‘Helen’s Blog’

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.

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

Stockholm, Mora and Karlstad Sweden

After leaving Nynashamn, our next three stops were in Stockholm, Mora and Karlstad. All three locations are in Sweden, and in all three we were teaching on lakes. We started at Svima Sport in Stockholm. Throughout our time there I taught five sessions of Simplifying the Roll, and Mark taught four sessions of Simplifying the Stroke. We also helped Daniel, owner of Svima, with a class for beginners, which includes a nine kilometer tour of Stockholm by kayak. Special thanks to Daniel for hosting us.

Daniel covers the basics.

Daniel covers the basics.

Stockholm is a gorgeous city to explore by kayak.

Stockholm is a gorgeous city to explore by kayak.

All of the rolling classes started with Yoga for Paddlers.

All of the rolling classes started with Yoga for Paddlers.

People worked on all kinds of rolls. Lotta is learning her hand roll.

People worked on all kinds of rolls. Lotta is learning a hand roll.

Daniel learned the Spine Roll.

Daniel learned the Spine Roll.

After the classes in Stockholm, we made our way west, heading through Sweden to Mora. Mora is a wonderful place with friendly people, lots to see and a gorgeous lake. Magnus and Anders had organized a two-day event, which was very popular and very successful. I ran three sessions of Simplifying the Roll, while Mark ran three sessions of Simplifying the Stroke. Sunday afternoon was informal instruction, and instructors were available to help people clean up the techniques that they’d been working on throughout the weekend. Special thanks to Magnus and Anders for hosting us.

Both days of the event started with Yoga for Paddlers.

Both days of the event started with Yoga for Paddlers.

Mark talks about posture.

Mark talks about posture while paddling.

Throughout the weekend we enjoyed several tasty barbecues.

Throughout the weekend we enjoyed a couple of tasty barbecues.

Anders seemed happy with how the event turned out.

Anders seemed happy with how the event turned out.

And participants gave the weekend a thumbs up.

Martin gave the weekend a thumbs up.

We had a wonderful time working with everyone. Thanks for coming out!

We had a wonderful time working with everyone. Thanks for coming out!

After the event Magnus taught us all about crawfish, a delicacy that is celebrated during the month of August in Sweden.

After the event Magnus hosted a crayfish dinner. Crayfish is a delicacy that is celebrated during the month of August in Sweden.

And he showed us the correct way to enjoy the tasty freshwater crustaceans.

And he showed us the correct way to enjoy these tasty freshwater crustaceans.

Mora is also the home to the Dala Horse, and we stopped by the factory for a quick visit.

Mora is also the home to the Dala Horse, and we stopped by the factory for a quick visit.

Then we headed to Karlstad to run classes for Vanerkajak on Lake Vanern, the largest lake in Sweden. Although the lake is freshwater, its size gives it many of the same features as the sea. Throughout the three days we ran two sessions of Simplifying the Roll and a two-day BCU 3 Star Training. Thanks to Bjorn for hosting us.

During the rolling classes we worked on everything from the Balance Brace to the Storm Roll.

During the rolling classes we worked on everything from the Balance Brace to the Storm Roll.

Wind provided swell, breaking waves and a great learning environment.

Wind provided swell, breaking waves and a fantastic learning environment for the BCU 3 Star Training.

More wind to play in.

More wind to play in.

During the BCU 3 Star Training we spent some time working on both self and assisted rescues.

During the BCU 3 Star Training we spent some time working on both self and assisted rescues.

Here three swimmers help each other get back into their kayaks.

Here three swimmers help each other get back into their kayaks.

Topics such as repairing kayaks were also covered.

Topics such as repairing kayaks were also covered.

The candidates were tired but happy at the end of the training.

The candidates were tired but happy at the end of the training.

Oktoberfest was taking place in the town center, so we stopped in for a visit and to try on some wigs.

Oktoberfest was taking place in the town center, so we stopped in to join in the celebration.

Nynashamn, Sweden

After our South Greenland Expedition, Mark and I made our way to Nynas Kajak and Upplevelse, located in Nynashamn, Sweden. One of the things that we love about Nynas Kajak is the people. The owners, Pelle and Carina, are wonderful, and over the years have become our good friends.

We instructed there for nine days and had a wonderful time. During the nine days I ran six days of Simplifying the Roll and Traditional Skills, and Mark ran BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning, a two-day BCU 4 Star Training, and he helped Pelle with a EPP Yellow course. I also ran eight sessions of Yoga for Outdoor People, and Pelle, Mark and I ran a three-day BCU 3 Star Training and Assessment combined with an EPP Blue Training and Assessment. Of course, evenings were spent catching up with Pelle and Carina, and we all took a day off to ride the roller coasters at Grona Lund in Stockholm.

Participants work hard during the BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class.

Participants work hard during the BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class.

Of course charts are also good when planning a real trip. Here the BCU 3 Star and EPP Blue candidates look at the proposed route for their three day training.

Of course charts are also good when planning a real trip. Here the BCU 3 Star and EPP Blue candidates look at the proposed route for their three day training and assessment.

The seas were mostly calm, but wash rocks created a little chop and a nice obstacle course.

The seas were mostly calm, but wash rocks created a little chop to practice turning strokes in.

Candidates learn the dos and don't of towing.

Candidates learn the dos and don’t of towing.

Towing put to use.

Towing put to use.

Our campsite was a little tricky to get to, and included a rocky landing and a short climb with fully loaded kayaks.

Our campsite was a little tricky to get to, and included a rocky landing and a short climb with fully loaded kayaks.

The campsite was well worth it though.

The campsite was well worth it though.

The following morning we took advantage of the calm sea state and made our way to this lighthouse, which is usually much trickier to get to.

The following morning we took advantage of the calm sea state and made our way to this lighthouse, which is usually much trickier to get to.

On assessment day Mark climbed a rock to watch the candidates demonstrate maneuvering strokes.

On assessment day Mark climbed a rock to watch the candidates demonstrate maneuvering strokes.

Lotta demonstrates directional control of her kayak.

Lotta demonstrates directional control.

Congratulations to the successful candidates.

Congratulations to the successful candidates.

I ran Yoga for Paddlers for the kayakers and guests at the hotel.

I ran Yoga for Paddlers for the kayakers and guests at the hotel.

During the Traditional Skills class we talked about many things, including the features of a Greenland paddle.

During the Traditional Skills class we talked about many things, including the features of a Greenland paddle.

Congrats to the successful EPP Yellow candidates.

A happy group of successful EPP Yellow candidates.

There's no better way to spend a day off than riding a roller coaster or two.

There’s no better way to spend a day off than riding a roller coaster or two.

And of course, spending the day with friends. Thanks Pelle and Carina!

And of course, spending the day with friends. Thanks Pelle and Carina!

Greenland or Bust’s August Newsletter

qajaq SOUTH GREENLAND EXPEDITION • THE NORDIC TOUR • WALES • SCOTLAND

When Mark and I began our Nordic Tour on May 24 the summer seemed very long. Now, with just over three weeks left of the tour, we can’t believe how quickly it has gone. The tour has taken us to numerous places in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We’ve spent lots of days in the bright sun and warm water. We’ve taught classes on lakes and seas, and our days off have been spent with friends, riding roller coasters or sightseeing. It has been a wonderful summer, and there’s still more of it to come!

The tour is sponsored by Rebel Kayaks, and in July we ran classes in Oslo, Norway and Grebbestad, Sweden. Then we hopped on a plane to South Greenland to guide a 13 day expedition. Our paddling team came from the U.S., Israel and Sweden, and we enjoyed the diversity that each team member brought to the expedition. Greenland is a magical place, and we feel refreshed and renewed now that we’ve gotten our Greenland fix. Our next guided Greenland expedition will take place in the summer of 2016. Would you like to join us?

After Greenland we headed to Nynashamn, Sweden for nine days of instruction, which included a three-day tour with a combined EPP and BCU assessment. It was great to catch up with Pelle and Carina of Nynas Kajak. They are also the Europe distributors of our DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People, so if you need a few copies for your store, get in touch with them, info@nynaskajak.se. After leaving Nynashamn, we headed to Stockholm, which is where we are now. We’ve got one more day of classes here, and then we’ll finish the tour with classes in Mora, Karlstad, Malmo, Karlshamn and Sandhamn (Sweden) and Frederiksvaerk and Svendborg (Denmark). Then Helen is off to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering, and Mark heads to the UK to prepare for classes that we’ll be running in Wales and Scotland in late September and October.

Later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. We’ve also got an exciting expedition planned in December, and then we’ll we preparing for the U.S. Storm Gathering Symposium, which takes place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8.

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

Dr. T’s Coaching Corner

Most sea kayakers would agree that some form of towing system, whether participating in a coastal journey or venturing out on the open ocean, is an essential item to have as part of their safety equipment.

Towing systems come in different forms, they can be waist mounted; boat mounted and chest mounted. Make sure to fully test the system you go for and be aware of its limitations. The system that is right for you is the system that works for you, without fuss or fumbling, so practice with it on a regular basis.

When shopping for a towing system, or even making your own, consider asking the following questions: does it come with floating line? is the line long enough? can the length of line be adjusted easily? does it have a quick release mechanism? does it have a large enough bag so the line can be restowed quickly, even with cold hands? is the clip large enough for handling in rough water; and is it made from a corrosion resistant material? Whatever you choose, make sure to adapt it so the system works for you in all situations.

Once you have selected a towing system, it is just as important to know how and when to deploy it. Towing can be a means to assist an incapacitated paddler and get them to a safe location. This might be a short distance or a couple of miles in open water. Doing this quickly and efficiently can make all the difference in preventing a situation from worsening.

You might wish to tow someone on their own for a short distance, but for longer distances it might be preferable to raft them up with another paddler. You may want to share the load of towing by adding more tows in-line with the original towing kayak. For even greater distances, having a effective method of swapping paddlers around who are doing the towing is an important consideration.

Towing systems can also be used to help anchor a paddler performing a deep water rescue on a fellow kayaker to prevent them both from drifting into rocks or being taken away by the current. Other uses can include using them as stirups to help a tired paddler climb into their boat; acting as a sea anchor; a tarp line; and for use as a short, quick release contact tow.

Every system has it merits and disadvantages. Learn to use the one you choose and train with others to test each situation and explore the possibiities so that when you need it for real it all works smoothly.

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 – Frederiksværk, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

Program Schedule

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

…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 .

============================================================ Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501 info@greenlandorbust.org

Greenland!

A wonderful Greenlandic woman named Heidi recently described Greenland as a dose of vitamins. You go to Greenland, and every day your body fills with vitamins. When you leave Greenland, your body starts to use those vitamins, and eventually, they’re all gone, and you have to return. When she told us this, I couldn’t help but smile, because it’s true, and it was time for our Greenland vitamin fix. For both Mark and I this was our fourth trip to Greenland, and the second together. This time the destination was South Greenland, and six clients joined us for Greenland or Bust’s South Greenland Expedition, which included 13 days on the water and 300 kilometers paddled.

The "team" before heading out on day one.

The “team” before heading out on day one.

Wind had driven ice into the harbor, which turned our launch site into an obstacle course.

Wind had driven ice into the harbor, which turned our launch site into an obstacle course.

In fact we had lots of ice to maneuver through on the first day.

In fact we had lots of ice to maneuver through on the first day.

A short crossing to some ruins gave us the opportunity to get to know the kayaks.

A short crossing to Qassiarsuk gave us the opportunity to get to know the kayaks.

Then we headed out into the ice.

Then we headed out into the ice.

Paddling amongst ice is a magical experience.

No two icebergs are alike.

Oded takes in the spectacular scenery., which is paddexperience than where h

Oded takes in the spectacular scenery.

Every iceberg takes on a personality of its own.

Every iceberg takes on a personality of its own.

More ice.

More ice.

And still more.

And still more.

This seal bravely hangs out on a piece of ice.

This seal bravely hangs out on a piece of ice.

Greenland's landscape can feel very vast, and what looks to be a short crossing often isn't.

Greenland’s landscape can feel very vast, and what looks to be a short crossing often isn’t.

At times the ice moved in a solid flow, but we were always able to pass.

At times the ice moved in a solid flow, but we were always able to pass.

Drinking water was easy to find, and filters weren't needed.

Drinking water was easy to find, and filters weren’t needed.

We had three portages throughout the trip. This ramp helped out a lot.

We had three portages throughout the trip. This ramp helped out a lot.

The top of the land bridge.

The top of the land bridge.

The journey down was the best part.

The journey down was the best part.

The second land bridge wasn't quite as much fun… up a rocky beach, a short paddle across a murky pond and down a rocky beach.

The second land bridge wasn’t quite as much fun… up a rocky beach, a short paddle across a murky pond and down a rocky beach.

Our final portage took us, our kayaks and our gear across four kilometers in the back of a flatbed truck.

Our final portage took us, our kayaks and our gear across four kilometers in the back of a flatbed truck.

Many of the best landing beaches had Norse or Inuit ruins. Here the group stands in an old Inuit earth house.

Many of the best landing beaches had Norse or Inuit ruins. Here the group stands in the remains of an Inuit earth house.

This pile of rocks is an Inuit grave. Over time many of these graves have opened up, revealing bones from long ago.

This pile of rocks is an Inuit grave. Over time many of these graves have opened up, revealing bones from long ago.

This day our "camp" was a little tricky to get to.

This day our “camp” was a little tricky to get to.

But getting to the top was well worth the trip. This "space pod," as we named it, was unlocked and ready to provide shelter.

But getting to the top was well worth the hike. This “space pod,” as we named it, was unlocked and ready to provide shelter.

Norse ruins line the hillsides. The "space pod" was likely placed for researchers to study the ruins that are not easily assessable.

Norse ruins line the hillsides. The “space pod” was likely placed for researchers to study the ruins that are not easily assessable.

Many of the ruins were in very good condition.

Many of the ruins were in very good condition.

We visited active villages as well. Here Gennifer buys pastries from an Inuit woman in Narsaq.

We visited active settlements as well. Here Gennifer buys pastries from an Inuit woman in Narsaq.

Our lunch spots and campsites were always scenic.

Our lunch spots and campsites were always scenic.

Sunsets were always spectacular.

Sunsets were always spectacular.

Piles of rocks are a common site in Greenland.

Piles of rocks are a common site in Greenland.

Watching icebergs from shore can be fun, especially when they put on a show by rolling or shedding smaller bergs.

Watching icebergs from shore can be fun, especially when they put on a show by rolling or shedding smaller bergs.

Gennifer shares some whale, which she'd purchased in a town and cooked up as an evening treat.

Gennifer shares some whale, which she’d purchased in a town and cooked up as an evening treat.

I'm not sure there's a prettier place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

I don’t think there’s a prettier place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

Mark cooks up some tasty falafels.

Mark cooks up some tasty falafels.

Camp always had a very relaxed feel.

Camp often had a very relaxed feel.

Iceberg chair.

Iceberg chair.

We spent a night camping at some hot springs.

We spent a night camping at some hot springs.

Every team member had the opportunity to plan part of the route. Here Jack tells the group the plan.

Every team member had the opportunity to plan part of the route. Here Jack tells the group the plan.

We stayed in Qaqortoq for two nights and a full day to experience some of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.

We stayed in Qaqortoq for two nights and a full day to experience some of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship.

Kampe and Dubside greeted us upon arrival.

Kampe and Dubside greeted us upon arrival, and it was great to catch up with them.

Heidi teaches Greenlandic during breakfast at the hostel.

Heidi teaches Greenlandic during breakfast at the hostel.

A sealskin akuilisaq is ready for the competition.

A sealskin akuilisaq is ready for the competition.

This avataq is complete with feet.

This avataq is complete with feet.

A father teaches his son how to roll.

A father teaches his son how to roll.

Kampe coaches Heather (a visitor from Canada) on the ropes.

Kampe coaches Heather (a visitor from New York) on the ropes.

This boy competes in Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

This boy competes in Greenland Rope Gymnastics.

The rolling competition is always a great spectator event.

The rolling competition is always a great spectator event.

This boy is ready to roll. The tuilik that he is wearing is made from sealskin.

This boy is ready to roll, and he’s wearing a sealskin tuilik for the occasion.

This boy prepares to do a norsaq roll.

This boy prepares to do a norsaq roll.

This man is ready to do the avataq roll.

This man is ready to do the avataq roll.

These proud fathers embrace after their sons compete in the team rolling event.

These proud fathers embrace after their sons compete in the team rolling event.

Canadians James and James embrace after competing in the team rolling event.

Canadians James and James embrace after competing in the team rolling event.

There are many types of races in the Championship.

There are many types of races in the Championship.

And just about everyone got a medal or two.

And just about everyone got a medal or two.

More winners.

More winners.

Sealskin kayaks are displayed in the museum.

Sealskin kayaks are displayed in the museum.

After the expedition we had a traditional Greenlandic dinner in Narsarsuaq.

After the expedition we had a traditional Greenlandic dinner in Narsarsuaq.

Muktuk, or whale blubber, is a delicacy.

Mattak, or whale blubber, is a delicacy.

Greenlandic Coffee is a special treat… and a very good one.

Greenlandic Coffee is a special treat… and a very good one.

Mark and I are well stocked up on our "Greenland Vitamins." We'll be back though… would you like to join us?

Mark and I are well stocked up on our “Greenland Vitamins.” We’ll be back though… would you like to join us?

 

 

Norway, Denmark and Sweden, the Nordic Tour Continues

We just concluded the sixth week of this year’s Nordic Tour, and things have been very busy. After running classes in Fitjar (for that Blog entry click HERE) we made our way to Bekkjarvik, also on the west coast of Norway. We had two days of classes, with the first day’s participants being primarily teenagers. Teenagers are energetic and great to work with, and we had a wonderful day teaching Fun – Balance – Games and Rolling. The following day we ran the same classes, but with adult participants. Both days had gorgeous weather and warm water. The classes were hosted by the Havstril Padleklubb and partially sponsored by the local bank, Ragnhild H. Bjanesoy. Special thanks to Trond for organizing the classes, and Laila for providing accommodation in her gorgeous summer house.

Balance games can be lots of fun.

Balance games can be lots of fun.

Of course swimming around on a hot day can be fun too.

Of course swimming around on a hot day can be fun too.

Whoever said that kayaks need to be paddled sitting down?

Whoever said that kayaks need to be paddled sitting down?

More balance exercises.

More balance exercises.

Our next stop took us to the Rungsted Kayak Club in Denmark. I taught Simplifying the Roll, while Mark taught Simplifying the Stroke. We were only at this club for an evening, but we had lots of fun teaching and hanging out with this active group of paddlers. Everyone made us feel very welcome, and it was fun to mingle in the Club’s wonderful facility after the classes. Thanks to Lisbet for hosting us.

After Rungsted, our travels took us to the Kajakhotellet, located in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was our second year teaching there, and it was great to be back. The first day we taught Complicating the Roll and Fun – Balance – Games, and the second and third days we taught two sessions of Simplifying the Roll and two sessions of Complicating the Roll. We got to know Club members at a barbecue on Friday night and a party on Saturday night. Thank you everyone for making us feel so welcome! Special thanks to Anders and Jenny for taking such good care of us.

Yoga is a great way to get in touch with the body and mind before a rolling class.

Yoga is a great way to get in touch with the body and mind before a rolling class.

Mark talks technique with an enthusiastic group of participants.

Mark talks technique with an enthusiastic group of participants.

A dancing couple.

Dancing is just one thing that you can do in a kayak.

Yet another way to paddle a kayak.

Yet another way to paddle a kayak.

What did these two guys expect putting one foot on each kayak? Of course someone would paddle through the "bridge."

What did these two guys expect putting one foot on each kayak? Of course someone would paddle through the “bridge.”

We've been working through lots of rolls with lots of participants. Here, a norsaq roll is born.

We’ve been working through lots of rolls with lots of participants. Here, a norsaq roll is born.

Our next stop was Oslo, Norway. We’d had to cancel the four days of classes that we’d previously scheduled there because of a car accident (for that Blog entry click HERE), but it was good to be back for three days. The Oslo Kayaking Club is quite spectacular, and the venue includes kayak storage, a gym and a meeting room, complete with a traditional kayak on the wall. Throughout the three days I ran five sessions of Yoga for Paddlers, and Mark and I ran five Simplifying the Roll classes and one The Art of Teaching Rolling class. We’re really glad that it worked out for the Club to reschedule. Thank you for being so accommodating! Special thanks to Ketil for setting up the classes and Inge and Einar for hosting us.

The Balance Brace is the foundation to most layback rolls.

The Balance Brace is the foundation to most layback rolls.

After the Balance Brace comes the Standard Roll.

After the Balance Brace comes the Standard Roll.

The Art of Teaching Rolling Class discusses rolling before launching.

The Art of Teaching Rolling Class discusses rolling before launching.

Teaching how to teach.

Teaching how to teach.

Our final stop on this part of the tour was in Grebbestad. Grebbestad is a charming town on the west coast of Sweden, and we just love it there. This was the fifth year that the KajakCenter has participated in the Nordic Tour, and over the years many of the staff have become friends. It was great to be back! We ran two full-day Simplifying the Roll classes in crystal clear water amongst Grebbestad’s fantastic archipelago. The participants and staff were wonderful, and it was great to catch up with so many people and to make new friends as well. Thanks to Mats for hosting us.

Now we’re on our way to South Greenland to guide a 12 day expedition and stop in at the Greenland National Kayaking Championship. We’re very excited to be going to Greenland for our fourth time each. The Nordic Tour will resume in Nynashamn, Sweden on July 24 and will continue through August 31.

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