Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Alex Laurel

You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore

- André Gide -
novelist, symbolist, social surfer

Friday, March 28, 2008

Long Term Student Development – Day 2

Location: Porth Eilian and Point Lynas, Anglesey.

Students: Richard Janes, Paul Williams

Student Goals: RJ and PW both interested in turning skills. RJ wanted to improve ability to make crisp, sharp turns. PW focus to improve turning in windy conditions.

Coaching Points:

Outside edge turn - whilst holding edge, return for further sweep strokes with paddle skimming water (similar to low brace position). Stable and uses short waterline length for fast turn. If necessary include paddle stroke on ‘upside’ to maintain stability and speed. (“Eureka” moment for RJ)

Inside edge turn - don’t lean heavily on paddle which will slow boat down and be ready to propel boat forward as momentum is lost

Outside edge used with bow rudder - worked well for PW with wind assistance to push bow around

Breaking in / out of flow at Point Lynas - further practice using boat edges. In this situation speed and angle are key elements when sweeping bow into flow and initiate turn. Reverse sweep to continue turn, pivoting on eddy line. N.B – Low angle approach means less edge. Conversely high angle entry needs more edge.

Exercise to improve boat handling skills - Paddle tight box around partners kayak, each direction and reverse. Useful exercise to develop sharp turns and control for use in (eg) rescue situations.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Long Term Student Development – Day 1

Location: Little Orme, Llandudno Bay

Students: Richard Janes; Paul Williams

Student Goals: Paddle to Rhos Bay using conditions for specific coaching points

Coaching Points:

Group Leadership - Paddling in turbulent water. Look for signs of tension within group such as focussed, “wooden” and overly upright paddling style. Consider strategies to help individuals within group to relax. Early explanation of expected conditions, stay reasonably close, words of encouragement / praise

Personal Skills - Forward paddling for power: high angle paddle blade. Enter as if “spearing a fish” Worry less about paddle exit, concentrate on entry and catch. Forward paddling for cruising: low angle. Enter water further away from hull. Mentally consider blade moving diagonally away from hull.

Further considerations - Whenever possible, allow time for mental and physical warm up before paddling more challenging conditions. Tensions may be present for multitude of reasons (Perhaps group member swam previous trip?)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Hilton Dawe

Protection of the 'Creation' is a religious, moral, and ethical matter. The natural world gives us oxygen, water purification, pollination and seemingly other endless services to survive in the healthy environment we call earth. To not protect the 'Creation' is to disrespect the divine and would ultimately lead to our demise

- Gary Lynch -
surfer, surf historian, scientific and religious humanist

Aaaw, surfing's just a bit of fun, isn't it? Inner-tube aerial hi-jinks, by the unshakeable Martin Paradisis, Shipsterns Bluff, Tasmania

Friday, March 21, 2008

Top Tips - Turning In The Wind

Now there about 100 caveats and quid-pro-quos to this subject. Boat design, paddle length, wind strengh, wave conditions. . . the idea is to introduce some concepts for exploration. Don't go out to practice this is a screaming gale! Find a day when you have just enough wind to be challenging, and see if you can't get the upper hand. When practicing, pay attention to wind direction and speed as neither is completely constant and even minor changes may effect your performance.

Before going out on the water consider your boat's 'trim' which is essentially concerned how weight is distributed from front to back. If the boat is out of balance, for instance if all your gear in the front hatch and the back is empty, your kayak could be wildly 'out of trim. All that extra weight in the front will act as an anchor and the boat is likely to do unusual things in wind and waves - one such phenomena is weathercocking (diagram 1) as the wind is be able to 'push round' the lighter end (in this case the stern of the boat). So remember to think about that when you load your boat. Not a mistake to discover whilst out in the middle of a crossing struggling in rough conditions.

Diagram 1 - Weathercocking (Doug Alderson).

Its also worth noting that trim can also be effected by the position of your seat within the boat. To far back and the boat will leecock (turn down wind) so weight the front. Too far forward and it will weathercock (turn into wind) so weight the back or use the skeg (if fitted).

Turning from a headwind to a crosswind can be accomplished through maintaining good speed, wide sweeping forward strokes and edge control. Adjusting your posture in the boat can help unlock the hull and combined with tilting the boat into wind will bring about an affective turn.

Going from crosswind to downwind can be achieved by adopting an active posture (leaning slightly back) and a positive outside edge. Along with this good boat momentum will assist a stern rudder that moves into a broad reverse sweep and then forward stroke (diagram 2) to shape a downwind course.

Diagram 2 - Downwind Turn (Doug Alderson)

When moving from a following sea to a beam sea or cross wind there are some similarities with the above, good boat speed being one and stern rudder into a supporting sweep being another. However, the difference here is that you might lean into the wave, apply an inside edge and rotate the body to look where you are going.

Lastly, an option to consider when moving from a beam sea back upwind is the use of a bow rudder (diagram 3). The essentials still apply, good boat speed and an active posture (leaning slightly forward). The rudder provides a dynamic pivot point around which you might try an outside edge. Though if swell is present these conditions maybe enough to release the boat hull thus bringing about a quick turn.

Diagram 3 - Upwind Turn (Doug Alderson)

As you know we all have our own little methods. Personally when I'm in any kind of rougher conditions I pay attention to getting my paddle as low with the blades locked in the water. This will keep the wind from grabbing my paddle and forces a wider sweep. Occasionally I'll brake a cardinal rule and slide my hands along the shaft and extend the paddle out much further which gives me a stronger sweep thus requiring less strokes to turn the kayak. Remember, you need to do what works for you and everything I said here can be counter argued by others!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Asking Questions

There's a lot to be said for asking the right questions..........

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Jason Childs

The right board won't make you a great surfer, but the wrong one will really screw you up!

- Fletcher Chouinard -
surfer, shaper, materials expeditionary

Serious gutter speed - Rob Machado, flying by on a candy-coloured pocket rocket, Bali.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Judgements

Whilst the following You Tube clip will raise a chuckle there is something to be said about trying not to make judgements based on what we see rather than on what we know

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Moonwalker

Happy Monday, wave dancers!? Here's Jai Lee stoked and jammin' on the leading edge...

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

3rd UK Storm Gathering - Logo

The logo has landed and its been well worth the wait. The 3rd UK Storm Gathering has now got a unique and identifiable emblem which I think reflects well both the nature of the event and the heritage of Wales where the symposium is being held. A tremendous thanks goes to Aled Williams of Tiderace Kayaks who has once again applied his superb design skills to the task.

As instigator of the 1st UK Storm Gathering I hope these events will continue over time, roving from one paddle destination to another, each with its own special theme (and logo). There is a wish also that such gatherings will encourage others to bring about their own paddling festivals, whatever the time of year, as its great fun being around like minded people sharing in the wealth of experience that comes together on such occasions.

For now though, 2008 will be on Anglesey, 2009 will be in that just begs the question, where to go in 2010?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday Morning Wave

Photographer: Russell Ord

Monday morning. Monday morning blues. What is life anyway? I feel trapped, alone even with my family, wife, children, friends. I miss something. Monday morning wave. I forgot those days. I will go back to her. She calls, my old friend. We will reminisce again about the days of old.

- Billy Yeager -

Our charger, Who art in heaven, Shallow be thy game? Cale Grigson prays to the God of Sick Joy at Bungalows, WA