Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Camp n Surf

 As we roll into 2021, I hope that you are healthy and well and planning adventures for the year.  High on my adventure list are kayak camping trips.  I am dreaming up several multiday whitewater river kayak trips as well as several on the sea.  

Kayak camping on Mendocino's Eel River
Camping and Whitewater Kayaking on Mendocino County's Eel River

Given the current state of the world, chances are good that Jeff and I will continue to hunker down and play in our local playground in Mendocino County.  Fortunately we have an awesome playground with some great options for sea, whitewater, and surf kayaking.

Tent with sea kayaks on a beach on the Mendocino Coast of California
Sea kayak camping on the Mendocino Coast of California

In the spring of 2019, we did a super simple multiday whitewater river kayak trip that ranks among our all time favorites.  We pulled 2 whitewater kayaks out of our quiver that we both could paddle - one was to haul the gear and the other was to play and surf.  We loaded them both up with our camping gear, food, beer, and ukulele.  We paddled down the Eel River until we found a sweet beach with an all day surf wave.  We camped, surfed, strummed, and enjoyed the wild beauty of the Eel River.

kayak camping on Mendocino County's Eel River
Playing the ukulele by the campfire on Mendocino County's Eel River.

Check out this video from the adventure!

I am hoping we get to do a similar version of this trip this year. 

What are your paddling plans for 2021?

Monday, December 14, 2020

The Perfect Knife

There are a ton of different uses for knives when kayaking.  I consider a knife to be an essential piece of safety gear for sea kayaking, whitewater kayaking, and kayak fishing.   I always have one easily (one handed) accessible in my life jacket.  My partner Jeff Laxier is a knife connoisseur.  Here are his thoughts and tips about using and choosing a knife for kayaking.[

The Perfect Knife

Guest post from Liquid Fusion Kayaking's Jeff Laxier

That perfect knife is your perfect knife. That’s right the best knife for you to carry while kayaking is the one that works best for you and the environment you work and play in.  I like a knife that can be accessed by either hand, opened one handed with easy access while under pressure (this must be tested by user!!!) I’m happy to set this up for you and your paddling mates.

Important to be able to access and grab your knife with one hand.

Here are three (of many) active uses for a knife:
1. On the Sea - Cutting braided fishing line out of a rock garden feature. The line looked like a spider web tangled in kelp and was a hazard for both humans and marine creatures.
2. Whitewater River - Just before a rapid there was an abandoned line that stretched across the river.
3. Lunch - Cutting apples and cheese

Using a knife to for boat repair

When shopping for a knife, I look for these key components:
1. Folding with locking blade
2. Serrated blade with blunt tip
3. Belt clip and lanyard hole.
4.  Easy to handle

A variety of knives in my collection. 
I definitely prefer folding and serrated knives with a blunt tip.

Here are a few of my favorite knives:
1. West Marine Stainless Steel Serrated Rigging Knife. Small set up and single hand must be perfected. This is in my PFD.  
Cost $25
2. Byrd Rescue 2. Every day pocket knife and back-up to my WM Rigging Knife. Cost $46
3. Spyderco Atlantic Salt. Cost $142

My two favorite knives -
The Byrd Rescue Knife (orange handle)
West Marine Stainless Steel Riggers Knife (black handle).

If you have a knife that has worked well for you or a knife in use story, please post in the comments.  Definitely hit us up if you have questions about knives and their importance in your kayaking safety kit.  The best way to contact us is through Liquid Fusion Kayaking.

Cate and Jeff

Creating and Sharing Joy

I've had some office time in the past couple of weeks and have created a few new videos to share.

Although, I would rather be out on the water teaching and guiding kayaking adventures, one has to make do and I am enjoying the challenge of creating videos.

My first new video is called The Fourth Dimension.  If you have kayaked on the Mendocino Coast, you know that it has its own unique magic - hence the name The Fourth Dimension.

In this video I share a whitewater of the sea kayaking adventure that Jeff and I had with our friend Pete DeLosa.  Jeff and Pete are paddling the Pyranha 12R which is a 12 foot whitewater kayak designed for racing on steep whitewater creeks.  I am paddling my new favorite boat the Pyranha Ripper (aka the RipSnake).  Time and time again when it comes to rock gardening play sessions, Jeff and I are choosing the maneuverability of whitewater kayaks.  Jeff tends to like some volume and the 12R is a good fit for him.  I tend to like something sportier and surfable.  The Ripper is a good fit for me.

I have a couple of other new videos in the works.  Don't miss out - subscribe to Liquid Fusion Kayaking's YouTube Channel.

Until we meet again - I hope that you enjoy The Fourth Dimension.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Roller Coaster Ride of 2020

    Red sky at night - sailor’s delight,

Red sky in the morning - sailor’s take warning,

Red sky in the day - we need to put differences aside and work together to solve some big problems

The Roller Coaster Ride of 2020

We were riding high going into 2020.  Jeff taught at Paddle Golden Gate and several sea kayak incident management classes in the Bay Area.  Cate was teaching surf and whitewater lessons at home.  We were super excited about our upcoming spring whitewater classes and LFK's Mendocino Sea Kayak Club.   Then the Covid-19 Pandemic derailed our high flying year (as it did everyone else).

We spent the spring months sheltering at home and feeling very thankful that we were safe and well.   We had just remodeled our home office and expanded our vegetable garden so home was (is) a happy place for us.  A challenge was that we were extremely limited on where we could go to exercise and recreate since all of our local beaches and trails were closed.  We channeled our stir crazy energy into running, strength and flexibility training, breath training, making firewood, fishing, foraging, and a few creative shelter in place excursions (within 5 miles of home) - Shelter in Place Triathlon.

During the lockdown, we connected with other instructors and outdoor  professionals and redesigned our summer programs to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19.  We developed a stringent cleaning process for our equipment and streamlined our tours and operation to allow for social distancing and contactless transactions.  We switched our group classes to private lessons for individuals or people living in the same household.  We decreased the risk level of our beginner tours and offered them as private tours and very small group tours.  We developed a rental program which involved purchasing new kayaks. life jackets, and paddles.

Memorial Day Weekend, we were allowed to open to local customers. It was our slowest Memorial Day Weekend ever.  Fortunately business picked up in Mid-June when California allowed travel to resume.  Since then, we have been quite busy.

The biggest joy of the summer was the smiling faces that we saw on the water. (We wear and require that our customers wear masks when interacting with us on land and on the launch ramp but not on the water).  Seeing the stress melt away and the healing power of water, nature, and fresh air rejuvenate our customers was a great feeling.  We had many first time kayakers and families and individuals who enjoyed the experience so much that they declared "kayaking is going to be our new activity."   In such stressful times, it felt really good to be infecting people with joy. 

The summer was very busy.  We worked longer and harder hours than we have ever worked before.  Schlepping kayaks, orienting paddlers, guiding tours, teaching private lessons, maintaining equipment, managing reservations, and scrubbing and washing and scrubbing and washing kayaks and scrubbing and washing kayaks, life jackets, and paddles.  Our hearts filled with the joy of sharing kayaking and nature with others but also were breaking as the unrest and travesties of our world were manifesting in extreme civil discord and environmental devastation.

We are closing for the month of October to recharge our batteries.  

We have learned a lot from this year.  One lesson is the importance of being flexible and being able to adapt.  Another is that life is uncertain.  We are seizing the day (the month) and taking some time to ourselves.  We are dreaming of sleeping under the stars by the sea, surfing and rock gardening, immersing in nature, and disconnecting for a bit from the craziness of the world.

Expect us to be a bit out of touch in October.  We will be back the first week of November ready to deal with what ever 2020 throws at us and starting to plan for 2021 and beyond.

Be Well Our Friends.  Stay Safe and Be Kind,
Cate and Jeff