Friday, March 30, 2007

Amazing People - Sean Morley

Photo: Sean Morley Collection

During my recent travels I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Sean Morley, who is a renowed British paddler currently living in California. Though our paths have crossed momentarily in the past at symposiums and trade shows, this was the first time I'd had to really talk with him. Sean is clearly a pleasant guy to be around with a rich and open outlook on life. And like many others, he's keen for people to enjoy themselves on the sea and is forging his way ahead in that line of work.

Sean originates from Cornwall and began expedition sea kayaking in 1996. He set a record for the fastest crossing of the Irish Sea in 1998. In 2004 he went on to complete the first solo circumnavigation of the UK and Ireland, the first ever to include all the inhabited island. Details of his exploits can be found at Expedition Kayak

Now a resident of Marin, Sean is working with Sea Trek on a number of their sea kayak clinics as well as being the West Coast representative for Valley Sea Kayaks. Sean has also featured in the This Is the Sea series of sea kayaking DVD's as produced by Justine Curgenven. If you are ever near Sausalito, call in at Sea Trek and say "Hi", you might just get some time on the water with Sean as well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Paddling The Bay

I do enjoy my sea kayaking and if there's a chance to get on the water I'll take it. Doesn't have to be big and bold, just some quality time away from the rest of the world. So on a recent trip to the States and having hooked up with a very helpful outfitter, I found myself exploring a new stretch of water and the chance to see a fabulous monument to human endeavour from an entirely unique persepective.

Leaving the protection of the marina in Sausalito with my rental kayak from Sea Trek. You can almost make out the high rise buildings of San Francisco, Alcatraz and the Bay bridge on the horizon. The weather gor worse after this.

My target, now clearly insight, between the wind and rain. At one point I almost lost complete sight of it and land when the sea mist came in.

I stopped for a rest just before Lime Point to give myself a moment to think through the next part of the paddle. There was never any break from the wind. It was only later I found out this area is known as Hurricane Corner!

I was actually quite relieved to get round the corner into some shelter again from the constant wind and rain. Though I had my own trusty base layers on, the rain was pretty much getting through everthing and it wasn't a warm day.

The only other boat on the water that day! the comment on my return was something along the lines of "mad dogs and Englishmen..........". All good clean fun nonetheless. And like the Governor of California might say "I'll be back"

The Golden Gate Bridge. was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and the United States. It is currently the second longest suspension bridge in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Scott Aichner

"I think the actual act of surfing is a little over-rated. Sure it's fun, but my peak experiences frequently come when I'm not standing on a board. Few things in life create long term memories like a heavy wipeout. It can be tuff to recall a good ride after the next set, but a solid spanking stays fresh for decades." - Grant Washburn (surfer, cinematographer)

In surfing, it's the journey that counts, not the destination. Kirby Brown, in no hurry to reach the shoulder, taken in by his surroundings... in Western Oz.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Amazing People - Mark Tozer

Okay, so what so amazing about me? Well, today is that special day in the year when I can celebrate all manner of things about my life. One being how I've managed to still be upright and breathing after all this time!

Not sure how much wisdom comes with age but I'm learning something new every day :0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Euro Style Rolling

A useful perspective on rolling for a coach or performer

This video demonstrates the principles of the C-to-C kayak Roll

This video demonstrates the principles the Twist and Slice Roll

Learning to roll has many different dimensions. Not only in the style of roll we may learn but the personal benefits that can be gained from mastering a technique. I feel that learning to roll should be fun and create confidence in the performer. The topic of technique is often over debated, though I agree some methods are more appropriate than others. What is important is how the student discovers the principles of movement involved in bringing the boat into an upright postion. That is the movement of the body, the blade and the boat.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Russell Ord

"Like your soul, the ocean can lift, clarify, enliven, and empower, all without demanding anything in return. Yet, to keep it healthy, the soul requires respect. What have you done for your ocean today?" - Gary Sirota (surfer, ocean advocate)

How far will you go? Tom Innes calmly commits himself to the madness of the moment. North Point double-up, Western Oz.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Amazing People - Nick Cunliffe

Nick Cunliffe is an active and experienced Level 5 Coach (inland kayak and sea kayak) and WCA Contracted Course Provider. In the past he has run a succesful adventure sports business in Llanberis where he organised the coaching programme and ensures that all Coach Education courses meet the highest coaching standards. Nick currently provides his services as a stand alone operator as well as producing the successful Kayak Essentials DVD.

Nick has been active across a number of watersports disciplines including sailing, windsurfing, river kayaking, coasteering and sea kayaking. Nick has occasionaly been known to enjoy mountain activities too.

As a long standing practitioner within coaching and instruction Nick has worked at two national centres in Wales, Plas Menai and Plas y Brenin. He continues to mentor and train aspirant paddlesports coaches at all levels. Learners that come into contact with Nick are often impressed with his empathy and ability to give feedback in a way that is understood by the performer.

As for global travels, Nick has enjoyed adventures with a boat in Europe, Alaska, Norway and Mexico

Nick features in Justine Curgenven's excellent sea kayaking DVD series 'This is the Sea 2 and 3'

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: David Sparkes

There are people that surf but that does not make them a surfer... Surfers have ancient souls, we feel the rythem of the ocean, even in our sleep, or when we make love, or in the middle of a business meeting... we feel the rythem of the ocean deep in our souls...

- Bear Woznick -

Dave Weare slips into something more comfortable than the seat you're sitting in right now. Punta Mexicana.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Amazing People - This Is The Sea 3

The reason Justine Curgenven's latest DVD falls into this category is due to the fact that a number of people that feature in it are also mentioned here within my blog, and I think it its important to applaud the efforts of others especially your friends There is also the clear and obvious reason that Justine has again achieved a remarkable balance in representing a number of perspectives on our sport through two hours of visual stimulation in the form of action, wildlifes and seakayaking expeditions covering Antarctica, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand, Wales & Scotland. Also included is Greenland rolling with Cheri Perry and Freya Hoffmeister, the legendary Paul Caffyn and fantastic tidal race footage of the Falls of Lora.

All three volumes of This Is The Sea should become, deservedly so, a superb legacy for future generations to learn about what has been accomplished so far in sea kayaking terms and what may yet be still possible. It will inform anyone who watches the series, or even just this one, of the passionb and enthusaism particpants have of the sea, whatever the dimension.

Furthermore, Justine will be donating a percentage of sales from this DVD to the Andrew McAuley Support Fund , partly because it contains the story of Andrew's recent 800km journey down the Antarctic peninsula, which he filmed. For every copy Justine sells she will give US$1.50 to Andrew's family.

This Is The Sea 3 will be premiered on 10th March at Canoecopia in Wisconsin

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Despite having been on the water on an a regular basis this winter I'm still feeling somewhat lacking in paddle ready fitness. With all sorts of goals set for the year ahead including a trip to Alaska, I feel some sort of training regime is in order which may well includes a weekly trip to the gym. Now this is not something I usually go for but the benefits are clear, if I stick with it that is. However, as the clip above parodies the dangers of, the one device I'll not be using is the running machine!

Monday, March 05, 2007

What Defines Us?

Photo: Sascha Hüttenhain

I attended a conference recently in Edinburgh where I had the opportunity to present some of my research. A frequent question asked of me on that day 'what is it you do?'. There was apparent confusion amongst the intellectual gathering when I gave the glib reply of 'well right now, breathing'. This was not the required answer or desired response as it didn't aid those making the enquiry as to my role, function or reason for being. I wasn't deliberatly trying to be obtuse but was somewhat annoyed that those in attendance need to establish some sort of credibility reference frame rather than just accepting the status quo at the time. Namely, I am who I am and I'm here because I'm here.

On the train journey home I began to think more about the question put to me and how my sense of belonging was being mapped out through defined descriptors attached to me by others. Is our existance given meaning by what we do, by what we own, say or look like. I would say that it is the intersection of these categories that may define us. I realise that this is far from revelatory and that there are dedicated sites for delving deeper into such topics. Its just an aspect of my persona that values the importance of learning, exploring, and widening my breadth of knowledge through sound questioning and reflection. Perhaps due to the fact that in the past, I was to busy try to find meaning in the 'what?' rather than the 'why?'.

Photo: Sascha Hüttenhain

Friday, March 02, 2007

Amazing People - Alys Mendus

Alys Mendus is a great source of inspiration to me. There are only a handful of people I know who can fill theirs lives with as much productive activity. Alys has the energy, enthusiasm and passion for life that sustains a remarkable sense of being. Every hour of every day is engaged in fufilling something of purpose and benefit. And this is not just in some sort of self indulgent way, Alys has the desire and willingness to share what she knows and what she loves with as many others who are open to such generosity.

In the time I have known Alys, which is over a decade now, she has proved to be to be a trustworthy, reliable and enthusistic friend. Alys possesses great maturity and conducts herself with reassuring confidence and efficiency. Qualities that I feel are particularly valuable traits in this modern society of ours. Whether its in the mountains, on a snowboard or clinging to a rock face, Alys such can't help herslef but get stuck in. Such is the boundless 'joi de vive' Alys possesses. She's even promised to give sea kayaking in the UK a go, though Alys has been spoilt by the trips she completed in New Zealand (which is a lot warmer and sunnier).

Photo: Alys Mendus Collection

If you were ever searching for a vibrant and wonderful travelling companion to have great adventures with......look no further