If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

2010: Post 4 - Know when to fold 'em

A group of us are committed to doing practice sessions at St. Philips.  It's a convenient place in proximity to where we live, it has a slipway for launching, and a restaurant close by to get a cup of coffee afterwards.   These sessions take place Thursday afternoons from about May to October.  During the rest of those months we lack adequate daylight.  But from October to March we will do a practice session on weekends when the winds are not sensible enough for a weekend paddle. 

Yesterday the winds were forecasted to be on the higher side for a paddle today (Sat), so some of us decided we would do a practice at St. Philips. But we awake to higher winds than was called for - currently 48 km, gusting to 69 km, with wind chill -3 C, and blowing off-land.  We have been out in St. Philips in such winds several times before, but when the winds are blowing back toward the beach and when the air temperature is warmer. So today we decided to give in to mother nature and call it off.

Like Kenny sings, "you've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em...."  Tomorrow the forecast is for much favorable winds (about 25 km) and we are planning a paddle, probably down the southern shore...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010: Post 3 - Weak-side rolling

I managed my first roll (strong-side) about three months after I bought my kayak.  Than I practiced it for about 6 months before I got really good at it.  Than I continued rolling on my strong-side for another 6 months before I even contemplated trying to learn to roll on my weak-side.  That was a mistake; I feel I waited far too long before learning to roll on my weak-side. 

Well, I did my first weak-side roll just under a year ago.  I practiced it in the pool sessions last winter, with much frustration, and continued practicing it over the summer and into the fall.  But I found that it has come to me very slowly, much more slowly than my strong-side.  It has been a struggle for me to get comfortable with it.

During the pool session last week I was fooling around with something and found myself having to roll up without setting up.  Without thinking about it I automatically started to set up on my weak-side.  I nearly had my paddle set and the realization came to me that I was not set up on my strong-side and I actually started to switch the paddle to the other side.  I remember thinking to myself that this is what all the practice has been for.  Then I stopped myself and reverted back to setting up my paddle on my weak-side and rolled up. Of course, all this took only seconds….

I think that was one of those kayaking turning points.  You know, those moments that you feel you have finally achieved something, or crossed a threshold that has been holding you back.  Until that point my weak-side rolling had been all done with intent.  That was the first time that I had done one without starting from an up-right position in the kayak.  To me this means that my weak-side has finally begun to feel more natural. 

The real test will come one day when I get knocked over in a real-paddle situation and, without hesitation, I will simply roll up on my weak-side.  After a while I hope to be able to say I do not have a strong-side or a weak-side roll.  I will simply just have a roll on both sides.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010: Post 2 - The short of it

Okay so another blog.  So what do I write about.  I am not sure.  I could write about the paddle I was on yesterday, or the one the day before. But the guys have already done that... see Tony's and Sean's blog's....

So maybe I will give the short of how I started on the road to becoming a kayakoholic...

I had very limited exposure to being on the water in boats.  I was in a canoe a couple times as a kid.  I was on the ferry between Port-aux-Basques and North Sydney half a dozen times.  I was in my uncles motor boat once.  I was in my grandfather's fishing boat a few times.  I also did a salmon fishing canoe trip down a river once.  That's pretty much the extent of it.

Then the kayaker in me wanted out.  I knew absolutely zero about kayaks and kayaking, but I researched the Internet and decided on the model that would serve my purposes.  I went to the local outdoor gear store to have a look at one.  I remember sitting in a kayak on the floor of the store and asking the sales guy "so how do you paddle this." That's pretty green, I guess.  So I bought my kayak and all the basic gear.  Then I immediately joined the local kayak club Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador

That was June 2008 and I guess the rest is history.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2010: Post 1 - a blog without pictures?

Some of my regular paddling buddies have blogs where they post about their kayak paddling experiences, or post things somehow related to kayaking, complete with pictures.  One of them mentioned to me a while ago that I should start one too.  But I thought to myself "why bother; they post about our paddles".  And besides, I am not a picture taker and don't even have a camera.  Won't a blog without pictures be rather boring. 

Anyway, I decided I would create a blog, one without pictures.  Maybe one day I will get a camera and add some pictures.  Who knows, maybe there is a photographer in me waiting to get out.  There was a kayaker in me that had found its way out!