Friday, April 29, 2011

If You Wish...

If you wish to be respected, then be ever respectful. 
If you wish to be understood, then sincerely understand others. 
If you wish to be appreciated, then be ever grateful. 
If you wish to be loved, then give love in each moment. 

If you wish to be wealthy, then act to create real value. 
If you wish to learn, then take time to teach. 
If you wish to climb higher, then life others up. 
If you wish to be wise, then share what you know. 

Whatever you wish, life will surely give it. 
What you must do, though, is to truly live it. 
There is so much to live for and so much to see. 
You will have whatever you are willing to be. 

~ Ralph Marston ~

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sea Kayak Fitness

Having emerged from a semi-active winter and aware of the effects being desk bound has had on  me, I thought there might be some value in exploring how our beloved pastime of sea kayaking can help us get into shape and paddle fit.

Sea kayaking is considered to be a relatively low-impact activity that can contribute to improved cardiovascular health. It is also possible to build the muscles of the back, chest and arms through the action of paddling if done on a regular basis. A paddler’s torso and legs may also get a workout while sea kayaking if they are used to apply pressure that powers and maintains balance and control of the boat. Research shows that an ideal aerobic exercise establishes regular, rhythmic contractions in the large muscle groups. Paddling a sea kayak smoothly meets this definition, using the large muscles of your chest, back and core.

Core Strength 

Developing core strength should be an important element for sea kayakers. This can be developed through exercises that enhance the muscles required for rotational movements of the trunk and abdominal areas. For example, you can build strength in your lower body by using squats and leg extensions. For abdominal strength and torso rotation try crunches using a balance ball. Performing plank, a yoga-based posture, forces you to rely on your core to remain balanced on your toes and elbows while you are stretched out parallel to the floor. Use triceps dips and bicep curls help to work the arms. 

Cardiovascular Training 

Sea kayaking is very much an endurance activity that engages the heart and the lungs. Preparing your cardiovascular system for kayaking requires some discipline specific training so consider the duration and distance you trips. For example, plan to kayak 10 to 12 miles by paddling 5 or 6 miles in one direction and returning to your starting point. This will account for wind resistance and not having to arrange for a car shuttle. During the paddle, aim for a consistent cadence of stroke, or pace. Use smooth forward strokes that rely on the torso rotation rather than shoulder strength. This allows you go the distance set and begin to build up to longer distances without soreness or injury. Incorporating staged bursts of speed, either for a set time or number of paddle strokes, will also help you to get faster. 

Cross Training 

As with any activity that requires cardiovascular endurance, cross-training using high-intensity aerobic exercises, such as mountain biking and running, can improve fitness levels. While the movement patterns for biking or running do not simulate kayaking movements, developing endurance ensures you won't be stranded on the water too tired to paddle to safety or back to shore. 


Getting fit for sea kayaking offers many benefits. A balanced training programme develops good cardio fitness and upper body strength while adding finesse to your paddling efficiency. Effective stroke techniques increase as you put more time in the water paddling. Like any form of regular exercise, sea kayaking can contribute to weight lose as part of a calorie controlled diet.

According to Harvard Health Publications, a paddler who weighs 125 lbs. burns 150 calories while sea kayaking for 30 minutes. For a person weighing 155 lbs, the same 30 minutes of sea kayaking burns 186 calories. A 185-lb. person burns 222 calories during a half-hour of sea kayaking. Factors other than weight that influence the calories you burn while kayaking include your speed and environmental conditions, such as wind and currents.

So whilst its good to get and get active, doing it with a plan and with purpose is even better for your overall well-being. More in-depth articles are available here:

Fitness for Kayaking - Myths and Hard Realities by Trevor Gardner, New South Wales Sea Kayak Club

Food For Thought - How To Maximise Your Paddling Energy by Sharon Trueman, New South Wales Sea Kayak Club

Friday, April 22, 2011

Life is...

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

~ Mother Teresa ~

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sea Kayak Essentials

Sea Kayak Essentials from Kayak Essentials on Vimeo.

Sea Kayak Essentials is a new instructional DVD that focuses on solid foundation skills for advanced performance with structured chapters covering the essentials of boat speed; angle and trim; body position; and stroke linking. Sea Kayak Essentials addresses the fundamentals of posture, connectivity, feel and power transfer as well as the core skills of forward paddling, balancing and turning, use of the skeg and boat awareness exercises.

Sea Kayak Essentials is presented and performed by Nick Cunliffe, an active and experienced BCU level 5 sea kayak coach. Technical analysis and coaching progressions are provided by Nick throughout the DVD.

The DVD is currently available for pre-order at £19.95, including free postage within the United Kingdom. Comprehensive technical notes that accompany Sea Kayak Essentials can be downloaded here as a PDF file.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kokatat Sponsors Sara Outen

Kokatat is proud to sponsor Sara Outen’s “London 2 London: Via the World” expedition. Departing from London on April 1st 2011, Outen will circumnavigate the globe using only human-powered transportation.

At 24-years old, Outen was the first woman, and youngest person ever, to row solo across the Indian Ocean. The “London 2 London” expedition is a significantly larger undertaking. She will cover 20,000-miles, across two oceans and three continents. Her only forms of transportation will be a specialized rowing boat, a bike and a kayak.

Though Sarah will be the only person to complete the round-the-world journey in its entirety, Justine Curgenven - award winning adventure filmmaker and expedition sea kayaker - will join her for several kayaking stages. These two Kokatat-sponsored athletes continue to challenge the limits of the human psyche and of physical expectations. Kokatat are providing Sarah with, amongst other items, a Expedition Dry Suit, Polartec® Power Dry® Liner and a Guide PFD.

The pair set off on Friday 1st April from Tower Bridge and arrived in Dover on Sunday. Having heard that bad weather was predicted, they opted for a night crossing to Calais. Sarah and Justine successfully crossed the 21 nautical miles of the English Channel in 10 hours. Sarah will now cycle across Europe to Russia and, as closely as possible, her round the world journey will follow this course:

• London to France by kayak: 102 nautical miles
• France to Russia by bike: 7,800 miles
• Russia to Japan by bike and kayak: 1,100 miles
• Japan to Canada by rowing boat: 4,300 nautical miles
• Canada to Nova Scotia by bike and kayak: 3,000 miles
• North Atlantic Ocean to UK by rowing boat: 2,500 nautical miles
• UK landing point to Thames Bridge, London, by kayak and bike

Sarah expects to finish her adventure in the London, in the fall of 2013. Follow her progress on her personal blog and at the Kokatat blog.

About Kokatat Watersports Wear

Celebrating 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions.

As always, Kokatat continues to support experienced paddlers attempting first descents and expeditions. The company proudly provides the athletes with the best paddling gear in the whitewater industry.

Please visit and follow Kokatat on Twitter “@kokatat” 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kokatat Celebrates 40th Anniversary

In today’s marketplace, it is rare to see a manufacturing company celebrating 40 years as an independent, environmentally minded business. Kokatat is proud to be operating in the same town, where it all began. Under the stewardship of founder Steve O’Meara, Kokatat Watersports Wear has been manufacturing industry-leading watersports apparel and gear in Arcata, California since its inception in 1971.

Steve guides the company with an extraordinary vision and mission to create innovative paddle wear and accessories for paddling enthusiasts, from recreational paddlers to extreme kayakers. Over the decades, he has preserved Kokatat as a fun, independent company with a forward-thinking, eco-conscious perspective that inevitably has retained a contented workforce of longstanding employees.

In 2009, Kokatat earned an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2008 certificate, validating their commitment to providing top-quality products and customer satisfaction under the guidance of a superior management system.

Most recently, Kokatat installed a 26-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system, expected to provide 100-percent of the energy required to power the company’s 40+ sewing machines. In 2010, Kokatat was named Arcata’s Green Business of the Year, recognizing Kokatat’s proactive green practices, social equality and economic vitality to their Humboldt County region. Beyond the company’s environmental stewardship to manufacture domestically and integrate recycled materials into their product line, Kokatat’s employees also regularly participate in community development and maintenance projects.

“The evolution of Kokatat would not be where it is today without our amazing & creative team or the support of our friends and patrons,” said O’Meara. “The beautiful natural environment and loyal community of Arcata has inspired our green & social equity business practices.”

Here is a link to an interesting article about the history of the drysuit based on an interview conducted by David H. Johnston with Steve O'Meara, Founder and CEO of Kokatat.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Incident Report

Two kayakers were rescued by Redcar RNLI after the pair began drifting towards rocks when one lost a paddle and the second tried to help. 

One of the kayakers used a mobile phone to dial 999 to raise the alarm and Humber Coastguard tasked the Redcar RNLI lifeboat to go to their assistance. The two men, both from Redcar, were picked up within two minutes of the lifeboat launching and returned to the beach unharmed. 

Dave Cocks from Redcar RNLI said: 'The two were fishing off Redcar when it appears that one of the kayakers either lost or damaged his paddle. The other went to assist but they both found themselves drifting towards the rocks. The seas weren't very rough but they were concerned for their own safety so they did the right thing by calling for help. 

'They were equipped with life jackets and we're always pleased to see that when we get alongside. 

'The advice is to take a marine VHF radio when anybody goes to sea. A mobile phone may not always get a signal and the coastguard can direction-find a VHF radio signal. 

'We had an incident a few weeks ago when another kayaker tried to use his mobile phone to raise the alarm and it became waterlogged. Fortunately on that occasion he was spotted from the shore and the alarm was raised.'

Support the RNLI by becoming a member or making a donation.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Sea Kayak Playboating

North Wales is blessed with impressively powerful tidal streams, the famous headlands of Penrhyn Mawr and North Stack are a testimony to the huge volumes of water that sluice past our coastline every day. This is clearly great news for sea kayakers who are prepared to seek a thrill in these offshore tide races. However, there are a number of other venues on Anglesey that can provide the eager paddler  with some great lunar-powered play spots, as highlighted recently by Justine and Barry's trip to the Swellies.

The Menai Straits divide Anglesey from the mainland, and the Swellies exist as the stretch of moving water between the Menai and the Britannia suspension bridges that span the Straits. The Swellies are notoriously hard to navigate because of numerous shoals, whirlpools and surges with tides that can accelerate to speeds in excess of 8 knots. The Swellies have been the scene of many mysterious shipwreck and celtic legends are abound. One of the most well known incidents occurred when the wooden training ship HMS Conway ran aground on the Platters Reef.

The great thing about the Swellies, which are spread out over a mile-long stretch of water, is that paddlers are presented with a number of accessible and enjoyable white water features that form and disappear according to the strength and height of the tide. The following is a brief summary of the principal information needed to enjoy a number of play areas including Swellie Wave (as pictured by Justine Curgenven).

Drive into the town of Menai Bridge, where a number of access points are available. The town slipway is convenient, but requires a ten-minute paddle to reach the Swellies. Better still, drive the narrow road that passes directly under the bridge on the Anglesey shore. With luck, you'll find one of the few parking spaces still empty. Here you can either scramble over the wall and launch directly under the bridge (a good choice at High Water), or from the beach 100 metres north of the bridge. If launching at Low Water, walk up the road away from the bridge in a southerly direction. At the brow of the hill, take the footpath that leads directly down to a muddy beach 200 metres south of the bridge.

The Swellies can be paddled on either the flood of the ebb - most paddlers aim to arrive at either of High or Low Water Slack, which occurs in the Swellies 2 hours before High Water or Low Water Liverpool.  The Flood tide runs in a north-east direction in this part of the Menai Strait (right to left when looking across to the mainland from Anglesey), while the Ebb runs south-west. 

On Spring tides, local High Water is usually around the middle of the day, while local Low Water is generally in the morning and evening. Thus, on Spring tides, locals can grab a paddle on the Flood before or after work, while visitors can enjoy the Ebb while everyone else is earning a crust.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Incident Report

Howth RNLI’s All Weather Lifeboat (ALB) launched this afternoon to reports of five endangered kayakers whose kayak had over turned. 

The lifeboat crew assisted in the search for the endangered kayakers, who were in the water off Malahide, while a full gale force wind blew. With sea conditions being so rough, the coastguard helicopter also attended, eventually winching two of the kayakers on board. 

The remaining kayakers managed to scramble onto the north beach at Malahide. The helicopter subsequently winched them to safety, and transferred them to awaiting ambulances at Dublin Airport. 

It has been a busy period for Howth Lifeboat crew, who have been tasked three times this week alone. The pleasant weather has increased number of people using the sea for pleasure, simultaneously increasing the demand for the 24 hour rescue service the RNLI provides. 

Howth Lifeboat Operations Manager Rupert Jeffares says...“It is imperative to check the weather before putting to sea for any reason, these kayakers were extremely lucky today given the rough conditions”.

Support the RNLI by becoming a member or making a donation.