‘Helen’s Blog’

Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015 – Bacalar, Mexico

Last week I returned home from the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015, which took place in Bacalar, Mexico. Bacalar is gorgeous. It’s located just north of Belize on a freshwater lagoon surrounded by a jungle.

I stayed at the Villas Ecotucan, which are run by Arturo, Gunnar and Jaqueline. (Gunnar and Jaqueline are also organizers of the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015.) The place was absolutely incredible!

One of the two cabins that I stayed in.

One of the two cabins that I stayed in.

The thatch-roofed cabins are made out of native materials. Jaqueline worded it well by saying it's like luxury camping.

The thatch-roofed cabins are made out of native materials. Jaqueline worded it well by saying it’s like luxury camping.

The open style restaurant was a wonderful place to relax and socialize.

The open restaurant was a wonderful place to relax and socialize.

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The lagoon was on the property and just a short distance from the cabins.

Gunnar runs kayaking trips on the lagoon for guests. I tagged along on one of these trips.

Gunnar runs kayaking trips on the lagoon for guests. I tagged along on one of these trips.

It was fun to paddle around the mangroves.

It was fun to paddle around the mangroves.

Throughout the kayaking trip we stopped several times to enjoy a dip in the warm water or some freshly picked tropical fruit.

Throughout the kayaking trip we stopped several times to enjoy a dip in the warm water or some fresh tropical fruit.

It was very relaxing to swim in the warm water.

It was very relaxing to swim in the warm water.

After returning from the kayaking trip, I headed out with Jaqueline for a nature walk in the jungle (this is another service provided to guests at Ecotucan).

There are many animals in the jungle, and although Jaguar sightings are rare, this sign was brought up in many conversations.

There are many animals in the jungle, and although jaguar sightings are rare, this sign was brought up in many conversations.

The jungle trail.

The jungle trail.

Jaqueline is very knowledgeable about the plants, birds, bugs and animals in the area.

Jaqueline is very knowledgeable about the plants, birds, bugs and animals in the area.

Seeing this tarantula in the jungle was a real treat.

Seeing this tarantula in the jungle was a real treat.

Visitors with open eyes could spot all kinds of wildlife. Here a bunch of geckos enjoy the evening.

Visitors with open eyes could spot all kinds of wildlife. Here a bunch of geckos enjoy the evening.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a scorpion. My last night in Bacalar, one came to me.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a scorpion. My last night in Bacalar, one came to me.

Of course, besides from hanging out in paradise, there was a paddling event taking place. The two-day race brought in over 70 participants in all types of watercraft; including Mayan canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards.

It was a treat to paddle across the lagoon on a five person stand up paddleboard.

It was a treat to paddle across the lagoon on a five person stand up paddleboard.

Steve and Lise prepare to race kayaks built by Gunnar.

Steve and Lise prepare to race kayaks built by Gunnar.

The Mayan canoes were gorgeous, and each of them held ten paddlers.

The Mayan canoes were gorgeous, and each of them held ten paddlers.

Before the race people were warming up and spirits were high.

Before the race participants warmed up, and spirits were high.

The kayaks and canoes were first to start the race.

The kayaks and canoes were first to start the race.

The stand up paddleboards started just seconds later.

The stand up paddleboards started just seconds later.

While the race was going on, I hung out at the booth chatting with people about traditional kayaking. I also ran a private class, teaching the Storm Roll.

While the race was going on, I hung out at the booth chatting with people about traditional kayaking. I also ran a private class, teaching the Storm Roll.

Gunnar's balance boards were fun for all ages.

Gunnar’s balance boards were fun for all ages.

The weather was hot, and everyone (including Tyson here) had ways of cooling off.

The weather was hot, and everyone (including Tyson here) found ways to cool off.

It was fun watching the racers come in.

It was fun watching the racers come in.

27

Racing is hard work.

Racing is hard work.

Throughout the week, I had the chance to try lots of different food and drink (all of which were very tasty).

This michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices and peppers. I didn't mean to order it, but I was glad I did :-)

This michelada is a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice and assorted sauces, spices and peppers.

I also really enjoyed the fresh fruit and coconuts.

I also really enjoyed the fresh fruit and coconuts.

One evening we got fresh tamales from a street vendor.

One evening we got fresh tamales from a street vendor.

The tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and covered with a very spicy chili sauce (optional - but delicious).

The tamales are wrapped in banana leaves and covered with a very spicy chili sauce (optional – but delicious).

The airport was a four hour drive from Bacalar, and I left a day early with Lise and Steve (pictured previously in this blog) to relax for a night in the city of Tulum.

The airport was a four hour drive from Bacalar, and I left a day early with Lise and Steve (pictured previously in this blog) to relax for a night in the city of Tulum.

Tulum has white sand beaches, relaxing hotels, tasty restaurants… and the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum has white sand beaches, relaxing hotels, tasty restaurants and the Caribbean Sea.

Of course, there were fish tacos as well.

Of course, there were fish tacos as well.

All in all, it was a wonderful week. Thanks to Gunnar and Jaqueline for having me out for the event!

Greenland or Bust’s May Newsletter

MayJUNGLES • LAGOONS • OCEANS • SEAS • NORDIC TOUR

For us here at Greenland or Bust, kayaking season is in full swing, and the year ahead looks awesome! Helen is currently in Bacalar, Mexico, at the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015, and Mark is currently running a five day BCU 4 Star Training in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

We were in Wales and England for a large part of April, and enjoyed running Simplifying the Roll, Combat Rolling and a week long BCU 4 Star Sea Training on Anglesey. We also squeezed in time for some personal paddling and adventure. After that, Helen flew across “the pond” to be a presenter at the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Meanwhile, Mark stuck around Wales for the Kayak Essentials Festival on Anglesey, followed by a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment with candidates from Finland, Germany and Canada. Helen then headed to California to run classes during the Explore North Coast Kayaking Social. As mentioned, Mark is currently in Pembrokeshire, Wales running a BCU 4 Star training week, and Helen is enjoying the jungle and lagoon while teaching and presenting at the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015 in Bacalar, Mexico.

Coming up in May Mark will be running a BCU 4 Star Sea Training and a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment on Anglesey in Wales, and Helen will be running Simplifying the Roll and Simplifying the Rescue in Lodi, California. After all of that our Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour begins. This year’s tour is bigger and better than ever, and we have classes scheduled in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. We are very excited to be back for another tour, and look forward to seeing all of our Scandinavian friends again. Click HERE for our 2015 tour schedule. With the success of this year’s Storm Gathering USA, we’ve had lots of inquiries about future events, and it’s always good to plan ahead :-) The next UK Storm Gathering takes place February 20 to 22, 2016 on Anglesey in Wales, and the next Storm Gathering USA takes place March 3 to 5, 2017 in Trinidad, California.

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. You can also follow us on Twitter. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, e-mail: info@greenlandorbust.org.

Happy paddling!

Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

When performing a rescue, give loud and clear directions to the rescuee, and be ready to modify your rescue if necessary. Remember that the purpose of a rescue is to get the rescuee back in their kayak as quickly as possible. This might require modification of a “textbook rescue.” It is very important to keep yourself (the rescuer) safe. If the rescuer is not safe, then the rescuer could become another rescuee. As the rescuer, you should take care of yourself. Be ready to abandon the rescue and start again if the rescuee puts you in danger. When a rescuee re-enters their kayak, there can be a lot of strain put on the rescuer. When the kayaks are rafted together, lean into the center as much as possible, this helps to distribute the pressure of the rescue throughout your core, instead of putting all of the pressure on your shoulder(s). Keeping your elbows bent also reduces pressure on the shoulder(s), which can reduce the possibility of shoulder injury.

Program Schedule

BCU 4 Star Training Week: April 27 to May 1, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015: May 1 to 3, Bacalar, Mexico

BCU 4 Star Sea Training: May 5 to 6, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: May 7 to 8, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Training: May 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll: May 16 and 17, Lodi, California

Simplifying the Rescue: May 16, Lodi, California

Nordic Tour

May 23 to August 30, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

May 23 to 24 Asker, Norway

May 29 to 31 Oslo, Norway

June 6 to 7 Fitjar, Norway

June 9 to 11 Bergen, Norway

June 13 to 14 Bekkjarvik, Norway

June 20 to 21 Stavanger, Norway

June 26 to 29 Copenhagen, Denmark

July 3 to 4 Grebbestad, Sweden

July 9 to 12 Stockholm, Sweden

July 16 to 18 Mora, Sweden

July 22 to 26 Nynashamn, Sweden

July 28 to 30 Sandhamn, Sweden

August 1 to 3 Karlstad, Sweden

August 8 to 9 Helsingborg, Sweden

August 11 to 12 Rungsted, Denmark

August 15 to 16 Frederiksværk, Denmark

August 22 to 23 Svendborg, Denmark

August 29 Malmo, Sweden

August 30 Karlshamn, Sweden

 …And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available from our on-line store HERE

Yoga for Outdoor People can also be purchased as a download from the Digital Goods Store.

============================================================
Copyright © 2015 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival – Charleston, South Carolina

Last week I returned home from the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival. It was my third time being a presenter at this fun event, which takes place at James Island County Park in Charleston, South Carolina.

It's always fun to watch kayaks show up at the start of an event.

It’s always fun to watch kayaks show up at the start of an event.

There were lots of booths to explore.

Vendor booths lined the shores of the lake.

Getting through the booths took time, because it was lots of fun to stop and chat with everyone.

Getting through the booths took time because it was great to stop and chat with everyone.

The event includes canoeing, kayaking, paddleboarding, rock climbing, slacklining, mountain biking, archery and disc golf. Participants could come to play and try out gear, shop at one of the many booths, take classes or enjoy the entertainment. Evening entertainment included a Reggae Night Concert with Black Lion and the Reel Paddling Film Festival.

The lake provided a great opportunity for people to try out all kinds of watercraft.

The lake was a great place for people to try out all kinds of watercraft.

There was even a double SUP.

There was even a double SUP.

It was wonderful to catch up with east coast paddlers, vendors, presenters and the awesome volunteers, who are always there when you need a little help.

Everyone was friendly and into the spirit of the event, which celebrated its 25th year.

Everyone was friendly and into the spirit of the event, which was celebrating its 25th year.

It was great to catch up with Kenny from Epic.

It was great to catch up with Kenny from Epic.

P&H Kayaks were there, and it was great to catch up with everyone.

P&H Kayaks was there with demo boats and provided beginner classes.

Throughout the three-day event I did classroom presentations called “Jamaica, A Circumnavigation Attempt” and “A Women’s Survival Guide to Wilderness Travel.” I also instructed Simplifying the Roll, Complicating the Roll and Intro to Greenland Kayaking. The last day of the event I instructed Intro to Rolling, which was presented by P&H Kayaks.

Having so much fun is hard work. This dog has the right idea.

Having so much fun is hard work. This dog had the right idea.

Special thanks to Charleston County Parks and Recreation, Josh Hall and John Radel for having me there and for all of their hard work putting this event together!

It was great hanging out with other presenters in my cabin and the one next door.

It was great hanging out with other presenters in my cabin and the one next door.

And equally as fun to go out for a post event dinner at the local wine bar.

And equally as fun to go out for a post event dinner at the local wine bar.

Slots, arches, caves, classes and a ghost or two in the UK

One of the things that I really enjoy about the UK is its diversity. There are mountains to climb, waters to paddle, sleepy towns, bustling cities and a whole bunch of places that simply have a charm of their own.

Since my last blog, we’ve run a BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment, a BCU 4 Star Sea Training, a BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning, two Simplifying the Roll classes and a Combat Rolling class. We’ve spent some time exploring, and we’ve had a ton of fun.

A group of rollers at Rhoscolyn Beach on Anglesey in Wales.

A group of rollers at Rhoscolyn Beach on Anglesey in Wales.

We worked on all types of rolls in the chilly water.

We worked on all types of rolls in the chilly water.

When rolls are born, smiles emerge.

When rolls are born, smiles emerge.

(NAME?) enjoys the day.

Richard enjoys the day.

The Combat Rolling class took place at Point Lynas on Anglesey on an incredibly windy day. The headland provided just the right amount of protection from the gale force winds, while still providing enough conditions for the class to run.

The Combat Rolling class took place at Point Lynas on Anglesey on an incredibly windy day. The headland provided just the right amount of protection from the gale force winds, while still providing enough conditions for the class to run.

In addition to classes, we also had some time for paddling.

Mark and I headed out from (beach?) to Puffin Island.

Mark and I headed out from Penmon to Puffin Island.

During most of our time on Anglesey we enjoyed gorgeous weather.

During most of our time on Anglesey we enjoyed gorgeous weather.

Anglesey is well known for its tide races and overfalls, but there are also fantastic rock gardens to explore.

Anglesey is well known for its tide races and overfalls, but there are also fantastic rock gardens to explore.

And dramatic slots to paddle through.

And dramatic slots to paddle through.

Tides and swells moving amongst the rocks can make things interesting.

Tides and swells moving amongst the rocks can make things interesting.

There are also archways.

There are also archways.

And more archways.

And more archways.

And caves.

And caves.

Many of the caves have very colorful rock walls.

Many of the caves have very colorful rock walls.

And many have high ceilings and multiple caverns.

And many have high ceilings and multiple caverns.

There's just something about caves.

There’s just something about caves.

We headed around "The Stacks" on a gorgeous day.

We headed around “The Stacks” on a gorgeous day.

After a couple of weeks in North Wales, we headed to York, England. York is one of my favorite places in England, and it was great to be back. We stayed in a hotel just outside the city walls and visited St. Peter’s School, the fourth oldest school in the world, and where Mark went to as a teenager, before heading into the heart of the city.

Mark takes a trip down memory lane at St. Peter's School.

Mark takes a trip down memory lane at St. Peter’s School.

Of course, in a city with so much history, there are bound to be ghosts. We spent an evening at The Golden Fleece, the most haunted licensed premises in York.

Of course, in a city with so much history, there are bound to be ghosts. We spent an evening at The Golden Fleece, the most haunted licensed premises in York.

And we enjoyed a beer with the resident skeleton.

And we enjoyed a beer with the resident skeleton.

York's ministry is very impressive.

York Minster is very impressive.

In the evening we went on the Ghost Hunt, which is well worth doing if you ever visit York.

In the evening we went on the Ghost Hunt, which is well worth doing if you ever visit York.

The following day we headed to Whitby, a fishing town on the east coast of England, and at one-time home to the explorer James Cook. Also, Bram Stoker found some inspiration for his novel ‘Dracula’ after staying in Whitby in 1890.

Whitby's scenic harbor has a unique whale bone shape.

Whitby’s scenic harbor has a unique whale bone shape.

The Abbey sits high on the hill.

The Abbey sits high on the hill.

All in all, we had a fantastic time in the UK. After leaving, I headed to the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival in Charleston, South Carolina (more on that in the next blog), and Mark stuck around in the UK for the Essential Sea Kayak Weekend.

A gorgeous sunset on Trearddur bay Bay on Anglesey.

A gorgeous sunset on Trearddur Bay on Anglesey.

Greenland or Bust’s April Newsletter

NewsSTORM GATHERING VIDEO • NORDIC TOUR • ANTARCTICA

With the launch of Storm Gathering USA, February and March were very busy months for Greenland or Bust. So busy, in fact, that we never got around to sending our March newsletter. Busy is good however, and we’re looking forward to a busy and wonderful summer.

Storm Gathering USA took place in Trinidad, California from March 6 to 8, and it was an absolute blast! There wasn’t much of a “storm” weather wise, but people didn’t seem to mind, and instead welcomed the sunshine, calm seas and large numbers of whales that made an appearance. Despite the calm seas, excitement was found amongst rock gardens and surf, and mild conditions meant that classes could get into places that are usually inaccessible. We’ve put together a little video of the event, which can be viewed HERE. Thank you to all of the participants, coaches, safety boaters, volunteers, sponsors, chefs and Coast Guards who took part in the event. The next UK Storm Gathering takes place February 20 to 22 in Anglesey, Wales, and the next Storm Gathering USA event on the West Coast takes place March 3 to 5, 2017.

We’re currently in Wales, and will be running Simplifying the Roll and a Traditional Paddling and Greenland Rolling Day this weekend. After that we’ve got a five-day BCU 4 Star Sea Training combined with BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. We’ll take a break for Easter and then run a second Simplifying the Roll class and Combat Rolling. After that Helen heads to Charleston, South Carolina for the East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival. Then she’ll run private and semi-private classes during the ENC Kayaking Social before heading to Bacalar, Mexico for Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015. Meanwhile, Mark will be in Wales at the Essentials Sea Kayak Weekend, as well as running a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment and a BCU 4 Star Refresher Week. After that we’ve got more BCU programs, classes in Lodi, California, and then our Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour begins.

This year’s tour is bigger and better than ever, and we have classes scheduled in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. We are very excited to be back for another tour, and look forward to seeing all of our Scandinavian friends again. Click HERE for our 2015 tour schedule.

Have you ever dreamed of kayaking in Antarctica? We are guiding an expedition there from December 31, 2015 to January 27/28, 2016. E-mail us at info@greenlandorbust.org for details.

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. You can also follow us on Twitter. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, e-mail: info@greenlandorbust.org.

Happy paddling!

Helen and Mark

Dr. T’s Coaching Corner

In December’s newsletter, we began talking about the technical, tactical, physiological and psychological factors (TTPP) that make up a paddler’s performance.

This month we look at ways to develop a kayaker’s technical ability. To recap, this element represents the individual skill that, when executed well, forms the technical template of ‘best practice’ for a stroke. Progress occurs through the use of instruction and structured practice, with the coach evaluating each movement and providing feedback. Skills practiced well will set a paddler up for future success.

To learn a skill, it is likely that an individual will need initial input via demonstration or instruction.

Whole Method – a skill can be taught or shown as a whole so the paddler can appreciate the complete movement and execution of a technique. Simple skills benefit from this method.

Part Method – When a skill is complex it is more appropriate to breakdown the compound movement into its constituent parts. The parts can then be taught and linked together to develop the final skill.

Whole / Part / Whole – Initially the individual attempts the whole skill and the coach records those parts that not being executed well. Part instruction can be used to address the issues, followed by the paddler repeating the whole skill with the coach monitoring progress.

Once a skill has been taught, then it is a matter of structuring the right practice format to aid learning, of which there are several formats:

Fixed – a specific movement is practiced repeatedly. Closed skills are often practiced in this way.

Massed – a skill is practiced continuously until the skill is becomes ingrained. Suitable with simple tasks and high levels of motivation.

Variable – the skill is practiced in the range of conditions that it could be experienced. Open skills are best practiced in this way.

Distributed – breaks are taken whilst developing the skill. This is suitable when the skill is new or complex, as fatigue can result in injury, reduced motivation or environmental conditions become poor.

However, whilst developing a technical template of ‘best practice’ is important to a paddler, the real value comes when they can apply these skills in a strategic or tactical way. More on that next time :-)

Program Schedule

Simplifying the Roll:
March 28, Anglesey, Wales

Traditional Paddling & Greenland Rolling:
March 29, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Training and Coastal Navigation:
March 30 to April 3, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll:
April 11, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling:
April 12, Anglesey, Wales

East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival:
April 17 to 19, Charleston, South Carolina

Kayak Essentials Festival:
April 18 to 19, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:
April 20 to 21, Anglesey, Wales

Private and Semi-Private Classes during the ENC Kayaking Social:
April 23 to 26, Trinidad, California

BCU 4 Star Refresher Week:
April 27 to May 1, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015:
May 1 to 3, Bacalar, Mexico

BCU 4 Star Sea Training:
May 5 to 6, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:
May 7 to 8, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
May 16 and 17, Lodi, California

Simplifying the Rescue:
May 16, Lodi, California

Nordic Tour:
May 23 to August 30, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

 …And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available from our on-line store HERE

Yoga for Outdoor People can also be purchased as a download from the Digital Goods Store.

============================================================
Copyright © 2015 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

Back on Anglesey

Last week I arrived on Anglesey, where Mark and I will be running classes for several weeks. Anglesey is a fantastic place and a top notch kayaking location, and people come from all over the world to climb its stunning cliffs and hillsides, hike its mountains, and, of course, to experience sea kayaking at its finest, which includes tide races, overfalls, caves and wildlife.

One thing that can make Anglesey challenging however, is the wind. When the wind picks up, waves form. And when the current and wind are traveling in opposite directions, things can get really interesting. Last weekend however, the current and the wind didn’t matter, and our classes found shelter at Point Lynas and Rhoscolyn.

A group of happy paddlers ready for a day on the water.

A group of happy paddlers ready for a day on the water.

VWVWV works on the Balance Brace.

Kathryn works on the Balance Brace.

On Saturday we ran two sessions of Simplifying the Roll, and on Sunday we ran a Traditional Paddling and Greenland Rolling Day. It was fantastic to work with paddlers on everything from the Balance Brace to the Storm Roll, and equally as fun to do some Greenland stroke work.

Evelyn cleans up her Standard Roll.

Evelyn cleans up her Standard Roll.

Set-up position is key.

Set-up position is key.

VWVWV demonstrates a beautiful Standard Greenland Roll.

Gary demonstrates a beautiful Standard Greenland Roll.

This week we have a fantastic group from the U.S., Denmark and Sweden, and we’re heading out into the wind and waves for a BCU 3 Star Sea Assessment, a BCU 4 Star Sea Training with Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. Thanks to Pete of Summit to Sea for providing us with an indoor classroom and keeping us well caffeinated. If you’re in Wales and haven’t stopped by his store yet, it’s well worth checking out.

Pete at Summit to Sea.

Pete at Summit to Sea.

Derek works on the Storm Roll.

Derek works on the Storm Roll.

We talked a lot about the Greenland paddle and how to use it.

We talked a lot about the Greenland paddle and how to use it.

Join us for a class to find out what's going on here :-)

Join us for a class to find out what’s going on here :-)

Happy rollers.

Happy rollers.

Of course, we’ve had time for other things as well, including walking in Cwm Idwal, wave watching at Trearddur Bay and munching on Toad in the Hole (vegetarian style), which Mark cooked up… AND collecting my new P&H Cetus LV (more on that soon).

Spectacular views from VWVWV.

Spectacular views from the Devil’s Kitchen across Cwm Idwal.

My new kayak, affectionately named "Skunk," because of her white keel strip and trim.

My new kayak, affectionately named “Skunk,” because of her white keel strip and trim.

Trearddur Bay.

Trearddur Bay.

Mark made us Toad in the Whole (vegetarian style). For those in the U.S., this does not contain mashed potatoes (although that would be yummy too).

Mark made us Toad in the Whole (vegetarian style). For those in the U.S., this does not contain mashed potatoes (although that would be yummy too).

And a close up.

And a close up, of the Toad in the Whole, not my husband.

Greenland or Bust’s February Newsletter

NewsSTORM GATHERING USA • NORDIC TOUR • ANTARCTICA

At the time of writing this, Storm Gathering USA is just one month away! We are thrilled to have so many paddlers coming from out of the area to play in our home waters. Registration continues through the end of February, but classes are filling fast, so for the best class selection, register soon! The event has top notch coaches, including Justine Curgenven, who will presenting Friday night on “Kayaking the Aleutians.” Click HERE for a teaser. Friday night’s beer will be provided by an awesome event sponsor, Kokatat.

Ben Lawry is hosting Saturday night’s entertainment, which includes a lively slideshow, a social gathering, a raffle and beer provided by another awesome event sponsor, Thule. There are a couple of surprises in the works for that evening, so stay tuned. We are very excited about this event, and hope that you’ll join us for it.

After the Storm Gathering, we have classes scheduled in the UK, and then Helen heads to Charleston, South Carolina for the East Coast Paddlesports & Outdoor Festival. She’ll then be at the Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015 in Bacalar, Mexico then heading to Lodi, California for some rolling and rescue classes. After all that, our Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour begins.

This year’s tour is bigger and better than ever, and we have classes scheduled in Norway, Sweden and Denmark. We are very excited to be back for another tour, and look forward to seeing all of our Scandinavian friends again. Click HERE for more details of our 2015 tour schedule.

Have you ever dreamed of kayaking in Antarctica? We are guiding an expedition there from December 31, 2015 to January 27/28, 2016. E-mail us at info@greenlandorbust.org for details.

In other news, we are now home from our Jamaica Circumnavigation Attempt. Please stay tuned for a complete blog about our adventures, which will be published by Canoe & Kayak Magazine.

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, e-mail info@greenlandorbust.org.

Happy paddling!

Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

With Storm Gathering USA coming up next month, Mark and I have had symposiums on our mind both night and day. There’s a lot to do, and a lot to think about.

One of the main factors that goes in to organizing a symposium is who should teach what. Most coaches excel in teaching certain types of classes, but most don’t excel in teaching every type of class. A nice thing about symposiums is the wide range of skills that the instructors are able to present as a team.

We believe that everyone; beginners, intermediate paddlers, advanced paddlers and instructors can benefit from taking a class or two at a symposium. Not only are classes fun, but no matter where your skill level is at, it’s always possible to take it up a notch or two. We are thrilled to have such a strong coaching team at the event, with coaches that not only coach, but also enjoy being coached.

Program Schedule

Rough Water Boat Handling:
February 14, Anglesey, Wales

Sea Kayak Surfing:
February 15, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:
February 21 to 22, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 3 Star Training:
February 25, Anglesey, Wales

Storm Gathering USA:
March 6 to 8, Trinidad, California

Simplifying the Roll:
March 28, Anglesey, Wales

Traditional Skills & Greenland Rolling:
March 29, Anglesey, Wales

4 Star Sea Training and Coastal Navigation:
March 30 to April 3, Anglesey, Wales

Anglesey Adventure Week:
April 6 to 10, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll:
April 11, Anglesey, Wales

Traditional Skills & Greenland Rolling:
April 12, Anglesey, Wales

East Coast Paddlesports and Outdoor Festival:
April 17 to 19, Charleston, South Carolina

Private Rolling Classes during the ENC Kayaking Social:
April 23 to 26, Trinidad, California

Paddle Marathon Laguna Bacalar 2015:
May 1 to 3, Bacalar, Mexico

Simplifying the Roll
May 16 and 17, Lodi, California

Simplifying the Rescue:
May 16, Lodi, California

 …And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available from our on-line store HERE

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

Storm Gathering USA – Symposium Update

sgsGreetings Paddlers!

We hope that you’re doing well and getting out on the water a lot… and if you aren’t, here’s your chance. Storm Gathering USA is coming up in just six short weeks, and we wanted to give you an update.

Things are coming together quickly, and registered participants have been sent their itineraries.

Classes are filling fast, one is totally full and several others only have one or two available places. This means that if you haven’t registered yet, you better get on it for the best class selection. Click HERE to link to the class descriptions.

News for this week, times and days of classes are now posted.

Our event’s speakers are Justine Curgenven on Friday night and Ben Lawry on Saturday night. Below are the programs for each evening.

Friday Evening Presentation: The Aleutian islands stretch like a broken bridge from Russia to Alaska, renowned for strong winds, dangerous tidal rips and sheer remoteness. In 2014, two women took on one of the last great sea kayaking journeys, attempting a world first 2,500 km paddle along the Aleutian island chain and Alaskan peninsula. Experienced expedition paddler Justine Curgenven described it as her most challenging journey, made more so because she was with an inexperienced paddler who had only just learnt to roll. In a nail biting adventure, Sarah Outen and Justine are taken away from land by unknown currents, approached by bears, grounded by headwinds, scared by sea lions in the night and given an insight into the lives of the few people who live in this harsh and beautiful landscape. The film of this incredible 101 day adventure has only just been released. Justine will show extracts from the film and tell behind-the-scene stories.

Saturday Evening Presentation: Ben Lawry will host a social evening of entertainment which will include a lively slideshow, a raffle, beer provided by Thule and a social gathering.

Event supporters are: Greenland or Bust, Adventure’s Edge, Explore North Coast, Mind’s Eye Manufactory, Thule, Lendal North America, Kokatat Watersports Wear, P & H Custom Sea Kayaks, Confluence Outdoors and Qajaq USA.

We’ve been updating the Storm Gathering USA website as exciting things happen, so visit soon, and visit often :-)

One final note… Trinidad is GORGEOUS. Wherever you’re coming from, it’s worth the trek. But just to make it a little simpler, we’re about a five-hour drive north from San Francisco, an eight-hour drive south from Portland, or a hop, skip and eight-mile jump from the Eureka/Arcata airport (airport code ACV), and there’s even an airport shuttle – Door To Door Airporter – that can help you out with that jump.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and we hope to see you in March!

Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

Jamaica Circumnavigation Dispatches: A Delayed Start

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Photograph by: Alain Hottat – www.jamaicashoots.com

Windy conditions prove troublesome, but the team remain determined to circle island.

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Photograph by: Mark Tozer. Location: Long Bay, Jamaica

The link below is Helen’s blog about the trip so far as published by Canoe & Kayak Magazine.

Photo 03-01-2015 15 04 20

Photograph by: Mark Tozer. Location: Long Bay, Jamaica

http://www.canoekayak.com/photos/jamaica-circumnavigation-dispatch/

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Photograph by: Alain Hottat – www.jamaicashoots.com

Calling all paddlers – FREE BEER and FREE DVDs at Storm Gathering USA

The biggest challenge about writing a blog is getting people to read it, and FREE BEER at Storm Gathering USA and a FREE DVD might be the way… If you’re a paddler, we want to convince you why you should come to Trinidad, California for Storm Gathering USA, and if you’ll stick with me for a few minutes, I think that we might just be able to do that…

Trinidad, California

Trinidad, California

I began sea kayaking several years ago in Trinidad, California with a group of paddlers from the local club, Explore North Coast. The Club organizes paddles that are always tons of fun to attend. Through the Club I met “The Paddle Pals,” a group of like minded kayakers that meet every Sunday morning for what we call “Sunday Services.” For years I’d look forward to Sunday, with each week bringing new adventures. I remember launching one Sunday and paddling to the front of Trinidad Head to sit in the 28 foot swell. The swell would lift us to incredible heights, and at the top, a strong gust of wind that was generated from the swell itself would blow over us, causing our chests to lift as we inhaled deeply before dropping down into the trough. I remember thinking how that deep inhale filled my body with so much energy that I felt like I was going to explode. It was that same day we watched porpoises dancing in the powerful swell under a double rainbow. Other days we’ve been followed by whales, Stellar Sea Lions, California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, River Otters, Harbor Porpoises, and once, a great white shark. The ocean is an incredible being, and Trinidad is where I fell in love with it.

Trinidad has the option of a harbor launch that allows paddlers to get into very large swell without having to negotiate a surf zone.

Trinidad has the option of a harbor launch that allows paddlers to get into very large swell without having to negotiate a surf zone.

When Mark and I became, well, Mark and I, he also became a part of my business, Greenland or Bust, and I began working with him on organizing the UK Storm Gathering Symposiums, which began in Mull, Scotland in 2006. I have been co-organizing that event with Mark since 2011. I remember the first time Mark and I paddled in Trinidad together, I told him that I thought that it was an ideal location to run a sea kayaking symposium, and he agreed. Time went on, and we began loosely organizing. About a year ago we took the plunge and decided to do it. Storm Gathering USA takes place from March 6 to 8, 2015.

"Smack Wall" is a popular feature among locals.

“Smack Wall” is a popular feature among locals.

The biggest challenge for running a symposium in this location, is that it is five hours away from the nearest major city. This means that people need to travel to get here, but we guarantee that it’s worth it. Trinidad is located in the coastal redwood forest of Humboldt County, which is home to the tallest trees on the planet. Standing under them is magical and an experience that you won’t forget, and paddling next to them is an adventure that few kayakers have had. If you’re coming from out of the area, consider bringing your non-kayaking family, because they’ll have just as much fun off the water as you do on the water. We’re a five hour drive north of San Francisco and an eight hour drive south of Portland. There is an airport 10 minutes from the event (Arcata/Eureka – airport code ACV) with United flights coming in and out several times a day. If you get to the airport, we can help get you to the event. P&H will be on site with kayaks to rent, and you can choose how much you want to spend on accommodation, from a cheap campsite, to affordable cabins, to The Lost Whale Inn – a FANTASTIC B&B that is a pricier option, but well worth the money if you want to splurge.

Being on land isn't so bad either.

Walking amongst the redwoods is magical.

The event is staged out of The Emerald Forest in Trinidad. The Emerald Forest has cabins, campsites and RV sites, as well as the “Celebration Hall,” a rustic community room with a warm wood fireplace and a kitchen.

Rough Water Boat Handling is just one of many open water classes.

Rough Water Boat Handling is just one of many open water classes.

There are many fantastic instructors out there, and narrowing it down to just a few was tough. The group that we came up with are all highly qualified paddlers and coaches, but more importantly they’re wonderful people who always put their students at the top of the learning experience. We have asked each coach what they want to teach, which means that when you take a class with them, you know it’s something that they not only excel in, but love teaching as well.

Three levels of rock gardening classes are also offered.

Three levels of rock gardening classes are offered.

The classes we’re offering are designed for three levels of paddlers; advanced-beginner, intermediate and advanced-intermediate/advanced. Participants are asked when they register to assess their skill level and pick the classes that are right for them. Among those classes, we’re offering various rock gardening, surf, rolling and paddling technique classes, but we’re also offering specialty classes, such as Kayak Sailing and Fun with Foster. We’re handling registration a little differently than you may be used to, as we’re asking people to pick their classes, and then we’re setting the schedule. This way, if lots of people want to take the same class, we can offer multiple sessions of it at the same time. Classes with designated instructors, such as Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Fun with Foster, clearly have limited availability however.

Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling are also offered.

Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling are also offered.

There will be presentations at Trinidad Town Hall on both Friday and Saturday night, with Friday night being a report from one of our coach’s recent expeditions (more details soon) and Saturday night being an entertaining evening hosted by Ben Lawry. There will also be an auction with GREAT prizes from the event’s sponsors… and FREE BEER, also provided by sponsors.

Dinner is included in our “Option 1″ registration packet, and although we’re still figuring out the menu, dinners will be catered by one of our local businesses.

The coaching staff.

The coaching staff.

Gift certificates for registration (of any amount) are available. Please contact us at info@greenlandorbust.org for more information.

Visitors to the area are often surprised by the abundant wildlife. Here a whale makes an appearance.

Visitors to the area are often surprised by the abundant wildlife. Here a whale makes an appearance.

All this said, are you thinking of coming? If so, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you and are happy to answer any questions… And a little incentive to register early. If you register from now until Christmas you’ll receive a FREE DVD (a $29.95 value), either Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson or Yoga for Outdoor People. Of course, if you’ve already registered you’ll receive one as well. That’s our way of saying THANK YOU for registering early. We can’t wait to welcome you to our playground.

Here’s the website again: www.stormgatheringusa.wordpress.com.

We hope to see you in March!

We hope to see you in March!

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