Saturday, March 21, 2015

fun in the Petrel but when you make a mistake you pay for it.

Kayaking in the surf is a lot of fun, it`s exciting and excilerating and gives you a great adrenaline rush. I guess it becomes addictive at some time. There is a downside though. You need to practice playing in the surf a lot, you need to feel comfortable bracing and you need a good combat roll. Its best to start off in small surf in a protected area and it helps if there is someone who can teach you and help you. Slowly you begin to get more adventurous and head out into bigger surf, and heres where the potential for trouble shows up. Not to forget that even in small surf there is a potential for danger and damage. A kayak filled with water can inflict serious damage if you are between it and the beach with even small waves, a wrongly judged movement can cause shoulder or arm injuries and even head injuries are known to happen in small surf.. There are basic rules to be taken into account, for example, always be on the sea side of a swamped kayak, keep an eye on the surf, never turn your back on the waves and watch out for fellow kayakers or surfers or swimmers.Some wear helmets all the time, others forgo them , they can and do help but not always. Above all take respoonsibility and control, Kayaking is a potentially dangerous sport and if you go out there in conditions you take the risk. Yesterday I was reminded of all the above. We went out to play in the rough water at our local beach, the surf was about 1.5 to 2M sometimes bigger. I had my helmet on as usual and my GOPRO on the front deck. One of our guys had his hatch cover implode and his kayak got swamped, I pulled up next to him and began pumping . We were in the usually safe zone, just under the rock where the surf breaks. First mistake was not watching the surf, we were facing the beach. there was another kayaker watching us and he was seaward of us. A large wave loomed looking to break on us, A warning shout alerted us to the danger just as the wave threw his kayak ont us, we managed to abandon the pump, grab our paddles and brace fotr the wave but in the porcess I got hit on the back of my neck with his kayak. here the helmet didnt help at all, I managed to roll and brace in the surging wave and then went side surfing along until the wave lost its power. Just at the end i saw a surfer who had lost his board some time ago right in my line , I shouted to warn him but by then I was on top of him grazing him with my kayak. The camera sees all and this whole episode was well recorded , look at .48 to 1.42 on the video. At the end of the session we always try to get a good wave for finishing, Here I had another lesson and a reminder that the sea is the boss. I got flipped by a large wave and the force pulled me right out of my cockpit, I managed to do a reentry roll and then had to paddle a swamped kayak back to shore. All in all it was a great day , and I cant wait to get back.

Friday, March 6, 2015

using carbon sleeves for fixing and making paddles

Yosi decided to make a carbon paddle, first he carved a block of styrofoam

until he got the shape he wanted

then he slid it into a sleeve of carbon

made sure it felt good and covered the whole carving

next he applied epoxy

massaged the epoxy into the carbon 

and let gravity do the rest

after a lot of extra epoxy, sanding and sanding  and another carbon sleeve his prototype is finished

and off he goes to test it in real water. He is very happy with the result and has learned a lot on the way,the next paddle will be better and lighter

I used a carbon sleeve to repair a fractured Aleutian paddle, actually I broke 2 paddles, one was repaired only up to the shoulder to keep the look and feel of wood, the other one got a complete covering of carbon

This paddle is great in rough water and good for surfing too.So now we can repair broken paddles . They change from wood to carbon  but at least you don`t have to go out and make a whole new paddle , unless you want to, that is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

winter paddling, and building the Petrel Play

Winter is a great time to paddle here, the water gets down to about 13C, not very cold by Northern standards, but for us who are used to 30C in summer its pretty cold.
To tell a secret, its not too cold to paddle , and we hardly miss a day on the water, except when the seas are too rough for the group to go our.  And even then all the members with private kayaks and a sense of adventure  get to play in the waves.
Nowadays almost everybody has a GoPro camera attached to their kayak or helmet  and the amount of videos is staggering. Unfortunately  most are too long and because of the limitations of the Go Pro they tend to get tedious. You can loose your sense of perception, don't get to see how big the waves are really and have the same view all the time. Unless that is  you are a bit more creative and can add takes from different cameras or views. Here's my contribution and all the above criticism  is valid.

Meanwhile I have been busy building my new petrel Play, the hull is now finished and glassed, I put carbon in the cockpit area and regular fiberglass in the ends. It goes pretty easy when you have help

We had a group paddle  round the northern coast, visited some small islands and had a great time 

Picnicking on the rocks

parking becomes a challenge with all those kayaks

Beautiful clear water

Back home I started working on the deck, first laying out all the parts, 

Some days are for surfing, some for working and some for kayak building, the trick is to get the proportions right.

Deck wired and glued just before fiberglassing

I  had to try getting the deck on the hull before continuing , just to see how it was going to join up. Looks ok to me so now I can get  all the seams joined and the fiberglass on.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

stormy weather, lost paddles and kayak building

While playing in rough water a couple of weeks ago I lost my storm paddle from the front deck of my kayak. At the time I didn`t notice it had gotten free  and only when landing on the beach saw that it was not on my kayak anymore. A short walk along the beach and a good look at the water convinced me that it was gone for good. Maybe with a bit of luck someone will find it and return it  to me, but thats a long shot.
It was a fine paddle with  maple tips and I`m sorry to see it go, and now I have to make a new one. This time it will have my name and number carved into the blade, just in case.
This is the first time that  my spare has been torn loose, maybe I need to rethink how to secure it to the deck. It needs to be tight enough to resist rough water but easily retrieved while underwater and upside down if I loose my paddle while playing in the surf. I have seen many paddlers loose their paddles, being pulled from their grip while tumbling in a large wave, and one Greenland paddle actually broke  in half from  a particularly strong wave..

Heres a picture of Zohar with my storm paddle, for me its a storm paddle but for Zohar its just the right length.
The new paddle in the making, it will have a cedar core and paulonia laminated  blade, it is also a bit shorter  than the old one , so a sliding stroke will be used when paddling with it.

Almost finished, just a few more coats of boat soup and then for a test paddle.

Also  have begun making a new kayak, this time its a stitch and glue Petrel Play, reputed to be great in rough water and surfing.
You can either buy a whole kit or just go for the plans when building kayaks, Getting the kit is probably a bit more expensive, especially with postage , and for international shipping the price is in the sky. But there are advantages, the wood is cut very accurately and all the bits and pieces you need come ready packed and easy to   use. On the other hand if you buy just the plans then you have to go about finding all the supplies, buying them and bringing them home and then transferring the paper plans to the wood, cutting out the pieces , drilling the stitch holes etc etc. It makes the whole process a bit more time consuming.
This is not really a problem  as kayak building is not  something to be done in a hurry, especially if you have another kayak to use while the new one is being built. Sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to find all the right ingredients, sometimes they have to be bought on the internet, and sometimes you can get them from friends too.
First the plans are transferred to the  wood

and they are cut out
Then they undergo quality control

Starting with the stitching

It looks like a kayak right from the start

So as I have a great Petrel for playing in the surf there is no hurry and the new kayak will take as long as it needs

Saturday, December 13, 2014

good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judjement

The sea was too rough for a club outing today but anyone with  their own kayak could go out on their own responsibility. So we all got together at 7 for some fun in the waves.
Out at the rock, the surf was pretty big and messy, there were no surfers nor any SUPS out there today and this should have been a warning to us. Some  stayed in the bay and practiced in the soup,   others went out to sea for a trip and the rest of us stayed and played in the big waves .
Soon we began to see kayakers swimming  after being dumped by the big surf and we all had to help each other with rescues.
I had 3 interesting  rescues, first was retrieving a lost kayak and towing it back to the owner waiting patiently in the water, then a regular T rescue made interesting by being in the surf zone and finally while on my way out I saw a kayak on the beach but no kayaker in site. After looking around I spotted a swimmer in the water, I thought he would use the surf to get back to shore but after about 5 minutes I noticed he was not making any progress so I paddled over to see if he needed help.
When I asked him if he was ok he replied NO,  He was struggling to swim back to shore but was caught in a rip  and was not making any headway. I had my GO PRO mounted on my rear deck and so could not get him to climb aboard, so thought the best thing would be to try and tow him in with my towrope. This turned out quite difficult as we were in the surf zone with waves breaking over us and progress was slow, then he hung onto my bow and I tried to paddle in reverse back to the shore, also dangerous as the waves were breaking over us  and I feared he would be smashed into the bow of my boat. We did manage to get closer to shore but at some stage we separated and he was still on the rope. Communication was not possible  because of the noise of the waves  and at some stage the rope got tangled round his leg but he thought he would get to shore and then release it.
I was being pounded by the surf  at this stage and didnt know that he was tangled. I tried to call for assistance to 2 paddlers on the shore and eventually they saw us and came to help.
Once on the beach we saw that the rope had gotten tangled round his leg and when the waves pulled  the rope tight it caused a  burn round his foot. Back at the club we treated him with aloevera and lots of  support.
Lessons learned ,
Its very difficult to tow a swimmer with a rope, easier if you can get him on your rear deck, but for that you need a clear deck, once I had assembled my Go Pro on the back deck with a kayalu  tripod, there was no way to get him up on the deck. I could have transferred him to a  fellow kayaker but didnt think of it at the time.
Its important to be aware of whats going on around you all the time and watch out for each other all the time. Never assume that everything is good,but go and check up on those who seem to be in trouble.
I had my Go Pro on all the time and heres a video of todays adventure. the Kayalu monopod got pushed by the surf and some of the angles are a bit off but you can get a pretty good feeling of what went on.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

making Greenland paddles and then having fun with them

I have changed the way of doing workshops for making Greenland paddles, now if anyone wants to make a paddle they can get in touch with me and if there are at least 2 people I will do a mini workshop. Usually there are at least one or two more people interested and so I get  a small group of keen workers who want to make a new paddle.
 Most of them have no experience in paddle making, I guess its a rare hobby and there are not a lot of us out there.
We start with a short discussion on the sizing of the paddle and then get down to work.
Inside every piece of cedar there is a paddle waiting to be released

Keren bought new tools to this class, they are really beautiful and a pleasure to hold in your hand

Efrat and Einat had a great time working together , it was difficult to take good photos  because all that hair kept getting in my way

I have simplified the process quite a bit and now use thick markings in order to reduce the number of lines we have to make , this helps shorten the working time.

Usually people are amazed at the end of the day when they hold a beautiful new Greenland paddle in their hands

On the following Saturday we had a Greenland kayak fun day at our beach,the invitation went out to all kakayers in Israel who have Greenland paddles and want to play with us. Turnout was impressive and we had a lot of fun, races and rolling competitions all in good spirits.

Heres a video showing some of the fun we had, lots of noise and laughing.
 The numbers of paddlers using Greenland paddles is growing here too.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

when the east wind blows

When we have strong easterly winds we have to stay close to shore to prevent being blown out to sea

Its a good excuse to hug the shore and play around the rocks and reefs

And it allows us to rediscover the interesting shoreline of ancient Cesearea

Better to avoid the fishing lines , but sometimes we can help them out of a jam

the old Roman aquaduct still stands, it brought water to Cesearea

it makes a nice backdrop to the kayaks on the water

there is a remaining sea wall protecting the shore still standing

the wind blows the sand from the dunes down to the waters edge

meanwhile back at the beach there was a SUP competition for Breast Cancer Awareness

and here I found Hadas and Omer 

And then Pupick came to say hello too, Too bad the weekend is over and its back to work tomorrow