Go Kayak Now!

Sea Kayaking & Surf Kayaking for the moving water enthusiast

April 2, 2014
by kwikle
Comments Off on BCU Coach Level 1 Offered in Kalamazoo May 27-30

BCU Coach Level 1 Offered in Kalamazoo May 27-30

BCU Coach Level 1 Training and Assessment
When: May 27-30 2014
Where: Portage MI, Long Lake Ramona Park
Who: Body Boat Blade International
What: The UKCC BCU Coach Level 1 training course will be held at Ramona park near Kalamazoo between May 27-30, after the West Michigan Coastal Kayakers’ Symposium. This coach education course is one of the best coach training programs around. It is especially helpful in our area as the focus of the program is introducing people to paddle sports. The Level 1 training course introduces coaching principles and concepts and focuses on student centered learning.

The general outline is below:

The BCU Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport develops your ability to plan, deliver and review, safe, ethical, and effective paddlesport sessions. On the course you will develop ‘how to coach’ skills alongside technical understanding ‘what to coach’ specifically relating to the skills beginners require.
The course will cover how to:
• prepare coaching activities, taking into account participants’ needs and motives
• establish a safe working environment
• deliver prepared activities
• establish working relationships with participants and others
• prepare participants’ for the coaching activities
• support participants’ behaviour
• conclude the activities
• evaluate the effectiveness of coaching activities
• evaluate the effectiveness of personal coaching practice
• manage effective and appropriate bank and water based rescues
A range of coaching tips and tricks, games and activities will be built into the course along with time spent developing your technical/tactical understanding.
Leon Somme of Body Boat Blade will be running this coach education course. WMCKA is sponsoring part of this event, and it must be said that this a fantastic opportunity for local paddlers to get a great course, without having to fly to Orca’s Island Washington!

There are two course pre-reqs that you MUST complete,
PRE-REQ 1 the 2* paddler skills assessment

PRE-REQ 2 The Foundations of Safety and Rescue Training:

If you would like to signup please go to The Power of Water

January 7, 2014
by kwikle
Comments Off on Trailer for When the Waves Call – A Great Lakes Surf Documentary

Trailer for When the Waves Call – A Great Lakes Surf Documentary

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.

When the Waves Call – Trailer from Joseph Ward on Vimeo.

December 30, 2013
by kwikle
Comments Off on More Difficult

More Difficult


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:

View Larger Map

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:

View Larger Map

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:

View Larger Map

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
by kwikle
Comments Off on We need a video like this for surf kayaking

We need a video like this for surf kayaking

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
by kwikle
Comments Off on Pool Sessions Announced for 2014

Pool Sessions Announced for 2014

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
by johnfleming
Comments Off on TideRace Xplor-S (17’-8”) for sale, good used condition, $3000

TideRace Xplor-S (17’-8”) for sale, good used condition, $3000



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

 2 seam - red

 3 tail - red

4 cockpit - red


6 seam tape - red

June 2, 2013
by kwikle
Comments Off on Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium Expedition Course

Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium Expedition Course

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.

  • Risk Management
  • Leadership and Group Management
  • Rescues with loaded kayaks
  • Navigation
  • Launching and landing strategies with loaded kayaks
  • Directional Control in conditions
  • Incident Management
  • Towing

Spots are limited for this course so please signup early! Head over to the GLSKS website to get the details and signup.

Important notes:

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.