So here’s a $10.00 idea. How about a This is surf kayaking video, followed by an instructional video. Justine do you need Chris Hobson’s contact info? We can make this happen?
December 12, 2013
December 12, 2013
So here’s a $10.00 idea. How about a This is surf kayaking video, followed by an instructional video. Justine do you need Chris Hobson’s contact info? We can make this happen?
November 26, 2013
Pool Sessions are now live for 2014 over on this page with all the details.
We will be doing some sessions with two time blocks to allow for staff in-service training for Lee’s. I will be working with the Lee’s Paddle sports staff to get them prepared on their journey for a BCU Coach L1 in summer 2014. I am very excited to be able to work with both students and the Lee’s staff as their paddle shop is one of the best in the region and this is a huge opportunity for the community.
If you have any questions about dates please visit the Pool Sessions Page.
September 9, 2013
TideRace Xplor-S for sale. Black deck / black hull. Built in Finland with the “Classic” layup, which includes the proprietary TCT TideRace Core Technology layering. Plus, has Kevlar seam tape inside and outside.
This boat is very sleek, pretty and responsive. A real joy to paddle, feels very fast in the water, and rewards refined forward and steering strokes. It is a great all-around sea kayak that performs well in a variety of conditions.
Length = 17’8” Volume = 87 gallons, approximately same size as P&H Cetus MV.
Rock-solid Finland built construction, which is exact same design as the current models which are built in Thailand. However, these boats have NO footpegs. I have built a removable foam footbed for my 6’0” height. You could add footpeg tracks if you would like, either by yourself or local kayak shop.
A great deal on a great British sea kayak; this boat new starts at $3750.
Location: near Kalamazoo, MI
call: (269) 967-5107
Delivery: will meet buyer within reasonable distance from I-94 corridor
June 21, 2013
This is pretty awesome. I wish we had a wavepool this big in Michigan to train in!
June 2, 2013
Go Kayak Now! will be leading a new course at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium. Often when leading trips for this awesome event, it comes up in discussions with students that they have never camped out of their kayak or planned a trip. An expedition, (if we want to call it that) is one of the most enjoyable things about sea kayaking. Traveling somewhere, under your own power with all of your gear in the kayak is one of the most transcendent experiences in our hustle bustle lives. To be untethered from land with no iPhone, no computer, and only a map and a compass to guide you. But it also comes with some challenges of seamanship, risk management, paddling skills, and leadership when going afloat.
This course is intended to provide two days of on-water experience with sea kayak expeditions. It will he a journey from Munising to 12 Mile beach, along the beautiful section of cliffs and sandstone escarpments of Pictured Rocks national lakeshore.
The course will cover the following high level skills, plus a whole lot more.
Spots are limited for this course so please signup early! Head over to the GLSKS website to get the details and signup.
This is not a supported or guided trip. Participants are expected to be self-supported with their own gear and food. Instructors are there to provide safety and coaching, but not a fully guided experience.
If you have questions about this trip please contact Bill at Downwind Sports by calling 906-226-7112.
Trip cost will be $125.00
Trip will run from July 17-19th.
June 1, 2013
This might have to be classified as a don’t try this type of video. But…
A bit of freestyle single bladed kayaking in overhead waves could also be kinda fun.
May 1, 2013
This video from Canoe and Kayak features the women from the US national Surf Kayaking team who competed in the Santa Cruz Surf Kayak Competition back in March. Videos have been few and far between, little to no footage has been had for the taking, but this nugget of feminine gold made it out. Yay!
April 5, 2013
Power, Stability and Control through linked strokes for kayaking
For Canoecopia 2013, I elected to put some thought into linked strokes. I love teaching blended strokes for kayaking. It is a surefire way to get students working on blade awareness in the water. As most of us learn strokes, we tend to think of them as separate entities, or islands in a large ocean, instead of an archipelago. It is fun to watch beginning students take a forward stroke and discreetly switch gears to a sweep stroke, and then a draw stroke. So offering them the possibility of one continuous stroke that gets the job done and provides support is a great moment as a coach. So with this thought in mind I presented Power, Stability, and Control for Linked Strokes in the pool at Canoecopia.
The objective of the lesson is to introduce the concept of an active, loaded blade in the water, and engaging the body in the kayak to drive, support, and control the kayak in a wider range of application than any one stroke alone.
When we think of what types of strokes there are, it can be broken down in a variety of ways. The simplest way I could think of breaking them down was into: Power, Stability, and Control. I will lay out each type of stroke and explain their separate roles and then introduce how each could be linked. Each stroke set serves a different purpose with advantages and disadvantages.
Power comes from the face of the blade when it is applied along the linear axis of the kayak, or along the kayak. But that power is muted when the foot is not driving on the footpeg. With the foot driving power transfer from the foot to the leg, to the hip and pelvis, this engages your skeleton in the kayak giving torsional power. Rotating your torso when reaching for the water provides even more power from larger muscle groups as you unwind through the stroke. This works in reverse just as well off of the reverse power face of the blade. Entire videos and articles have been devoted to the science of forward stroke, what we care about here is that the body is engaged in the kayak with the foot on the peg, and your power face blade is loaded and engaged in the water. This provides some serious advantages as a group of strokes. You are rapidly accelerating the kayak, the blade is engaged and so is the body in the kayak. Just like an actively paddling cyclist at speed with a leg providing power on the crank is hard to just knock over, the same is true for the paddler who is driving with their blade in the water. Disadvantages are fewer but obvious, you sometimes need something other than speed, such as rapid turning, lateral slip, or support from the surface.
Stability or Support
Stability comes from the face of the blade when it is presented flat to the surface of the water perpendicular to the kayak. Two support strokes are available, a low brace and a high brace.
The low brace is performed by presented the blade onto the reverse power face flat on the water, with elbows up and over the shaft in what I call the gorilla-knuckle drag. As balance is shifted from neutral over the kayak to out of balance over the water this knuckle drag position extends over the water in a quick support slap on the reverse power face of the blade. The body has to start curved over the kayak away from the water with your head tucked to your shoulder. As the support stroke is applied a leg drive inside the kayak with the knee driving into the deck brings the kayak underneath you, and your body ends curved in the opposite direction. Your head must drop to the opposite shoulder to allow the kayak to settle without capsizing. This should be a quick support stroke for situations where your are suddenly overbalanced.
High brace is performed by going into the pull-up position elbows in with the power face down towards the water. The motion of the paddle presented flat, the body curve, and the leg drive inside the kayak are all identical to the low brace, but instead of a quick support stroke from a low brace, the paddler commits themselves to support in a high brace position arms up. It’s very important to stay inside the proverbial paddler’s box in the high brace as there is a lot of torsion applied to the limbs from this position. It’s also technically speaking half a roll. This is a great psychological reinforcement for developing paddlers learning to roll.
The brace stroke, or support stroke has almost infinite applicability, but I like to say that which brace is used depends on the size of the problem. Problems that are roughly head high can often be solved with a low brace, problems that are over head high often result in a high brace. This is not a hard and fast rule by any stretch, but shapes some ideas on which brace would be used where.
A support stroke has great advantages, it supports the paddler from an out of balance position on the water in the kayak. The blade is presented flat to the water for a great support position and allows the paddler to get their torso out over the water while the kayak is brought underneath. Disadvantages for this set of strokes are pretty clear, once you are committed with your body over the water in the kayak, it support must be provided or you will go over, and your ability to introduce power or control is limited. Once you are headed over, if you are simply bracing repeatedly you are likely to go over again.
Control is the last set of strokes. Control comes from the tip and edges of the blade. Where power comes from the blade being loaded on the face along the linear axis of the kayak, control happens within the arc of reach on each side of the kayak. Good torso rotation again becomes key for getting the kayak to do what you want to do with maximum efficacy.
A control stroke can come from a loaded blade, or an unloaded blade. Here are some examples of loaded and unloaded strokes. Wrist articulation is key for fine control strokes. Understanding how the control hand on the blade can control the blade and therefore the kayak when it has glide is the gateway to a whole host of new turning strokes. This also allows developing paddlers to begin using a loaded blade for turning strokes.
A loaded blade control stroke really comes in two forms, one where the kayak is stationary and one where there is some existing glide. A static loaded blade control stroke could be a sweep stroke, where the body and blade sweep out in an arc away from the kayak with the wrist articulated to load the blade and swing the kayak around the blade. A loaded blade control stroke with glide might be a bow rudder. Where the kayak is moving forward at pace, and the paddler rotates their torso into position slices the blade in for a bow rudder in a glide position, but then articulates their wrist to load the blade and turn the kayak.
An unloaded blade control stroke can really only come from a situation where the kayak already has some glide. In this situation the paddler must rotate their torso to slice the blade in a neutral position and allow the tip and edges of the blade to draw water. This is most commonly done with a hanging draw or a draw on the move. The glide requires good torso rotation and the vertical blade alongside the kayak. And any control from an unloaded blade comes from the glide.
Control strokes offer a ton of advantages for quickly turning the kayak with existing glide. Strokes where the blade is loaded next to the kayak such as bow rudders, hanging stern draws, rudders do put the paddler in a tricky situation where if put off balance it is very hard to recover.
Putting it all together
The real meat of the discussion is how each of these components can be added to your paddling to increase your power, support, and maneuverability.
Exercise 1 Power and Control
Once we start thinking about what each stroke component offers, when we venture out onto lumpy, or moving water, the components of adding power and control are pretty obvious, you can get the kayak moving and directionally control it. A great exercise that is fairly simple is a canoe J stroke next to a pier , or breakwall. Power is applied along the length of the kayak on the same side as the obstacle, and the control is applied as the torso rotates and the blade is presented on its edge in the water prying away from the hull to keep it in line with the pier. Doing this sort of stroke allows the paddler to gain forward propulsion and fine control with wrist articulation, combing two strokes into one. There are few disadvantages to this stroke technique
Exercise 2 Control and Support
The simplest way to begin introducing support strokes into your paddling is the sweep skim approach. Begin with a forward sweep at a low angle out and away from the kayak all the way to the stern. This stroke turns the kayak, and then the paddler will adjust the paddle angle into a low brace position, (elbows up) and sweep it back with a support stroke skimming over the surface. This sweep skim approach introduces a support stroke for quick balance adjustment when the paddler has their blade in the water vertically allowing them to gain support when they are vulnerable to capsize. This allows paddlers to begin the finer points of turning with support, and can also allow them to begin playing with the kayak on edge due to the support from the low brace. The now infamous Haghighi from Body Boat Blade is a variation on this stroke, yet this technique is a building block to an advanced maneuver.
Exercise 3 Power Support and Control
Deploying all three strokes in one fluid maneuver is really the holy grail. There are endless combinations, but a favorite of mine in the pool is to do laps in tight quarters. Performing a tight lap with lots of obstacles where the paddle never exits the water on only one side of the kayak is probably the best exercise. A quick sampling of strokes might be forward stroke, transitioning into a hanging draw, then sliding towards the tail into a hanging stern draw, then slicing the blade out into a J stroke to pry the tail back on course. Then just to make it hard, slice the blade in the neutral position without taking it out of the water to begin all over again. Do this until you reach an obstacle and then sweep forward to avoid collision and then low brace skim back to the front of the kayak.
As with most strokes, games and play offer the best way to introduce these concepts. Games of redlight greenlight, or avoiding obstacles are great tools to gain confidence and have fun developing skills.
I had a great time putting together this presentation for Canoecopia and will most likely be giving it again 2 WMCKA and GLSKS. Many thanks to Have Kayaks Will Travel for the assistance in the pool and the photos.
February 22, 2013
Pretty cool to think that almost 9 years has gone by since the release of This is the Sea, almost a decade. To say that Justine transformed kayaking with this video might be overstatement, or hyperbole, or it might not. The opening shot of this trailer still gives me thrills. The revolution of on the water photography with digital waterproof video right at the paddler’s eye level, gave sea kayaking a double shot of espresso. Many paddlers already knew that sea kayaking was more than flat water paddling with sea birds, but seeing was believing. And Justine delivered. She also delivered four installments each unique in their own way. And the films each featured a variety of personalities, approaches, and journeys across the Globe, including the Great Lakes. We were fortunate enough to have Justine Curgenven visit the Great Lakes in 2005 and 2007 for further display in the This is the Sea II, III.
Justine described expeditions and journeys as a series of very big ups and very big downs. I thought it apt in her trailer that there were two such moments within the span of three seconds.
I am personally totally stoked to see This is the Sea V. I look forward to the preview at Canoecopia.
February 17, 2013
Nigel Law may not be the most famous of Nigel’s. And maybe that’s ok. Kayaking has been a Nigel rich environment since the late 1980s. That said, Nigel Law has been involved in paddle sports in the Southeast for over 15 years. He was one of the original organizers at Sea Kayak Georgia of BCU week. Nigel has found a beautiful niche in the kayaking world of the Southeast and the US. He is one of the sole distributors of Mega Surf Kayaks, he was one of the first dealers of Tiderace Kayaks, and he was also one of the first ACA coaches to get his IT certification in Surf Kayaking. Nigel Law also competed and placed in the 2010 worlds surf kayaking championship in the outerbanks. Nigel developed a surf specific paddle for Saltwood called the double happiness.
Needless to say he has some significant credentials. On top of this he and his wife run a great business running and guiding trips on the coast of Georgia as well as ACA development workshops.
You can see Nigel’s Kayak @ time segment 2:16, which may help you spot him surfing.
The Surf ACA Instructor Certification Workshop I participated in comprised a Level 2, and Level 3. The Level 2 is all sit-on-top surf kayaking, with the final day demonstrating sit-in surf kayaking. We traveled down to Jacksonville Florida to Talbot island to run the course with Nigel.
The Level 2, believe it or not was a riot. I had not spent a ton of time in (on) a sit-on top kayak in the surf, but quickly saw the appeal and the freedom it grants to both the student and the instructor. The students can focus on catching waves and having fun, and the instructor can focus on coaching the students, rather than on helping them swim their kayaks to the beach to dump out and start over. There are still specific safety measures needed for sit-on-top surf kayaks, and a limit to performance, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.
Day one focused on skills needed for a Level 2 on flatwater, which was a quick recap of some basic skills on a beautiful backwater that was a tidal creek with lots of oysters and diving sea birds. We finished the day doing some surfing out on the ocean side. We had small, but peely waves as the sun went down.
Day two was a crash course in surf zone safety led by Nigel. It seemed like a Navy Seal indoctrination course as I recall spending most of the day in the surf wearing my drysuit, either swimming, or doing rescues from a sit-on-top. We ran through some scenarios and some rescues in the surf zone in a 25 knot on shore wind with manageable 3-4 foot surf. That said there was a 4-5 knot long shore current that made everything a little more challenging, paddling, swimming, rescues. We had a free surf session at the end.
Day three comprised the sit-in kayak session where I was expected to demonstrate the skills from level 2, plus some additional surfing skills demonstrated on certain parts of the wave. The Level 3 & 4 have some specific surfing moves that need to be demonstrated. In the windy onshore breeze on a beach break, certain components were pretty challenging. Nigel had me working on paddle out take-off’s and working the shoulder with cutbacks. He adroitly observed my tendency to take-off in the middle of waves rather than at the shoulder.
The program offered a lot for organizing and simplifying surf coaching. Some of my big take-aways:
I was very pleased to participate in the program and to be able to spend time working with Nigel Law. We spent an awesome weekend shooting the breeze at the campsite, enjoying the wildlife, and the local culture.
This was but a fraction of the wildlife Nigel and I enjoyed during our visit. The raccoons, rats, and other small animals may have developed a taste for curry and Bud Light after the weekend. But hangovers aren’t just for people anymore.