Archive for June, 2013

The Start of our Nordic Tour and Midsummer in Denmark

Last Tuesday Mark and I flew to Stockholm to start this year’s Nordic Tour. In Stockholm we met up with Andres from Tahe Outdoors. He provided us with a car, a Zegul Greenland and a Zegul Greenland T to use during the two-month tour. Over the next day we slowly made our way to Copenhagen, Denmark where we’d be running classes for Kajakhotellet for the next four days.

Yoga is a great way to begin a day on the water.

Yoga is a great way to begin a day on the water.

A nice day for a rolling class.

A nice day for a rolling class.

For the most part the weather was gorgeous all four days. We ran seven rolling sessions, covering everything from first rolls, to sculling rolls and even the Straightjacket Roll (Denmark is the home to some very talented rollers). We also ran a session of Fun, Balance and Games for Club members.

Playing with balance.

Playing with balance.

Creativity and kayaking often go hand in hand.

Mark and I were very impressed with the creativity of Club members.

The women's team was a fair match for creativity and style points.

The women’s team was a fair match for creativity and style points.

The location of the Kajakhotellet is fabulous, with both a mix of protected and open water, not to mention a spectacular view of Sweden, which we enjoyed during the Midsummer celebration Sunday night. I’ve celebrated Midsummer in Sweden before, but this was my first time celebrating it in Denmark. The entire country celebrates with barbecues and bonfires decorated with witches on top. It was tons of fun, and a nice way to end our time in Copenhagen.

Mark teaches maneuvering strokes.

Mark provides instruction in maneuvering strokes during Fun, Balance and Games.

A gorgeous Mid-Summer sunset viewed from the roof of Kajakhotellet.

A gorgeous Midsummer sunset viewed from the roof of Kajakhotellet.

And a bonfire on the beach.

And a bonfire on the beach.

The following day we stopped by Kajakhotellet to say goodbye to the staff, who took wonderful care of us. Thanks to Anders and the rest of the team for a wonderful four days. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

The Kajakhotellet team took very good care of us. Thanks to all of you!

The Kajakhotellet team took very good care of us. Thanks to all of you!

On our way out of town, we visited Den Blå Planet. It was tons of fun to explore the aquarium, checking out everything from alligators to piranhas.

Mark bonds with an impressive piranha display.

Mark bonded with an impressive bunch of piranhas…

And I enjoyed a visit from a crab.

…while I hung out with a really big crab.

After a wonderful day at the aquarium we made our way to Billdal, Sweden where we’re running several days of rolling classes and BCU programs at Sea Kayak Billdal.

A sunny day at the lake and a little time at home

A couple of days after returning home from Denmark, where Mark and I were running classes, I hopped in the car to make the three-hour drive over the mountains to Whiskeytown Lake for a couple of weekend rolling classes. At home the weather was cool and foggy, typical weather for a summer day in Humboldt, but when I opened the car door in Redding I was hit by a wave of heat… 111 degrees of heat that is. Throughout the weekend there would be record breaking temperatures and not a cloud in sight.

With weather this hot it felt wonderful to be fully immersed in the cool lake.

With weather this hot it felt wonderful to be fully immersed in the cool lake.

Lita works on a first roll.

Lita works on a first roll.

The water at Whiskeytown Lake was cool, which felt nice under the heat of the sun. Some people worked on first rolls, others on advanced rolls and others wanted to watch demonstrations from shore of some of the more complex rolls. I was happy to oblige, as being under the surface felt wonderful during this incredibly hot weekend.

Tom works on a brick roll.

Tom works on a brick roll.

I demonstrate a double elbow roll.

I demonstrate a double elbow roll.

This was year four of running classes for Just Kayak More, and each year I’m thrilled to see return participants and to see how far they’ve come. Thanks to Jason and Kasumi for hosting me!

A hand spine roll is a great roll for a fun challenge.

A hand spine roll is a great roll for a fun challenge.

After spending the weekend in Redding I had a few days home. During this time my son Alex graduated high school, which was wonderful to see. Congrats Alex, I’m REALLY proud of you!

My parents were in town because of the graduation, and it was good to catch up with them as well.

Before leaving for the summer I also had time to catch up with my good friend Michael Morris. We spent a morning at Trinidad, bouncing around in some choppy water. It was a great day, and a nice way to relax before heading off for the summer.

A morning at Trinidad.

A morning at Trinidad.

Michael enjoys a day on the water. It was good to catch up with you Michael!

Michael enjoys a day on the water. It was good to catch up with you Michael!

Now Mark and I are in Europe and about to begin our summer tour, which starts tomorrow in Copenhagen. We’re looking forward to a fun summer in Europe!

Photos by Jason Montelongo and Helen.

Greenland Weekend: November 2 to 3, Devon, England

Date: November 2 to 3

Location: Devon, England

Description: This weekend offers the opportunity to learn a range of Greenland rolling skills and paddling strokes as well as be immersed in the culture of Greenland. It is a chance to find out about Avataqs, Akuilisaqs and Norsat, as well as get to know the difference between a Tuilik and a Tupilaq.

Contact: For more information, course fees or to register, e-mail info@seakayakingsouthwest.co.uk.

Earplugs

Question: Thank you for a very interesting and useful class. I got dizzy because of the cold water entering my ears. What kind of earplugs do you recommend.

Answer: We recommend Doc’s Proplugs. They come in several sizes, so they fit well and stay in place. If possible, get the ones with a leash and not the clear variety (this helps prevent them from getting lost).

Using an extended paddle

Question: During an unexpected capsize, I’d likely be holding the paddle close to the center. In your class we learned the roll using an extended paddle. What impact does this change in position have?

Answer: As far as where to hold the paddle, it’s always okay to extend it. If you are knocked over in conditions, your set-up will be the most important factor of your roll. It is perfectly acceptable to extend the paddle before rolling up. Over time, and with practice, you’ll be able to roll holding the paddle wherever you choose to (or use no paddle at all), but in a “combat” type situation, it’s best to revert to what you are most comfortable with. You’ll be spending a couple of seconds setting up anyway, might as well make the roll as easy as possible 🙂

Qajaqs in Copenhagen, classes in Denmark

After leaving the West Coast Water Festival in Sweden, Mark and I made our way to Copenhagen. Copenhagen is a wonderful city and one of our favorites, so we spent a couple of days there between classes. Among the places we visited were The Natural History Museum and Tivoli Gardens. The Natural History Museum has a wonderful and extensive traditional qajaq display. No matter how many times we visit it, we always learn something new. Tivoli Gardens is good fun, and we spent an afternoon riding the roller coasters and playing in the fun house.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

The Little Mermaid in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen has a very active biking community.

Copenhagen has a very active biking community.

The Lego store is a great place to stop and play.

The Lego store is a great place to stop and play.

An Umiak on display at the Natural History Museum.

An Umiak on display at the Natural History Museum.

Mark checks out the traditional qajaqs.

Mark checks out the traditional qajaqs.

There was lots of gear to check out.

There was lots of gear to marvel over.

One of many beautiful norsat.

One of many beautiful norsat.

I was intrigued by the Inuit games that were on display.

I was intrigued by the Inuit games that were on display.

After leaving Copenhagen we met up with Michael Schuh from Kajakgaarden. Over the weekend we ran two Yoga for Paddlers sessions and four rolling classes. The weather was gorgeous, and despite a little wind and a thunderstorm or two, the sun dominated the weekend. When off the water we had a wonderful time hanging out with Michael and Jane, who took very good care of us. Thanks to both of you!

A little wind wasn't going to faze these enthusiastic paddlers.

A little wind wasn’t going to faze these enthusiastic paddlers.

Mark talks about hand position.

Mark talks about hand position.

A happy paddler.

A happy paddler.

Learning the Balance Brace.

Learning the Balance Brace.

Working on a Butterfly Roll.

Working on a Butterfly Roll.

A successful Storm Roll.

A successful Storm Roll.

Photos by Michael Schuh, Mark and Helen.

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