Friday, February 25, 2011

Following the Pied Piper

I missed the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium (GGSKS) but as the stars aligned I had the fortune of paddling and playing with 5 of the instructors after the symposium.

Like the Pied Piper, Jeff played a sweet tune and lured several of the GGSKS instructors to our house and the magical paddling playground of the Mendocino Coast. Paul Kuthe, Dave White, Matt Nelson, and Bryan Burkhardt couldn't resist the piper's tune and came to play.

I was a little skeptical about tagging along knowing that my skill level was no where near their caliber and also not wanting to hold them up if they were looking to get some miles in and see our coast. Ahhhh - but what do these guys do for their paddling fun - ROCK GARDEN and SURF!

Our Pied Piper led us to a bouncy passage to the south of Russian Gulch and the opening of a sea tunnel that traveled under the headlands. Through this sea tunnel, we traveled to a magical playground of surge channels, pour overs, and slots.

After a journey through the milkshake room (aptly named by Bryant) we traveled to a reef break in Agate Cove. Steep 10-12 foot waves had me stepping back and watching but eventually venturing in for a little fun. The Northwest wind kicked up and made getting into and holding position to catch the wave tricky.

The guys carved this baby up and I held on for dear life, keeping my sea kayak from broaching and heading right and into the rocks.

After a lunch break, our pied piper turned out to be a business owner who had to get back for a teleconference with the accountant so we all returned to tell our tales. But being in the kayaking business, we couldn't resist a few more rides as we traveled back to our magical tunnel. The northwest wind had kicked up significantly so we stayed on the inside using the rocks as buffers from the wind and breaking waves. I surfed every wave and surge possible to help with gaining headway in the wind.

Before traveling through our magic tunnel, we rode one more pour-over. The pour-over was straightforward but holding position in the wind and current was challenging. The guys were much better at holding position than I was but were stoked to see me in there charging it and encouraged me to be patient and wait for the right wave.

Back through our tunnel, we returned to Russian Gulch, extended invitations for more play, and sped away - Matt back to Orcas Island, Dave and Paul to Portland, Bryant to Sacramento, and Jeff and I to our meeting with the accountant.

It was awesome to paddle with these guys and I look forward to paddling with them again - Lumpy Waters maybe?