Archive for September, 2014

A weekend in home waters

At home, in Humboldt County, it’s always possible to go paddling. Trinidad harbor provides a gentle launch, and even on a really big day (20 feet or larger), it’s possible to get out into the swell and “ride the elevator” as we like to call it. Mark and I had been traveling for four months, and my first weekend home I was excited about catching up with friends and spending some time on our local waters, no matter what the conditions.

It was good to be back in time for the Humboldt Bay Paddlefest, and I rode my bike to the event, enjoying the sunshine and the smells of the redwood forest that Humboldt County is known for. Compared to other events that I’ve been to, this one is tiny, but I like that, because it meant that I could go booth to booth and catch up with everyone.

Michael Morris does a paddle carving demo.

Michael Morris does a paddle carving demo.

It was great to catch up with Jeff and Shannon from Kokatat (which we're lucky enough to have as a local company).

It was great to catch up with Jeff and Shannon from Kokatat (which we’re lucky enough to have as a local business).

Gotta love the guys (and gals) at Adventure's Edge, my favorite local store.

It was also great to hang out at the Adventure’s Edge booth. If you ever visit Arcata or Eureka, make sure you stop in and visit this store… bring your wallet, they have LOTS of great stuff.

Mind's Eye Manufactory was also there, with a gorgeous model of a baidarka on display.

Mind’s Eye Manufactory was also there, with a gorgeous model of a baidarka on display.

The Pride Festival also came by.

The Pride Festival also made an appearance, adding a festive feel to the day.

Although I opted to stay on land for most of the day, the following day Michael Morris and I decided to take advantage of the unusually calm sea state and head south to paddle some unknown territory.

The calm seas made it a great day to explore an area that is usually very difficult to access.

The calm seas made it a great day to explore an area that is usually very difficult to access.

There were some stunning features to paddle around.

There were some stunning features to paddle around.

One of the great things about paddling a new area is finding all of the hidden treasures.

One of the great things about paddling in a new area is finding all of the hidden treasures.

This part of the coast has areas with very few places to land.

This part of the coast has areas with very few places to land.

There were lots of archways to maneuver through.

There were lots of archways to maneuver through.

A great place to munch on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

A great place to stop for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich break.

Gotta love those tunnels.

Gotta love those tunnels.

On the way back we saw some river otters (if you look really close, you can see their heads poking out of the water).

On the way back we saw some river otters (if you look really close, you can see their heads poking out of the water in the distance).

While we were out we started talking about what a great day it was for fishing. Fishing season in this area is closed, and we didn’t have our fishing gear with us anyway, but we decided to head to Trinidad the following day to see if anything was biting.

The next morning we opted to launch through the surf and head north, instead of taking the longer route from the harbor, around the head and then heading north. Trinidad has a tricky surf beach, even on the flattest of days, and maneuvering our way through the numerous breaks woke us up pretty quick.

Michael's got something.

Michael’s got something.

One ling cod and three black rock fish later, we decided to call it a day.

One ling cod and three black rockfish later, we decided to call it a day.

We enjoyed a nice paddle back to Trinidad Head.

We enjoyed a nice paddle back to Trinidad Head, just as the breeze started to pick up.

Pictures by Michael Morris and myself.

Jamaica Circumnavigation Attempt

On Sunday, Dec. 28, sea kayakers Mark Tozer, Helen Wilson and Wes Moses will begin an attempted circumnavigation of Jamaica, the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean. To their knowledge, they will be the first people to attempt this circumnavigation, which totals 635 miles. They will start and finish in the historic Port Royal, and paddle counter-clockwise. Their plan is to finish by the end of January.

The Gathering

This was my fifth year as a mentor at the Northern Lights Qajaq Society’s yearly event, The Gathering. I love this event for many reasons. First, the people are wonderful. Second, the location is perfect. And third, the event has a harpoon contest that is so much fun that it’s worth going just for that alone.

This year’s guest mentors were myself and Greg Stamer. All of the local mentors were wonderful to work with and made us feel very welcome, and it was great to catch up.

Throughout the four-day event, I instructed an informal rolling class, two Simplifying the Roll classes, a skin-on-frame rescue class and The Art of Teaching rolling. I also ran Yoga for Paddlers three mornings, and did a presentation called “South Greenland Expedition and the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.” Greg provided strokes instruction, and I had the opportunity to join in his Sunday morning class, which was very informative. He was the Friday night presenter, with a fun slideshow on his Newfoundland circumnavigation and some races that he’s been competing in. In addition to what we were teaching, other mentors were teaching everything from how to throw a harpoon, to on-land classes on qajaq construction.

The people are what really make this event special, and Michelle, Jeff and Tony did a wonderful job of putting it all together. Thanks for having me there again.

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At the beginning of an event it’s always fun to watch the kayaks appear.

There were some very pretty qajaqs and baidarkas at the event.

There were some very pretty qajaqs and baidarkas at the event.

We had the perfect weather for rolling instruction. Note the harpoon thrower in the background.

We had the perfect weather for rolling instruction. Note the harpoon thrower in the background.

Greg's classes included both on-land and on-water instruction.

Greg’s strokes classes included both on-land and on-water instruction.

Nick talks about his kayak design, the Shrike.

Nick talks about his kayak design, the Shrike.

Yoga for Paddlers is a great way to start the day.

Yoga for Paddlers is a great way to start the day.

Organizers Michelle and Jeff take a time out for lunch.

Organizers Michelle and Jeff take a time out for lunch.

There are many ways to entice participants to buy raffle tickets.

There are many ways to entice participants to buy raffle tickets.

Harpoon contest winners receive awards.

The harpoon contest awards ceremony was very entertaining.

Last year's harpoon winner hands presents this year's harpoon winner with his award. Congrats Kirt!

Last year’s harpoon winner presents this year’s harpoon winner with his award. Congrats Kirt!

Participants enjoy an evening of entertainment, which included a lively silent auction.

Participants enjoyed an evening of entertainment, which included a lively silent auction.

Enjoying the sunrise each morning was well worth getting up early for.

Enjoying the sunrise each morning was well worth getting up early for.

The end of this year’s Nordic Tour

After leaving Denmark, Mark and I made our way back to Sweden for the last few stops on this year’s Nordic Tour. Our first stop back in Sweden was in Malmo, where we were running classes for Kanotföreningen Öresund. I taught two sessions of Simplifying the Roll, while Mark taught two sessions of paddling technique. Special thanks to Anders for taking such good care of us.

Anders talks to enthusiastic participants about the plan for the day.

Anders briefs participants about the plan for the day.

Mark demonstrates a sculling draw.

Mark demonstrates how to move sideways.

The technique class headed out of the harbor to play in the wind.

The technique class headed out of the harbor to play in the wind.

Happy paddlers.

Happy paddlers.

After leaving Malmo, we headed to Karlshamn for two Simplifying the Roll classes. Goran and Veronica of KajakSyd are wonderful, and it was great to catch up with them while enjoying the warmth of the crystal clear lake.

A gorgeous day to be on (and in) the water.

A gorgeous day to be on (and in) the water.

Happy rollers.

Happy rollers.

A Balance Brace is born.

A Balance Brace is born.

Participants worked on many different types of rolls throughout the day.

Participants worked on many different types of rolls throughout the day.

After a wonderful day in Karlshamn, we made our way to Borgholm to visit with Johan Wirsen, owner of Rebel Kayaks. Johan not only sponsored the tour, but he’s also a good friend of ours. It was nice to relax on Öland, the beautiful island where he lives, and catch up with him for a few days.

The island of Öland has many beautiful beaches.

The island of Öland has many beautiful beaches.

It also has a very rich history, and ruins and ancient graves can be found throughout the island.

It also has a very rich history, and ruins and ancient graves can be found throughout the island.

Johan took us out for a fantastic day on the water on his hand built wooden sailboat.

Johan took us out for a fantastic day on the water on his hand built wooden sailboat.

Mark and Johan enjoying the afternoon, which produced a perfect amount of wind for a day on the sailboat.

Mark and Johan enjoying the afternoon, which provided a perfect amount of wind for a day on the sailboat.

After saying goodbye to Johan for the year, we headed to Sandhamn, an island off the coast of Stockholm, for our final three days of classes for Sandhamns Kajakskola. Mark taught two mornings of navigation, while I taught an afternoon session of Simplifying the Roll and another afternoon session of Simplifying the Rescue. On our final day on the island we ran a BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment and a Level 2 ACA Assessment. Thanks to John and Måns for hosting us.

Charts, charts and more charts.

Charts, charts and more charts.

Måns works on a norsaq roll.

Måns works on a norsaq roll.

Rescues can be done in many ways.

Rescues can be done in many ways.

Water over rocks can provide some interesting features.

Water over rocks can provide some interesting features.

Self rescues were part of assessment day.

Self rescues were part of assessment day.

A gorgeous end to this year's tour. Thank you to everyone that organized classes, hosted us or participated in classes. And special thanks to Rebel Kayaks for sponsoring the tour. We hope to see you all next year!

A gorgeous end to this year’s tour. Thank you to everyone that organized classes, hosted us and/or participated in classes. And special thanks to Rebel Kayaks for sponsoring the tour. Until next year…

Denmark!

After leaving Karlstad, Sweden, Mark and I made our way to Denmark for classes in two locations, Hundested and Svendborg. In Hundested I taught three sessions of Simplifying the Roll, while Mark taught three sessions of Simplifying the Stroke, with an emphasis on moving through, and using, wind and swell. Thanks to Jacob and Mette for hosting us!

Jacob is always happy when he's in his kayak.

Jacob is always smiling when he’s in his kayak.

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Thiim provides a Danish translation while Mark talked about the importance of body rotation.

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The wind provided a wonderful learning environment.

The strokes class was tired but happy after all of that wind excitement.

The strokes class was tired but happy after all of that wind excitement.

Saturday night's dinner consisted of barbecued lamb for the meat eaters.

Saturday night’s dinner consisted of barbecued lamb for the meat eaters.

After the weekend of classes we stuck around for a couple of extra days to explore the area. We visited Økosamfundet Dyssekilde, one of the oldest eco-villages in Denmark. Here a bike waits for its rider.

After the weekend of classes we stuck around for a couple of extra days to explore the area. One of the places that we visited was Økosamfundet Dyssekilde, one of the oldest eco-villages in Denmark. Here a somewhat groovy bike waits for its rider.

After leaving Hundested we made our way to Svendborg, also in Denmark, where we ran classes for Kajak Inn. Throughout the two days we ran two sessions of Simplifying the Roll and a Qajaq Immersion Day. Thanks to Pernille and Jacob for hosting us!

Yoga for Paddlers on the dock was a nice start to both days.

Yoga for Paddlers on the dock was a nice start to both days.

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David pulls off a brick roll.

The Qajaq Immersion Day included stroke instruction, and the group enjoyed a paddle around several of Svendborg's islands.

The Qajaq Immersion Day included strokes instruction, and the group enjoyed a paddle around several of Svendborg’s scenic islands.

A happy group of paddlers and their sticks.

A happy group of paddlers and their sticks.

Greenland or Bust’s September Newsletter

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CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF JAMAICA • ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

Our Nordic Tour began on May 24, and we’ve had a wonderful summer running classes in Sweden, Norway and Denmark (with a break in the middle to guide an expedition in South Greenland). We’re writing this from our last stop on the Nordic Tour, Sandhamn, Sweden. Throughout the summer we’ve had bright and sunny days and warm water. Now the evenings are darker, the skies are cloudy and both the water and air temperature are dropping each day. It’s still beautiful, but summer is coming to an end. In August we ran classes in Nynashamn, Stockholm, Mora, Karlstad, Malmo, Karlshamn and Sandhamn (Sweden) and Hundested and Svendborg (Denmark). The tour is sponsored by Rebel Kayaks.

On Sunday the tour ends, and Mark heads to the UK while Helen heads to Minnesota for The Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering. In late September and early October we’ll be running classes in Wales and Scotland, then later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico.

After all of that we’re going on vacation, so naturally, we’re going paddling. We’ll be meeting up with Wes Moses, and the three of us will attempt to circumnavigate Jamaica, the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean. To our knowledge, we will be the first people to attempt this circumnavigation. We plan to finish in late January… just in time for the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium.

Interested in joining us for an expedition? Our Antarctic expedition dates are set for December 31, 2015 to January 27/28, 2016 (these do not include travel days to and from Argentina). Our next Greenland expedition is set for summer 2016. For more information on either of these expeditions, email info@greenlandorbust.org.

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email info@greenlandorbust.org.

Wherever you’re spending the rest of the summer, we hope that you’re enjoying some good water time. Happy paddling!

– Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

Practice makes perfect, and that practice is especially important when learning a roll, whether it’s your first roll or your 50th. If you participate in a rolling class, you will hopefully pull off a new roll or two, but after that, it’s up to you to practice to make that roll work for you every time. Once the roll is learned it takes about two times a week of practice for a month to make that roll consistent. When practicing, keep your brain focused. Quality is more important than quantity, and it’s better to do one good roll and take a break than it is to do ten rolls with the hope that a couple of them will work. A good rule to remember is that a roll performed badly three times in a row will reinforce bad habits, so keep your brain focused. As instructors, our goal for our rolling students is for the student to know why the roll works when it works, why it doesn’t work when it doesn’t and how to practice… after that, it’s up to the student.

Program Schedule

Nordic Tour:

•  May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 30 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 – Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 26 – Rungsted, Denmark

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• July 1 to 3 – Oslo, Norway

• July 4 to 5 – Grebbestad, Sweden

• July 24 to August 4 – Nynashamn, Sweden

• August 5 to 7 – Stockholm, Sweden

• August 9 to 10 – Mora, Sweden

• August 12 to 14 – Karlstad, Sweden

• August 16 to 17 – Hundested, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering: September 4 to 7, Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: September 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

Intermediate / Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training: September 22 to 26, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll: September 27, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling: September 28, Anglesey, Wales

Qajaq Immersion Weekend: October 4 to 5, Bute, Scotland

Lumpy Waters: October 10 to 12, Pacific City, Oregon

…And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available for purchase by clicking HERE.

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501

info@greenlandorbust.org

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