I had a hard time watching all of these potentially deadly swims, but it was worth the reward to watch what not to do repeatedly.
January 8, 2014
January 7, 2014
I spotted mention of this documentary over on Surfline after reading about an epic session at Stoney Point on dec 29 2013.
Rare to have a late season storm with no wind blow in beautiful waves like this. Long peely rides with all kinds of time to consider your options. And it sounds like the air was colder than the water, -13 air, and +38 water! Due to the fact that Lake Michigan is shallower it was frozen 200-300 yards offshore by this time. Bummer.
This documentary clip sounds pretty great, I would love to see the finished film. It won 1st-place in “Short Documentary” at the 2013 Lansing Michigan Film Festival.
December 30, 2013
Complacency is not an enemy that stages a dawn raid on your home, sirens blaring, knocking down your door, blazing in with maximum violence. Complacency is something that approaches silently and slowly over time, waiting for you to turn your back, and then pushes you down the stairs. We all have a comfort zone. In order to keep things interesting for myself this year, I did my damnedest to not paddle flat water all year. It wasn’t an overt resolution I made to myself. But, I wanted to keep things interesting. Some might think that in the midwest we have very little opportunity to keep our skills up in waves and current. So I decided to make a year of it and see how often I could paddle both. It turns out if you are creative, the answer is quite a bit.
In order to achieve this, I wanted to paddle more days on the Kalamazoo River in either a canoe, or in a white water kayak. I did this by using a beautiful section of the Kalamazoo that has three class II sections of white water under the correct conditions. I did a lot of boat spotting, with a shuttle run, sometimes even with Indy the beagle (when Dan would loan me his canoe) to run these three sections.
The first one is the plainwell spillway dam here:
I spent a lot of time here when there were no waves on Lake Michigan this summer with a number of people including Dan, Rebecca, and Pat. And a fair number of quick 1-hr sessions just paddling upstream from the put in. This spot works in a variety of water levels, and is a great way to keep skills sharp. I worked a lot on edge to edge transitions, ferrying, eddy turns, and obviously surfing white water waves.
Just a short trip downstream is this spot at Fannie Pell Park:
This spot has all sorts of challenges. The first is actually getting on the wave as it is quite shallow. The second is the challenge of rolling up quickly if you wash off as there are some nasty rocks right after the wave. This spot definitely works better at high water. But it sharpens the skills on reading the water, and getting your boat positioning just right, as well as bracing and rolling in conditions.
The last spot is a mellow fun spot downriver here:
This spot definitely teaches you how to position your boat to stay on the wave and how to find the front part of a white water wave. As with the spot at fannie pell park, it works better in high water.
I really felt that these spots made for a much more interesting paddling year than if I had decided to just go to Lake Michigan and paddle distance on flat water, though I did do that as well a few times.
We did have a great year for Lake Michigan surf as well as you can tell from these images below:
It was a full year of paddling for sure. I was quite lucky to be able to do a number of training, and assessments. A BCU Coach Level 1 program, An ACA Surf Kayak Assessment. While I wouldn’t say I was complacent, my goal for next year is to push myself even further and to try and do some tidal paddling, as well as some further assessments and training.
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!