Sunday, October 26, 2014

how many muscles did you say?

So I spent two days with Ben Lawry helping during our Optimist annual Symposium, and when I got home my wife asked me if I learnt anything new.
I`ve been paddling for over 14years now and think that Im ok on the water, I can handle my kayak under most conditions and paddle pretty fast if I have to.
So why was it difficult to answer her question?
Well there was just so much information it was hard to latch onto one thing .
Bens lesson on forward paddling begins with the basics of posture, grip, knee position  all while on the shore or lawn,
and there is a lot to learn  before getting to the actual paddling part
With willing volunteers he gets the point across clearly and we all managed to improve our basic understanding of the 4 stages of the forward stroke.
On the water we all began to paddle with much more style and corrected technique. One thing that did catch my attention was the  power phase and the sequence of muscle use, beginning from the lower hand pulling then the lat then the upper hand and then the obliques and then the leg thrust  last.This has the effect of using the smaller muscles first and ending with the larger ones thus getting more power out of every stroke, not to mention correct torso rotation and catch  and of course exit
So then I wondered which muscles do we use when paddling and this is what I found  Now whenever anybody says oh you kayak, thats upper body  exercise, I have a much more complete answer for them.
And yes I did learn a lot from Ben`s lesson, its just that the answer is too long  for a quick reply.
Thanks Ben, it was great working with you again.

Monday, October 20, 2014

3 days at sea, again

Our annual trip from Rosh Hanikra down to Sdot Yam got off to a good start with a rainbow as a good omen

once the kayaks were loaded we set off

28 kayakers to look after, luckily the sea was calm and the weather good for paddling, Did you ever try to count all your paddlers, when the group is so big it gets difficult to keep track of everybody. We have one guide  leading one in the middle and one guide at the back, sometimes two of us at the back helping keep the group together , but from time to time the group stretches for about one kilometer. This would not be good in rough water but here its ok and we manage to keep tabs on everyone. Sometimes you have to count the group a few times just to get the right numbers.

Rain clouds in the distance but not on us

First stop for a coffee break 

Happiness is a wet paddle

Acco is an interesting town to pass from the sea

should I take a break now?

the wall round Acco

and then the crossing of Haifa bay, about two and a half hours across

as you get closer to the port you have to watch out for larger vessels, they don`t see kayaks. We landed after a hard days paddling and about 30km all in all

Camping here is a luxury experience, the manager of the beach lets us in after the official closing time, he leaves the showers and toilets open for us, brings us firewood for a fire and chairs and tables for our comfort. He gets a gold star from us.

Noam makes us coffee whenever we stop

Next morning we pack up and leave before the beach opens to swimmers again, and we leave no trace of ever having been there

Packing a kayak is an art and it takes a while to remember where everything goes , so one of our paddlers has a map to remind him

Leaving the beach

we pass fishermen 

always put on sunscreen

We stop for breakfast  after about one and a half hours and get ready for the next leg

We pass a navy base and have to go 3 miles out to sea to avoid the firing zone, they send out a patrol boat to check on us

It takes about 4 to 5 hours and we need to stop for frequent breaks, the water is still nice and warm so its easy to jump in for a pee when you need to and no dry-suites to worry about

there is some boat traffic out there too

Food is an important part of the trip.We make all our meals into one big picnic. This time Avigail delegated everybody a specific meal and asked them to bring the necessary  ingredients.Good planning made meals easy and fun and very tasty

The forecast for Saturday was worrying, strong Southerly winds were predicted and the sea was going to get rough, so we decided to push on as far as we could on Friday evening

We found a great beach just north of Nachsholim

and spent the night here, another 30km day, well done to all

Saturday morning the wind was up and against us, and the sea was more active

We left the beach and began to paddle 

But then Yiftach decided that it was too dangerous to take such a large and mixed group out in such conditions and we aborted , landing on Nachsholim beach and called for transport home.

A few brave souls decided to paddle home anyway and left us 

The menu for Saturday breakfast called for pancakes, and as we didn`t have time before leaving the beach we decided to have a late meal when we got back to the club.All in all it was a great trip, not easy to do such distances when the usual trip is only about 2 hours. It puts a great strain on the body and takes a lot of determination and will power to paddle for a whole day so I think its a good achievement to all who did it. See you again next year and thank you all for being such a great group

Saturday, October 11, 2014

variety is the spice of life

A wooden home made kayak painted blue

A Greenland hand carved paddle painted blue too

A new mother returns to the group 

discussion time

what a crowd, we have to force our way through

changing weather, summer is over

too many to count

SUPs out there too

sailing competition over the weekend

that`s an Optimist

new paddlers, first timer

sails sails and more sails

surfski too

bright yellow and black clouds

and then the rain

another way to wear your hat

more SUPs

looking through the channel of death