Imagine the coach saying, “In order to achieve the ISKA L5 level you will have to be able to disassemble and reassemble your Lendal 4 peice paddle in under 4.6 seconds”. Sorry, that was just the first thing that went through my head when I thought of Nigel Dennis announcing a new international sea kayaking certification program. Yup. You did read that correctly. I’ll leave it to other more investigative bloggers to ferret out the details. For my part I want to begin ghost writing a draft of the new ISKA Coaches handbook… “While other kayaks may be used, it is well under stood that Sea Kayaking UK kayaks are safer, faster, and better built than all other kayaks…” There will be a test!.. Oh, and investigative types may want to start here.
Never let it fade away!
Catch a falling star an’ put it in your pocket,
Save it for a rainy day! – perry como
I’m still tired and spacy. Please forgive the typos. But here is my very long report. Continue reading
And Maggie over lunch one day, took a cruiser with all hands, apparently to make him give it back – Roger Waters
Some days you just have little to say. So I let a few days pass to see if something would come. Nope! Oh, well, “To everything there is a season”. Some days you have something of value to add to a conversation and some days you should just keep your silly mouth shut. BUT as my European friends like to point out, Americans can’t keep quiet, we will just keep right on talking even if we have nothing worth saying. So with that in mind. . .
I did manage to get out on Devil’s Lake yesterday in some darned heavy winds. No one wanted to brave Lake Michigan and I don’t blame them. But if you can get 2 ft waves on our little lake that’s close to a miracle and certainly not to be missed. So I spent a couple hours Sunday rolling and bracing in the machine gun rhythm of steep flat faced waves on a small lake in central Wisconsin. I don’t think there was much more than 5 ft between crests which can really bat you around. When rolling in those conditions you have to be a bit patient especially when rolling up into the waves. If you try to come right back up you are usually catch your boat going down the next wave and your paddle does not easily find the surface. You need to just hold still long enough to get a feel for the rhythm and come up quick on the back end when your recovery side is angled to the surface. Or you can just skip the whole thing and quickly scull back up. But then again, what fun would that be??
This morning I was up at 5am and on the lake at 6. I’ve been putting a lot of time into the “hanging draw” recently and this morning was the first time I felt like I could repeat the maneuver on a regular basis without turning the boat. The hanging draw is sort of hard to explain in text. I saw in a recent discussion on Paddlewise that some folks described the move as a “side slip” which probably gives you a better visual cue. Anyway the point is to move the boat sideways wile (whilst??) keeping forward momentum WITHOUT turning the boat. Frankly there are major “cool” points if you can get this one down. It looks Soooo SWEEEEET!
Here is how the BCU describes it;
“With the kayak moving forward at a good speed, the paddle should be placed out to the side, level with or just behind hip, The kayak should move sideways without the paddle moving in relation to the boat, or the kayak turning. (It may be necessary for the bow to be held at a slight angle away from the paddle.)”
My experience in my NDK Explorer is that the paddle position is just behind the knee. For many of these kinds of maneuvers you will find paddle placement depends on the boat, displacement, conditions etc. Another key to this move is the old standby TORSO ROTATION. Yes, I know. . . All the world’s problems can be solved by good torso rotation. That whole Falklands Islands thing back in the 80′s could have been avoided if Galtieri would have just put more time into working on good torso rotation instead of spending so much time staring longingly out to sea. (Sorry for that little southern-hemispheric, quasi-historical aside) The problem is that those of us with thicker middle areas can find torso rotation difficult in normal situations, let along when on the move. Luckily I’ve found that you need not twist until your eyes bug out, just enough to get the paddle into a good vertical position in line with the boat. I’ve been dropping the paddle vertically into a neutral position and then opening it up while paying attention to how my boat responds. This usually gives me a hint if I need to go forward or back with the paddle before the boat over reacts to the blade.
On a silly note; I finally got my new license plate for the Jeep! I think we waited about 6 months for the things to show up. One nice bit is that I will actually be able to remember my license plate number!
It’s exactly one month from my trip to Michigan. But more on that later. . .
I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail, Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail” – dylan
Finally the world has begun to thaw. Yesterday I took a six mile hike up and over the Baraboo Bluffs at Devil’s Lake State Park. For those of you not familiar with the term “Bluff” it’s basically a vertically challenged mountain. Our mini 1100 ft. mountains are made of a very unique purple quartzite and are studied by folks far and near. Hiking up and over them is a bit more challenging however. Especially when the trails are still covered in about 5 inches of water filled melting snow. Today I followed up with another 4 mile hike. I really despise exercise for the sake of exercise so it’s great to be back outside taking in the world around me. But to be honest, “blown out on the trail” feels about right some days. .
So I have been re-familiarizing myself with the BCU Three Star Test, as this is another summer goal. Yikes. Ok. So I can handle the “signs of hypothermia” type questions. My bigger concern is if Welsh is the mandatory language of BCU paddlers? If so, I’ll just work on mastering “Dydw i ddim yn deall” . and leave it at that. So that would go something like, “Have you heard of Rob Roy MacGregor?. . . .” Dydw i ddim yn deall! I’m not sure if you can answer a question about Rob Roy in Welsh but . . . Anything’s better than saying ahh, that’s that film with that guy from Star Wars right?
By the way, you could probably just quote Wordsworth. . .
Heaven gave Rob Roy a dauntless heart,
And wondrous length and strength of era,
Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
Or keep his friends from harm.
Yet was Rob Roy as wise as brave
Forgive me if the phrase he strong
A poet worthy of Rob Roy
Must scorn a timid song.
Bear witness many a pensive sigh
Of thoughtful herdsman when he strays
Alone upon Loch Veol’s heights,
And by Loch Lomond’s braes!
But would your BCU coach actually ask that question? I’m not sure I’ve read the bit about Rob Roy’s sea kayaking adventures. But one never knows! If you are interested in following along with all the fun sample questions Just click on over to Sea Kayak Georgia. Although I’m poking a bit of fun at it now, in actuality I fear BCU testing. My limited exposure has taught me that I must be at my best to certify. So I have a lot of work to do.
In other kayaking news It sounds like I will have a great trip coming up in May. I will talk more about that when it’s confirmed. Until then check out the Kayak Georgia link, learn more about Rob Roy, oh and just for fun. . . Go shopping for a drogue!