Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Winter Time

I am back home for the Winter and catching up with backlogs. People ask me "Why is your website not updated?" I think I have you spoiled. All that travelling keeps me away from my computer at home. But today I finally caught up! And I watched the brand new DVD "This is the Sea two". Highly recommended, although one could argue that I am somewhat biased... I will be off again soon (Northern Ireland) and far away from my home computer for a bit.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Walked by hand, runs by itself

A circle of teeth rotates slowly,
preparing all that is in it's mouth for deadly impact

Cuts grass, weeds,
Slashes reed,
Chops blackberry vines,
Hacks hidden garden hose,
Rips scars in uneven soil,

Severs unfortunate caterpillars,
Terrorizes fleeing vole...

Wounds, field dressed by falling leaves
Autumn rain sheets
Winter snow blankets

Green, the colour of Spring
Yellow, the colour of Summer

Stones and concealed wire fence will bring the violence to a temporary halt,
so does running out of gasoline...

Switching off the running,
the farm girl stops walking...

"the grim reaper"

on a Puget Island Washington farm

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Bodega Bay

The 2005 Northern California BCU Skills Symposium was held on Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco from 14 until 16 October and BCU courses in the week thereafter. On the 13th there was a BCU 4* surf assessment run by Ray O Brien for Ginni Callahan and me at Bolinas. BCU 4* Surf
I had definitively more trouble with the assessment than Ginni. But every now and then Buck Johnson gave a thumbs up after a good ride to encourage me to keep trying to get my top turns right. Buck is a kayak surfer that knows every surf hot spot in the wider area. I did everything from bottom turns to a loop, a pop out, flat spins and many of a roll in the foam pile. But those top turns where hard to get right; for me it is a freshly acquired skill. But when I finally consistently got it right I felt really good but I was somewhat surprised that I actually passed the assessment also. Those ten days in Baja surf camp really paid... The weekend was filled with a wide range of 2 or 3 hour skills classes. Monday and Tuesday I assisted Bryan Smith with a BCU 4* sea training. With the potential huge Pacific swell it is hard to find a spot that has suitable surf conditions for 4* sea. On Tuesday we went to Goat Rock. There, swell generated surf pounded the beach. Timing the sets is of major importance here. The minimum surf is probably already on the upper remit for BCU 4* sea. Alaskan Mike got the credit for most spectacular landings. His timing was off or he was just unlucky; but Alaskans are tough, that he certainly proved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Baja Surf Camp

Before attending the 2005 Northern California BCU Skills Symposium at Bodega Bay, north of San Francisco, Ginni took us (Gemma, Jim, Tim and Axel) to her favorite surf spot on the Pacific coast of Baja California (Mexico). We had a great time surfing and playing in rock gardens. I now know the difference between a 'point break' and a 'beach break'. At first I did not understand why Ginni 'looked down' on 'beach break' where I just had great fun because that surf was already much cleaner than the mushy surf that I am used to in the Netherlands. Surfing a peeling point break is magical. And I learned a lot that came to great use later at the symposium. In the rock gardens, Tim had the habit of being in the wrong spot at the wrong moment. For photo opportunities, Tim was exactly in the right spot at the right moment. Jim was talked into paddling over a pour-over by Gemma. Thus Jim takes home this year's Baja Surf Camp rock gardening award. Gemma paddled her Rockpool Alaw Bach sea kayak, the first one in the Americas. All of us tried it out in surf and we liked the performance of it. But Gemma allowed nobody but herself near rocks in this glass fiber sea kayak. So we do not know at this moment if it is Gemma's skill and/or the kayak that perform so well near rocks. But then, it is a 'Rockpool' kayak. More and pictures to follow...

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Anglesey Splash

After the Isle of Man Symposium I spent a week in Anglesey for another 'splash' in the tidal races. South Stack race was big. Skerries very windy. Penrhyn Mawr was again running huge at neaps of the bigger September tides, kicked-up considerably because of the swell. This time I knew when it was time to stop playing when my left arm could not hold a low brace long enough in a bongo slide and I was rather weakly performing the neccessary roll. Simon made a perfect tidal race pop-out and landing without capsizing! Matt let by mistake run his helmet mounted digital camera until it ran out of memory. One of the better mistakes one can make as it turned out to contain impressive footage of the roughness of the race and Matt having to roll.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Isle of Man Sea Kayak Symposium

My first visit to the Isle of Man was a good one. Beautiful coastline, surf beaches, caves and arches and... All around the Calf of Man are first class tidal races to play in. We did rock ledge landings of the kind that up until now I only read about in books. OK, I did not manage a perfect timing of the the surge to be flushed onto the one meter high ledge. At a 45 degree angle I just barely was prevented from being flushed back to sea. Whenever the pictures of this gets on-line I have to add "No paddlers got injured or kayaks got damaged during these training sessions". The sea kayak symposium is hosted by "Adventurous Experiences"
( and is part of the annual Isle of Man Adventure week.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Friday, August 19, 2005

Travels with Paddles

Welcome to my new web journal. This journal will be used during my sea kayaking travels. This web journal replaces my previous News page. More stories and pictures can be found at

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I have posted many of a trip report over the years. You can search for a specific article on my website by using the search box.

This journal shows a different photo every time it is (re-)loaded. You can cycle through all the available photo's in a chronological order by clicking on the picture.

Click here to view some film footage of me paddling at the Penrhyn Mawr tidal race in Wales.

If you want to learn more about the country that I live in, the Netherlands, then click here.