Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The way forward...

I never would have thought that my first course on a river would be in a canoe! Phil Hadley, Jennifer Kleck, Karl Anderson, Ginni Callahan and I headed of for the Clackamas River in Oregon for two days of 4-star canoe leader training.
Click on below picture for a slide-show.200908241600480379_AS.JPG
I definitely had some thoughts if my skills would be good enough to join them. I came prepared for lots of swimming practice...

It has been a long time when I actually felt the sensation of adrenaline rush: heading down a rapid into the unknown. It felt really good to feel the pressure on the blade and be 'in control', an amazing feeling. Having before only been on flat water with a canoe and appreciating the blade awareness bit. This is so much more, this is FUN!!

Only the poling (against and with the current) was very hard work. In the end determination overcame frustration. Phil tried to motivate me by saying that the poling bit was definitely 5*. In the end it just comes down to skill, I learned a lot...

We don't have swift running rivers in the Netherlands. I am looking forward to new opportunities to paddle rivers in a canoe. Blade awareness, boat control and feel of the water are so much more intense and fun in a canoe.

Whenever you go canoeing with Jen though, be very aware when she wants to change boats. It might be that she trades her very maneuverable and most-wanted canoe for a more straight tracking, but faster one. But only at a time when the rapids are over and it becomes flat water... On the positive side, I got to practice a lot on my J-stroke efficiency and speed...

Thanks Judy, Sue and Ken for insisting that Ginni and I should not be around for symposium clean-up! And that we should join Phil.

Click on below picture to follow Phil through a rapid.200908241405000367_AS.JPG
I leave you with a phrase by Phil that could be misinterpreted for all those that have NOT been at LoCo.: "There is only one way..."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Making Waves at LoCo 2009

I very much enjoyed my third Lower Columbia River Kayak Round-Up. Great weather and excellent paddling conditions. Click on below picture (Ginni is creating wind waves for the Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning course) to start a slide-show.
Some highlights... Working with Gene Totz on Performance Paddling; doing video analysis, I had a difficult time analyzing Gene's forward paddling. During the Foundation Safety & Rescue Training I learned new alternatives to the back-deck carry. During the 4* Sea Leader Training, Santiago showed some acrobatics, keeping up the ante. This year I came-in third in the Greenland rolling competition. I became better prepared than last year, unexpectedly that earned me a special rolling award (click above picture to start the slide-show). I almost nailed the brick-roll, if only I find a way to bring the brick on the deck out of balance brace position without capsizing again...
Within the BCU UKCC coaching scheme, canoeing is of much increased importance. Where blade-awareness is sometimes difficult to learn with a sea kayak paddle, it comes so natural with a canoe paddle. It is all about transference of skills.

And would I have ever thought that canoeing is so much fun!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Peddelpraat Sea Kayak Week 2009

This is the third year we are at the great location of the BKC soccer club in Anna Paulowna. In this part of the Netherlands there is water on three sides. The North Sea on the west coast, the IJsselmeer in the east and the Waddenzee in the North. Always options to paddle for everyone.
The last day we try to have one trip for all the participants. Generally we end-up on the IJsselmeer where there are less issues with group control and shipping. This year we chose to paddle from Den Helder to Oudeschild. Announcing one pod of 40 (!) kayakers to the coast guard had them double-check if they heard right...

200908091017589963_RF.GIFIn a tight formation we where out and back with no problems, thanks to the aspirant "Dutch 5-star" paddlers taking charge of the group and setting themselves up as "border collies".

This year I joined the tour group. That was about as much I could handle, being the overall organizer for the week, with a lot of help. Thank you all!

And again Ronald made us our T-shirts, which are truly collector's items. For the BBQ on the last evening Ronald drew this cartoon on the whiteboard. Truly temporary art, captured on camera and transformed into a line-art picture. I could not bring myself to "wiping-out" his artwork.