Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Everyone goes through lulls and I've been focused on a lot of other things in my life. It's not that I don't enjoy paddling anymore but it just moved down the list of priorities for a little. And sometimes once you step away it's easy to forget why you used to put so much effort into getting out on the water. But if you're lucky you have some friends there to remind you.
So this past weekend I taught at the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium. It's an awesome event with great coaches from around the world and students from up and down the west coast (and beyond). This was the fourth year and it now feels like old home week. But it actually started out a little rough for me. I was leading the coastal tour on Saturday and we made the bold decision to launch from Rodeo beach and paddle one way around Pt. Bonita and in under the Golden Gate bridge. It's always a little nerve-wracking to take students through the dumpy surf and into such an exposed location, especially when the forecast is for 9'-12' swells and winds to 25 kts. But I had help (Deb Volturno was teaching with me) and the students were eager. We all got off the beach fine and I decided to roll to cool down in the warm sunshine. But on my way up I hurt my knee (subluxed kneecap) and flailed trying to complete my roll without my leg. I swam and I was in pain. But we got me back into my boat and I could paddle, if not walk, so we continued on.
So I took the evening off - I skipped the presentation by Jon Turk (I heard it was great) and I got a warm shower and some pleasant conversation. The next day I was teaching Advanced Rock Gardening though I didn't know if I was going to be working with Roger Schuman or Jeff Laxier. The forecast was worse and the uncertainty of it all weighed on me that evening. But I was second chair for the day and I trusted that either Jeff or Roger could carry the load if necessary.
Liquid Fusion Kayaking out of Ft. Bragg, CA. As always, he brought enough energy for the entire group and he chose an ambitious plan of heading out to Pt. Diablo and working our way back in. It would mean trying to come in under the bridge against a major 4.8 kt ebb at the end of the day. But once again the students were eager and we hit the water. My knee was fine once in a boat but my shoulder was hurting (trying to roll without my legs was a bad idea). It was a fair bit of work getting the class to cover the distance while still teaching skills and concepts - a very dynamic and challenging teaching environment. But we made it around the point and found some good features to push the students without creating too much carnage. We came back around the point for lunch and after a full day of playing we were ready to head in. The safety boat warned us that the earlier class had a couple swims fighting the ebb and we prepared for the worst. But the current was fading quickly and it was a piece of cake. Some folks even went back out to try it a second time. Once again when we got to shore it was smiles all around. The weekend was a success and I had even gotten a little energy back.
Paul Kuthe. We had said hi earlier, but as is often the case at such symposiums there was no time to talk since we weren't teaching together. But Paul and the rest of the Portland crew were going to stick around California to paddle for a few days. And I had conveniently arranged to take a couple extra days off work. So the plan was formed to head up to Ft. Bragg and meet up with Jeff's partner Cate (Jeff was staying to do the BCU Five Star training) for a couple of day of rock gardening on the Mendocino coast.
We still have no rain and my schedule is more office than paddling. I may not get the chance to boat with friends again in the near future. But I won't forget the past four days anytime soon. And I know I'll be back to have more good times sometime in the future. And when I do I'll be happy to share them with y'all.
Enjoy the video and some pictures.