Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tomales Bay Sea Kayak

We had 26 teenagers out on Tomales Bay this week and were treated to four days of awesome weather with sun, warm temps and favorable tides.  This was a really fun trip stacked with three other incredible guides and rounded out with four adult chaperones from the school we were guiding.  For three nights and four days we explored the waters and trails around Point Reyes and Tomales Bay.   We saw wildlife, we hiked, we paddled, we visited Clayton Lewis, we swung from trees and we ate local oysters.  The kids learned about nature & Tomales Bay, they learned paddling skills, camping skills, camp kitchen skills and a ton more.  This was easily one of the best trips I've had with children or adults and it came at the perfect time.  Fall in Northern California is like summer everywhere else.

Friday, September 5, 2014

15 Hours Late

Paddling is one of the best things in my life so sharing that with friends and family in a beautiful location is the ultimate.  My buddy from Boston messaged me about returning to a paddling destination we'd visited together six or seven years ago.  I jumped on it and pretty soon we had the plan to rendezvous on the river.  He flew in with his girlfriend a day before me.  Driving down from the Bay Area with a partner, we made a pitstop at McCarren International to pickup my sister and her husband, also flying in from the east.  Not untypical, we launched just before dark, paddled about four miles upriver and camped in a wash the first night.  Waking early and drinking coffee, we got back on the river and met our friends at the site a mere 15 hours late.  Before unpacking boards and gear, we promptly began to celebrate the reunion with drinks in the river!

The next four days was more of the same - celebrating, eating, swimming, hiking, soaking, paddling, laughing, screwing around and just enjoying each others company.  Once back to civilization (sadly) we wrapped up with a few extra days on the Vegas strip.  After that we happily endured more than a few clean, fun surf sessions with friends in San Diego and a stop in Tahoe to camp with returning burners.  Nice fucking trip, eh!  

relaxing on morning two

typical day on the river

always wear a sweater in the desert

another reason sups are better than sea kayaks

proud taco

morning grind

Focus SUP Hawaii Cali 14' loaded

unwinding in Vegas

Century egg anyone?

Focus Cali 14' on tour

Last week I had the chance to tour on the Focus Cali 14' for five self-supported days on class 1 river.  To ready the board, all I did was fit a shorter, smaller flexi fin to deal with rocks (I never touched one) and add four tie-downs to the front deck.  I've put miles on this board on flatwater, bumpy water & downwinding but hadn't yet paddled it loaded.  Unloaded, it excels as a fast & stable all conditions board that is easy to maneuver and control.

The Cali 14' is extremely capable surfing, downwinding, holding speed and dealing with cross-chop.  It's stable from rail to rail and on the tail, it's lightweight, and the volume distribution is perfect for what I need.  The only unanswered question for me, until now, was how well it would handle with a load over 50lbs.

I definitely felt less stable, but only a bit.  Part of the stability loss was due to the small fin and some due to weight.  The sunken deck took on more water than usual, but shed it quickly enough.  Initial rail to rail stability was less than normal, but secondary remained high.  Speed was reduced on flat water, but felt the same on bumpy water.  It definitely wasn't as quick as unloaded, but that would be the same for any loaded board.

When touring I prefer all my gear front of center.  I don't like gear behind me out of sight and personally I need to keep the back deck clear for walking back and turning.  Since I was acting sherpa for friends, I was carrying much more weight than if I were alone, but even at 70+ pounds on the front deck, the Cali was really capable in flat water, current and chop up to 2'.  More later...

Monday, August 18, 2014


The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance began back in 1950 and is regarded as the premiere celebration of the automobile.  For two weeks this August, I lived at Pebble Beach surrounded by all things Concours and it was totally awesome.  Concours is many different events in one and includes the Tour d'Elegance, the Gooding auction, the Sunday Concours, manufacturers displays, test drives and dozens of other add-on events throughout Monterey.  It's a car lovers paradise in a stunningly beautiful environment that showcases everything from the classic roadsters you'd see in the old Bond movies to today's supercars like the Bugatti Veyron and the McLaren F1.  It attracts collectors, enthusiasts and the filthy rich from all parts of the globe.

For me, it was a chance to work with an incredible event team and I look forward to returning in 2015. I have two more days here at PB and then I'm off for some SUP camping with friends and family..!!..

Tour d'Elegance

1962 Ferrari 250 SWB Berlinetta

Gooding auction preview

buildout of the McLaren tent

Pretty stellar work environment
1954 Maserati

Concept Car Lawn

Gooding auction

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Full Teenager Immersion

12 kids aged 12-15 for 5 days of kayaking and camping on Tomales Bay.  Yes, I have some funny memories of the week.  That's what you get with full teenager immersion.  I got a healthy dose of what it's like to be a kid these days and enjoyed almost every minute of it.  Almost.  

We discussed literature - have you read the new book by Flip Dover titled The Beginners Guide to Sea Kayaking?  I believe it's from the Lost Works collection.  How about The Complete Guide to Table Tennis by Ping Pong?  

We told jokes.  What did the hamburger name his daughter?  Patty.  What did he name is son?  Scott. Don't try to get it - there's nothing to get.  

We talked shit.  Teenagers know how to talk shit, even if they have nothing to talk shit about. Awesome ends with "M" "E" but ugly starts with "U".

We paddled, we hiked, we lit campfires, played games, ate delicious meals.  We saw wildlife.  Seals, sea lions, crabs, jellyfish, fox, raccoon, coyote, elk, gulls and more.  

And of course, every time I said 'no' to something I got backtalk.  "Every party needs a pooper, that's why we invited you...."