Monday, March 29, 2010

work can be good

Did a private lesson on Lake Natoma on Friday - a couple of adventure racers getting some rescue practice in a tandem; a whitewater 101 over the weekend - a pair of brothers just looking to get into the sport; on Monday went out with a friend from Oregon on some class IV - he wants to work his way up to running some of the classic Cali granite runs this year. Some nice variety in venues, goals, skill sets, and personalities. Consistently cold water - especially when you stand waist deep helping with rolls (though I guess it's probably worse if you're actually upside down working on your roll).

My waterproof camera was fully charged but promptly died after one picture - it's last of three batteries I had for the camera. Time to decide on getting yet another battery or moving up to get a better waterproof. The more I use higher quality photo/video equipment the more I hate the crappy quality of the the waterproof cameras that exist (more megapixels does not make higher quality). But there are so many shots that I will only get with something that is in the pocket of my PFD...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back behind the lens

I spent the last weekend up in Arcata working with Helen Wilson on her upcoming Greenland rolling DVD. I'm doing the filming and editing for the project and it has definitely been a great experience being able to simply focus on the filming and not the paddling. I managed to stay dry to whole weekend without even getting my boat off the roof of my truck - while that may seem like a negative to some I feel I have plenty of paddling in my life and I try to enjoy the opportunity to do things outside a boat. When I'm filming my own paddling it creates a constant struggle between the paddling and video that ultimately is good but sometimes tiring. Being able to concentrate on just one of those often leads to more relaxation.

We plan to get Helen's video out by May so we have a lot to accomplish in a short time. We did the bulk of filming this weekend and sorted out the structure of the DVD. It is going to be a roll video for everyone - not just experienced Greenland paddlers - and we got lots of great footage to include. Helen has been teaching rolling clinics across the country (and the world) for a while now so she has the class structure down cold and we just had to translate that experience to the video. The main thing was to show clearly exactly what she does so people can use the video to teach themselves - it's often the difficulty of finding (or affording) a good instructor or rolling partner that keeps people from learning and mastering the art. This video should give folks a virtual partner that allows them to start from scratch and work their way up to some very cool advanced rolling.

I haven't had time to do any real editing yet but here's a taste of the good footage we got:

Monday, March 15, 2010

Intructor Training on the coast

I'm finally back home and get to stick around for a little while. But the final part of my latest trip was teaching an ACA Instructor Development Workshop down in the SF Bay area. We had a day of technique work in wind and rain at Half Moon Bay; a beautiful day in SF Bay visiting Angel Island and Alcatraz; and finally a short day of mock surf (the real stuff was too big for teaching) back in HMB. It was a long and fun weekend with some great people - and great future instructors.

Now I'm working on the plans for the next volume of 'Paddle California'. The theme is multi-day trips and I have several in mind both on the ocean and the rivers. First I'm trying to nail down the details for Big Sur (which I hope to do in April). With a few access point closures due to the state budget it is making the trip a little more challenging than I expected. Then in May I want to do a multi-day trip on the NF American (the Generation/Giant Gap combo). After that I hope to get another river trip - maybe Deer Creek, maybe Upper Cherry - and a big expedition to the Channel Islands in the fall. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

green with envy?

I was down in SoCal this past week for a couple showings of the video and I stopped by the kayak polo session at UCLA. The games are at night at a pool with relatively poor lighting - visitors always complain they can't see the ball. Once you get used to it it's really not so bad - but I didn't know if video would work. So I decided to test the new HD Sony I have - special low light function, full on night mode and even super slow motion. The results are actually pretty good and if it works this well in the dark it should handle the shadows of the river canyons without a problem (hopefully I'll get out on some whitewater next week now that I'm back in Folsom).

Enjoy the playing in the dark:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A day ashore

After the Golden Gate Symposium I had a couple days to paddle with my friends Dave and Paul from Alder Creek in Portland. They were planning on taking a few days to work their way back north. So we set out for Pt. Reyes for some rock gardening. But the swells were just too big so we spent the day walking around and taking pictures. It was fun to sit high up on the cliff tops and watch the walls of water roll in and cover up thirty foot tall rocks, sending water shooting over them like it was launched from a water gun.

The next day we were thinking of heading further north to see if we could get any play in around the Mendocino coast. But a call to my friend Jeff revealed that the swells were just as big up there and unfriendly for playing. So we stayed south and tried to get in some surf at Dillon Beach at the mouth of Tomales Bay. With six or seven lines of breakers, the outside ones being well overhead, it was really a fruitless effort to get out far enough to catch a ride in. So we just took turns getting smacked by the walls of foam coming in and decided to call that fun.

More pictures HERE and video below:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium

Last year's inaugural GGSKS was an incredible experience for me - meeting some great instructors, teaching fun classes, and enjoying some of the most beautiful weather in the SF Bay that I have ever seen. So it's hard to believe that this year's event could be better. But it was. Except the weather part. This year was bigger and better and will no doubt be the highlight of my teaching year as was last year's event.

I got to see all the friends I had made last year and make some new ones. A definite highlight was teaching with Jeff Allen and then getting to hear his story during his presentation Friday night. It was an incredibly personal sharing if his life and a fascinating show of some of the most beautiful and challenging paddling I've seen. Freya Hoffmeister was the keynote speaker on Saturday night but her circumnavigation around Australia, while impressive, lacked the personal appeal of Jeff's story. There is a difference between someone who paddles and a true paddler - Jeff is definitely the latter.

I also got to give a short presentation on Friday - showing a preview of Paddle California. I was truly honored to be included in such a prestigious lineup and proud to share our great state many of the out of towners attending. I think they really appreciated seeing more than just the coastline (though that is pretty spectacular). It's been fun doing all these shows and it was nice to be able to show my work to my peers.

Web album of my photos from the weekend HERE