Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

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...