Friday, March 28, 2008


Some good discussions on rolling and rescues the last couple days. With the boater that ended up in the Chippewa River the other day it tends to spark some talk. I'm not one to say whether what he did was right or wrong, but what I did see was a man floating in the river ... unable to save himself. It looked like a recreational boat on the photos, typicaly they are without a spray skirt, and pretty tough to roll for most people. Proper clothing, and minimal self rescue skills would have made it a none event.
But what about the paddler that takes kayaking a little more seriously, and learns the skills.

Now a dedicated paddler with an average seakayak should be able to get a roll going, if they want to, and are persistent.
Now you've learn how to roll, is it bombproof? Now learn the offside roll, are you bombproof yet? The Inuit people devised many different types of rolls for just about any situation ... can you roll if you lose your paddle? One of the common paddling injuries is a dislocated shoulder after a poorly done high brace .. can you do a roll with a dislocated shoulder? I know a few people who probably could, but I'm not one of them. I don't think there really is a bombproof roll.
Many times when a person can roll, the other rescues tend to get forgotten. I think the number one self rescue a person should be proficient at is the re-enter and roll, even if it's with a paddle float. It's the fastest way out of cold water. You end up with a boat full of water, that is a bit unstable, but that's why you have that pump on the deck ... right? If your with a group, raft up and pump! In fact, a re-enter and roll is faster than the T-rescue. Spend 60 seconds in 38F (3C) water and fingers don't work so well. In cold water, its all about getting back in the boat as fast as possible.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

March Sunset

Last year the end of March we saw the lakes thaw, and the sunsets glistening off water. This year it has been a bit colder, and the ice is still strong enough for snow machines. There were plenty of fresh tracks going along the shoreline.
Still, it is warm enough to take a walk along the beach and think about the days to come.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Skiing

Spending the weekend in Hurley for some spring skiing at Big Powderhorn Mt. was just what I needed. The weather was fantastic! This was my first time on down hill skis for probably 20yrs ... I did do a couple runs down the bunny hill to see if I could still remember. I forgot how much fun down hill skiing can be! A few runs down "Upper Smoke" were even done by lunch time.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Hey you guys in Wisconsin ... you need one of these!

ACA Instruction

Bonnie had a great post the other day on ACA/BCU Instructor programs, and was looking for some insight to the current classes. Being a freshly minted ACA Instructor I needed to step up and get my thoughts out on the subject.
Getting into the ACA Instructor process was a natural progression for me, as I tend to try and learn as much as I can about things I am passionate about. The reason I chose to go with the ACA was the instructors who taught me were ACA, and at the onset it seemed to be the easier of the two to get started in. The process of attaining star awards as a paddler, before beginning the coaching levels seemed to me like it could be much more expensive, and could take much longer to reach. The IDW/ICE process pretty much took over my Summer last year, so that may have been a moot point anyway!
The IDW we did in the Spring over Memorial Day Weekend, with Gail, Grant, and Mark, up at Living Adventures in Bayfeild Wisconsin. Three days of study, work on the water, and most of all learning fun stuff with a really great bunch of people. It was an eye opener for some who may have thought they may just spend a couple of weekends over that summer, pay your money, get your certification, and start teaching. What I saw, a person really had to know the program for the level they were looking to attain. The good thing (I think) about the different levels is it gives people who may only do classroom, and flat water training on local lakes, and pools, the opportunity to do just that. The IDW was about half classroom, and half on the water training. The on water had a lot of emphasis on "modeling" a stroke, or rescue. So not only must a candidate know the strokes and rescues, one has to be able to do them precisely, and cleanly, and also show a level of comfort doing them. Now we had the rest of the summer to work on those areas we need to improve.
I chose to go for the "Level 3 Basic Coastal Kayak", and if the conditions were available over that weekend I would go for the "Level 4 Open Water". As it turned out, we had some windy weather for the ICE, but didn't have the right conditions for the Level 4. I had planned on doing the Level 4, so the classroom phase, and much of the on water was geared for that level. I think that's why my subject for the classroom was "Tides". Anyone who lives and paddles along the coast will probably still know tides better than me, but after teaching the subject, I'd at least know enough to get the right information, and stay out of trouble. All things considered, I think the ACA has a great program with the different levels, I have absolutely no experience with the BCU so any comments on it wouldn't be appropriate. My plans are to hook up with Kelly Blades in the near future, and attend one of the symposiums with BCU assessments to start the BCU star process. Another aspect is the traditional paddler in me would like to go with the mentoring ideals of the Greenland style, this is another whole world of paddling I have been getting into for the last couple of years. Then I have spoken with Alex about taking some whitewater classes with Rapids Riders this Spring to learn about reading moving water ... there is a world of paddling out there to be passionate about!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Near Shore Forecast

The "Lake Superior Near Shore Forecast" is back with us again!


It shouldn't be long we'll be back on the lake.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pool Sessions

A fun pool session Sunday. Being able to stand up on the back deck of your boat probably has little practical use, and I don't know why I spent so much effort working in it this Winter, but it sure is satisfying to finally be able to do it. Even if it is only for a short time. The rolling has been getting better ... even the balance brace is starting to get a little better. It's difficult when you reach a plateau and things don't get easier, but then you figure out some little piece, and so many other things seem to fall into place.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Changing Seasons

We seem to have entered the "no skiing" and "no kayaking" phase of the year with the quickly melting snow, but the lakes are still quite frozen. We did some skiing on Monday night, and the sure sign of Spring is the discussions on the ski trails, were all about kayaking. I'm ready for the change. Ron S and I did an early Apostle trip last year during the first week in April, but with the ice conditions this year, we may go up a week or so later. Early trips to Superior require some careful planning, and an close watch on the weather. A fun trip can get ugly in a hurry. Dave mentioned some "ice flow paddling" ... could be interesting! I can't wait either!
Note: After checking last years posts, it looks like Ron and I did the first Apostle weekend over the third weekend in April.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Canoecopia 2008

Really a good show put on by the folks at Rutabaga in Madison. I drove up early on Friday, hung out at the bike show across the street from Canoecopia. Lots of fun stuff at the bike show. If a person needed anything to do with biking ... from unicycles to tri-bikes, it was there!

Canoecopia was fairly easy to navigate through on Friday evening. I met Joshua from the GB Regulators, and the plan was to meet up with Dave and Tom, have an evening dinner at The Old Fashioned on Friday night. The Old Fashioned was packed, we stood around waiting for a table for two hours. Even though it was a long wait, the food, and company was great! On Saturday I ran into lots of people I know from the cities, one of them informed me he bought an Anas Acuta as soon as the show opened. I know he will enjoy that one. I did manage to spend some time talking with fellow bloggers Silbs and Derrick, I hope to get some paddle time with these guys some day. Dubside put on a good show at the pool, we had the foresight to get in line almost an hour before the show, we wouldn't have gotten in otherwise. The line was huge!

The end result was a successful shopping trip for me ... I didn't buy anything. I just didn't find anything I really needed, plenty to want ... just not need.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Canoecopia Weekend

The days are getting longer, Canoecopia this weekend, I believe Spring is soon to be! I drove by the lake to check on my usual spot for an after paddle bite to eat. It's not quite usable yet.

I'll take Friday off and head to Madison, I need to be back Sunday morning for the SKOAC pool session, so lots of drive time! I am looking forward to meeting up with folks, checking all the new "must have" gear, and sit in on some of the presentations. Derrick is doing expedition planning, Sam Crowley will talk about his circumnavigation of Ireland. I followed the trip through his blog, and really looking forward to hearing his talk. Gail and Grant are both going to be doing talks too, so plenty to see. And hooking up with Dave for the weekend will always keep things interesting!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Brewing Beer

A busy weekend of beer brewing, pool sessions, a wine tasting evening at DaveO's, and an after ski awards presentation at Jills. After all that, I still had time to wash the Jeep, install new brakes in my sons car, and spend a few hours bucking rivets on a Piper Cherokee. It's good to get back to work on a Monday morning and relax a little!