Saturday, July 28, 2007

Bush Lake

We hit bush lake this morning to work on some rolls, rescues, and general foolishness. Kathy is going on an Apostle trip next week, and this was a good opportunity to brush up on some things, and we wanted to get Tom rolling. Dave and I had worked with him some on one of the Apostle trips, but some boat fit issues caused some troubles, so this time I put him in my Romany HV, set him up a couple times, and turned him loose. Once he had the feel for it, he went back to his boat, and rolled it just fine ... So we have another roller!! Congrats Tom, well done!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wednesday Skills Sessions

Wednesday evening we had a SKOAC Skills Session, with plenty of paddlers ready to try their hand at some rescues beyond the basics. Bill and Jerome, two of our veteran instructors were there, and able to make things interesting with some fun stuff. I did try a variation I found on Adam Bolonsky's site, called a "Cowboy T Scramble Rescue". I can see where it may work well with a paddler proficient with a basic cowboy scramble ... it was pretty tough for someone still working on basic rescue skills. A simple T rescue proved to be easier. We did do some lost boat scenario's ... if you are going to jump out of your boat, and give it a push, then swim after it ... don't push it down wind! Its sobering to realize just how fast a boat can get blown away from you in even a light wind ... moral ... hang onto your boat! I've read some solo paddlers will tether themselves to the boat. I don't know if the entanglement hazard would outweigh the risk of getting separated from your boat, certainly something to think about. We did work with a sling during a basic T rescue, here again, when adding complexity to a rescue, there is always the danger of something else to go wrong. Another variation on the T rescue is, rather than for the swimmer to climb on the back deck, and enter the cockpit from the back, is to lever themselves in by hooking the outside foot on the combing and just rolling in. This I'm finding works well, but only after some practice, and the rescuer has to be ready for the added torque while the swimmer climbs in. Regular practice on rescue skills, even for folks that are spending a lot of time on the water, should be a high priority. Having the confidence knowing everyone in your group can handle a problem in the middle of a 5 mile crossing, or 20 feet off a pile of rocks in big reflection waves, is reassuring.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Greenland Paddles

Last Saturday afternoon I spent some time with Ron Steinwall at his Novorca Paddles shop. He showed me the process from beginning with a custom paddle design on the computer, to mounting a piece of Cedar on to the table, and allowing the CNC to do the final cutting of a beautiful Greenland Paddle. This last year its been great to see friend go from discussions of building paddles, hearing his ideas, and watching his dreams come to life. I can say I may have had a small part in it ... at least some encouragement anyway.

I have one of his carbon fiber paddles, and love it. Its been a great paddle. Now I will have him make me one in wood ... maybe one of the laminate designs ...

Here is a link to download a video clip of a Novorca paddle being made.

Monday, July 23, 2007


The plan was to meet up with Liza and some folks for a Saturday morning fitness paddle, but I had a minor injury to my right hand at work. I didn't know how I'd hold up for the fitness paddle, so I opted for some easy paddling on Bush Lake instead. I met up with Ron S. from Novorca Paddles with a plan to work on some rolls. Both Ron and I had a "first" on Saturday ... I hit my first Storm Roll, Ron S. hit his first offside Narsaq Roll! I also came so very close to my first Narsaq Roll, I had it up ... just a quick snap might have saved it, but it still was a very good day! Not to stop with first times for the weekend, I was coaching Jill W on Sunday afternoon, and she was able to get three real solid rolls in a row. So we've got another roller ... way to go Jill!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rolling Clinic

Helping out with Alex's "Rolling Clinic" on Saturday was great ... what an excellent opportunity to help someone get their roll going, and to learn some things about teaching the roll. Alex is one of the best rolling instructors you will find. He gives 110% to his students. I am looking forward to helping out again in future classes. Liza from ISK was out with a group earlier doing a fitness paddle, when she returned she also helped out a student getting his roll going. Ron S. from Novorca Paddles was there also. If a guy can't be out paddling among the Apostle Islands ... I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday morning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

East Shore of Outer Island

A couple of pictures from the paddle up the East side of Outer Island. The top picture is the scuttled remains of the "Faithful" ... she was laid to rest on the sand spit in 1952.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Apostle Outer Islands

Tuesday afternoon we left the cities for a week of paddling about the Apostle Islands, we hit Little Sand Bay by 8pm, that gave us an hour to load the boats, park the cars, paddle a 4 mile crossing to York Island for a 9pm sunset .... so without incident we managed to make the island a little past dark .. well .. 10 pm to be exact. Weather was nice, and a calm lake made the crossing enjoyable. Wednesday am we had some nice surfing waves en route to Cat Island, but for the most part, the whole week gave us calm water and light winds. Did I mention the flies ?!? There must have been a recent hatch, because Cat Island had plenty of them ... Dave O had the foresight to bring along a screen tent, which we soon came to call the "Bat Cave".
This well thought out tent was a saving grace for the times when the flies became hungry, and started adding us to the food chain! This was the first time I had been to Cat, Outer, and Stockton Islands. It was worth the wait, Cat and Outer Islands are quite a ways out from the mainland ... when you are sitting in a kayak paddling about 4 mph, and you see a thin line of trees on the horizon, you know to be your destination .. it can be a bit humbling. The last day was spent on Manitou Island, much closer to the landing than Outer, with a small black bear close by to give us some excitement, and a friendly sail boater ... made another nice day on the islands. I think we put on 60 miles or so over the week ... just enough to not forget the ibuprofen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gone Paddling

Off to paddle about the islands in the Apostles, planned stops include York, Cat, Outer, and Manitou. looking forward to a fine week of paddling, and Friends.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Moonlight Paddle

Friday night was nearly a full moon ... so what the heck, why not watch it come up on White Bear Lake! Ten boats for an evening on the lake, with a barbecue afterwards. Sunday was rolling practice, and a bit of foolishness on Bush Lake on the South side of the cities, with another barbecue after. As Silbs Says ... lots of BITBT this weekend. I spent some time trying to teach some rolls, its one thing to be able to roll, and model it. But to effectively teach a roll is very different. There seems to be a lot going on with a roll, troubleshooting is taking some time to learn.