Monday, April 30, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Willy Uribe

"There are no more committed people on the planet than surfers. We fall down a lot. We turn around, paddle back out, and do it over and over again. Unlike anything else in life, the stoke of surfing is so high that the failures quickly fade from memory."
- Gary Sirota (surfer, ocean advocate, rich in love)

Menakoz, bathed in atypical light and looking unusually alluring. Don't be fooled. This place has teeth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Goal Setting - 1

A goal is a specific target rather than an objective: an objective might be to run faster, whilst a goal might be to run one mile in six minutes. Goals can help us reach our objectives in life because they specify what we are working towards (thus giving direction) and the amount of effort required to achieve that target (levels of intensity).

Most individuals set themselves some form of goal. Goals are simply statements of our intentions. If we had no intentions then nothing would be achieved. Also, our intentions may refer to something we will do in five minutes time or to something in the future. This vagueness may lead us to forgetting or failing to achieve the things we wanted to.

Long term objectives are particularly vulnerable to this. For example, you may want to paddle harder. The statement is vague, and makes no reference to conditions or type of paddling settings. If the desire is to paddle in advanced conditions, the future target may seem so far removed that we cannot possibly achieve it. A goal is much more specific, I want to circumnavigate Anglesey in August may be better. There are problems with these types of goal, which I will return to later.

With the example just given, the breaking down of long term goals and objectives into manageable chunks has several benefits. You approach your final objective slowly and establishing small successes on the way

Goals appear to be most effective when they are specific, immediate and challenging but realistic and stated in behavioural or action orientated terms so that progress can be measured. Remembering that a good goal is an effective goal that is achievable where the individual has as much control as possible.

Photo: Kayak Wendy

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Tor Johnson

Sometimes at night, I sleep
I hear the surf calling and I know that somewhere
Hundreds of miles out to sea out in the darkness there is a wave
In the brightness of the day we will have a rendezvous
- Bear Woznick (tandem surfer, waterman, pirate)

Teahupoo East, Philippines – Robin Johnson deciding not to chance this one. You can afford to be choosy with just two people in the lineup, and need to be when there's only about a foot of water underneath. Stay safe, stay at home, surf the net.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Top Tips - Paddles

To really understand paddles you need to experiment a lot with different variables; different lengths, degrees of blade stiffness, blade widths areas and shapes, and also paddling styles. The more you understand, the easier it will be for you to choose a paddle and paddling style that suits what you want to do, and the better you'll be able to use your paddle.

Try a different type of paddle from the one you usually use. Borrow a wing for a while, or a Greenland paddle, or a general touring paddle, whichever is the least familiar to you. If you have an "high angle" paddle style, experiment with a paddle designed for a "low angle" of presentation. Compare the effectiveness of your usual stroke with the effectiveness of a "low angle" stroke.

Learn more about the effect of "swing weight" by attaching a weight to each of your paddle blades. (use elastic bands to hold a small zip-lock bag of water to each blade) You should notice a big difference when you move the weights toward the mid-point of the shaft, so you can figure out for yourself how you prefer the weight to be distributed in a paddle. Take a length of bamboo and use that as a paddle. How does this affect your acceleration and your top speed? When do you experience the greatest amount of flutter, when you're accelerating or when you're cruising?

Curiosity and experimentation can teach you a lot!

Source: Nigel Foster

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Visions & Voyeurism

Photographer: Kayak Wendy

It may be the fact that folk are feeling summer has suddenly sprung forth as we've been enjoying a few days of glorious sunshine here in the UK but is that any reason to suddenly go native any any opportunity? The inspiration behind this post is based on recent incidents where I have paddled / stumbled across cases of beach related frolicking involving people 'sans' clothes. It would appear that I'm not the only one either. Fellow paddler, Kayak Wendy, has also come across those overcome by the sun on her travels.

Photograher: Bob Greenfield

Having recently travelled to Mull for some sea kayaking, I planned to land on a beach at the north end of Iona. An island known for its religous significance and pilgrimages. Despite this, or perhaps because of this, a group of young ladies had decided to commune with nature unaware that anyone may come across them from a vantage point of the sea. What suprised me was their lack of urgency to cover up when I floated into view. We all went our separate ways smiling.

Photographer: Lucinda Manouch

The other occasion was closer to home in North Wales where I was running a kayak safety and rescue session. Whilst the candidates performed suitable tasks, a young couple came rushing into the lake (not a warm mass of water) gave a few shriekd and yelps (of gleee I think) and then dashed back to their van. Maybe they were in desperate need of a wash!

Photographer: Lazlo Woodbine

I know paddlesport can offer a lot...............but you don't expect that!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Dave Sparkes

Football and car racing don't demand that one lives by lunar cycles, river movement, and global wind migration. Surfing does! And for the wave-riding rhythm of life I am thankful

- Chris Malloy -

The Horror. A Mexican beachbreak diablo looms beyond the frolickers. The shore-level telephoto view brings home exactly what needs to be negotiated if you want to surf this wave. Question is, do you?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Top Tips - Gaining Balance

Reactions get quicker with practice. So your ability to balance gets better too, because you react more quickly to shifts of balance. But you don't make big improvements in a stable kayak on flat water. If you want to stretch yourself, try something a little less stable, like a down-river racer, a sprint kayak or a surf ski, or one of the narrower sea kayaks. Try a tippier kayak in choppy water. Try standing in your kayak. Ultimately being able to balance a kayak in a relaxed way is less to do with tight thigh-braces and a lot of grip, it's more about letting go completely with your knees, relaxing your body, maintaining power on your blade and keeping contact with your kayak through your feet and seat. Keep your weight focussed on a narrow line down the center of your kayak, and let your weight shift sideways from your middle while your head stays above your seat. If you try to grip tightly in a tippy kayak you'll wobble like crazy. Keep your knees together, relax, and you'll balance more easily.

Source: Nigel Foster

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Marine Code for Sea Kayaking

The WCA in collaboration with the RSPB and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority have produced the following guidance which should be read if you are taking to the sea to enjoy the British coastline.

One of the joys of kayaking on the sea is the freedom to view wildlife in its natural habitat. However, kayakers have a responsibility to develop an understanding of the needs of wildlife in order to minimise any negative impact. It is recommended that paddlers explore the marine environment in small groups both for safety, and to minimise wildlife disturbance / environmental impacts.

From the 1st of March to the 31st of July is a particularly sensitive time as birds come ashore to nest. Particularly sensitive sites are steep cliffs and zawns. Many (but not all) of the sensitive sites are clearly marked on the Pembrokeshire Marine Code Maps .

Please follow the Pembrokeshire Seabird Code of Conduct:

• Plan trips carefully and with respect to Site Specific Access Restrictions.
• Observe bird’s reactions from a distance.
• Never approach closer than 10m.
Auks (guillemots, razorbills) incubate eggs on their feet; if they fly off ledges in a panic their eggs are dislodged and destroyed. On open water you may encounter ‘rafts’ of sea birds. Avoid causing disturbance to rafting birds as they may regurgitate food meant for their young / take flight during valuable resting time.

Seals haul out to pup on open beaches, and on beaches at the back of caves in Pembrokeshire mainly from August to the end of November. Therefore, unless in an emergency, landing on seal pupping beaches is restricted during these times. Please also avoid landing where there are seal pups or large gatherings of animals at any other time of year.

Particular sites of high density are on Pembrokeshire’s many offshore islands and north of St. David’s Head. Many (but not all) of the sensitive sites are clearly marked on the Pembrokeshire Marine Code Maps .

• Do not land on seal pupping beaches from August to the end of November.
• Avoid creeping up on seals or approaching seals bow on.
• Allow seals an escape route.
• Do not disturb mothers nursing pups. Adult females often rest in the water about 10-30m from the shore & their pup - never paddle between the female & the pup.
• For the sake of your safety and for the health of the seals themselves do not seek to swim with, touch or feed seals.
• Limit observation time to 10 minutes then move on.

On encountering cetaceans
• Continue on your intended route as this will present predictable movements.
• Allow groups of cetaceans to remain together.
• Leave cetaceans with young alone.
• Always allow cetaceans an escape route and avoid boxing them in.
• Leave if you notice any signs of disturbance.

Further information and advice is available from the Activities Liaison Officer on 01646 696134 or 07977939325 and on the Marine Code Website.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: David Pu'u

Women are naturally jealous of other women...
They try to separate us from them...
They say choose the ocean or choose me...
But they forget the ocean... she can be jealous too...
And when she is jealous she comes to me...
so appealing so intoxicating....
she is my first love... let us be.

- Bear Woznick -

Hey, it's Monday! Wake up and taste life as it should be! Dave Hopkins tries a slice of California gold, Ventura.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Top Tips - Is Colour Important?

Are you more visible in some colour kayaks than in others? Yes, but which colours are most visible? Well it's generally accepted that the part of the spectrum from red through to yellow offers high visibility, Our eye sees these colours more quickly than others. And a light, pigment-rich opaque colour is much more visible than a dark or translucent one. But there are some surprises. Pale blue, and teal green for example often show up really well on the sea because they contrast with the natural colors. Fishermen often like black fishing floats because they show up really clearly in some conditions, and white can be strikingly more visible than other colors at a distance when there aren't too many white-caps around. So if you want your kayak to be easily visible, go for a bright pigment-rich opaque color that contrasts with the waters you expect to paddle. That'll give you plenty of options so you can pick a colour you'll be happy to identify with.

Source: Nigel Foster

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Al Mackinnon

Surfing is selfish, yet there's no greater gift than to teach someone to do it

- Jason Borte -

This wasn't the biggest wave of the day, but it was a flawless pit - and that's all you need. John McCarthy, Aileens, Western Ireland.