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This past weekend I was invited to teach at the 2nd annual Pacific Paddling Symposium which took at Pearson College place just outside of Victoria, British Columbia and boy did I have a good time. With just a few work vacation days left (it was poor planning as I have used up almost the entire years' worth already...) I flew into Victoria on Wednesday night with the plan to get together with some friends on Thursday afternoon and do some paddling in the tidal currents off Trial Island (map link). Even though the locals said the currents were not as fast and gnarly as they often are, the 3.5-4 foot high surf waves were perfectly fun with lots of hoots and hollering from all 10 of us out playing in it. The event started on Friday morning with an instructor training day for the coaches working the event. This year's guests included former Olympian coach, Dan Henderson who did a forward stroke clinic as well as Nigel Foster who ran a clinic in the afternoon on messing around in kayaks with weird and silly strokes. The main part of the symposium itself took place Saturday and Sunday and attracted about 80-90 local, mainly intermediate paddlers who attended a wide variety of clinics covering everything from coastal exploration, paddling in currents, surfing, fitness paddling, Greenland rolling, and rough water paddling plus many more. This year I was able to work with a pretty top-notch group of instructors including an introduction currents class with Kate Hives (from The Hurricane Riders), boat control with Nigel Foster and bracing and edging with one of the event organizers, Gary Doran. I really enjoyed working with Kate's intro to currents class as she is a pretty fantastic instructor. She has a good ability to read nervous paddlers and make them feel like they shouldn't be worried and just give the activity a try. Since we had a full day to work with, we were able to get out of the bay and work our way up the coast with the students looking for current and eddies to…
BCU Coach, Howard Jeffs recently rolled out a series of quick-repair kits developed specifically for kayakers. The nice thing about them is that they are individually packaged, sealed in plastic and ready to go when you...um...smash your boat and need to fix it, often right there on the water.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of being invited to teach at the 2nd annual Paddlepalooza sea kayak symposium in Parry Sound, Ontario. Located at the Camp Tapawingo (a YMCA girls camp), Paddlepalooza was a super chill weekend full of classes for beginners and intermediate paddlers. This year I got invited to teach a couple on-water clinics including rescues and efficient forward stroke as well as navigation (for those who get lost easily) and weather forecasting which were really fun. Over the years I've gotten a little jaded with sea kayak symposiums as they sometimes tend to attract the classic, old-man-in-a-beard-and-tilly-hat-who-has-been-paddling-for-a-million-years-and-knows-everything. Not that there is anything wrong with that but those types of events seem (to me at least) to be stuffy, boring and filled with same conversation we had last year. Paddlepalooza was a breath of fresh air with lots of young, enthusiastic paddlers looking to soak up some new tricks. It was also great to see that about 2/3 of the participants were woman. Like other symposiums there was lots of clinics to take, boats to demo and all that good stuff but unique to this was they organized a dance with a hired a local bar-band to come and play the classics. They also got great participation for the contest they organized for the best vintage rock shirt. So kudos to James and Dympna from the Ontario Sea Kayak Centre for putting on a fantastic and fun weekend. So what's next on the calendar for me? I'm super pumped about flying out to Victoria, BC later this week to help teach at the Pacific Paddlesport Symposium. I guess it's about time I sit and look at the schedule and sort out what I'm teaching...but first I need to figure out how to pack all my gear and keep it under the weight limit so I don't pay extra flight baggage fees. That will be the real challenge!
It's been out for a couple of years since Birthright was released but I still think that this is one of the most inspiring kayak films out there. If you haven’t seen it before, now is the time. Vimeo's description: One man's struggle to transcend. This humble film is about a friend of mine named Michael and his daily ritual to find his natural self through surfing.
Every once in a while I find a friend to write a guest piece about a topic I know nothing about. For a while now I’ve had an interest in kayak fishing but to honest I’ve never had the time and/or patience to really get into it. I decided to ask Joseph Dowdy from Austin Canoe & Kayak to give us some pointers on how to get into the hugely growing sport of kayak fishing.   by: Joseph Dowdy Kayak fishing is becoming increasingly popular in the kayaking world because it incorporates two popular sports into one: fishing and kayaking. Both of these activities are inexpensive and allow you to set your own leisurely pace. That said, doing both at once can be tricky if you’ve never done it before and don’t have the right equipment on hand. Below are some tips for beginner’s to ease into the world of kayak fishing.   1. Consult a local kayak shop While you are able to fish from a regular sit on top or inflatable kayak, more and more angler kayaks are appearing on the market, making it easier to pack more equipment and fish comfortably. Your local kayak shop will have information on the best deals for fishing kayaks, as well as equipment you can purchase to bring along on your trip. They will also be able to offer insight on kayak fishing techniques and popular fishing spots in the area.   2. Practice both sports separately The key to being a good kayak fisherman is to be a good kayaker, as well as a good fisherman. Both sports take quite a bit of practice. If you’re a novice at one, taking on the other simultaneously could be quite the challenge. Practice fishing off land and practice kayaking in the area you plan on kayak fishing in. Once you’ve mastered the two, doing them concurrently will be much easier.   3. Pay attention to water conditions, weather, and seasons Do research on the environment you plan on kayak fishing in. Fish are attuned to weather patterns. The ideal times for fish…

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