Friday, June 29, 2007

Top Tips - Taking Breaks

Paddling a long distance along a shoreline that doesn't change much, or across a big body of open water can get boring. Boredom often translates into feeling uncomfortable, making you take more stops for food or water. If you're in a group there's a tendency for each person to take a break at a different time and this can severely slow the progress of the group. So decide how often you all need to take a break and then stop together for regular timed breaks. For example this might be a five minute break every hour, starting on the hour. That way everyone can anticipate the break, and it's easier to push on knowing exactly how long you've got left till your next break.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tiderace Sea Kayaks

In deference to concerns about the use of the word 'inuit' and the 'inukshuk' logo, Aled Williams has changed the name of his new company, IN-UIT Kayaks, to TideRace Sea Kayaks Ltd. The shift in name has been made in respect to the Inuit people, their culture and their identity. 

Whilst the branding may have changed, the sea kayaking public can till expect good things to come. Tiderace Sea Kayaks’ high performance coastal touring & rough water design, the Xcite, is now in production and enjoying rave reviews across mainland Europe. Due to the demand for Aled's innovative design, production in Poland has been further increased.

Work is now in progress to develop the rest of the 2007 fleet in the form of the Xplore and Xtreme.

TideRace Sea Kayaks Ltd.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: JS Callahan

Thoughts manifest into your reality. So, 'Be the creator of your own existence'

- Jesse Faen -

Icah Wilmot turns shallow-water speed into Haitian reef voodoo.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Semper Fidelis


Be faithful to your friends and family

Be faithful to those you love

Be faithful to your values and beliefs

Be faithful to yourself

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


A wise man once said its all about taking responsibility in a situtaion not taking charge of it and this feels nowhere more relevant than working with young people. The biggest unknown when working in the outdoors is how individuals within a group will react to a given situation. You might think that all the angles have been covered and then someone in your care does something completely unexpected.

In today's working environment so much of what we do is dictated by risk assessments, upholding our duty of care and how a group is managed at any particular time. It is important to recognise the legal implications of our responsibilities. Most inexperienced participants in the outdoors can sometimes act irrationally and young people cannot, in the eyes of the law, be expected to act reasonably at all. This means that even if a leader could trust the group to act in a certain way and they do something else that results in harm it is usually considered that the leader is at fault and not the young person.

As outdoor practitioners, we do what we do because we believe its of some worth to those taking part. We encourage participants to take some risks. Perhaps helping them understand the difference between that and being reckless. In all of it everyone needs to be embrace their responsibilities. Be prepared to stand by their decisions and actions, whether it all goes according to plan or not.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Al Mackinnon

Have you ever been out waiting for a wave and up pops a wave that seems to answer your thoughts? And you ride it to the beach and then, paddling back out through so many waves, you feel brainwashed and can't remember the ride? And while waiting for another, you ask yourself: What was I thinking?

- Daily Dale Webster -

An offshore hand applies the texture you love, ruffles the glass to give it dimension, and sculpts the arching overhang to perfection. Hossegor, France.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Top Tips - Forward Paddling

Photo: Birgit Fischer

Sit in your kayak looking forward. Your effective forward stroke should be within your field of vision with the blade exiting within your peripheral vision. When you're moving forward, most of your steering and correction strokes, everything you need to maintain a straight course, can be done outside your peripheral vision if you're looking straight ahead because your most effective corrective strokes address the stern of your kayak. When you make adjustments to your direction, turn your torso toward your blade. If your head is aligned with your torso, you should be able to see your blade at the stern when you make course corrections.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nuclear Wave

Should you be on the look out for something different and fancy running the gauntlet with authority, then try surfing this wave

The water is pretty warm but I doubt you'd want to swim. According the fishermen that line the cliffs, there always a good catch to be had!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Jimmy McMillan

We paddled hard, on our tandem surfboard,
our hands dipping deep into the moonlight shimmering on the sea.
We stood up, I pulled her to me, she turned I lifted her up to the stars
"Will you marry me?" "Yes"
I brought her down and as we surfed we kissed
The wave subsided our passion did not

- Bear Woznick -

A picture perfect peek at artist Jimmy McMillan's favorite hideaway, Byron Shire, Australia.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Top Tips - Slow Down

Trying to master a new technique? Slow down! Most paddle strokes and their associated movements can be done slowly, even the components of a roll. By practicing the movement in slow motion you can focus on the minutiae without disrupting the flow. Then when the detail is correct, you can gradually speed up. A lot of strokes work best when performed fairly slowly, and precision is more important than speed anyway.

Source: Nigel Foster

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Experiential Learning

Photo: Kayak Wendy

Experiential learning is the process by which a participant creates meaning from focused reflection based upon a direct experience. It is a necessary part but not the sole component of experiential education. Though many use the terms interchangeably, experiential learning refers to the process that a learner undergoes, where as experiential education refers to the transformational development between educator and perfomer and the larger social context of that educational process. The underlying premise of experiential learning explores the cyclical pattern of all learning from experience through reflection and conceptualising to action and on to further experience.

A leading exponent on the subject of experiential learning theory (ELT) is David A. Kolb who is also renowned in educational circles for his Learning-Style Inventory (LSI). His seminal work entitled 'Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development' published in 1984 has influenced academics, teachers, coaches and trainers ever since by introducing fundamental concepts about human learning behaviour. Kolb attributes his work to the likes of John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Kurt Lewin, Roger Fry, and others writers of the experiential learning paradigm.

David Kolb's theory sets out four distinct learning styles (or preferences), which are based on a four-stage learning cycle. In this respect Kolb's model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people's different learning styles, and also an explanation of a spiralling cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all. He includes this 'cycle of learning' as a central principle of ELT in which 'immediate or concrete experiences' provide a basis for 'observations and reflections'. These 'observations and reflections' are assimilated and distilled into 'abstract concepts' producing new implications for action which can be 'actively tested' in turn creating new experiences.

His LSI model is built upon the idea that learning preferences can be described using two lines of axis (continuums): 1) Processing Continuum which connects active experimentation (AE) with reflective observation (RO) and represents our approach to a task (preferring to do or watch) and 2) Perception Continuum linking abstract conceptualisation (AC) with concrete experience (CE) and reflects our emotional response to the situation(preferring to think or feel). This results in four types of learners: accommodator (CE-AE), converger (AC-AE), assimilator (AC-RO), and diverger (CE-RO). Explanations of these learning types can be downloaded here in Word format.

Finally, a common overlay on Kolb's model is that of Peter Honey and Alan Mumford's learning styles system which they regard as a natural variation - "Our description of the stages in the learning cycle originated from the work of David Kolb. He uses different words to describe the stages of the learning cycle and four learning styles..." and, "...the similarities between his model and ours are greater than the differences..." (Honey & Mumford, 1982)

In summary, here are brief descriptions of Honey & Mumford's four key styles and their mutually corresponding relationship within Kolb's model in which the learning styles are a product of combinations of the learning cycle stages.

'Having an Experience' (CE), and Activists (style 1): 'here and now', gregarious, seek challenge and immediate experience, open-minded, bored with implementation.

'Reviewing the Experience' (RO) and Reflectors (style 2): 'stand back', gather data, ponder and analyse, delay reaching conclusions, listen before speaking, thoughtful.

'Concluding from the Experience' (AC) and Theorists (style 3): think things through in logical steps, assimilate disparate facts into coherent theories, rationally objective, reject subjectivity and flippancy.

'Planning the next steps' (AE) and Pragmatists (style 4): seek and try out new ideas, practical, down-to-earth, enjoy problem solving and decision-making quickly, bored with long discussions.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Monday Morning Wave

Photo: Jason Childs

After surfing for over 40 years, I'm the first one to make excuses. A sore back, a bit of wind, tired after work, unseasonably cold water. You know. But lately I have figured out that there is a great value in hydrotherapy. Even if I get to the beach as the sun is setting, I will try to get a wave or four. If the surf isn't good, a swim sure cleans the foam out of the eyes and is great for the mental outlook. The point is, you never know when you might not be able to get in the water, so get it while you can!

- Jay Novak -

Dave Rastovich has a theory that too much thought messes things up. Not thinking, beautifully.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Top Tips - Launching Locations

It's surprisingly easy to head out from shore on a day-trip without a backward glance, only to struggle to find the place you launched from when returning. Whenever you set off from a new location, remember to look back frequently to see what the launch place looks like from the water. As you paddle further away different landmarks that are not visible from close to shore can slide into sight. When you return you can use the same visual clues to approach the general area, then pick up on the detailed visual clues to guide you back to your landing. Bear in mind too that a falling or rising tide can change the appearance of a coastline, and may turn your cliffs with water lapping at the base into broad stretches of rocks and sand with cliffs rising from the sand hundreds of yards from the water. Refer to your chart to determine what the coast will look like at high and low water before setting off. That way you won't be have that unpleasant surprise upon your return. Remember also, in some places the shore at low tide dries out considerably from the high water line making for a very different place indeed!