Wednesday, May 27, 2015

2015 California 100

The California 100 is an important grass roots paddling race & fundraiser in Northern California.  From Redding, CA to Chico, CA racers paddle their sups, surfskis, kayaks, canoes and outriggers downriver, touring the central valley of this gigantic state.  In one day they cover 100 miles of class I & II river in the heat, taking between 10 and 20 hours to finish.  This was my second, and last, year as Race Director and although I won't be holding the reigns next year, I will be back to race again.  

My team is made up of a couple key staff, lots of incredible volunteers and four board members from Rivers for Change, a great CA non-profit with the mission of connecting people to rivers.  Founded by Danielle Katz and John Dye in 2011, they've been successful using paddling as a catalyst to engage, educate and excite people on river issues.  They're connecting people to rivers in a very important time as water management in California is of utmost importance.  RFC is a young, growing organization and I'm proud to have worked alongside them for these two seasons.  Now that my role as Race Director is finished, I'm brainstorming new ways to stay connected to this organization from across the country.  

The race this year did not disappoint.  Racer attendance was down, river flows were low (8000cfs), but energy was higher than ever and lots of new paddlers completed this journey and accomplished their goal.  Check out the photo album here:

Keeping up with the Live Update.

Returning to the launch after starting the Adventure Class at 6am.  

Morning Workout.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Bay to Bay - San Diego, CA

I haven't paddled this route since, I don't know, 2006 maybe?  It's been awhile and I've been wanting to standup paddle it for a long time.  It's a gorgeous stretch of coastline with beautiful waves & scenery.  Since Federico recently finished restoring his classic thirteen foot prone paddleboard from the 70's/80's, it was the perfect time to partner up and make the trek.

I've been staying with him in San Diego for about a week and a half now.  I've had two paddling courses back to back weekends so it's been hard to find a time to do this.  We decided Monday would be our best option and if swell and weather aligned we'd give it a try.  Come Sunday night, the wind looked good, tides were perfect and the swell had dropped to 2 feet.  It's a go.

beach break

nearing Point Loma

rounding Point Loma

ACA Level 3 SUP Surf - Dana Point, CA

Back in November last year Tim Chandler of TRY Standup and myself started talking about an ACA L3 Surf SUP Instructor Certification Course in California.  California is known for surf and this course has never been delivered in this state.  A few months of back and forth emails and Tim was at work organizing and hosting the course.  Because the ACA SUP program is still fairly new, we had no choice but to fly-in an instructor trainer to deliver it.  Keith arrived last Thursday and on Friday morning our group of four candidates met up with him to get started.  

For the next three days we surfed, learned, taught and discussed the extremely intricate and physical aspects of technical surfing all day long and into the evenings.  The waves weren't perfect but did allow us plenty of wave time.  The group of folks was awesome, full of positivity and contributions to the course.  

I entered the course without many expectations.  I love to surf and I wanted to experience an L3 course just to know what it's all about.  L3 is the logical next step after L2, so knowing what students may go through after L2 would help me better prepare them.  I definitely have some material to work with and modifications to make the next time I deliver an L2 course, so mission accomplished.  Personally, I have some things to work on when it comes to my personal surfing skills.  I have a solid base and am working towards surfing at a higher level.  

Keith and I splitting the peak.  Photo:  TRY Standup

Photo:  TRY Standup

Maggie, myself, Tim, Keith & Mitch.  Photo:  TRY Standup

taking our spots in the lineup.  Photo:  TRY Standup

Tim shredding the low volume JP. Photo: TRY Standup

photo: TRY Standup

Monday, May 4, 2015

SUP Instructor Certification Workshop May 1-3 San Diego

When three days disappear in a blink, you know it's fun.  We had a solid group of eleven made up of eight candidates and three Instructors.  The real kicker for this weekend is that every single person brought something to the course, most notably their fun personalities and willingness to learn and contribute.

It's difficult to measure the outcome of these courses.  You can't just say he or she got certified.  The certification shouldn't be and isn't the most valuable piece of these workshops.  It's really about improving skill, learning new teaching methods and becoming better instructors for our future students.  Candidates dial-in their personal skills as much as possible.  They practice with coaching models, they learn and review safety & leadership.  They gain awareness and become safer, stronger paddlers.  Hopefully they leave the course inspired and stoked for more.

I get better at delivering these courses each time, but I still ask myself 'were we safe?' 'Did we improve our measurable performance?' 'Did we have fun?' 'Was it valuable to the candidates?' 'What could I have done better?' Yes, yes, yes & hmmm.  That's the question - what could I have done better?  After every course I run, lesson I give or trip I lead, I'm immediately reflecting on the experience and taking notes on what worked, what didn't work, what will I change next time, what could I have done better.

We have a new group of ACA certified SUP Instructors in the US and I'm pretty certain everyone left the course with new paddling friends and a renewed appreciation for the SUP community.  That makes me feel pretty good, even though there are lots of things I'll do better next time.

Thank you Mitch for assisting, thank you Tim of Try Standup for assisting and thank you Jen of Aqua Adventures for hosting the course.  Fun times!

Chris, Alex, Matt, Paul, Erin, Tara, Dylan, Mitch, Tim & Wendy.  photo by Erin O'Malley.

double trouble