See what I have been up to.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Expedition Voting


I applied for an expedition grant from Canoe & Kayak Magazine for a trip around Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, in 2016/17. Please click here to vote for me- Donald Cheyette is the name. Thanks!

Canoe & Kayak Expedition Grant Voting

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Big News

I have officially started my own kayak coaching business- aptly named Salish Strokes. Please check out my new website, www.salishstrokes.com, and like it on facebook here: www.facebook.com/salishstrokes. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Surfing the Wedge- Tuesday Blues

If you want to be back on the water after a week away, check out this pummeling. I'm just thankful that it isn't me in there.



{ WEDGE } from Brecht Vanthof on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sunday Funday in Deception Pass

Sunday afternoon 7 of us headed north to Deception Pass for a sunny, flat, and fast 7.2 kt ebb. We found rocks to paddle around, and worked on attainments, ferry glides, and stern squirts (yes, in sea kayaks!).  There weren't surf waves or wind to work with- just a day in strong currents. 

We started out by exploring the headland between Bowman Bay and Lighthouse Point, hugging the shoreline and finding a few slots to run through. Even with the smallest of swell there were a couple that took quite a bit of maneuvering to make it safely through.
The group heading around Lighthouse Point.
Steve working hard to get in the slot.
Barb concentrating.
Once we got in the pass immediately I was swimming. 1- it was a beautiful day and it is always good to practice, and 2- it was BLOODY HOT in my drysuit. So first I did eddy turns from the back deck, forwards, backwards, and sideways, followed by a back deck static brace (no pictures of these, unfortunately). Then Steve and I turned his Aries 15.5 into a double, while facing each other. It worked marvelously, but was a little like paddling a log.

After this John and I got out and traded off taking pictures and video. There is a nice rock to stand on that forms the major eddy on the ebb, and it let us get up close and personal with kayaks!

I gave John a ride in the eddy.
Leslie breaking in.
Stern squirt- where you throw your stern into the current, let water pile on top of it, and in a whitewater boat, you throw ends! It is pretty awesome. A sea kayak isn't exactly a whitewater boat, but here is how Steve's attempt went.
Steve's Stern Squirt Pt.1 
Pt. 2
Pt. 3: the Finale.
Jill breaking in.
Low brace for balance.

Steve doesn't pay attention often...
Me working the eddyline.
Jill checking out the bottom.
Steve and I racing after a tennis ball like dogs.
Another beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest.




Monday, May 18, 2015

Prospecting down the Skykomish

Saturday was Paddle Trails Canoe Club's 45th annual Spring Bash. The board made breakfast for all, then there were some rope throwing games, for both distance and accuracy, and afterwards we split up and headed out to several different rivers/sections. There was a Snoqualmie River Powerhouse run, a Big Eddy to Sultan run on the Skykomish, and I lead a group of nine intrepid folks down the Skykomish from below Boulder Drop to Big Eddy. The river was flowing right around 2,000 cfs, which, from previous experience, can be a little boney in a canoe. Naturally, I decided my 16 ft Prospector was THE boat for this. As you can see, it has airbags in the end and a kneeling thwart, but other than that, it is 16 feet of fun and empty space.
Ed and Grace peeling out at the get on below Boulder Drop.
There was a bit of rain and wind at the beginning of the run- this is me trying to keep everything aligned going into the first Ledge Drop.
It was rainy and a little windy at the top of the run- to the point I had to change my trim to a less desirable position for river running, but better than going down sideways!

Looking upstream to Boulder Drop - I was swimming there not so long ago.
Leslie was especially color coordinated on Saturday.
Looking down through Aquagasm.
I have done this run numerous times, in both kayak and whitewater canoe. I have run the lower section, from Split Rock down to Big Eddy, once in large canoes, and we broke 2.5 of 4 boats. With a little more skill and hopefully some luck, I thought that I would have a go at both the lower and the more difficult upper section of this run.

The two rapids I was most nervous about were Aquagasm, near the top, and Railroad, which is just after Split Rock, the first rapid of the lower section. Both are long, and the first has at least 300 yards of large V-shaped wave trains that purposefully try and fill your canoe to the brim. 

Railroad is a little more technical and rocky, with water pushing towards rocky weirs where one could easily get hung up in a canoe.

Right in the midst of Aquagasm.
Big curling V waves.
Yep, trying to fill the boat.
I certainly took on some water coming through Aquagasm, but not enough to make me tip. Success!

Surf break at Split Rock.
During the Bash in the morning, I won the distance throwing contest, with an 85 foot toss. (three of us tied at 64', so we tied a second bag on to see how far we could get. Little did I know that I would need the practice later.

Leslie finishing her surf...

A nearly spot on throw.
Got her!
After rescuing Leslie, we passed Split Rock and headed down Railroad. I took the right line to try and minimize cross-current maneuvering to minimize the chances of a broach or pin.

Lining up at the top of Railroad.
Threading the needle between two rocks.
Ed and Grace lining up a boof.
Nailed it!
Looking upstream at Fisherman's.
Leslie had a bumpy ride down Fisherman's Rapid (without boat), and we figured the fastest way down to her boat in the eddy was tandem. Easy with a Prospector!
Leslie picking a line.
Kevin working down river.
Ed and Grace were masters of this boat. I just got one and can't wait to outfit it and paddle it!
Trim and pry!
Snack break.
Dave and Leslie making their way down to the take out.
It was a successful bash and a successful paddle. I really enjoyed the challenge of taking the Prospector down a technical run with lots of eddies and rocks- at higher water, with less of those, it would be much harder, and important to keep to a clean, dry line. We broke no boats, had a handful of swims, and lots of fun catching as many eddies and surfing as many waves as possible. Can't wait to get out again soon! (next week).

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday Thought

Happy Friday! Thinking back to almost a year ago- this was from the second day of the second leg of our trip, right at the north end of Vancouver Island. This was about 5:00 am on the day we rounded Cape Scott. Looking back through all the trip photos has me buzzing with business plans and expedition plans- exciting news coming soon!
Gerry making the most of morning light.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Annual Pilgrimage to Deception Pass

I finally had a day to return to Deception Pass- where I first started to paddle dynamic environments. Usually there are winter storms with strong sustained westerly winds, but with the oddity of this year's weather pattern, there has been perhaps one, and I was on a plane back from Scotland when that happened.  Our group consisted of the usual suspects- Michelle, Leslie, Jason, and I- we also ran into Ed, Kim, Maxine, and the other Kim too.
Looking into the Pass early in the ebb.
We surfed in Canoe Pass, inside the main Pass, outside the main pass, and out by Deception Island.  As the flow changes, different locations stand up in different ways at different times. As soon as one area started to wane, we would look for the next best set of waves.

Following Jason out to Deception Island.
After lunch, we took a trip out to the island, which has a large eddy on the backside where people could rest as the rest of the group surfed.

Jason took the opportunity to practice being rescued- of everyone I paddle with he swims the most.

Jason dropping into the outer race.
Working the race.
Leslie dropping into a wave.
Not a huge day, but plenty of waves.
Leslie caught a couple great waves in a row- I was jealous that she was there and I wasn't.

Leslie working hard.
Leslie and Jason taking a break in the eddy.
Jason catching a ride.
Can you see Michelle?
I'm hopeful that there will be a few more spring storms, where we can get back out and work in the chop of wind against current in Deception Pass. It is one of my favorite places to paddle and it only gets better with conditions.