Wednesday, 12 September 2007 19:37

Book Review - Sea Kayaking Strokes

Sea Kayak Strokes Visit your local the book section at your local outdoor store and you will find a boatload of books on sea kayaking skills. Generally speaking they are written towards the novice paddler and cover a wide range of skills from packing your boat to how to keep your boat going straight.
Sea Kayak Strokes written by Doug Alderson is slightly different in that it only covers the foundation skills for paddling. By leaving out all the other areas of kayaking like rescues, camping or navigation skills, Alderson is able to focus and go into an immense amount of detail for each different boat-control skill or paddling stroke.

Doug Alderson is a very analytical thinker and it is very evident as you read through the book. In it, he has taken each skill and broken it down into key points, application for real life and exercises to work on common mistakes.

Coghlan's committed to Social Enterprise and Outdoor Accessories.
Monday, 10 September 2007 18:40

Paddling Raft-up for September 10, 2007

Toronto was really hopping this past weekend. It is a large city but with so many events in Toronto this past weekend, it made life getting around town nuts. There was the Toronto International Film Festival, 4 run for Cancer runs, and the Virgin music festival . Oh yes, one of the major highways through town was closed for repairs. Ahh our sweet and aging Gardiner Expressway. All of those events just want to make you hunker down in your apartment and weather the traffic storm.

But no, we braved through the urban environment and took advantage of the small craft wind warning to catch some of the best surfing that I have had in a very very long time. We found a nice beach on the south side of the Toronto Island with a very gentle slope. There were no wind waves, just nice large swells pounding in. Most were an accurate 2 feet but there were several 3.5-4 footers out there aiming to kill us.

The other thing about being out there on Sunday was (as mentioned above) the Virgin Music festival was also taking place on the Island. There really is nothing like surfing and listening to some solid rock and roll from the Tokyo Police Club and Canadian indy heros, Stars.

What else is going on our there?

Team Jackson Kayak runs the Niagara Gorge
Erik Jackson and the rest of the gang from Jackson Kayak have made a successful run of the famed Niagara Gorge. The river flows at 100,000cfs. Yeah that is big. It is also illegal to run it. Here is a crazy photo of their run. [Jackson Kayak]

Dead canoeist identified
They were able to identify the kayaker who was recently hit by a vessel in the English Channel over the weekend. It is Robert Andrew Deacon, 42, from The Riviera in Sandgate, Kent. [The Argus]

Kayak crossing postponed again
Canadian Paddle Canada instructor, Chris Lockyer has been forced to postpone his 70km crossing of the Bay of Fundy to raise money for Cancer. So far he has raised $11,000 for cancer research. The weather has been bad. []

Mystery Solved
A month ago, a large search was underway looking for a couple that rented an inflatable kayak and started off to paddle the English Chanel. They have been found living as a French church. It turns out that he is wanted by British Police for downloading kiddy porn. He got caught when he ran out of money and phoned his day to wire him some cash. His dad called the police. [Daily Mail]
At the recent Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show Esquif Canoes solidified its relationship with Northeast US industry veteran, Don Otey.

"We feel very fortunate to be working with Don in the North eastern territory", says Sales Manager Nikki Rekman, "Don's reputation precedes him and together we expect great growth in the coming year. Esquif had a very successful 2007 season. The upcoming year is looking positive; the addition of Don to an already strong sales team gets us excited about what is in store for Esquif in 2008."

Kokatat LogoArcata, CA - In September of 2007 the Expedition Amazonas team will trek and paddle, totally unsupported, for over 7 months and 7000km, the entire length of the mighty Amazon River.  This is a complete traverse of the South American continent from the Pacific Coast in Peru to the mouth of the Amazon River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean off Brazil.  The experienced expedition team includes members from Australia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.  Expedition Amazonas has partnered with environmental and indigenous rights action group Amazon Watch, and high-profile equipment sponsors including Kokatat, Teva and First Ascent.

Sunday, 09 September 2007 07:13

Tips to avoid an on water collision

This morning I came upon this article which shook me up. It seems that a body was found about two miles offshore from Rye in the English Channel. The kayaker's boat was found floating near by.

The coastguard said that man's injuries and the damage to the canoe suggested he had been run down by a ship and killed.

Over the past summer, there have been several different reports of large boats running over canoe, kayaks and small sail boats.

Kayak Collision Before, I could never understand how a paddler could get run over by a boat. I always figured that one could always move out of the way in time. My opinion of it changed this summer after hearing about a friend of the family whose little fishing boat was run over by a large powerboat. According to them, they were out fishing on a clear, calm day when they looked up just in time to see a large boat bearing down on them. They just had enough time to dive off the side of the boat before impact. They were fine but sadly the boat was quite damaged. It is schedule to go to court this fall.

So, how can we keep ourselves from getting hit on the water? The first thing is to be vigilant on the water. Watch the other boaters and assume that they can't see you. To be honest, the majority probably can't. They are big so it is easy for you to see them but a canoe or kayak is barely three feet out of the water. When there are medium swells and you are in the trough of the wave, you are even lower in the water. Keep that in mind.

Follow the rules of the road. Just because you are in a canoe or kayak doesn't mean that you need to follow the rules like everybody else. If possible, avoide the shipping channels since that is where the large boats are going to be.

Consider a radar reflector.  There are several different commercial models on the market with various levels of success. Basically they allow your boat to show up on the larger vessels radar system. The main draw back is that not all small or recreational boats use radar for navigation.

If you are paddling through navigational channels, you could consider a Collision Avoidance Radar Detector (C.A.R.D.) system. The C.A.R.D. system is a device that you mount on your boat that detects the presence of radar systems in your area. The monitor will tell you from which direction the radar system is coming from so you can take evasive action.

The drawback to the C.A.R.D system is that it is another electronic system to fail on your boat. It is built for a marine environment but not likely submersible so you will need to be careful with it around water. If you could develop a way to store it in a clear waterproof case, it might work better.

If you are doing extended night crossings, it might be something worth looking into.

Have you had experience with any of the devices above or have a tip to avoid a collision on the water? Let us know how they worked out by posting a comment below.

Related Articles:
KokatatIn late August 2007, Epicocity Project team members Howard "Trip" Jennings, Kyle Dickman, Brian Eustis, Matt Fields Johnson, Andy Maser, and Scott Feindell joined a team of scientists and cavers for a six week exploration of the Hargy Caldera in New Britain, Papua New Guinea. This National Geographic expedition will give voice to the recommendations of the United Nations Environmental Fund that this area be conserved.
Wednesday, 05 September 2007 05:37

Shark rescued by lifeguard

I saw this article on The Scotsman's website and couldn't help but post it:

Shark rescued by lifeguard
Sand Shark
Sand Shark
Photo by USGS ©
A LIFEGUARD at New York's Coney Island beach came to the rescue of a two-foot sand shark being attacked by frightened swimmers.

Marisu Mironescu, 39, of Brooklyn, said he saw about 100 people circling the shark off Coney Island's beach.

"Some were hitting him, smacking his face," said Miro-nescu. "I wasn't going to let them hurt the poor thing."

He grabbed the largely harmless fish in his arms and carried it, backstroking out to sea, where he let it go.

"Then he tried to bite me," said Mironescu.
Tuesday, 04 September 2007 10:30

Paddling Raft-Up - September 4, 2007

Surfing Superior Confluence
rSeptember 28-30, Naturally Superior Adventures will be hosting the annual Surfing Superior Confluence. Located at the mouth of the Michipicoten River on Lake Superior, the wind can kick up some fantastic standing waves against the river current.

Here is the description from their site:
Enjoy laid back soul surfin' or intense ender sessions in the freshwater surf playground at the mouth of the Michipicoten River. This informal gathering of surf-seeking intermediate to advanced paddlers takes advantage of autumnal gales and late summer warm water to provide an informal, instructional and by all means entertaining way to cap off your paddling season in late September. You'll be wishing the weekend will never end. [Link: Naturally Superior Adventures]

Surfing Record Smashed
Surfing RecordSpeaking about surfing, Brazil recently set the record for the number of surfers on a single wave. The next time you try to break the record you will now need more then 84 people on it! The old record was 71 people set in Cape Town.

The record breaking attempt was made during the Earthwave Festival de Surf Ecorodovias, a three day festival of wave-riding events that featured a professional longboarding surfing contest, outrigger canoe paddling and demonstrations of stand up paddling, the latest discipline of surfing that is sweeping the world. [Link:]

That no log, that a bone!
David Boyers was standing in about two feet of water in the South Fork of the Licking River when he saw what appeared to be a funny-looking log.

After examining it, he thought it might be a bone so he took a trip down to the museum where he eventually met with a palaeontologist at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

The "log" was not a dinosaur bone. But it was the partial right ulna - think foreleg - of a mastodon, circa 20,000 years ago, said Dr. Glenn Storrs, assistant vice president for natural history and science at the museum.

Storrs said the museum, which is a federal repository for bones and fossils, receives numerous phone calls from people who think they've found ancient bones. Usually they turn out to be from a modern animal or are just an unusual rock formation, but about one every year or two turns out to be a significant find. [Link: The Cincinnati Post]

More in the world of ancient artefacts
Roy Mitchell of Decatur, TN talks about a dugout canoe that was given to him back in 1969. Estimates put a value of around $150,000-$250,000 for the 400-600 year old artefact. [Link: The Decatur Daily News]

Experienced whitewater kayakers who have never boated the Upper or Lower Gauley have a golden opportunity this fall to take their maiden voyage down the legendary river with top pro paddlers.

On the morning of Saturday, Sept. 22, winners of the "Am I Ready For the Gauley Yet" drawing will meet in the park across the street from the put-in road to the Summerville Dam. Pairs of pro paddlers will guide groups of up to four paddlers down the river during the annual Gauley Fest.

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