Monday, March 16, 2015

Santa Cruz Paddlefest

What an awesome weekend.  There was just so much good energy being passed around Steamer Lane this weekend that it would've been difficult to not have fun and feel refreshed.  I had a blast spending time in and out of the water with friends, watching the pros compete and scoring some fun rides on well-formed Santa Cruz waves - a rare treat.

I arrived into town Thursday eve to small waves.  The intensity got dialed up a bit more by Friday morning and by the end of the day I'd had a great double session and a solid warmup after not surfing for four months.

Saturday I surfed in the early afternoon in the Cowell's Classic Intermediate sup surf contest and did well enough to win my heat.  The real high point of the day was the evening session at Indicators and Middle Peak.  Once the contest wrapped at 5:40pm, the waves were free for the riding, so that's what we did.  Mitch, Marion, Michelle and myself had an incredible progression session in 4-6ft swells with great energy from everyone in the uncrowded break.  Michelle broke in her new surf kayak, Mitch was ripping, Marion rode her biggest wave ever and I had the best wave of my life.  Pure stoke and a trip to the post-contest party ended the evening with poke plates and margaritas.  

I had a bad heat on Sunday, but still a good time on the water.  Turns out I finished 5th overall, which was better than I had expected and quite suprising.  Had i picked up any good waves during Sunday's heat, I'm sure I could've done even better.  Lots of love and fun though, so a good time nonetheless.

Santa Cruz Paddlefest delivered.  Weather was great (hot!), waves were great, buzz was great and the boys at Kayak Connection really did a great job on the 29th contest.  Nice weekend.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

California 100 Training Clinic #2

Paddling is so awesome.  Today I co-lead the second California 100 Training Clinic of the season with Elaine Baden, a great paddling coach with a ton of experience and comfort on the river.  Our styles meshed well with each other and the 14 students and 2 assistants we paddled with.  18 of us put in on the Sacramento River at Posse Grounds in Redding, CA and worked our way downriver, sharing technique and strategy along the way.  We were an unusual assortment of people and backgrounds all brought together because we love to paddle.

Cary charging the chute below Kutras Pond

crossing underneath the Cypress Bridge

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

ACA Level 2 SUP Instructor Certification Workshop - February 27th - March 1st

Fifteen years ago when I was in my first year of paddling I got some great advice from a mentor.  "Don't worry about the certifications" he said, "focus on your paddling."  From that point on I've never taken an assessment until I was absolutely, positively sure I was ready and able to pass.

  • personal paddling skills
  • teaching skills
  • technical knowledge
  • rescue ability 
  • safety / judgement / leadership ability
  • ambassadorship
These are the six criteria we're using to judge where people fit on the ACA SUP instructor scale.  It's a difficult job assessing multiple candidates over multiple days on multiple things.  It's difficult to decide whether a candidate really has their skills down or if they just seem to be paddling well at that time.  Will they stick with it and maintain their skills or will they get certified and become complacent, neglecting to improve any more.  

Assessments are subjective and difficult.  I do my best but many times it's not black and white.  When it's questionable, I'm now in the mindset to make the candidate work harder, reinforcing their skills and making my decision less questionable.

This past weekend, Mitch Silverstein and I ran an L2 Instructor Certification Workshop in Half Moon Bay for 6 candidates.  Fun people, fun conditions, fun course.