Saturday, November 29, 2008

the fear factor

Yesterday the sea was getting higher and higher, and today the sms came in at 6.05, the morning paddle has been canceled due to seas too high . As usual this means that all those with privately owned kayaks and no fear will turn up at the beach to see if we can go out on not. The decision to paddle is our own, and we take full responsibility for anything that may happen. To take a group of kayakers of mixed ability and skill levels out in rough seas is a heavy responsibility and one that is not taken lightly, and so if the sea is anything like dangerous, Ehud will rather postpone or cancel the outing, but if you own your own kayak you can choose what you want to do.
Anyway there were a few of us out today in high seas, and I must admit to feeling a bit apprehensive at times when seeing this huge wall of water rushing towards me . I decided not to surf at the rock, the waves were huge and of the dumper kind,not my favourite conditions for surfing, so 3 of us went out to sea and then came back. Mickey decided that the sea had calmed down again and headed off to catch some waves, Shahar and I decided to play in the shorebreakers. Zohar was on the beach and got some nice photos of us in the surf, meanwhile Mickey had come undone. He had caught a large wave, flipped over and broke his paddle , then his forward bulkhead failed and his kayak filled with water preventing a reentry and roll and making a rescue very difficult. We decided the best thing to do is to tow him back to shore. As I had the only towrope it was up to me to tow a swamped kayak and a not too small paddler and his stabilising friend back to shore. I can tell you that this is very hard work, and not a job to be taken lightly especially in large surf.
Lesson of the day: make sure your kayak is seaworthy and that all the bulkheads and hatches are in good working order, and always have a spare paddle.

Friday, November 28, 2008

High Seas today

Nice rough water today, everyone was smiling all the time

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yochai`s new kayak

Yochai has just finished building his Night Heron and today he brought it for the official launch.

The fleet of wooden boats is growing and all additions are welcome. I wish you many hours of happy kayaking in your fantastic new boat.

bungees ropes and strings=oops

What a great day in the surf, huge waves and not too cold. But wait, trouble ahead. I have a pump under my bungees on the front deck for those times when a bailout is needed, and it is attached to the deck lines with a short cord to prevent it getting lost or washed away. It has come in very handy in the past and is essential gear .Yesterday while surfing, I flipped over in a rather large wave and while attempting to roll felt something holding my paddle, not letting me get any movement. At first I thought I had broken a paddle but then discovered that the paddle had become entangled in the cord holding the pump to the decklines, thus preventing a roll and causing a wet exit. Thus is experience born.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


The weather changed over the last couple of days, the sea rose up and gave us swells and waves for a few days of fun. Yesterday and today were overcast and rain was predicted. This morning we went out for our morning paddle at 0700, the sea was lumpy with shorebreakers and a bit of wind and in the distance we could see the approaching storm.We finished our outing after about 2 hours and while waiting in the clubhouse the rain came down in buckets. The club has a tin roof and you can imagine the sound of the rain drumming it, it gets so loud that you cant hear anything else.

In a moment we had rivers running down to the sea, the second group of paddlers had to give up and come back as the wind was gusting in sudden strong attacks.

And then when it was just about over we had 2 brave souls get in their boats and go play in the water. All in all a great morning.

Later on I went to see a new kayak almost finished, Yochai has been building a new Night Heron and launch date is coming soon, be sure not to miss it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Way too much sun...maybe

Yesterday just as we came back from our morning paddle and were chatting in our boats before going ashore he came up to us all excited"you have to come and listen" he shouted, "the sea is talking, you have to come and listen". Hadas and I looked at each other with a knowing look, of course it must be the exposure to the sun and he is a psychologist anyway, we thought. So as not to cause too much of a scene we went with to listen. It really was magic, there is this channel in the reef which we call the Channel of Death, on a rough day its a real challenge to negotiate through it , but yesterday the sea was flat calm and the swell was very gentle, rising and dropping without any threat. As we entered the channel and just listened to the sounds we could hear the sea talking. As the water rushed in it caused little puffs of air to squeeze through the rocks bubbling and sighing, like a giant breathing and snoring away. He was right, the sea was talking. I tried to capture the moment on a video, be sure to listen carefully to the sounds of the sea.

Friday, November 14, 2008

fun in the surf

what, me worry

It`s definitely getting cooler, I can see in all the blogs from abroad, some write about layers of clothing, some show photos of snow and ice. Here too we are feeling the approach of colder weather. Not like real cold yet, in fact today the water temp is 24c which translates to 75F, some would say its warm, but at night it gets much colder, and when the sun gets behind a cloud you can feel a sudden chill in the air.An yet most of our kayakers come for their daily fix dressed in shorts and a tee shirt, or at least a fleece long sleeve shirt, and even if you do a few rolls you dont freeze any important body bits just yet.How lucky we are.

Small shore breakers today gave us a bit of fun.

And then the second run , we spent a few moments under the pier, it`s a bit of a challenge to keep on track between the pylons when the wind and swell play with you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

conspiracy theories

We came home from shopping for the weekly groceries, something that I am not usually party to, and Lynn separated my impulse purchases from hers. She goes with a list and seldom buys anything not on the list, I on the other hand failed the test miserably. It seems that I am dangerous when let loose in a supermarket and therefore the conclusion is that I am never to go shopping on my own without a list and a promise not to deviate from it at all. Fine by me, I`d rather be kayaking, but then someone has to be responsible for keeping the fridge fully stocked and getting the meals on the table . So I do appreciate the effort that it takes to keep the household running efficiently and on budget.
On the other hand I also know how much psychology goes into planning an efficient supermarket, for example at our local the simple products like milk and bread are situated in the farthest corner of the store, forcing one to walk through all the isles just to get there. This exposes you to all the attractive deals on site and also increases the hunger effect. Even though I had eaten breakfast beforehand, I found myself imagining hunger as I walked past all the good looking food products, and judging by the size of my impulse buying pile, I didn`t manage to resist enough.
In future I will go kayaking and leave the shopping to my more self controlled better half.

This morning there was a hint of a wave on the shore, maybe the sea will rise and give us some surf fun on the weekend.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Patagonia here we come

Yosele, On and Shatsky, seen towing a raft of kayaks in the picture above are on their way to kayak in Patagonia tomorrow. What can I say, I wish I was going too, it sounds like a great expedition , and in the words of the great Phill Eccles," make sure that you come back"
Well guys heres to you, we`ll drink a toast and say something nice and off you go. Have a great time, take care and come back with tales of adventure and bravado. We will be here to welcome you home.
Bon Voyage!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

After the Symposium

So did you enjoy yourself at the symposium, was it good for you too, did you learn something new, what now that its over? These are some of the thoughts going round and round in my head for a few days and the answers change all the time.Personally as a kayak addict[certified by my wife and friends], I can honestly say that the last week has been heaven for me. To be immersed in kayaking activities at this intensity for a week has been a great experience. From last wednesday playing in the surf with Jeff, watching and learning how he manages to loop and play going backwards in large waves was a eyeopener.

Then 4 days of full time coaching as an assistant to Derrick, Phill and Jeff was an invaluable experience to an aspiring kayak instructor. Learning how they interact and teach by being at their side all the time is like being an apprentice.I hope that I have gained some insights that will make me a better coach too.
One aspect that inspired me was the sheer number of people who signed up for Greenland rolling lessons with Derrick, 2 sessions a day for 4 days equals about 80 people who were exposed to the Greenland paddle almost for the first time. This is an explosion and I am sure that we will be seeing more and more kayakers with the stick in their hands from now on.

Yesterday I paddled with Derrick and Jeff from Habonim beach down to Sdot Yam. It was a perfect day to explore the myriad rocky outcrops, caves and coves along the way.

We paddled at our ease , taking photographs at every opportunity and Jeff had me tow him along so that he could use his video camera more effectively. He is doing some research into the Phonecian peoples who originated in this area and managed to sail to and trade tin in his home town in Cornwall among their other achievements. The flat sea allowed us to get close to the reefs and go into all the caves along the way. We managed to make a whole day trip out of the 20 km distance, thus messing up all Hadass`s plans for the afternoon and evening.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Derricks rolling lesson

Derrick has been standing in the water for 4 days now, 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon,but the good side is that a hell of a lot of Israeli paddlers now know what a greenland paddle is and can do. Hats off to you Derrick.