Wednesday, March 31, 2010

If you don't already know about it, try this site. It is a compilation of several blogs from all over the world. Many are in foreign (to English speakers) languages. I wish I could read them all. Of particular interest to me are the boats I see there but cannot research because I do not know what they are. Click on the title above and give it a try.

On another note: The zoological tests were a success (see yesterday's post0. I am negotiating (read: begging) for the use of at least one picture from the test.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming Attractions

It involves wind and
Water and unexpected animals,

and may result in something pretty special. Off to the Milwaukee Zoological Society where they and the local kayakers and some other water sports types are working on something amazing. May have an announcement (if it works) in a few days. Can't say what it is, but think in terms of the Disney film Dumbo and the song, "When I see an elephant fly.."

Paddle safe...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Field Advantage
No matter how often you paddle or how many places you visit, there is usually one place where you most often launch and paddle. We have such an area here at South Shore where, due to low water, there is a small beach protected by a break water.
 When conditions warrant, we can divide ourselves into two groups. Those with less experience can stay inside the wall while others will venture outside and hope for some action.

A few days ago three of us took off. Two of us were comfortable in most conditions while the third decided to poke outside and give it a try. Carl acquitted himself quite well.

Swells ranged up to 4+ feet. I was comfortable enough in the Cetus to put the paddle down and use my camera.

It was a fine day.

Paddle safe...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day of Rest
It is not an accident that most belief systems advocate for a day of rest, or Sabbath, as part of a healthy life style. Whether observed on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, a day away from one's usual work and stress helps rejuvenate mind, body and soul, and it makes sense on physiological, medical and spiritual levels.
For some it is the old adage, "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits." It can be a time to be with family or alone meditating on nature. For some it includes attending religious services.
 Still, for others it is a time to let loose the energy piled up by a work week that does not demand or use up the physical energy one has stored. Doing so seems to restore one's spirit.
Finally, for many it is a leisurely paddle alone, with family and/or friends.
Good Shabbos.

Paddle safe...

Friday, March 26, 2010

A Few Last Images of
Kokataks Ronin
 Megan always has a smile

Some very famous people need no introduction (hint: the man always in black)
Paddle safe

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Images of Canoecopia: 
Products you may or may not want

And best of all...
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 Lightening Up
Faces and Sights
There have been some heavy discussions and responses of late, especially to the question on speed v. length of water line. BTW: to follow up on yesterday's post, I went out with the Cetus with a Greenland paddle and never experienced an easier or faster paddle.That narrow beam ahead of the hips is made for a traditional stroke. Better than a SOF...but I digress. Here are some things that I found of note, interesting or just eye-catching at the big show: First, the testers...
And, some faces you will recognize (and some you won't):
Hint: He is an instructor from Wisconsin
Sam (Marquette, MI)

Hint: Another Wisconsin instructor

And, finally (for today, at least), the most beautiful face I never saw.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Learning Curve
   When I first starting paddling the Swede-form Cetus, I was all over the place. I has some problems that have been documented here (one still about to be solved), and Brian from P&H was there to support me. Still, I was having problems with performance. Let me rephrase that: the boat wasn't doing what I thought it should.
    Mixed into all of this was my obsession with longer and longer paddles (?shaft envy). I had, in the past, gone from a 220 to a 230 low angle blade and was thinking it worked better. In any event, I began to change things recently.
   First, I lost almost 8 pounds of belly fat (I had to brag about this to someone). Then, I accepted the fact that real men do ask for directions and even use the skeg at times. This past few paddles I began moving the foot pegs further away. I have always had them up and tight to jam my thighs under the braces. I believe this came from the feel of my skin on frame boats and the desire to always be locked in and ready to roll. The answer, of course, is to get the legs in the proper position and to pad the braces to meet the thighs (another on the to- do list). Now my torso rotation increased. About 24 hours ago I watched Danny Mongo's You Tube video on high v. low angle paddling.

    Danny always told me to use a shorter paddle. So what? I mean just because he lives and breathes paddles doesn't mean he knows it all. I added this to everything I've seen Ben Lawry do. Finally, yesterday, I really took a look at the boat. As you can see in the picture, it is narrow just ahead of the cockpit, especially where the blades enter the water. Would it not make sense that the most efficient stroke would be right along the beam of the boat? Yes!
    So, I took my 210 high angle paddle out with me yesterday and put the 220 low angle on the deck as a spare. (Maybe now would be a good time to confess that I had talked to the folks at Rutabaga about testing out some 215 high angle paddles). Out I went paddling into a NE wind and into the outer harbor where there was a 1-2 foot confused chop. All the while I concentrated on good form and keeping the blade close to the hull. Then out the gap onto open water where it was rolling 3-4 feet with a few breakers. All this time, mind you, I am adjusting the skeg to match the direction of the wind. Then I looked at the blades as I paddled ( I know, that's a no-no, but this was a scientific experiment that required observation. But I digress). I wanted to be sure I was burying the blades and noted that I was, indeed. In fact, I was putting a bit too much of the shaft under the surface.
   I still plan to go to 'baga to try out paddles, but it will be a shorter (205) high angle one I will be interested in testing. So, there it is, the learning curve. Can you believe how much smarter my boat is now?

Paddle Safe...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Canoecopia Products
I saw some new products this year, some good and some just interesting. This is not an endorsement of any of them, however, I did take home a 3-boat Suspenz storage rack. The "lip" of the rack lays flat. When you put the weight of the boat onto the strap the lip is pulled vertical. You then connect the safety strap.
Another interesting product, which I did not buy, was the OZ tent. The photos show how it can be put up in, literally, seconds. Unfortunately, when taken down you are left with a roll that is several feet long and cannot go into a kayak.

Then there was this button. I didn't bother to ask.

Paddle safe...

Thursday, March 18, 2010


For the second year in a row I got to be "ticket taker"  in the atrium, the open space atop the balcony where Canoecopia takes place. It meant seeing a lot of fine speakers and teachers including Ben Lawry who I think is incredibly innovative. You have likely seen him demonstrate his on land rolling technique. This time he was doing the 4 Ps of paddling (I'll never tell).
In any event, I decided to apply some of that info today when I went out for a paddle. I ended up moving my foot pegs 2 stops further away, and I felt I had a much better forward stroke with more rotation. Of course, there was a gap between my thighs and the braces, but that can be remedied with some padding. Good stuff. Good teacher.

Off to Dallas tomorrow to lecture. Hope to post next Monday.

Paddle safe...
Dispute Resolution @ Canoecopia
Here is Nancy, a.k.a. the Boss, and she doesn't look happy. She ran a marvelous show and showed great talent, tolerance and ability as she moved this mega-monster event along. So what is she so mad about? Well, probably the same thing JB is going off on.
Seems JB's wife didn't separate the colors and the whites, and he ended up with this pink shirt coming out of the laundry. Since it isn't a regulation show shirt, we now see what the Boss is upset about. JB is practicing the speech he hopes to deliver when he gets home. In the end, he dons a conservative shirt that says, "I work at Canoecopia" (or infers it anyway...but I digress). Result? Everyone is happy.
Paddle safe...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do You Know This Man?
(take another look)
Other than the facts that he was tall and wearing a kilt, I didn't take notice of this fellow, although I had met him before and own some of his DVDs. It wasn't until he sat down in the University of Seakayaking booth that I reasoned, it must beWayne Horodowich. And it was.

I reintroduced myself and asked what had happened to change his appearance.He explained (remember, he has a backround in exercise physiology, but I digress) that about a year ago he decided to lose 90 pounds. Using an i phone app that keeps track of his caloric intake, he exercised and lost about 2 pounds each week up until he reached his goal. Incredible.

He states that he feels great and is never hungry (he does drink Diet Dr. Pepper, but I digress...again).

Just one of the interesting things I came across at Canoecopia.

Paddle safe...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Personal note: Leslie, please re-post, your comment got inadvertantly deleted. DS...
The Really Big Show
Canoecopia 2010 drew huge crowds and was as good as ever. I didn't see the old friends I'd hope to meet up with. I don't know if they skipped this year or if I missed them while hosting speaker rooms.

I have to mention the fantastic staff at Rutabaga (again). They really took care of business. They went beyond competent and, much to my delight, gave wonderful good old-fashioned customer service.

Moving on, the show had the usual suspects including the now famous U-tube star.
And the well known biggies.
There were some new products, and I will get to those this week.
Paddle safe...