Monday, March 25, 2013

South Lake Tahoe & Upper Truckee SUP

I recently spent a few days dog sitting in South Lake and got a couple days of paddling in.  Since the forecast called for warm temps and sunshine I went up armed with paddling & skiing gear.  Instead of skiing uncrowded spring conditions I opted to hit the lake.

looking down on Emerald Bay & Fannette Island
Even though the water temp was in the low 40's, the air was almost 65, the wind was light and the cool air was penetrated by strong, warm sunshine making it feel a bit warmer than it was.  For a mellow paddle I decided to have a look at the Upper Truckee River for the first time.  From what I gathered on the chart it's shallow with little current at the mouth and a bit more upriver as it narrows and turns.  It was really fun paddling up the slow current, following the deep-water channel from bend to bend among the narrow widths.  Snow covered river banks provided an awesome setting to get away from everything and enjoy winter in a different way.  

glassy conditions
the mouth of the Upper Truckee
up the Upper Truckee


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

ACA SUP ICW - Long Beach, CA

I recently assisted Steve Scherrer on an ACA Level 1/2 SUP ICW in Long Beach with ten SoCal instructor candidates.  We spent the first 30 minutes of the course on the 2nd floor balcony at Bayshore Park, just a short paddle from Marine Stadium Park, rowing site of the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.  In the foreground we watched locals enjoying the heat wave on the beach and in the water, in the background we stared at the snow-covered Mount San Antonio, tallest point in Los Angeles county standing at over 10k feet.  Below us a production company was creating the set for Dexter, scheduled to shoot later that evening.  Where else would you get all this?  It was great.  

Steve & I decided to try a new schedule which worked very well.  We got the greetings and expectations out of the way and got right on to the paddling.  Most of day one was spent reviewing & learning paddle strokes.  The way this course is laid out, candidates are expected to show-up with highly developed standup paddling skills - strokes, maneuvers & experience.  We're not there to teach them paddle strokes, we're there to help refine their already developed skills and give them the resources they need to effectively teach them to others at the ACA standard.  It's a challenging schedule.  In my opinion, the course is ready to be split into an IDW & an ICE, much in the way that kayaking instructor trainings work.

In addition to reviewing and refining strokes, we look into how people learn new things and then change the way we teach based on that information.  Candidates practice teaching over and over.  They take turns in a leadership role, they lead groups on journeys, and they're given tons of feedback.  It's a challenging course for most candidates, but most go away with a deeper understanding of paddling concepts and a new appreciation of how much really is involved with SUP.  

The next ACA SUP ICW I'm working on is June 3-5, 2013 in San Diego, CA.  For more information on the course, check out the instructor criteria here.  Contact me in you're interested.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

BCU 5 Star Sea Leader Training

I finally got a chance to paddle at GGSKS this year, but it wasn't until Monday morning during the 3-day 5 star training with Steve Maynard & John Carmody.  We had quite the group with Jen Kleck & Roger Schumann joining the coaching team.  Santiago, Victor, Andrea, Kim, David, Lee, Richard & myself had a full 3 days of BCU that was fun, mellow and complete with broaching whales underneath the Golden Gate.  We saw mysterious 6-ft breakers rolling into the bay and we had strong representation from the Mexican Canoe Union (MCU).  It was just fun.  

Sometimes I think there's a misconception that 5* means going out in the big stuff and limping home with broken boats & tall tales.  It's a leadership award that says you're safe and competent to lead a group of skilled paddlers in open water conditions.  It's not about hard-charging, it's about bringing your awareness to another level and refining skills.  The award is highly attainable for most paddlers I know yet very few of them work towards it.  For me, it's always been a personal goal and a milestone.  Paddling is my biggest connection to the outdoors and the better I get at it, the further it will take me.  If you have any interest in the British Canoe Union, read more about the awards here.

Santiago & John formulating a plan