Starting the New Year with a Splash

Once again, we started the new year by going kayaking. This year it was a paddle sponsored by California Canoe and Kayak (CCK). They offered to provide boats for any of us that wanted to invite friends, so we invited two friends. You can see Kristina here on the dock getting help adjusting the foot pegs.

You can also see Kathryn getting outfitted with a sit-on-top kayak. Not having any experience in a kayak, a sit-on-top seemed to be appropriate given its stability. Now it’s time to get on the water. A couple of us enthusiastic paddlers thought it would be appropriate to assist Kristina in a “seal launch,” guiding her boat as we pushed it off the low dock. Not a good idea; she went bottom side up as soon as her boat hit the water. To stay right side up for this kind of launch you need to be able to use the paddle as a brace, not a technique a novice paddler would know.

Kristina, being dressed in a wetsuit and a good sport, was back in her boat and on the water with a smile. Kathryn found her boat a bit slow compared to the more experienced paddlers in touring boats. When some more energetic BASK members offered to give her a tow, she was happy to accept.

Our destination was the Tidewater Boating Center about 2-1/2 miles from our launch site at Brooklyn Basin. Once we reached the boating center, we got out of our boats for snacks and a break. A couple of experienced paddlers were eager to give some instruction on technique for an efficient forward stroke, something that’s quite valuable for covering distances in a kayak.

After the break we climbed in our boats and headed back to our launch site. Our route took us under three bridges, and we had the opportunity to watch the Park Street Bridge open to let a few sailboats through. You can see Kathryn under the bridge. If you look closely, you can see that she is being towed by another paddler. We returned to our launch site where we enjoyed an extravagant potluck meal. A great way to start the new year. Our paddle covered 4.7 miles.

More photos are available in an on-line gallery.

Paddle On

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Here’s a photo I captured yesterday at Horseshoe Bay as the morning fog was starting to dissipate. The three kayakers in the foreground were part of the Paddle Golden Gate Symposium, and event sponsored by California Canoe and Kayak. I participated in a workshop on “Forward Stroke Refinement.” When paddling with others recently, I’ve marveled at paddlers that can go great distances without their arms falling off, and I’m motivated to learn how to do that. Who would know how much technique can go into making a kayak go forward smoothly and efficiently?  On the very basic level, you just put your paddle in the water, use it as an anchor and drive the boat forward with your feet, using your hamstrings and obliques to power the boat. Sounds simple right?

Our class had 11 participants, with folks from Boston, Port Townsend, Seattle, and Los Angeles, and three world class coaches, Sean Morley, Chris Hipgrave and Marcel Bieg. I took a quick tally of the class rosters and figured there were well over 100 boats on the water with paddlers participating in 13 different workshops. Quite an amazing event. I’m off today, catching up on some work projects, and back tomorrow for “Traditional Skills & Rolling.” I may get wet tomorrow. Stay tuned!

 

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