Tuesday, March 24, 2015

How Many People Does It Take to Paddle an SUP?

Apparently, the answer is 7. That is, if you're the Jamie O'Brien SUPquatch Team and you're SUPing in some crazy surf in Hawaii. Check out the fun clips below:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Re-enter and Roll

Tying to master your re-enter and roll? Here's a couple of videos that may help you master this rescue technique.
In this first video, Dympna Hayes from the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre shares the starightforward tips to perfroming this roll:


In the second clip, Gordon Brown demonstrates two versions of the re-enter and roll, including one using a paddlefloat.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hydrospeeding A Glacier

The latest craze in crazy things to do is called hydrospeeding which is basically boogie boarding down glacial rivlets. Photographer David Carlier followed Claude-Alain Gailland and Gilles Janin hydrospeeding down a seven-mile stretch of the Aletsch Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Switzerland.
Check out more his photos here and here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ends and Beginnings

The latest issue of Coast and Kayak magazine has wound its way to me through the mysterious vagaries of the Canadian Postal Service, along with word that this issue will be its last. Sort of.
After the recent demise of the much-missed Sea Kayaker magazine, this is the second kayaking magazine to paddle into the sunset over the last couple of years. Changes in the magazine market have once again made publishing a “kayaking only” magazine a losing financial battle.
The magazine has a long history as it spent two decades being published under the name Wavelength Magazine before changing names a few years ago. And the name is changing again, as editor John Kimantas had announced the magazine will continue publishing as Wild Coast Magazine, which will focus on many aspects of west coast recreational life, and not exclusively focus on kayaking. Essentially, this is the return of the Wild Coast name as Kimantas previously published a single issue of Wild Coast Magazine in 2008 but he discontinued that magazine when given the opportunity to take over Wavelength. The new name of Wild Coast also ties in nicely with Kimantas' excellent series of Wild Coast recreation guidebooks.
So we say goodbye to Coast and Kayak, but welcome the return of Wild Coast.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Kayak Rescue Off Metchosin

A pair of people in a tandem kayak and three people in an inflatable dinghy were rescued off Parry Bay in Metchosin near Victoria yesterday.
Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue - Station 35 Victoria was dispatched to perform the rescues; they've posted up some pictures and a quick write-up on their Facebook page. The wind was gusting heavily yesterday which presumably played a part in both incidents. No one was injured.

Friday, March 13, 2015

2105 MEC Victoria Paddlefest Date Annouced

Mark your calendar! The date for this year's MEC Victoria Paddlefest has been announced -- Saturday, July 18, at its usual location at Willow's Beach. Check out the details here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ron The Seal

A kayaker in England has made friends with a seal, and has had three encounters with it over the last few months. In the latest, caught on the video embedded below, the seal tries its best to climb onto the kayak, falling off and spalshing into the drink a few times before it finally succeeds. Apparently many local kayakers have had encounters with the seal, so many that the locals have given it a name, Ron. Check out the story and more pictures of Ron here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Look Out Below

Wanna show the world how tough your canoe is built? Why not throw it off a building!
That's what the guys at Nova Craft Canoe did. You can find out how that worked out by checking out the clip below:

Friday, March 06, 2015

Kayaking the Aleutians

Last year, Sarah Outen was rowing across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to British Columbia as part of her London2London human-powered global circumnavigation adventure. She had already kayaked from London across the English Channel, rode a bike across Europe and Russia, and had kayaked from Russia to Japan. Now, she was making her second attempt to row across the Pacific; her first attempt failed when her specially-designed row boat started leaking and she had to be rescued. Her second attempt was faring better, but the weather gods were not cooperating. After weeks on the water, she realized that the winds and currents were making eastward progress almost impossible. In fact, they were pushing her north towards Alaska. And that's when she improvised Plan B. Enlisting the aid of adventure kayaker and filmmaker Justine Curgenven, Sarah decided to put her rowboat ashore at the western tip of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, and kayak the length of the archipelago, up the Alaska panhandle to the nearest road so she could continue her human-powered adventure by bicycle. She and Justine spent 101 days kayaking 2500 kilometers in one of the most remote places on earth. Fortunately for the rest of us, Justine took along her cameras.
Highlighted by the incredible and magnificent scenery of the Aleutian Island chain, Justine's new DVD, Kayaking the Aleutians, simply proves again what the kayaking community already knows: she is a marvelous filmmaker. Not only does she deftly capture the astounding natural environment such as the wild storms, the bear encounters, and the sea lions encroaching on their camp, she is equally adept and bringing out the human side of the story: her friendship with Sarah, the charming encounters with the locals, the joy at the end of a day of successful paddling, and the anxiety when the paddling day is on the brink of going seriously sideways. There were many such days, as Justine and Sarah had to deal with uncooperative currents, raging winds, and equipment failures, but, buoyed along by Sarah's seemingly unfailing optimism, the two friends completed a journey that the rest of us can only dream about.
The DVD also contains four short bonus films; a windy paddle in Wales, kayaking in the Bay of Fundy with whales, and two films about kayaking in the waves at Tofino with The Hurricane Riders. Don't hesitate to check it out if you have a chance.
(And here's a little bonus: Justine being interviewed on Toronto morning tv. Sorry, no embed available.)

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Whitewater Kayaking 1957 to 1963

I'm not all at all sure of the ancestry of this video, but it has great photos and clips of vintage whitewater kayaking from nearly six decades ago.
Check it out:

Monday, March 02, 2015

Justine Curgenven at Ocean River Sports

Earlier this evening, Louise and I saw adventure film maker Justine Curgenven speak about her latest kayaking DVD, Kayaking the Aleutians, at Ocean River Sports in Victoria.
Creator of eight paddling films, including five in the terrific This is the Sea series, Justine's latest film about her adventures paddling the Arctic archipelago of the Aleutians has won all sorts of awards since its release.
Last year, Justine joined adventure traveler Sarah Outen for part of Sarah's human-powered round-the-world journey. Outen had planned to row from Japan to Vancouver, but weather and currents were pushing her north towards Alaska, so she changed tack and decided to kayak along the Aleutians and invited Justine along for the paddle. Justine presented a slide show as she described her amazing adventure, punctuated by both clips from the film, and her famous cackle.
What a treat to hear Justine tell her story in person as she is just as engaging a storyteller without a camera as she is with one.
Her North American Tour continues through the month of March, and you can order all of Justine's DVDs here.
We'll publish a review of the DVD soon. In the meantime, enjoy the trailer:

Friday, February 27, 2015

Kayak Spock

Leonard Nimoy, who played Star Trek's Mr. Spock, passed away today at the age of 83. He lived long, and he prospered.

Ever wondered what you would get if you typed "kayak spock" into Google? Turns out, you get this:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Kayaking Calm Before the Storm

From British Pathé comes this 1938 kayaking clip from Germany. Breslau High School apparently won a championship on River Wiese. How disconcerting it is to see swastika pennants on some of the kayaks. And I'd swear they cut away from the children on the riverbank just as they raise their arms in a Hitler salute around the 35 second mark. But I digress. There is some nice scenery in this short clip. Check it out embedded below:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

GSA news and Boat Show

For paddlers in the greater Victoria area, here's a couple of news items to think about this weekend.

The first is the Victoria Boat and Fishing Show, taking place this weekend at the Pearkes Recreation Centre by Tillicum Mall.

And the other is the latest promo from Georgia Strait Alliance, with plenty of news for people who take an interest in caring for our coastal waters. Be sure to read the latest issue of their newsletter, which you can find at this link. There are terrific photos of people using small boats and enjoying shoreline activities!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Reef-net Between Two Canoes

Traditional fishing methods are not only the use of a simple hook and line, or tickling fish in a stream. There are surprisingly effective technologies for catching fish, technologies that were used traditionally by First Nations people, and some of these methods relied on the use of small boats. Saltwater fishing techniques were developed to a science by the Coast Salish people.
But the use of Salish reef-nets fell out of practise when these nets were banned by the Canadian government over a hundred years ago. It was only through the efforts of several people living on the Saanich peninsula (in and near the city of Victoria, BC) that the first reef-net in a hundred years has been built and put to use, supported by two traditional sea-going canoes.
Leading their project is Nick Claxton (XEMŦOLTW̱), a member of the Tsawout community and a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He worked with a local school and members of the W̱SÁNEĆ nation to build a model of a traditional reef-net. Then, with the help of relatives from the Lummi Nation just across the border in Washington state, Nick and his associates built a reef-net in the traditional style. They put it to use on August 9, 2014, at a hereditary fishing location off Pender Island, as shown in this video they posted on YouTube.



Both of the sea-going canoes shown in this video are marvellously stable craft. It's interesting to see different elements of design in the bows and keels of these small boats! And though the paddlers in these traditional-style boats are not wearing life jackets, at least there are PFDs visible inside the boats for the paddlers to kneel on.
If you're wondering what's so different about one net compared to another, well, there can be a lot of differences! This isn't a little net held and retrieved by one person. A reef-net is suspended between two large canoes. The upper part of the net is attached to floats, and the lower part is held down by weights.
If the video of this net being used doesn't load on your screen, you can click here to see a six-minute video, showing the project and the reef net being deployed between the canoes.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

How It Used to Be Done

Courtesy of British Pathé comes an undated collection of footage of a waterwater kayak event at Westphalia. Check out the embedded video below:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hitchin' A Ride

A family who rented a kayak for an outing in Santa Barbara, California on the weekend didn't realize they were also eligible for the Free Sea Lion Pup Bonus Package. As they paddled around near a dock, a sea lion pup hopped up onto their kayak to also enjoy the ride. Check out the video (embedded below), and some pictures here.


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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Back In the Paddle Again

For a kayaking blog, Louise and I haven't done a lot of kayaking lately. In fact, we haven't been on the water since last July. And the fault is mine, or rather my right knee's. After stoically braving chronic pain and stiffness for some months (I call it "stoically braving" -- others may call it "living in denial"), I finally sought out medical advice. I could not fully extend my knee, nor could I fully bend it without extreme pain. Sometimes I could barely bend it at all. While some days I could walk on it fairly comfortably, on others I was reduced to dragging my leg behind me seemingly in a vain attempt to impersonate Charles Laughton. Paddling my kayak wasn't so bad, but it became quite a struggle to get in and out of my boat, never mind the travails of loading, unloading and carrying it around.
Last July, my knee finally reached its metaphorical breaking point, and clearly brave stoicism was not getting me very far. After an assessment with a physiotherapist, I was diagnosed with patella dislocation. Basically, this means that my kneecap was not resting correctly in the patellofemoral groove at the end of the thigh bone. While generally an injury that is the result of a sudden impact or twist, it can be the result of a chronic muscle imbalance, and that appears to have been the case for me. There had not been any sudden impacts on my knee, but there had been a slow decrease of function and increase in discomfort going back years. I first dismissed this as simply a sign of the aches and pains of an aging body, but now, after a few months of physio and more months of near normal function, it appears that I was mistaken.
The obvious question is what sent my knee down this road. Was there an incident that injured my knee just enough to create a minor injury that at first was an unnoticed inconvenience but without treatment developed into near-debilitating aggravation? Or is this the result of a long-untreated residual injury from my bike accident? Or just a chronic slight misalignment of parts that finally became unbearable?
That is an unanswerable question. But at least now I can walk around free of pain while I think about it.

So having been off the water for over seven months, this was really nothing more than let's-get-reacquainted-with-paddling paddle. Working out the kinks, seeing if everything still works, and trying to remember all the little details. Where's my paddle? Did I remember my waterbottle? Where did I put my lucky kayaking underwear? Am I the only paddler who wears lucky kayaking underwear?
One thing we suddenly remembered was that the last time we went out paddling, Louise blew out the knee seam of her neoprene pants. Clearly, that might have been an issue for a long day of paddling on the ocean, but not so much for our little jaunt in The Gorge. But Louise came up with a great idea -- she put a piece of duct tape on the inside of her neoprene covering the hole. Not a permanent solution, but it worked for today.

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So we wheeled the kayaks down the hill and put in at The Gorge. Although quite mild for February, it was still a bit cool overall, but I was hoping the sun would be enough to keep us warm.

And we're on our way!
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I took along a new piece of gear, a selfie stick. I was hoping to try and get something other than the same old kayaking camera angles. A bit of a work in progress, I think.
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We headed under the Craigflower Bridge....
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...and into Portage Inlet.
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Louise was starting to feel the brisk air. Fooled by the bright sun, she was wearing thin gloves instead of her Hot Shots paddling mitts and the cold was getting to her. We turned to head back as we weren't planning to stay out long anyway.
We saw a hawk fly by, but not much else. But as we began our turn around, I saw a heron in a tree. Then another. Then another....
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Twelve herons in all. Do we have a new heron rookery in Portage Inlet?
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We'll have to check it out next time we're out here. In the meantime, Louise needs some hot tea!
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Trip length: 4.95 km
YTD: 4.95 km
More pictures are here.
2015-02-15

Friday, February 13, 2015

Two Volcano Day!

It's so nice to have a two volcano day on the water, when both volcanoes are conveniently visible in the cloudy weather. Rainier peeked in and out of the low cloud as I was paddling away from the beach at Gyro Park, so I went out around Flower Island and edged over to Evans Rock to see if Baker was visible as well. Yup, Baker was shouldering aside clouds out its way.
Amazing to live in such a beautiful place, with wonders like this accessible in my kayak. As well as big wonders, there were small ones here too: merganser ducks and surf scoters flying, little Mama Seal nosing up to look at me before dipping down, and the astonishingly clear water.  Sadly, there are no visible starfish crawling around where I can see them right now.
It's convenient living near a few dormant volcanoes. There are others along the coast, and some emit steam and vapours from time to time, but we don't seem likely to have another big blast like Mt Saint Helens did a few years ago down in Oregon. I wouldn't mind a little eruption, though -- just enough to remind the city planners in Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle that we in big cities really gotta plan what to do when the environment shakes things up. Our padding friend Rich used to say that he figured he'd be on the water when the big earthquake comes or a volcano erupts, and he would ride the wave.