Wednesday, August 06, 2014

August's Newsletter


When Mark and I began our Nordic Tour on May 24 the summer seemed very long. Now, with just over three weeks left of the tour, we can't believe how quickly it has gone. The tour has taken us to numerous places in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. We've spent lots of days in the bright sun and warm water. We've taught classes on lakes and seas, and our days off have been spent with friends, riding roller coasters or sightseeing. It has been a wonderful summer, and there's still more of it to come!

The tour is sponsored by Rebel Kayaks, and in July we ran classes in Oslo, Norway and Grebbestad, Sweden. Then we hopped on a plane to South Greenland to guide a 13 day expedition. Our paddling team came from the U.S., Israel and Sweden, and we enjoyed the diversity that each team member brought to the expedition. Greenland is a magical place, and we feel refreshed and renewed now that we've gotten our Greenland fix. Our next guided Greenland expedition will take place in the summer of 2016. Would you like to join us?

After Greenland we headed to Nynashamn, Sweden for nine days of instruction, which included a three-day tour with a combined EPP and BCU assessment. It was great to catch up with Pelle and Carina of Nyn√§s Kajaks. They are also the Europe distributors of our DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People, so if you need a few copies for your store, get in touch with them, After leaving Nynashamn, we headed to Stockholm, which is where we are now. We've got one more day of classes here, and then we'll finish the tour with classes in Mora, Karlstad, Malmo, Karlshamn and Sandhamn (Sweden) and Frederiksvaerk and Svendborg (Denmark). Then Helen is off to Minnesota for the Traditional Paddlers' Gathering, and Mark heads to the UK to prepare for classes that we'll be running in Wales and Scotland in late September and October.

Later this year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Israel and Mexico. We've also got an exciting expedition planned in December, and then we'll we preparing for the U.S. Storm Gathering Symposium, which takes place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8.

As usual, visit for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email 

Wherever you're spending the rest of the summer, we hope that you're enjoying some good water time. Happy paddling!

- Helen and Mark

Dr. T's Coaching Corner

Most sea kayakers would agree that some form of towing system, whether participating in a coastal journey or venturing out on the open ocean, is an essential item to have as part of their safety equipment.

Towing systems come in different forms, they can be waist mounted; boat mounted and chest mounted. Make sure to fully test the system you go for and be aware of its limitations. The system that is right for you is the system that works for you, without fuss or fumbling, so practice with it on a regular basis.

When shopping for a towing system, or even making your own, consider asking the following questions: does it come with floating line? is the line long enough? can the length of line be adjusted easily? does it have a quick release mechanism? does it have a large enough bag so the line can be restowed quickly, even with cold hands? is the clip large enough for handling in rough water; and is it made from a corrosion resistant material? Whatever you choose, make sure to adapt it so the system works for you in all situations.

Once you have selected a towing system, it is just as important to know how and when to deploy it. Towing can be a means to assist an incapacitated paddler and get them to a safe location. This might be a short distance or a couple of miles in open water. Doing this quickly and efficiently can make all the difference in preventing a situation from worsening.

You might wish to tow someone on their own for a short distance, but for longer distances it might be preferable to raft them up with another paddler. You may want to share the load of towing by adding more tows in-line with the original towing kayak. For even greater distances, having a effective method of swapping paddlers around who are doing the towing is an important consideration.

Towing systems can also be used to help anchor a paddler performing a deep water rescue on a fellow kayaker to prevent them both from drifting into rocks or being taken away by the current. Other uses can include using them as stirups to help a tired paddler climb into their boat; acting as a sea anchor; a tarp line; and for use as a short, quick release contact tow.

Every system has it merits and disadvantages. Learn to use the one you choose and train with others to test each situation and explore the possibiities so that when you need it for real it all works smoothly.

Nordic Tour:

• May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31

• May 24 to 25 – Helsingborg, Sweden

• May 30 to June 1 – Bergen, Norway

• June 7 to 9 – Fitjar, Norway

• June 14 to 15 - Bekkjarvik, Norway

• June 26 - Rungsted, Denmark

• June 27 to 29 – Copenhagen, Denmark

• July 1 to 3 - Oslo, Norway

• July 4 to 5 – Grebbestad, Sweden

• July 24 to August 4 – Nynashamn, Sweden

• August 5 to 7 - Stockholm, Sweden

• August 9 to 10 – Mora, Sweden

• August 12 to 14 – Karlstad, Sweden

• August 16 to 17 – Frederiksv√¶rk, Denmark

• August 20 to 21 – Svendborg, Denmark

• August 23 – Malmo, Sweden

• August 24 – Karlshamn, Sweden

• August 29 to 31 – Sandhamn, Sweden

Program Schedule

Traditional Paddlers' Gathering: September 4 to 7, Lake Carlos State Park, Minnesota

BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment: September 13 to 14, Anglesey, Wales

Intermediate / Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training: September 22 to 26, Anglesey, Wales

Simplifying the Roll: September 27, Anglesey, Wales

Combat Rolling: September 28, Anglesey, Wales

Qajaq Immersion Weekend: October 4 to 5, Bute, Scotland

…And Finally

Working on your roll and need a little help? Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson and Yoga for Outdoor People are available for purchase by clicking HERE.
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Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501