Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Feeding the Soul

Troubling times are upon us.  Between the winter blahs and the turmoil of US politics, our hearts and souls are under assault.

Now, it is more important than ever to cultivate joy in your life.  Get outside! Spend quality time with loved ones! Do activities that energize and renew the spirit!
Getting some fresh air is sometimes all that we need to reset.
Taking a vacation is one way that we recharge our batteries.  Take a mental daydream for a moment and think of your last vacation or trip . . . .  As you put yourself back on that vacation, do you feel the stress of the world drift away?
My mental daydream puts me on the Owhyee River - the Grand Canyon of Oregon.
The desert landscape intrigues my brain, the quiet soothes my soul, and the whitewater invigorates my body.
Unfortunately, we can't always be on vacation so it is necessary for us to cultivate soul feeding activities into our daily lives.  Build 30 minutes into your day for soul feeding activity.  For me it is a run, bike ride, or surf session.  Find what works for you and do it!  Do it solo or bring along your kiddos, dogs, friends, coworker or significant other.
Jeff joins me for a "$hits n Giggles"mountain bike ride.
Find ways to avoid excuses - time, weather, distance, deadlines, responsibilities.  I challenge you to get your act together and make it happen.  Here are some tips that I find helpful:

1.  Find a local trail, walking route, waterway, gym, or pool in your neighborhood or near work.

2.  Schedule the time into your day like you would an appointment.

3.  Enlist someone to hold you accountable.  A buddy can go with you, can encourage you to get out the door, or check in with you at the end of the day.

4.  Always have you gear bag packed ready to go.  Throw in a rain jacket and rain pants or what ever you might need for the weather.
My surf kit ready to grab and go.
Feeding the soul keeps the heart alive.  It allows us to live and to love.  We need to do it and need to encourage others to as well.
Surfing waist high waves on a rainy day.  Photo by Jeff Laxier

Friday, February 3, 2017

Rolling Rolling Rolling

The kayak roll is one of the most essential kayak skills for whitewater kayaking, rock gardening, and surfing.  I will never forget the hours and hours that I spent learning and bombproofing my roll.  Nor will I forget the first time I successfully rolled my kayak in the surf.

For paddlers interested in paddling whitewater, rock gardens, and surfing; we recommend learning to roll as early as possible in your paddling career and working with a good coach.  We caution against learning layback or Greenland rolls initially.  We have encountered too many paddlers who have learned the standard layback roll and have it so ingrained into their muscle memory that they find it difficult to adopt other rolling techniques that are safer and more effective in dynamic water.  Continually we see them going back to the layback roll that they first learned and failing, failing, failing in situations where the roll counts.

Teaching the roll from the beginning is definitely not one of my fortes.  I enjoy coaching tune-ups and have a keen eye for technique and small nuances that can make one's roll more efficient.  I am always on the watch for more tools for my rolling toolbox.  Recently, I came across a 3 part instructional series on the kayak roll posted by Glenmore Lodge.  Dave Rossetter has a very good rolling progression that coaches and students alike will find helpful.  

Here is Part One.

Here is Part Two.

Here is Part Three.

I hope you find these helpful. Roll on!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

New News

Did you know that Liquid Fusion Kayaking has started a new email newsletter?  
Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne 
Our new newsletter has photos, information on upcoming classes and events, and a monthly coaching tip.  Subscribers will get first dibs on our specials and early registration on our special events.

If you want to be in the know, use this form to subscribe.

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    Saturday, January 7, 2017

    New Years Whitewater n Surf Safari

    Last month, I shared that I was excited for Liquid Fusion Kayaking's New Years Whitewater and Surf Safari.  We did it!  To see Jeff and our students in action - whitewater kayaking on the Eel river and surf kayaking and ocean rock gardening on the Mendocino Coast, check out my LFK blog post on the Mendocino Trifecta.   As I alluded to in the blog post, I was coaching and photographing - that's my job.  The beauty of a surfari is that I get to play too.  At the risk of being egotistical, I am going to share the fun that I had on the Surfari.

    LFK's surfari began with a whitewater kayak run on the Eel River.  We had a medium to low flow which is perfect for those who like to play their way down the river.  At this flow, there are lots of eddies to catch and small waves to surf.  A rapid that we call Tic Tac Toe is particularly fun at this level and our students rose to the challenge of catching as many eddies as they could by eddy hopping and ferrying back and forth across the river.  I didn't catch as many eddies as I would have liked because guiding responsibilities required me to maintain line of sight and be ready to assist anyone having difficulty.  The small surf waves weren't great at this level but were good for playing around with technique and putting a smile on your face.
    Playing on a chizlee surf wave.
    Day two of our surfari was surf day.  We scouted a couple of different breaks and ended up doing 2 sessions at 2 very different breaks.  The first session at Chase a Peak Bay was probably my favorite.  I opted to paddle my Jackson Kayak 2 Fun.  And it was too fun.  The high tide reflects off the headland walls and the sand bars at Chase A Peak to make for lots of reflective waves and zipper waves.  I had the ride of the day on one such wave.

    It was a zipper wave (2 waves that merge from different directions like when you zip a zipper).  It was a long ride where I threw in a few tricks - including back surfing and spinning.  As I surfed from right to left I saw a wave down the line reflected toward me and zipping up fast.  I hit the convergence at the perfect time and launched off the resulting haystack.  I landed it and back surfed the resulting reflective wave.  It was too fun.

    We moved to another break in the afternoon with more organized waves.  I opted again for the 2 Fun and enjoyed some fun drops and working on my 360 flat spins.

    Day three was whitewater of the sea - kayaking ocean rock gardens in whitewater kayaks.  Jeff and I both opted to paddle Necky Jives.  We have spent quite a few New Years Paddles in rock gardening in Necky Jives.  For us rock gardening is as much about surfing in between and along the rocks as it is riding pour-overs.  In our opinion, the Necky Jive is still the best ocean surfing whitewater kayak.  My highlight of the morning session was a nice long surf along the rocks at a feature that we call Eight.
    Surfing down the line at Eight.  Check out the dudleya succulents on the headlands.
    Our afternoon session was planned to be surf but we ended up rock gardening.  We paddled through squalls of wind, rain, hail and then in the glory of sunshine and rainbows.  When it was my turn to ride a pour-over called No Name (maybe someday we will get a better name for it), we were in the middle of a squall.  The swells were confused and bouncy, the wind was swirling, and we were being pelted with rain.  I had trouble judging the sizes and timing but managed to pull off a nice ride.

    Forgive my tales of fun and adventure.  2017 is off to a good start.