs, the guys started tearing it up!!!

Nick Scoville and Richard Davis with NDK Explorers and their Saltwood Paddles (Jeff just got one and I can’t wait to paddle with it).

Paul Kuthe of Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak ripped it up in his TideRace Xtreme.
Paul Kuthe tearing it up at Chicken Point.

In my whitewater kayak, I was only going to catch one if I was in deep and it was one of the bigger, steeper waves. I watched and photographed for a while but of course, I couldn’t let the guys have all the fun and dropped in on a couple. Bryant caught me on video back surfing one of the waves.

It was an awesome day – having all the kids over to play in my playground.

(It was a little bit of a bummer that Jeff wasn’t here – guess we will have to have to call up the kids and make a play date to do it again.)

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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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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.

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Jun 01 2011


Published by under birds,surf,video,wildlife

Have you ever thought about how much plastic we use?

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And where it ends up?

Plastic seems to have become a necessity in our lives. Many of us have discontinued using single use plastic bottles and carry cloth bags to the grocery store. Unfortunately, this is only a start. As I write this, I look at all the plastic shtuff around my desk and all the plastic kayaks on our kayak rack.

Plastic seems to have become a necessary evil in our lives today, but I think that we need to start decreasing our dependence of it and be more conscientious of recycling and proper disposal.

Any thoughts or ideas? Please share, discuss, ect.
Let’s work together to increase awareness and start working toward solutions!!!

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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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Apr 08 2011

Swimming the Eel River

The Eel River is on my mind this morning with many thoughts – we haven’t been on it much this year – the Willits Water Festival next weekend – our upcoming trip on its wilderness stretches – and those warm sunny days kayaking it last spring.

The Outlet Creek to Dos Rios stretch of the Eel River has been described as a Class III whitewater kayaker’s delight. It isn’t run regularly by a lot of boaters due to its location in the northeast corner of Mendocino County and because it is primarily a rain-fed winter and early spring run (making it a foul-weather run that is often chilly). This stretch of the Eel River is quite special to me because it is where I learned to whitewater kayak (I probably should say am still learning).

Yes, my beginnings on this run were tormentous as many who were with us might recall. Fears and tears and of course lots of swimming. Jeff’s patience and the strength of our relationship was definitely tested on our trips to the Eel River.

When we started running the Eel River, I was a SWIMMER (in several senses – one being that I was a life guard and water safety instructor who swam regularly for fitness and the other being that I swam most of the time when I capsized). Fortunately, I was a good swimmer and usually self-rescued by holding onto my gear and getting into an eddy and onto shore.

When we started boating on the Eel River, I had just relearned to roll. I had a decent flat water roll and was racking up combat rolls in the ocean surf and rock gardens; however, the river roll was eluding me. I hated capsizing for numerous reasons – the water was COLD, the air was COLD (problem with learning to boat in the winter), my playboat was not easy to roll, my kinesthetic senses were altered in the current, I was terrified of hitting my head on a rock, or being stuck in a hydraulic. Yeap – a TON of EXCUSES!

(I would like to say that more time on the river has cured these things, but I am sure that I will swim again on the Eel – afterall – we are all in between swims.)

My first season of boating on the Eel – I ran (swam) it twice and gave up on whitewater kayaking FOOORRREEEVVVEEER! It was too cold, too scary, and too frustrating.

I continued sea kayaking and rock gardening and then even started kayak surfing. I saw photos and videos of the beautiful waterways that people were whitewater kayaking and felt a little sad when I stayed home while Jeff and our paddling buddies went river kayaking.

In the winter of 2010, I became determined to master my fears and learn to whitewater kayak – so off to the Eel River we went. Some days we would just park and play (drill) on one rapid and others we would practice different skills while heading down river. I still managed to swim plenty; however, I rolled more than I swam. I am certain that I have swum every rapid on the Outlet Creek to Dos Rios section with the exception of Tunnel and CalTrans(Willow).

In our sessions on the Eel, I realized many of my fears – hitting my head on a rock (the helmet has a couple of scratches but I am no worse for wear -I think- and getting stuck upside-down in a hydraulic and working my way out without swimming -took 3 rolls but I did it).

The cold water is still a huge issue for me. The Eel River has some great surf waves and I so want to learn to surf, but I still prefer to keep upright in chilly fresh water. My kinesthetic sense underwater in current is improving with experience, but I still get disoriented. The Eel River has many firsts for me including my first combat river roll, my first time whitewater river kayaking without Jeff and I am excited about the prospect of my first multi-day wilderness whitewater trip. Will swimming be involved on this trip? I definitely hope so . . . when it is warm and sunny and not necessarily an out-of-boat experience.

Sorry – no photos or videos of my swimming on the Eel, but this video might show a bit of the character of whitewater kayaking on the Eel (notice the contrast between the gray days of winter and the sunny green days of spring).

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Mar 26 2011

Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Contest 2011

Published by under kayaking,surf,video

“Should have been here yesterday,” was the quote of the day on Friday at Steamer’s Lane in Santa Cruz, California as paddlers gathered for the 25th Santa Cruz Kayak Surf Contest.

Fortunately, we were there and enjoyed a beautiful sunny surf session on Thursday. After our surf session on Thursday, we went to the contest check in and pre-event party at Adventure Sports. Spirits were high as event participants enjoyed live music, bbq, and socializing. It was fun to see familiar faces and to meet other surf paddling enthusiasts.

Friday morning, we awoke to stormy conditions. The wind was blowing 20-30kts with stronger gusts, swell size was considerable, and it was raining sideways. Spectators were treated to the rain blowing right at them, and the competitors were treated to the wind blowing them off the waves and even sometimes toward the cliffs.

Jeff was competing in the high performance men’s division in a field of 27 kayak surfers from around the world. Surfing Steamer’s Lane is usually a treat but this weekend it was gnarly and bordered on dangerous for all but the most skilled paddlers.

On Saturday, many of the competitors couldn’t successfully launch off the beach where an unofficial contest for best beat-down occurred. The participants who did make it off the beach had an arduous paddle out against the wind to get to their heat. Between conditions at the beach and the wind, many did not make it to their heats. Those who did make their heats were trying to catch the outer edges of the break and avoid carnage. I took a look at the conditions and didn’t even suit up for battle – my story is on my woman on water blog titled “Skunked.”

Despite the poor conditions there was some spectacular kayak surfing. The hull speed of the international class boats gave some of the best rides of the weekend. Photographing and videoing the event was a challenge with wind and rain driving right into the lenses. Of course Dominick LeMarie managed to get great shots as well as our fellow Bay Area Sea Kayaker Anders Landin. (Jeff is in Friday’s photo sequences of Dominck’s # 113-133 and Anders from #179-197).

Here is one of Anders’ photos of Jeff -

Jeff commented that he was mostly in survival mode out there; however, he did manage to surf some waves and score points. He placed 14th which is quite respectable in the world class field of the men’s high performance category.

Here’s a YouTube Video of our footage from the event.

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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.

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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?

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Dec 06 2009

Land and Sea Adventures in Fort Bragg, California

Here’s our latest video creation Outdoor Adventures in Fort Bragg, California featuring some of our land and sea adventures in our home of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast of California. Of course, we feature kayaking but also some of our other favorite activities on the coast and in the forest including abalone diving, mountain biking, and more.

A special thanks to Brent Reitz – master instructor of the Forward Stroke – for allowing us to use Single Care as our main song. If you have taken one of Brent’s Forward Stroke Clinics, you probably have immensely improved your forward stroke and probably heard him rock-out on the harmonica. Here’s a link to his group – Bad Habits.

We hope that you enjoy the video – we sure had fun making it.

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Mar 26 2009

Woman on the Street

Published by under Fort Bragg,Sea Kayaking,video

Put me back in the water. I have had too many Cate vs asphalt encounters in my life to enjoy antics such as sea kayaking down the street. Some how the guys convinced me that I should be the test dummy for this little project. Yes, I was wearing my helmet.

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