Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Never drive away from good surf

Sunshine and warm weather can sure help you have fun.  I spent the weekend in Cape Kiwanda on the Oregon Coast for the 5th annual Lumpy Waters Symposium hosted by Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe.  That crew operates as a true team and does a fantastic job delivering a fun & safe event for all.  On top of all their planning, the weather came together perfectly with abundant sunshine, warm air temps and fantastic surf building from 2ft on Friday to 10ft by Monday afternoon.  Couldn't have asked for more.

It was really fun spending more time in a sea kayak and seeing some friends I only see once or twice a year.  The students did a great job assessing their skills properly and were seriously going for it in our long boat surfing course on day one.  The ideal conditions gave people a reason to go hard and make the most of their weekend.  Sea kayaking felt young this weekend!

Monday is traditionally the coaches play day and this year there were about 15 people ready to charge.  A wise man from Portland told me 'never drive away from good surf' so I didn't.  I opted out of the coach paddle to three arch rocks and opted in to surfing the huge waves at Cape Kiwanda.  It was pretty intimidating paddling out into those monsters, but after riding the rip to the outside and getting a drop or two out of the way, I started to relax and focus.

By the end of the session, I was dropping in on 10 foot faces without hesitation and making them.  A couple got really hollow, a few beat me down, but overall I had an incredible session with only 5 guys in the lineup.  I feel like it was definitely a progression session for me and I'm pumped to get out on more big clean waves...

The view of the sea all weekend!  Haystack rock at Cape Kiwanda

Waves built to 6-10ft on Monday

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Adventures in Sea Leader Training

9 paddlers, one panga and 5 days of Sea Leader Training.  While in Baja this week, I sat in on a BCU course run by Ginni Callahan and Santiago Burreuta of Sea Kayak Baja Mexico.  As an observer, I had the best job - no responsibility, no stress.  I helped when they asked, when they were set, I simply paddled.  

We started in beautiful Loreto, founded in 1697 then moved slightly south to a more remote beach.  After 2 more days, we convoyed across the desert to San Carlos, on the edge of Magdalena Bay.  In San Carlos we made ourselves at home at a small eco-hotel right on the water, launching off the property two days and out of San Carlos port the third.  The highlight of the trip was the maddening logistics of getting to the surf.  First we drove to the panga, loaded it with sea kayaks and sups, drove the panga to the water, boated across Mag Bay, put the panga on a trailer and towed it across a low peninsula and re-launched into the surf.  It was an adventure in itself and added a ton of fun to the experience.  Even though the surf was small, it was totally worth it.

All of the students were BCU 3* paddlers, some pursuing 4*, some just out for more personal training.  The big question asked of a 3* paddler is 'Will this person be an asset on a trip?'  For this group of paddlers, the answer was absolutely 'Yes'.  

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Relaxing in Loreto

As many trips do, this one had a goal.  It wasn't clear, but it clearly involved spending time on myself & resetting for a major change.  I recently left my job in search of something more meaningful and more fulfilling, and a trip to Baja seemed a good starting point.  So far I'm feeling way more 'in touch' with myself and am taking the time to listen to my body.  I'm sleeping well, getting up early and my thoughts are more clear.  More than I even realized, I really needed this trip for personal growth over anything else.  I'm relaxed and stress free!

The drive down was quite remarkable due to the scenery, the company and the two fun-filled sup surf sessions along the way.  I'm on this trip with Ginni Callahan, the owner/operator of Sea Kayak Baja Mexico, to help get the company up and running for the season.  SKBM is the only Nigel Dennis Expedition Center & BCU Center in Mexico and they're experiencing growth after 6 years of operation.  After laying low in San Diego for a week getting work done and visiting friends, we started the 1,000 mile trek down the peninsula and pulled into Loreto three days later.