‘Helen’s Blog’

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.

The day we rolled the van

Last Wednesday started out as many other days have during our Nordic Tour. We woke up at a gorgeous campsite in Eidfjordvatent. After enjoying a tasty breakfast of fresh baked bread and Norwegian brown cheese we hopped in the van and made our way to the Voringfossen Waterfall. We were scheduled to be in Oslo that evening, with classes starting the following day and had decided to explore a little on our way there. The sun was shining, our spirits were high and we were feeling relaxed. Perhaps a little too relaxed.

I was sitting in the passenger seat and had been enjoying a combination of looking at the spectacular Norwegian scenery, reading a book and dozing off. I was half awake when I heard Mark yell, and my eyes opened to grass and trees. We were no longer on the road. The van was moving forward, but it was also tipping in my direction, and soon it left the green and was on its side sliding across a dirt road. I could see the ground through the front window and was aware that it was next to the side of my head. While this was going on my reaction surprised me even then. I felt myself completely relax. It was as if my heart rate had slowed and I was watching a movie. I felt no fear. I felt no emotion, and I felt no pain. I remember thinking how strange it was that the capsize felt so smooth. Mark called out to me, but he was a voice in the background. I was unable to respond. In my head I rationalized that the van would stop soon, but instead it picked up speed. I remember thinking “this is bad,” and Mark’s shouts were becoming louder. He was saying, “I love you. I love you.” But I couldn’t respond. I could only watch through the window, the movie screen in front of me.

The van continued to slide, and then the dirt road was replaced by more grass, trees and a steep hill. Through the window I watched the scenery turn upside down, then the right way up and eventually stop. That was when I finally spoke. “We have to get out,” I said. Then I opened the door, climbed out, put my shoes on (which I don’t remember doing) and crawled on my hands and knees up the hill that we’d just come down. I was crawling through a dust cloud that the van had created but could see a woman at the top. She called down, and I assured her that there were two of us and that we were okay.

Once at the top of the hill I sat down. I was struggling to get my breath and clear my lungs of the dust. Mark was next to me asking if I was okay. I noticed that my left arm was cut and bleeding, and was starting to feel the sting from the nettles that we’d crawled through, but I thought I was okay. Mark was having me bend joints, and I watched them bend, just as curious as him to see if the parts would actually move. Over the next few minutes we checked ourselves over, becoming aware of additional, but minor, injuries, while we waited for help to arrive.

The fire department showed up first, followed by the ambulance and eventually the police. I realized that I was yawning and struggling to stay awake. Mark’s reaction was quite different, and he was trying to get back to the van and to the kayak rack (which had come off the vehicle, with the kayaks still attached). He wanted to see the damage and get some of our belongings. It was a hot day, and the paramedics asked me to move into the ambulance to get out of the sun, but when I stood I became very week. I was also aware that my neck felt week, and although it didn’t hurt, I was having a hard time holding my head up. Then I vomited. The paramedics strapped me into the bed in the ambulance and eventually we were on our way to the hospital. Because of the severity of the accident, the paramedics decided to take us to the big hospital, which would be better equipped to deal with any serious injuries that we might have sustained. This hospital was 120 kilometers away, and I stared out of the back window of the ambulance the whole time, watching lakes and trees pass by and trying to both stay awake and remember what happened. Mark was in the front of the vehicle, trying to figure things out in his own head. At the hospital we were checked over and then released, a package of painkillers clutched in my hand. I had a sprained right big toe, bruises up the left side of my body, a bruise across my chest from where the seatbelt had held me back, cuts on my left arm, two bumps on the top of my head, a bump on the side of my head and the beginning signs of whiplash, which emerged the following morning. Mark had bruises on the right side of his body, a bruise on his chest from the seatbelt, a bump and cuts on the top of his head, a cut on his right leg, a bruised right shoulder and bruises on his stomach. But other than that, we were okay.

The van had been towed to a garage, and the following day we went to clean it out. The emotion that came from seeing the van can not easily be put into words. Parts of the front had caved in, and the front window was cracked in numerous places but had held. Mark’s door was jammed shut, so he’d evacuated the vehicle through my door. The sides of the van were indented, and the window behind my head had shattered from a tree that had impaled it. The back of the van had caved in, and the bumper was hanging. The inside of the van was equally, if not more, shocking. The cabinet system on the inside of the van had been ripped from the side and wedged behind the front seats. Everything in the van had ended up in the front, except for the larger objects, which had piled up behind the wedged cabinet. The roof rack had been placed next to the van, and on it were our two kayaks, snapped in half.

In the days that followed, “what if,” popped into my head over and over again. What if Mark hadn’t closed his eyes for that split second which caused us to drift off the road? What if I would’ve taken my turn driving before he got too tired? What if we would’ve stopped for a few minutes so that both of us could have rested? What if I hadn’t been napping and kept Mark alert? These are all things that could have prevented the accident, but that’s what it was, an accident. Accidents happen, and they happen on days when we least expect them to. There is no blame, because an accident is an accident. Some accidents have smaller consequences, some have bigger consequences, but everyone has has accidents (vehicle or other) throughout their lifetimes.

On the other hand, it is a miracle that we walked away. The woman driving behind us who witnessed the accident was shocked that we walked out, so were the firemen, paramedics and police. What if the van hadn’t taken such a clean path down the hill? What if the tree that went through the window behind my head had gone though two inches forward? What if the cabinet hadn’t wedged itself so that we were protected from being crushed by everything in the van? “What if” can be a dangerous two words…

After the accident we received help from many people, all of who we are incredibly grateful for; the woman behind us who stopped and called for help, the firemen, paramedics and police, Marianne and Sabine at the campsite where we stayed, Ronny for helping us transport our things that were in the van and for putting us in touch with others who could help. Liv for getting us and all of our stuff to Oslo. Inge for housing us in Oslo. The Oslo Kayak Club for being so supportive, Johan for picking us from Oslo, taking us to Sweden and for loaning me his personal kayak for the rest of the tour, arranging a kayak for Mark for the rest of the tour and loaning us his personal vehicle. Ann for welcoming us into her house. And to everyone else who has showed us support and love over the past few days.

We are currently in Goteborg, Sweden, recovering and getting ready to start the tour again on Thursday. Life must go on, and we’re very grateful that we still have that life…

The van where it stopped.

The van where it stopped.

The driver's side.

The driver’s side.

Everything in the back of the van was tossed forward.

Everything in the back of the van was tossed forward.

Most of the van's content's ended up in a pile behind the front seats.

Most of the van’s content’s ended up in a pile behind the front seats.

The front of the van.

The front of the van.

The tour continues

After leaving Bergen we made our way to Fitjar, Norway to run classes for the Sunnhordland Padleklubb. We arrived a day early, and it was great to catch up with our wonderful hosts Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg, who we also stayed with last year. They made us feel right at home, and soon we were sitting around a table outside catching up while enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery. This was our second year in Fitjar, and it was great to see some familiar faces. Throughout the three-day weekend I ran six Simplifying the Roll classes, while Mark ran six Fun – Balance – Games classes.

The Fun - Balance - Games class shows their talent during a sing-along.

The Fun – Balance – Games class shows their talent during a sing-along.

There are many ways to work on balance.

There are many ways to work on balance.

Johanas also works on balance.

Johanas also works on balance.

Geir Ingolf perfects the Shotgun Roll.

Geir Ingolf perfects the Shotgun Roll.

Ingeborg learns a Standard Roll (yep, she got it).

Ingeborg learns a Standard Roll (yep, she got it).

Most days we had great weather during the lunch break.

Most days we had great weather during the lunch break.

But even when temperatures cooled off our Kokatat Storm Cags kept us dry and warm.

But even when temperatures cooled off our Kokatat Storm Cags kept us dry and warm.

After the weekend we stuck around for an extra day (Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg are such wonderful people that we didn’t want to leave), then we headed south to Preikestolen, an incredible cliff with a plateau at the top which is 604 meters above the water. The hike from Preikestolen Mountain Lodge takes about two hours each way and is very steep in places, but the view from the top is incredible and well worth the trip.

The trailhead to Preikestolen.

The trailhead to Preikestolen.

Maps along the trail showed a hiker's progress.

Maps along the trail showed a hiker’s progress.

Me at the top!

Me at the top!

Mark at the top!

Mark at the top!

Looking over the edge felt safer from all fours.

Looking over the edge felt safer from all fours.

Our last night with Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg we cooked up a tasty Mexican meal.

Our last night with Geir Ingolf and Ingeborg we cooked up a tasty Mexican meal.

Now we’re on our way to Austevoll, an archepelago off the west coast of Norway, and just across the water from Fitjar.

Pictures by Helen and Mark.

The start of the Nordic Tour

On May 21 I made my way from Arcata, California to Gothenburg, Sweden, where Mark met me with our van, which he’d brought over on a ferry from the UK. We spent a day resting, relaxing and unwinding before heading to Helsingborg for the beginning our Nordic Tour, which will continue through August 31 (with a break in the middle to go to Greenland).

On the morning of the 24th we met up with Johan Wirsen, owner of Rebel Kayaks. Johan is the designer of the Tahe Greenland, which was renamed the Zegul Greenland, but he’s taken his design to his new company and it is now calling it the Rebel Ilaga, which I’m using during the tour. Mark is using another of Johan’s designs, the Greenland T, a larger version of the Ilaga that is also part of the Rebel line. Both kayaks are made in Poland by Aquarius.

Our new kayaks.

Our beautiful new kayaks.

After getting our kayaks we headed to Kullaberg for a technique class. That evening we enjoyed a tasty barbecue at the local kayaking club, Helsingborgs Kanotisterna, and the following day we stayed more local, and ran rolling classes off the beach right in front of the Club.

Mark hangs out with Club president Ronny.

Mark hangs out with Club president Ronny.

Happy rollers enjoyed the warm water and sunshine.

Happy rollers enjoyed the warm water and sunshine.

Ater the classes we had some time to explore the charming town.

Mark stands at the fountain close to the center of town.

Mark cools off in front of a spectacular fountain, which is located just above the town center.

Thanks to Zsuzsanna and her family for hosting us!

After leaving Helsingborg we began the drive to Bergen, Norway, where we’d be running classes the following weekend. Upon crossing the Norway border, the scenery began to change, and we soon found ourselves in snow covered mountains.

A partially frozen lake provided scenic surroundings for a break from the van.

A partially frozen lake provided scenic surroundings for a break from the van.

It felt strange to be wearing shorts while surrounded by so much snow and ice, but the air temperature was warm and the sun was bright.

It felt strange to be wearing shorts while surrounded by so much snow and ice, but the air temperature was warm and the sun was bright.

We actually turned the van around to get a double take on this house.

We actually turned the van around to get a double take on this charming house.

Along the way we stopped at Nærøyfjord for an afternoon paddle.

Along the way we stopped at Nærøyfjord for an afternoon paddle.

Stunning cliffs, clear water and dramatic waterfalls lined the path along the fjord.

Stunning cliffs, clear water and dramatic waterfalls lined the path along the fjord.

Camping at the bottom of the Tvindefossen Waterfall was very relaxing.

Camping at the bottom of the Tvindefossen Waterfall was very relaxing.

Mark cooks dinner at our riverside / waterfall side campsite.

Mark cooks dinner at our riverside / waterfall side campsite.

Once in Bergen we headed to the kayak club, BSI Padling where we met up with Lillian and Anja, our wonderful hosts for the weekend. Throughout the weekend Mark ran six technique classes while I ran six rolling classes and a morning session of Yoga for Paddlers.

Stretching before paddling is always a good thing.

Stretching before paddling is always a good thing.

The color and clarity of the water was incredible.

The color and clarity of the water was incredible.

Rollers worked on all types of rolls. Here, a Storm Roll is born.

Rollers worked on all types of rolls. Here, a Storm Roll is born.

Correct hand positioning is key.

Correct hand positioning is key.

We had the perfect water, weather and scenery for a wonderful weekend.

We had the perfect water, weather and scenery for a wonderful weekend.

Happy campers.

Happy campers.

Once we arrived in Bergen we visited Ronny Riise at his fantastic kayak store, God-Tur.

After the weekend we visited Ronny Riise at his fantastic kayak store, God-Tur.

We explored Bergin, which has a wonderful fish market.

We spent a couple of afternoons exploring Bergen, which has a wonderful fish market.

We took a train up the mountain to Fløyen and a cable car to Mount Ulriken.

In addition to exploring the town, we took a train up the mountain to Fløyen and a cable car to Mount Ulriken and enjoyed hikes at the top of both mountains.

After leaving Bergen we took a ferry to Fitjar, where we’ll be running classes this weekend.

Pictures Ronny Riise, Mark and myself.

Greenland or Bust’s June Newsletter

news

SWEDEN • NORWAY • DENMARK • GREENLAND

We’re writing this newsletter from a campsite in Norway, where it’s easy to say that summer has arrived. Surrounding us are tall trees and steep mountains, and although some of them have snow on their peaks, the sun is hot and bright at the base of the mountain. We’re dressed in shorts and sun hats, and our bare legs and feet are soaking up the warm sun. We’re here for our 2014 Nordic Tour, which started last weekend in Helsingborg, Sweden.

This year’s tour is supported by Rebel Kayaks, and on Saturday morning we met up with Johan Wirsen, who owns the company. Johan is the designer of the Tahe Greenland, which was renamed the Zegul Greenland, but he’s taken his design to his new company and it is now calling it the Rebel Ilaga, which Helen is using during the tour. Mark is using another of Johan’s designs, the Greenland T, a larger version of the Ilaga that is also part of the Rebel line. Both kayaks are made in Poland by Aquarius.

After getting our kayaks we hit the water, running a general sea kayaking class on Saturday and two sessions of Simplifying the Roll on Sunday. We also had the opportunity to explore the active seaside community by both bike and foot before beginning the long drive to Norway on Monday afternoon. We’ve been steadily making our way to Bergen, stopping at campsites along the way and exploring as much as we can. We’re teaching classes in Bergen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we’ll be sticking around and teaching classes in Norway for most of June. At the end of June we head to Denmark, and in July we have classes in Sweden and an expedition in South Greenland. August takes us back to Sweden and Denmark, and the tour continues through August 31. It’s going to be a busy summer!

Earlier this month Helen ran Simplifying the Roll and Simplifying the Rescue at Whiskeytown Lake in Northern California while Mark taught Rolling and Rescues, Incident Management, Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning and a BCU 4 Star Training and Assessment at the Anglesey Symposium in Wales. The following weekend Helen headed to Denmark for the Danish Canoe Federation’s Weekend for Coaches, where she taught Simplifying the Greenland Stroke, Fun – Balance – Games and two sessions of Simplifying the Roll. She also ran a morning session of Yoga for Paddlers and was the Saturday evening presenter, with a presentation titled “Greenland Kayaking: The Past, The Present and the Future.”

Later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. More on all of that later.

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

Wherever you are, enjoy the summer, and happy paddling!
- Helen and Mark

Dr. T’s Coaching Corner

When paddling in areas where we might find moving water, be that from the current or flow from estuaries, we need to think more tactically (choice of angle) and accurately (use of speed) when maneuvering our kayak. It might be that we want to cross the stream without loosing ground, or enter the stream to make progress downstream / exit the stream to find safe water, or even progress upstream to play on a wave / go round a corner. Your target will determine your angle and the speed of flow, as well as your paddling speed will determine how quickly you get there.

To help understand our position as it relates to angle, think of upstream being 12 o’clock on a clock face. Now you can experiment when entering and leaving the flow by pointing your kayak at different hours (angles). For example, by aiming the kayak at 1 o’clock you may find that the kayak makes a wider turn and ends up further from the eddy line. If you aim the kayak for 3 o’clock then you may find yourself turning more rapidly and heading down the flow, perhaps closer to the eddy line. What you should discover is the more the kayak points across the flow, the sharper any maneuvers become.

Now you can experiment with how fast you are paddling when you enter and leave the current to see how much that effects any maneuvers. From this you should see that the faster you paddle, the wider the turn and the further you travel into the flow or eddy. The slower you go, the sharper the turn. As it takes time to build speed, plan ahead and think about how much room your long boat needs to do this before entering / exiting the flow. Remember, with the right speed and angle you will eventually reach the intended target!

Program Schedule

South Greenland Expedition: July 9 to 20, South Greenland

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 19 to 22 – Oslo, Norway

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• 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

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

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

The Danish Canoe Federation’s Weekend for Coaches

Travel is one of those weird things. If everything goes as planned it’s amazing how quickly one can travel to the other side of the world. Sometimes though, there’s a hang up, and the traveler has to get a little creative. That’s exactly what happened last weekend on my way to the Danish Canoe Federation’s Weekend for Coaches, which I arrived at exactly ten minutes before the event started with very little sleep over the past 40 hours of travel time. A dunk in the sea however woke me right up, and it turned out to be a wonderful weekend.

Colorful rows of kayaks are always a good indication that you're in the right place.

Colorful rows of kayaks are always a good indication that you’re in the right place.

The event took place in Kerteminde, on the island of Funen in Denmark. Participants at this event are all coaches, and they’re working on both personal skill development and developing stronger programs for their students.

A gorgeous day to be on the water.

A gorgeous day to be on the water.

On Saturday morning I instructed Simplifying the Greenland Stroke. Most of the participants were already familiar with the Greenland paddle, so we worked on the finer points, including maneuvering and turning strokes. Saturday afternoon I taught Fun, Balance and Games. The class focused on learning in a playful manner, and participants were given various scenarios to work out. I was somewhat surprised with how much energy I still had in the evening, which was a good thing, because I was the evening presenter. The presentation was titled “Greenland Kayaking: The Past, The Present and The Future.” After it was over I slept… and slept… and slept…

Happy people with sticks.

Happy people with sticks.

Fun, Balance and Games is all about creativity and thinking outside the box.

Fun, Balance and Games is all about creativity and thinking outside the box.

Playing with balance.

Playing with balance.

Just chillin'

There are lots of ways to learn.

Of course no class is complete without a little kayak levitation.

Of course no class is complete without a little kayak levitation.

Lots of people came out for the evening presentation.

Lots of people came out for the evening presentation.

On Sunday I woke up refreshed and ready to teach Yoga for Paddlers. After that my day was all about rolling. I ran Simplifying the Roll in both the morning and afternoon. All of the participants already had some kind of roll, so we worked on cleaning up technique, other side rolls and everything from Storm Rolls to the Straightjacket Roll.

After the event I was taken back to Copenhagen for a night in a hotel before heading back to California. The weekend went by very quickly, but was a TON of fun. Special thanks to Malene Hjorth for taking such good care of me!

Photos by myself and Jens Lauritsen of Odense, Denmark.

Greenland or Bust’s May Newsletter

MaySTRAWBERRIES • SUMMER • THE U.S. STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM

This week has been so hot and sunny in Northern California that it’s easy to feel guilty. The State has been in a draught for months, and more sun is the last thing that we need… but it feels so good to be outside eating strawberries, drinking margaritas and enjoying the gorgeous weather.

April began with us guiding a five-day Anglesey Adventure. After that we headed to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, also in Wales and then to Scotland for some personal fun exploring the land, water and a few distilleries. Mark stuck around and ran an Advanced Leader Training and Planning course with participants from Sweden, while Helen flew back to California to run Yoga for Paddlers and a Paddle Day for our local kayaking club. She also participated in the ENC Kayaking Social and ran classes throughout the event.

This weekend Helen heads to Whiskeytown Lake in Northern California to run rolling and rescue classes. After that she hops on a plane to Denmark to instruct at the Danish Canoe Federation’s weekend for coaches. Mark in the meantime will be at the Anglesey Symposium and teaching during BCU Week.  Then it’s home for a week and Mark will be busy preparing the van for this year’s Europe Tour, which will be supported by Rebel Kayaks. This year’s tour will be HUGE! It starts in Helsingborg, Sweden on May 24 and continues until August 31. This year’s tour covers Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We’ll be taking a break from the tour for a couple of weeks in July when we’ll be flying over to Greenland to guide an expedition and stop in at the Greenland National Kayaking Championship, taking place in Qaqortoq, Greenland.

Later in the year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. We’ve also started working on our 2015 schedule, which will include some really great classes and expeditions. Hopefully you’ll join us for one or two of them :-)

We’ve been working hard on organizing the U.S. Storm Gathering symposium, taking place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8, 2015. Sponsors are being confirmed, and the local community is prepared to warmly welcome participants and instructors from outside the area. If you came to the ENC Kayaking Social, you’ll know that our local paddlers ROCK and they’re getting excited about an event in their neighborhood. Come join us!

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.

Happy paddling!
- Helen and Mark

Helen’s Coaching Corner

Often when teaching rolling, I have students ask me about bringing their foot pegs closer to lock themselves in their kayaks. While this may seem like a good idea, it really isn’t. By bringing the foot pegs closer you are locking in your hips, which will restrict their movement and therefore make rolling more challenging. Your feet should feel relaxed and comfortable on the foot pegs, similar to how they feel when driving a car. Although I wouldn’t suggest removing your foot pegs completely, you’d have better control of your roll with no foot pegs, than having them too close.

Program Schedule

Simplifying the Rescue: May 4, Whiskeytown, California

Simplifying the Roll: May 3 and 4, Whiskeytown, California

Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning: May 9, Anglesey, Wales

Danish Canoe Federation’s Weekend for Coaches: May 10 to 11, Kerteminde, Denmark

BCU 4 Star Sea Training: May 10 to 11, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: May 17 to 18, Anglesey, Wales

South Greenland Expedition: July 9 to 20, South Greenland

Nordic Tour:

May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 31 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 – Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 19 to 22 – Oslo, Norway

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• 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

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

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

The Ladies Paddle Symposium, an aqueduct, a couple of islands and some whiskey

Earlier this month, Mark and I made our way to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, which is based out of Bala in North Wales. This was our first year at the event, and it was an absolute blast. One of the things that makes this event unique is that it provides instruction in so many disciplines. Classes were categorized into skill levels, and the disciplines to pick from were white water kayak, open canoe, sea kayak, White Water Safety Rescue (WWSR), freestyle and raft. Mark and I instructed beginning sea kayaking on Saturday and intermediate sea kayaking on Sunday. On Saturday evening I ran Yoga for Paddlers, which was so popular that we ran out of space. All in all it was a great event and wonderful to meet so many enthusiastic ladies.

Balancing exercises.

There are lots of ways to play around in a kayak.

afasfa

Limits were tested.

After leaving the event we headed to Llangollen, also in North Wales. Llangollen is a charming little town with a canal that runs through it. Part of the canal system contains the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, which caries the Llangollen Canal over the River Dee at an astonishing height of 126 feet. Of course, we paddled it, because how often do kayakers really get to paddle over a river?

Don't look down.

Don’t look down.

Or do, the River Dee is a long way down.

The River Dee is a long way down.

After that adventure we headed north to Islay, Scotland. Islay has been on our wish list of places to go for awhile, and it was wonderful to spend a couple of days there, soaking up the peaceful island and a few of the distilleries. It was lots of fun to explore by land and then paddle along the coast for a distillery tour kayaker-style.

Mark checks out the barley which is spread on the floor of the Laphroaig malting house to germinate.

Mark checks out the barley which is spread on the floor of the Laphroaig malting house to germinate.

Whiskey is matured in oak barrels.

Whiskey is matured in oak barrels.

At the end of our tour we did a tasting.

At the end of our tour we did a tasting.

adafsa

The following day we went for a paddle.

And visited my favorite distillery one more time.

And visited my favorite distillery one more time.

After leaving Islay we headed to Oban. Oban is another wonderful place in Scotland, and one that we’ve visited a few times. It was great to be back and to catch up with some of the locals. It was also fun to paddle around Kerrera with a stop for lunch at the Gylen Castle, which was built in 1582.

A gorgeous day to paddle around Kerrera.

A gorgeous day to paddle around Kerrera.

For the first half of the trip the water was undisturbed except for the wakes from passing ferries.

For the first half of the trip the water was undisturbed except for the wakes from passing ferries.

A castle is always a good place to stop for lunch.

A castle is always a good place to stop for lunch.

After a couple of days in Oban I flew back to California to run classes locally, while Mark stuck around for a few days to run classes in Scotland.

Ireland, Rolling and our Anglesey Adventure

Mark and I both have birthdays in March. That’s also the month that we celebrate our wedding anniversary, and we decided to do something special this year. We were already in Wales, so it was just a hop, skip and a jump (or a short ferry crossing) over to Ireland to celebrate both Saint Patrick’s Day and our anniversary.

Saint Patrick's Day in Dublin.

Saint Patrick’s Day in Dublin.

Saint Patrick’s Day in the U.S. is celebrated by eating corned beef (if you’re a meat eater), cabbage and potatoes, and by drinking beer. It’s a festive holiday where people wear something green, and if they don’t, their friends will pinch them.

Spirits were high, and there were lots of costumes.

Spirits were high, and there were lots of costumes.

Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland is a massive party. Streets are packed with people, carnival rides operate at several corners, most people display an Irish flag in some form or another, and there is Guinness everywhere. Oh, and there’s no pinching going on, because everyone is wearing green.

Being in Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day was a wonderful experience, and I really enjoyed watching the Irish (and lots of other people) show their Irish spirit. Perhaps just as nice though, was the day after, which is also our anniversary. The streets were quiet, and miraculously all of the garbage that had been tossed on the ground the day before, had disappeared. For the next couple of days we strolled around by foot, enjoying the sights of Dublin, as well as lots of traditional food and drinks.

Dublin is home to the Jameson Distillery.

Dublin is home to the Jameson Distillery.

Dublin is also home to Guinness, and the Guinness Storehouse provides lots of activities to keep people entertained. One such activity is a contest to pour "the perfect pint." (Did I mention that I won :-)

Dublin is also home to Guinness, and the Guinness Storehouse provides lots of activities to keep people entertained. One such activity is a contest to pour “the perfect pint.” (Did I mention that I won :-)

Guinness mustaches all around.

Guinness mustaches all around.

After three days in Dublin we boarded a ferry that had the ammenities of a small city, and made our way back to Wales where we ran a Simplifying the Roll class out of Point Lynas. Compared to the snowy conditions of last year, this year’s temperatures were ‘almost’ tropical, and the full class of rollers did very well.

Watching porpoises from Point Lynas. They're hard to capture on camera, but they were really fun to watch.

Watching porpoises from Point Lynas. They’re hard to capture on camera, but they were really fun to watch.

Later in the month clients Malene and Magne arrived from Norway, for our five-day “Anglesey Adventure.” Day one took us from Trearddur Bay to Silver Bay and back.

There were lots of archways and caves to explore.

There were lots of archways and caves to explore.

Anglesey is a magical place.

Anglesey is a magical place.

Bay was a great turning around point.

Silver Bay was a great turning around point.

It was also a good place for lunch.

It was also a good place for lunch.

The Rhoscoyln Beacon is a distinct feature.

The Rhoscolyn Beacon is a distinct feature.

This offshore rock is only exposed during extreme tides, and with the combination of Spring Tides and a Spring Equinox climbing it was a fun part to the day. Malene and Magne were true adventurers and swam from their kayaks to the exposed rock.

This offshore rock is only exposed during extreme tides, and with the combination of Spring Tides and a Spring Equinox climbing it was a fun part to the day. Malene and Magne were true adventurers and swam from their kayaks to the exposed Maen Piscar.

Day two took us from Moelfre to Cemaes Bay.

Island.

Ynys Dulas is a wonderful island to paddle to.

The old brickworks buildings was an obvious place to stop for lunch - and to explore.

The old brickworks buildings was an obvious place to stop for lunch – and to explore.

On day three the weather wasn’t great for being on the coast, so we headed to the protection of the Menai Straits, where Mark gave a moving water class in The Swellies, which is located between Menai and Brittania bridges.

Sea caves, Menai Straits style. Here Mark rests in front of

Sea caves, Menai Straits style. Here Mark rests in front of Plas Nywedd.

Using the eddies as much as we could to make our way through The Swellies.

We used the eddies as much as we could to make our way through The Swellies.

Talking about crossing eddy lines before heading out into the current.

Talking about crossing eddy lines before heading out into the current under the Menai Bridge.

Sometimes learning about moving water can be enhanced by standing above it and watching. Plus, the view from the Menai Bridge is stunning.

Sometimes learning about moving water can be enhanced by standing above it and watching. Plus, the view from the Menai Bridge is stunning.

Maybe one of the prettiest places to teach rolling.

Maybe one of the prettiest places to teach rolling.

Day four took us to Llyn Padarn, where I taught a rolling class, and then we explored, showing our clients a little bit of the beauty of Wales that can be found on land.

A true cultural experience - trying Marmite.

A true cultural experience – trying Marmite.

Names in Welsh can be lloonngg.

Names in Welsh can be lloonngg.

Day five we headed out from Porth Dafarch , through the tide race and overfalls of Penrhyn Mawr, and past South Stack and North Stack, ending the day at Soldier’s Point. It was a wonderful five days of adventure, both on and off the water.

A nice little blow hole to play in.

There’s just something funny about being hit by the spray from a blow hole.

Studying Membra Mawr from above before crossing through.

Studying Penrhyn Mawr from above before passing through.

Steve shows us how it's done.

Steve shows us how it’s done.

We’ll be having an Anglesey Adventure again next year, in case YOU would like to join us.

Greenland or Bust’s April Newsletter

Newsletter

SPRING IS HERE! • THE U.S. STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM

For us, March was a month of celebration. Both our birthdays fall in March, and so does our wedding anniversary. March is also the celebration of season changes. The days get longer, and the grass turns from brown to green. We’re currently in Wales, and tiny lambs are roaming the hills, flowers are popping up in every crevice and field, and life is once again appearing. The other great thing about spring is that the whole kayaking season lies in front of us, and this year is looking very exciting.

In March, Helen headed to Half Moon Bay to teach Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling for California Canoe and Kayak. Mark ran a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment with James Stevenson, and we brought in guest instructor Pete Jones to run BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. After that, we hopped on a ferry to Dublin, Ireland, where we celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day and our wedding anniversary. Once we were back in Wales we ran Simplifying the Roll, BCU Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning and a BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment.

At the beginning of April we are guiding an expedition around Anglesey, and then we head to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, also in Wales. After that we go to Scotland, where Mark is teaching an Advanced Leader and Trip Planning class. Meanwhile Helen is flying to the U.S. to run Yoga for Paddlers and a Paddle Day for our local club, Explore North Coast, teaching Combat Rolling and sticking around to teach private rolling classes during the ENC Kayaking Social.

Later in the year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Mexico. We will also be guiding an expedition in South Greenland, which is now fully booked.

We’ve been working hard on organizing the U.S. Storm Gathering symposium, taking place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8, 2015. Save the date!

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org (http://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.

Happy paddling!
- Helen and Mark

Dr. T’s Coaching Corner

If you have ever worked towards a specific goal, be that learning a certain technique, perfecting a roll or preparing for an assessment, the chances are you may have received some guidance from a friend or coach along the way. But what happens afterwards when the goal is accomplished? You might consider becoming a mentor to someone else who is on the same pathway.

Mentoring can be a powerful personal development and empowerment tool for everyone involved. Not only is the mentee challenged and guided, it is also a test of the mentor’s knowledge and understanding of the subject. For instance, if someone has recently become a sea kayak leader, not only can they share their experience of the assessment process but also what they did to get to that point.

Mentoring should be a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. It not about ‘do it my way or it’s the highway,’ but more about wisdom sharing and reflection.

Program Schedule

BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment:

March 29 to 30, Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey Expedition:

March 31 to April 4, Anglesey, Wales
Ladies Paddle Symposium:

April 5 and 6, Glan Llyn, Wales
Yoga for Paddlers and Paddle Day (ENC):

April 19, Big Lagoon, California
Combat Rolling:

April 20, Crescent City, California
Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training:

April 18 to 23, Oban, Scotland
Private Rolling Classes (during the ENC Kayaking Social):

April 24 to 27, Big Lagoon, California
Simplifying the Rescue:

May 4, Whiskeytown, California
Simplifying the Roll:

May 3 and 4, Whiskeytown, California
Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning:

May 9, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Training:

May 10 to 11, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:

May 17 to 18, Anglesey, Wales

South Greenland Expedition:

July 9 to 20, South Greenland
Nordic Tour:

May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

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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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