Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I Rolled, I Rolled!

Last night I taught the second half of an introductory kayaking clinic at Erindale Lake (a local suburban pond). After the class I decided to spend a little time out playing on the water. I went through some of the exercises described in the book Sea Kayak Strokes by Doug Alderson (I have access to an online version through the library at my workplace). These exercises had me progressively building the motions to perform a kayak roll, with a paddle float on my paddle throughout. Initially I was in a high brace, then laid on the back deck while in the high brace, then moving my body out beside the kayak, then eventually tipped right over and moving back to the upright high brace position. This progression of movements worked very well for me and allowed me to work toward building these motions into my muscle memory, so that they can hopefully become automatic. The next step was to be completely upside down, then using the paddle (with paddle float) to get back to that upright high brace position, rolling the kayak underneath me using my hips and trying to keep my centre of gravity low and remembering to bring my head up last. Rolling up from completely submerged proved quite easy when done this way, however I was still reliant on the paddle float so was cheating.

I'll be heading out to practice again soon - this time I'll be focussing on reducing the amount of pressure that I'm putting on the paddle float. Hopefully Jay can come out with me and we can work through some of the exercises together. With any luck, after a couple of sessions we'll be rolling our kayaks without the cheat of using the paddle float.

If you have any tips or tricks, please leave me a comment!

See an update at this link!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Saturday Sunset Co-op

Lee over at awholebunchofings.blogspot.com has come up with an interesting idea. He is encouraging paddlers to head out on Saturday evening (or dawn) and photograph the sunset (or sunrise). Paddlers can then send their photos in to him, and he'll post the likely splendorous results.

Lee says:
So here's what I'm askin:

  • Spread the word! feel free to copy paste/ link/feed etc this elsewhere!!
  • Saturday head out on the water; all day till sunset or 5 minutes prior.
  • Take a pic of the bow of your boat and the sunset
  • Come home later that night fire me a email with your pic.
  • Sunday log in to [Lee's] blog and HOPEFULLY see pics of the same glowing globe setting from other paddlers perspectives across this wonderful world we live on.

I don't think I'll manage to participate, unless I get up really early to go for the sunrise option (sunrise this morning was at 4:45 am). However, I think it's a neat idea so maybe a few folks who see it here will agree and participate.
A sunset photo from last summer on Kingsmere Lake.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Instructor's Course Guest Starring Michael Pardy

This will be a very short post because I'm darned tired. I just finished a Paddle Canada "Kayak Instructor Introduction to Kayaking" course. It was a three day course, running all day Friday, Saturday & Sunday and included classroom sessions, on the beach sessions, and lots of paddling (at Pike Lake). The course was operated by Viki of Kingston Kayak Instruction. Viki is herself becoming certified as qualified to teach instructors so had Michael Pardy here assessing her. Viki is a very good instructor and I've enjoyed her courses in the past, but having the added element of a paddler and leader of the caliber of Pardy here in Saskatoon was something remarkable. I only wish I could have taken even greater advantage of that resource. Although right now I feel burned out from the sun (a rare thing here lately) and being on the water, I would have eagerly taken a few more hours of his time if I had the opportunity.

I'm proud to say that I have received a conditional pass (as did all 6 of us in the course), and following the submission of my yet to be received homework assignments, will be officially a flatwater kayak instructor qualified to teach the Paddle Canada Introduction to Kayaking 8-hour course.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fancy Schmancy Peanut Butter Jars?

Sammy over at Gearpods.com recently got in touch with me about sending a sample of their product my way for testing. Probably I could have considered his post on the blog as spam, but I was intrigued. "That's a fantastic idea" was my quick response. At least, that's how I responded after figuring out what a "Gear Pod" is.

You see, I received Les Stroud's book Survive! a while ago as a gift. Since then, I've been meaning to put together a survival kit (or perhaps multiple kits) in a waterproof container. The kit would come in handy if I (or the folks I were paddling with) were separated from my gear or had some sort of emergency that left us stranded. My container of choice so far: a plastic 2kg peanut butter container (sans peanut butter, even though that in itself would be a useful survival item). The kit would contain a variety of means of starting fires in adverse conditions, some means of providing shelter (a sheet of plastic or an emergency blanket, either of which would have multiple uses), signalling devices, and a variety of other useful items (fish hooks, wire, string, fish line, safety pins, bags, tape, button compass, etc.). I tried and the peanut butter container can be squashed into the bow or stern of my Swift Yukon canoe.

So, back to Sammy and Gear Pods. These Gear Pods are essentially, waterproof containers to do the same sort of thing I had in mind for the peanut butter jar, only they are intended to be more versatile and tougher. They also cost a bit more (it's hard to compare prices to free recycled plastic jars). They sell the Gear Pod jars either empty in a variety of sizes, or as part of pre-packaged kits. Some of the kits are specifically survival-oriented, while others are first-aid, shelter, or food oriented.

Sammy has my address and has promised to send me samples to test out over the coming months. I don't actually know anything more specific about what is being sent but I look forward to putting the Gear Pods to the test over the summer. I will have the opportunity to take them north to the shield and boreal forest of Saskatchewan, and out to the saltwater of the West Coast, and next winter, into the extreme cold of a Saskatchewan winter. So, stay tuned for updates and eventually a Gear Pod review!