Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coaches at Work

I'm back in sunny California from 2 weeks of  rainy travels in Oregon.  It was a great trip where I got to meet lots of great folks, reconnect with some good friends, and paddle in some neat places.  The reason for the Oregon road trip was Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe's BCU Week and Lumpy Waters Symposium.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting to work (and play) with other kayak coaches.  It is fun to work with others and see how their style works for students as well as to learn new ideas.

Karl Andersson tosses the tennis ball in a warm-up drill in the 4 Star Sea Leader Training.

Alex Stoeffl coaches a student on bracing in the soup.

Amanda Cantel directs traffic in the surf zone.

Chris Bensch runs his students through dynamic surf turns on the beach.

Cindy Scherrer coaches a student into the surf zone.

Malcolm Kelly demonstrates a bow assist.

Theresa Flodin goes vertical practicing her surf zone skills.

Matt Nelson emphasizes the paddler's box.

Jeff Laxier takes his class for a swim.

As a coach, my highlight of the week was at the end of Sunday's Fun & Feedback Class.   After progressing through bracing, launching and landing drills in the soup zone, the students each had their chance to put all the pieces together and launch and land on their own.  They had to launch themselves, paddle out into the soup zone, turn their kayaks around to face shore (not an easy task in lumpy waters), paddle back to shore, and land with their kayak in control.

They did great!!!  I still get warm fuzzing feelings picturing them smiling and landing their kayaks.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bear in the Lost Coast

Last week, Jeff, Bear (our 13 year old Rottweiler), and I ventured into the southern portion of California's Lost Coast. A trip to the Lost Coast the beginning of October has become a tradition as we kick off the celebrations of the month of October (birthday month for both of us). We were looking forward to some camping, mountain biking, hiking, paddling, and lots of rest and relaxation.

As any who have traveled to the Lost Coast know, there are only extremes. The shore breaks are steep and precarious.

The hikes and bike rides are equally as daunting with steep ascents and descents. Other common themes of the Lost Coast are rugged beauty and remoteness - after all this is the only stretch of the California Coastline that isn't accessible by Highway 1.  Of course in this type of territory, one would expect to challenge one's fitness, skills, and mental toughness as well as be treated to some quiet time in the wilderness and some nice wildlife watching.  We were not disappointed. Up, up, we pedaled and hiked. The scenery and views were spectacular.

We also enjoyed lots of quiet time in camp relaxing, reading, and birding - passerines gracing the edge of our camp, pelicans diving in the surf, hawks soaring through the sky, and even an owl who glided over our camp each night at dusk.

On our first day mountain biking, a mountain lion jogged down the trail about 20 yards ahead of us. On day three, an elk browsed at the edge of our camp.

Our dog Bear was up for the camping and relaxing end of our trip and was happy to lie in a shady,cool spot in camp while we ventured out. On a warm and sunny afternoon, this seemed to be the best spot for him.

Unfortunately the elk returned and roamed into our camp when we were gone.  Another camper noticed the elk in our camp and chased the elk off just after the elk stomped on Bear.  Without getting into details, Bear did not suffer.

I went for a long hike along the beach and left Jeff with Bear.  As I returned at dusk, a black shape emerged from among the rocks at the waterline.

At first I thought it was a 70-80 pound tailless, black dog.  As the creature scampered up the hillside into the wilderness, I realized that it was a bear cub . . . 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Missed Opportunities

Sometimes things go just right.  Perfect wave, set-up, timing, and execution.

Sometimes you make a mistake and get tossed.

Other times, you are in the perfect position at the right time but just don't feel it (and chicken out).

Other times, you see that perfect opportunity but aren't in position and watch it go by.

Other times you try but it eludes you.

Other times, you have the perfect shot and your camera malfunctions.

This is the way things are and why it is so great when everything comes together for that perfect ride and photo/video to go with it.
Cate in Lava.  Photo by June Ruckman
And what keeps us heading out there for more.