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Greenland or Bust’s November Newsletter

November8TH UK STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM • GREENLAND EXPEDITION

Kayak ‘season’ is only just now slowing down for us here at Greenland or Bust. It has been a WONDERFUL year. We’ve run classes and taught at symposiums in Wales, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England and the U.S. (South Carolina, California, Minnesota and Oregon). In addition to all of this, we also had our first Storm Gathering USA event, which took place in Trinidad, California. Now we’ve got a little time to reflect on the past twelve months and get working on next year’s schedule.

October started with Simplifying the Roll and some private classes on Anglesey, in Wales. Then we went to Cornwall, England for the Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium. After that, Helen headed to Pacific City, Oregon, for the Lumpy Waters Symposium. This weekend she hosts a Halloween Campout at Stone Lagoon (California) for our local club, Explore North Coast. Mark remained in Cornwall to teach various BCU and ISKGA programs before finishing the month with some sea kayak skills development courses, including an ISKGA Fundamentals Level 1 in North Wales.

In November, Helen will be teaching Traditional Paddling and Rolling and Simplifying the Roll at Horseshoe Cove in California. Mark will be working on some BCU and ISKGA programs on Anglesey. After that, both of us will be spending the month wrapping up our 2016 schedule.

In December, we’ve got classes in San Diego, Marina Del Rey and Dana Point (all in California). And then 2016 starts…

2016 will be a very busy year, but there’s two events that you should lock into your calendar now. February 20 to 22 is the 8th UK Storm Gathering Symposium, which takes place on Anglesey in Wales. The main event will be followed by BCU and ISKGA Week. Second, our next Greenaland expedition takes place in the Disco Bay (Ilulissat) area from July 20 to 31, 2016, and there are only a couple of places left! Contact us at info@greenlandorbust.org for more information.

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

Happy paddling!

Helen and Mark


Q & A with Helen

Progression from the Butterfly Roll to the Hand Roll

Question: I am doing fine on my standard roll, but my easiest roll has always been the Butterfly Roll. I have been looking at some Greenland roll videos online, and the hand rolls look very similar to me to the Butterfly Roll. Do they feel very similar? Any advice before I try one?

Answer: A hand roll is very similar to a Butterfly Roll. To progress to this roll, it’s a good idea to first fine tune your Butterfly Roll. Following are the steps to a solid Butterfly Roll (described with a right side recovery).

– During the capsize, keep your paddle in contact with the kayak. Your paddle should remain in contact with the kayak throughout the underwater set-up position.

– Once there, explode, opening your left arm and driving with your right knee at the same time. Opening your left arm should put shoulders square to the surface of the water.

– Put your chin into the air, and slide onto the back deck.

When you feel that you are ready to move on, hold a norsaq in the center, just as you would when doing a Butterfly Roll. It’s the exact same roll, so all of the same rules apply.

When this is easy for you, try doing the same roll while holding the smaller end of the norsaq. The Greenlandic name for this roll is Norsamik Nerfalallugu (Throwing Stick, Front to Back).

And finally, once this roll feels natural, remove the norsaq and do the same roll. That’s your layback hand roll (Assammik Nerfallallugu).


Program Schedule

Halloween Campout at Stone Lagoon
(for ENC)
October 31 to November 1,
Stone Lagoon, California

Traditional Paddling and Rolling
November 7, Horseshoe Cove, California

Simplifying the Roll
November 8, Horseshoe Cove, California

ISKGA Expedition Skills
November 10 to 12, Falmouth, Cornwall

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment
November 13 and 14, Anglesey, Wales

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment
November 23 and 24, Anglesey, Wales

BCU Open Water Navigation & Tidal Planning
November 28, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
December 12 and 13, San Diego, California

Simplifying the Roll
December 19, Dana Point, California

Simplifying the Roll
December 20, Marina Del Rey, California


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 © 2015 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

Greenland or Bust’s September Newsletter

September 15THE NORDIC TOUR • GREENLAND EXPEDITION •
8TH UK STORM GATHERING SYMPOSIUM

We’re writing this newsletter from a hot and sunny Malmo, Sweden, the second to last stop on this year’s Rebel Kayaks supported Nordic Tour. This year’s Tour ends tomorrow, and we can’t believe that it’s almost over. It has been a wonderful summer! We’ve met lots of great people, seen lots of fantastic places and worked with over 1,000 incredibly awesome people. THANK YOU to everyone that has been part of our summer!

Throughout August we ran Simplifying the Roll and a BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning class during Värmlands Paddelfestival in Karlstad, Simplifying the Roll and an instructor training day in Helsingborg (both in Sweden), Simplifying the Roll in Rungsted, Simplifying the Roll and technique classes in Frederiksvaerk and Simplifying the Roll during the Gronlandsk Symposium in Svendborg (all in Denmark). This weekend we’ll be running Simplifying the Roll, Simplifying the Rescue, Incident Management and Yoga for Paddlers in Malmo and Simplifying the Roll in Karlshamn (both in Sweden).

Later in September, Helen will be teaching Simplifying the Roll at Big Lagoon, in California, and then heading to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering, taking place at Lake Carlos State Park. After that she’ll be teaching Simplifying the Roll and Simplifying the Rescue at Whiskeytown Lake in California, followed by a trip to Mendocino to run private rolling classes during Mendo Madness.

Meanwhile, Mark will be running a BCU 4 Star Sea Training and Assessment in Pembrokeshire, Wales, followed by a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment on Anglesey, also in Wales.

Later in the year we’ll be teaching Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling together on Anglesey, then heading to the Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium in Southern England. Helen then heads to Pacific City, Oregon for Lumpy Waters. Most of our winter programs will then be in California, until February, when we head to Anglesey to run the 8th UK Storm Gathering Symposium. Will you be there???

And finally, are you interested in joining us for a Greenland expedition? Next year’s expedition will take place in the Disco Bay/Ilulissat area from July 20 to 31, 2016, and places are filling fast. Contact us at info@greenlandorbust.org for more information.

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


Q & A with Helen

Front to Front Norsaq Roll
(Norsamik Masikkut)

Question: My forward/forward norsaq roll only works the following way. First, I must open eyes and watch the outward sweep until the point of the “back down and under to touch the hull” part. Secondly, I can’t seem to leave the left hand touching the Qajaq. Only when I touch the back of the sweeping hand with the one that’s supposed to be left touching the gunnel, does it work. Thoughts?

Answer: It sounds like you’re doing a two handed norsaq roll. If that’s the only way this roll is working for you, then you’re using too much “arm” and not enough “body.” When I do this roll I find that the power comes from my abs. From your description, it sounds like you’re recovering on the right side of your qajaq, so I’ll describe it with that recovery:

– Extend directly out to the right side of your qajaq as far as you can.

– Reach up with not only your norsaq, but the top of your head as well. Try to get your eyebrows out of the water. This should put a nice arch in your back.

– Meanwhile your left hand should be doing nothing. I hold the bottom of my qajaq. It’ll slide a bit during your extension, but just try to keep loose contact with the qajaq.

– When you think that your body is in the right position, focus all of your energy on the crunch. Basically, picture every internal organ squeezing into a spot a couple of couple of inches to the right of your belly button. Lift your knee to hit that spot, and slide your hunched upper body over the front deck. Your shoulders should stay square to the sea floor and then to the qajaq deck.

– With the norsaq, from the extended position, and while you’re doing all of the body movements described above, push it through the water to get some lift. Follow through until it hits the bottom of your qajaq. By this time, the rest of you should be up. As with any roll, this really has way more to do with what you do with your body than what you do with whatever object you’re holding.


Program Schedule
Nordic Tour 2015:

May 23 to August 30, Norway, Denmark and Sweden

May 23 to 24 Asker, Norway

May 29 to 31 Oslo, Norway

June 5 to 7 Fitjar, Norway

June 9 Bergen, Norway

June 10 to 11 Glesvaer, Norway

June 13 to 14 Austevoll, Norway

June 18, Skudeneshavn, 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 The Rest…

Simplifying the Roll
September 5, Big Lagoon, California

Traditional Paddlers’ Gathering
September 10 to 13,
Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Training
September 14 to 18, Pembrokeshire, Wales

BCU 4 Star Assessment
September 19 to 20, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
September 19 and 20, Whiskeytown, California

Simplifying the Rescue
September 19, Whiskeytown, California

Private Rolling Classes during Mendo Madness
September 25 to 27, Mendocino, California

BCU 4 Star Assessment
September 26 to 27, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll
October 3, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling
October 4, Anglesey, Wales

Sea Kayaking Cornwall Symposium
October 10 to 11, Cornwall, England

Lumpy Waters
October 16 to 18, Pacific City, Oregon

Traditional Skills Paddle (for ENC)
November 1, Stone Lagoon, California


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

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

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

Jamaica Circumnavigation Dispatches: A Delayed Start

Photo 02-01-2015 19 02 50

Photograph by: Alain Hottat – www.jamaicashoots.com

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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/

Photo 06-01-2015 22 48 11

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!

Greenland or Bust’s Newsletter

November News

FIRST TIME CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF JAMAICA • STORM GATHERING USA

Here at Greenland or Bust, November is often one of the busiest months of the year. Although we’re home, and it may appear that we’re not actually working, we’re really busy making plans for the coming year, and there are LOTS of exciting things on the schedule.

First off we’re super stoked to be attempting a first time circumnavigation of Jamaica with Wes Moses. The three of us will launch on Sunday, Dec. 28 and paddle through most of January. We’re looking forward to lots of water time, as well as just enjoying Jamaica.

Another exciting thing on the schedule is the Storm Gathering U.S.A. event taking place out of Trinidad, California on March 6 to 8. We’re the organizers of the UK Storm Gathering, which has become increasingly popular since it began in Scotland in 2006. The UK Storm Gathering takes place every other year, and so we figured, “what the heck, let’s run an event in the U.S. the years in between.” We’ll have more information posted soon, but we can tell you that registration opens on Monday, Dec. 1. Come join us, there’s a storm brewing…

In other works, we’ll be doing another Rebel Kayaks sponsored Nordic Tour. We currently have classes confirmed in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The tour will take place during the summer months, with a break in the middle to travel to Sisimiut, Greenland to participate in the 30 year anniversary of the Greenland National Kayaking Championship. The complete tour schedule will be posted in early 2015.

We’re also guiding an expedition in Antarctica from December 31, 2015 to January 27/28, 2016. Wanna go with us? E-mail us at info@greenlandorbust.org for details.

With all of this exciting stuff coming up, it’s nice to take a step back to reflect on the past month. Helen headed up to Pacific City, Oregon to teach at Lumpy Waters. This is a really great event, and Paul, Suzi and Dave do a wonderful job of putting it all together. If you haven’t made it to this one yet, it should be on your list for next year. Helen also hopped over to Israel to teach at Optimist’s Symposium. This was her fifth year at the event, and it was great to catch up with the paddling community from that part of the world. Israel is an incredible place with friendly people, warm water, unbelievable city ruins and quite possibly Helen’s favorite food on the planet.

While Helen was doing all of this, Mark was running a BCU 4 Star Sea Training and BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment on Anglesey in Wales, as well as providing some regional coach development programs for Canoe Wales. He was also one of the guest coaches at the DGI’s Autumn Coach Conference in Holbæk, Denmark.

Coming up in November Helen will be presenting in Eureka, California on South Greenland Expedition and The Greenland National Kayaking Championship. Other than that we’re spending the month working on putting together all of the exciting things that are planned for the coming year.

In December we’ll be leading a trip out of Crescent City, California, then heading south to run classes in Dana Point and Marina Del Rey. We’re looking forward to spending part of the holidays with family and then flying over to Jamaica to meet up with Wes and paddle around the place.

With so much going on, it’s hard not to get excited. Don’t forget to put our Storm Gathering USA event on your calendar!

As usual, visit www.greenlandorbust.org for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings.

You can also find us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email info@greenlandorbust.org. Happy paddling!

– Helen and Mark

Helen’s Mentoring Madness

Most kayakers live close to one or more bodies of water, and many of us get into the routine of paddling out of the same spot, time after time. Depending on weather and water conditions, that same spot might change personalities frequently, which is why we don’t get bored with paddling the same paddle over and over again.

However, don’t let yourself miss out on other great opportunities. Often where there’s water, there are numerous launch sites, or even numerous bodies of water. While an ocean can provide an open water experience, a lagoon can be a secret haven, a bay on a windy day might provide a downwind adrenaline rush and a river might provide wildlife encounters that you wouldn’t have in saltier waters. Whatever the body of water, there are adventures out there, and if you can’t find them locally, then a road trip with friends might calling to you…

Program Schedule

Traditional Skills Paddle (ENC): November 1, Stone Lagoon, California

Who’s Leading Who?: November 1, Llyn Padarn, North Wales

South Greenland Expedition and The Greenland National Kayaking Championship (presentation):

November 10, Eureka, California

ENC Crescent City Paddle: December 7, Crescent City, California

Simplifying the Roll: December 13, Dana Point, California

Simplifying the Roll: December 20, Marina Del Rey, California

Jamaica Circumnavigation Attempt: December 28, Jamaica

…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 Good Store.

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Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.

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

info@greenlandorbust.org

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.

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.

adjdjasd

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.

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!

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