Sunday, July 26, 2015

fighting the wind

The plan was to paddle to Habonim beach on Friday afternoon,spend the night camping and return the next day. Its not a long distance,about 15km one way and should take our group about 2 to 3 hours. In normal weather that is

Plans are made to be changed, and the weather plays a big part in this decision. So when the time came to depart we had to make up our minds. The wind was Northerly about 15 to 25K, the kites were having a blast and the sea was getting exciting.

In the end the decision was made to paddle against the wind and see how far we could go. There were plenty of camping options on the way so if the going got too tough we could stop almost anywhere for the night

The going got tough right from the beginning, the sea was building and the waves were getting bigger, it was very difficult to paddle against the strong wind but we  carried on regardless. Our usual landmarks came and went but the time to get there was more than double. It was very difficult paddling against such a strong wind and  after about 3 hours we decided to call it a day

Even paddling the double was difficult in such conditions and I found myself loosing ground all the time. Eventually we decided on a tow to help us keep up with the rest of the group

We reached Pigeon Island at abouit 6.45 in the evening and had a well earned rest hidden from the wind

It was a good time for some well earned bladder relief

and also to get rid of some of the water that had gotten into the cockpit

We landed on the beach at Kibbutz Maagan Michael  just as the sun was setting

A head count showed that we had not lost any paddlers along the way

Quickly we set up camp and prepared for food

The wind continued untill late that night

It was relatively easy to get the charcoal going in such a strong wind and soon we were feasting and drinking 

Next morning  conditions were more conducive to paddling, no wind and flat sea, making the trip back home a whole lot easier

On reflection I can say that it was quite an achievement for the whole group . We managed to paddle against the wind and the waves for about 3 hours, it was not easy and we stayed together the whole time. No one capsized and we used our tow ropes to keep the group together.
Paddling in strong wind is a real challenge to kayakers, this time we had the wind against us, making it difficult to gain headway , but easier to maintain control and direction.Next challenge is to go with the wind, in a following sea, this is more difficult from a boat control point of view but if you have the experience you can use the waves and wind to your advantage.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Thursday afternoon skill sessions

We are blessed with warm water and long sunny days in summer,just what you need for an afternoon session of kayak skill training. So after reorganising my work hours I now have time  to help out . Its a great way to end the week and start the weekend

We usually get about 6 to 10 paddlers and spend a couple of hours teaching . The session could be on rescues, self and assisted. 

Sunset is a great time to be out on the water

Eskimo rescue is a good exercise, it helps you learn to stay calm under water, and  later when you are learning to roll is saves a lot of time and effort by keeping you in your kayak when your roll fails.

Surf launching and landing can be quite daunting for many paddlers, so if the conditions are right we spend a lot of time teaching how to go out through surf and how to come back without flipping over.

it can be quite exciting for newcomers to suddenly understand how all the bracing leaning and edging suddenly come together when you are surfing back to shore

Your confidence gets a good boost when you master bracing in waves

and you begin to really enjoy playing in the rough water

obviously there will be upsets but that's all part of the learning process

Progress is quite fast

and then you dont stop smiling

there are many variations of rescues

The thing is that you need to practice  all the time and then when you really need to do real time rescue you know how to do it without any confusion
Eventually you get to go out and play in nice rough water and have a lot of fun surfing

Friday, June 19, 2015

Learning to paddle the Petrel Play

In the beginning there was plywood , copper wire and epoxy

In the end there was a fantastic rough water kayak

Just add waves
.In fact since finishing the sea has not been too cooperative.
  Mostly flat water and not enough stormy conditions to really enjoy the qualities of this kayak
It takes a while to really get to know your kayak, to discover all the ways it behaves , how it rolls and how it responds while surfing. After a while it becomes a part of you and then you feel at one in the water.

I tried to keep it simple this time,  making a kayak that fits the style of paddling I do  and not getting too carried away  with features that I never use. I decided on no skeg as I have never used one and  have learned to paddle in all kinds of conditions without one, I felt that I could leave it out here too. Also very simple bungees on the deck, just enough to hold a water bottle or something else. In fact in rough water you don't really want anything on  the deck as it will probably get washed away by a wave. Deck lines are an absolute must especially in rough water as there will always be that one time you are pulled out of your kayak and need something to hold  on to . To keep the deck as simple as possible I used  Maroske fittings but gave in and put a holder for the Go Pro in the front and back .
The forecast for tomorrow is 1m surf, so here's hoping for a good day

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

KISS or Welcome Home

So whats the smile all about?
Well my loving wife came home after a 3 week vacation with my daughter in Japan, so thats the reason for the kissing, but at the same time I had time to finish my new kayak. She also helped a lot with the fiberglassing and finishing so I have to say thank you too

First test, does it float?
 well yes it does

Comfortable and easy to paddle

Now I need some rough water to play in

Wellcome home Lynn, glad to have you back.
 Thoughts on kayak building and KISS philosphy will come later 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

looking for mister right. or why I need to build another kayak

New paddlers and even more experienced ones often ask which kayak should I buy, or if they are planning to build, ask which kayak should I build. The answer of course all depends on what kind of paddler are you or going to become.
Usually in the beginning you have no idea what that means, you don't know that there are many different possibilities and so in buying a kayak at the beginning of your career in paddling or building  you probably  will not get it right.
As you gain experience and skill you develop your own paddling style and preferences, maybe you like calm water, maybe long touring trips, possibly short intensive training runs or  white water river kayaking, Surfing comes later as you improve. Whatever you choose there is always the right kayak for you
This is my favorite, I love rough water paddling, surfing and challenging seas
So finding the right kayak has been my quest even if only now do I realize it as such

First kayak I built was the Night Heron, designed by Nick Shade. You can visit his website and find a kayak for almost any style you want. Today the list is long but 10 years ago there were not so many different kayaks to choose from. I love my Night Heron, its a great kayak , fast and responsive , large enough for tripping and easy to roll, but not best for really rough water

Next I tried the Guillemot Play, But it  wasn't exactly what I wanted

Then Nick designed the Petrel..It sounded great and looked good so I built myself one and it quickly became my most favored kayak. Just perfect in surf and rough water , quick enough on flat water and large enough for tripping. Seeing that I spend most of my time on the water in short  time spans and don`t go for long trips this kayak has become my workhorse.
And then Nick brought out the Petrel Play, so guess whats going to be finished soon and added to the collection.
 Watch this spot for  a new launch coming soon