Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Back Up

Back in Anglesey since May. I am visiting Justine & Barry. Tide is perfect for the Skerries, so why not? One meter swell with a northerly force 4 Beaufort. Seems reasonable. There is surf in Cemlyn Bay, never seen that here before. Furlough's race is very messy.

It is a weak neap tide and it is hard to catch waves. Also I feel a bit rusty in these kind of conditions, been months that is, especially because the sea is so unfamiliar confused. Never seen Furlough's this way. At one time, more by chance than effort, I do get into a gentle surf that brings me quite a bit to the front of the race. On autopilot I start back-paddling when a steepening breaking wave just lunges me forward and down at an angle. My low brace boat angle is too gentle and I am swepped over the other side, upside down. Almost immediately I am almost upright again, just by water pressure alone, but I cannot find the blade pressure to low brace up again completely. Over I go for the second time. I had enough time to think strategy.

On previous occasions I found that if I capsize in rough water I tend to lock myself into the cockpit with firm knees to not flush out of the cockpit. At the same time that would make my roll more difficult. So once upside down ease-up and focus on 'right-side' knee pressure only. In this case my left knee. Back up again in an instant. OK, my rough water roll really works. But a bit shaken I am.

Did I chew off a bit too much for my first Anglesey day since May and a very rough one too? At least I did not 'wet my pants' this time, dry-suit helps ;-) Only lost my threading BBB cap and the left part of my very well 'surf-proof' secured spare paddle flopping in it's final bungee. Secured we continue to the Skerries. Victoria Bank and Coal Rock races are lumpy but easy.

Just before noon we arrive at the Skerries for lunch. I am hungry and a bit tired and 'tense' in the arms...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Life goes on

I just returned from coaching at our annual Peddelpraat sea kayaking week. It was a delight to work with aspirant coaches Fred and Arjan.

We had wind, waves, surf and even a proper tidal race. It seems tidal races are popping up everywhere now in the Netherlands. That is that our eyes are trained more and more to spot these infrequent opportunities of standing waves over sand bars; wind against spring-tide ebb.

During the week I learned from Martin that Nigel Laybourne had passed away in June. When Peddelpraat organized their first sea insruction week (in the late seventees) they brought over Nigel to show the way. Martin gave a slide-show (yes, 'analog' slides!) of "Sea Kayaking 1.0".

My first "Peddelpraat Sea Camp", as a very novice and shy paddler, was in 1994, with Nigel Laybourne. I remember him as an extremely patient coach. In 2000 I had the pleasure to paddle with him (again) at the Anglesey Symposium.

Last week someone used the phrase "Life goes on" in an unrelated context. That had me thinking... Ending-up as the title of this post.