Late summer fun and homage to Kayak Hipster’s “Flipped-Over Fridays”… David tests his new Rockpool Isel (it’s marvelous from every angle) while Felix entertains the crowd at Cockenoe Island near Westport, CT. (Click for video)
Parking lot after a wintertime indoor pool session. We’re like a motorcycle gang, only geeky.
This week, our “TBD” (To Be Done!) task is to buy one of those GoPro action video cameras that all the kids have. Our friend, Luke—aka the multi-talented blogger kayakhipster—has two GoPros, which he mounted ingeniously above- and below-water at the Greenwich YWCA swimming pool a couple of Sunday mornings ago, to document a kayak “pool session.”
A pool session is where one goes to practice rescues and rolling when the waters you normally paddle are #^@#& freezing (or just plain frozen). It’s nice and relaxing—like this video Luke shot with his pair of GoPros, then edited to a mellow track from his band, aver the mono. (Told you he was talented!)
Watching it is like gazing at fish in an aquarium… Jean (white kayak) = angelfish. Felix (green yak and whitewater boat) = the happy guppy. Luke (red kayak) = tigerfish doing storm rolls! John (yellow kayak) = lanky seahorse. Jorge’s the little plastic diver, and Dave’s one of those round snails that are always attaching themselves to things… You’ll see. Click to play 🙂
As much as we enjoy indoor pool sessions, there’s nothing like the great outdoors—even if it is frozen. Video below: David and Luke hack their way out of Grass Island, CT:
After last Sunday’s pool session, Jean, Luke and David dried off and car-topped for the pleasure (?) of “paddling uphill” against a gusty SW headwind, to Calf Island, near Greenwich, CT. Upon arrival, David found his comfort zone in the frozen salt marsh.
Dave’s secret?Muck boots. He swears by them. Here, he chills out while staying toasty-warm, making it ice-crystal clear why we should all get a pair for ourselves.
Sweat-soaked hats off! to the athletes, volunteers and sponsors of Achilles International. The 31-year-old organization’s mission: To enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics in order to promote personal achievement, enhance self esteem and lower barriers to living a fulfilling life. (And kick butt!) Above, David hugs tandemmate, Dennis, upon their completion of the 14-mile Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race in Norwalk, CT. A fantastic 2:56:19.
David and Dennis win gold—despite a finicky rudder. Kudos to Good Samaritan engineer, Alex, who stopped mid-race to provide some timely “percussive maintenance.”
Our balletic friend, Felix, and teammate Cesar: silver-medalists in the 14-mile race at 3:20:30. Photo courtesy of Dan Marino Photography.
Achilles International is an organization focused on providing access to competitive sports for disabled athletes. Founded in 1983 by Dick Traum, the first amputee to run the marathon distance in the 1976 NYC Marathon, it has since grown to 70 chapters worldwide and a membership of over 60,000.
The Achilles International Kayak Program was founded several years ago as an alternate program to the mainstream road race events that Achilles participates in.
In recent years, we’ve competed in the Bear Mountain Challenge (14 miles), the NYC Mayor’s Cup (28 miles) and the Lighthouse to Lighthouse Race (14 miles). All are long, technical, challenging events—exactly in line with the objectives of the organization: to enter mainstream events and compete alongside able-bodied and even elite athletes over the same course and distance, under the same race conditions.
Competing on equal footing provides an incredible sense of accomplishment for the athletes, but also demonstrates to all involved and spectators alike, that disabled athletes need an opportunity to prove their abilities, just like the rest of us.
If you’re interested in helping the Achilles International Kayak Program either as a business or individual sponsor, or are interested in being a guide for an event, contact Gary at email@example.com
Why should kids have all the fun?Last week, Jean packed her lunchbox (and kayak, gear, and the good ol’ Subaru) to join friends in Norwalk for a 5-day Instructor Certification Workshop (ICW) of the American Canoe Association (ACA). The course was taught by the A++ instructor-trainer, Scott Szczepaniak (a spelling bee unto himself) of Sea Kayak Carolina and hosted by Sea Kayak Connecticut, aka, David McPherson. Here, David explains all, as we Level 3 candidates perform a kayak-rescue water ballet in the background. (Click for video).
In case you’re curious, the curriculum consisted of the following (ideally, in 10- to 15-knot winds, 1- to 2-foot seas and/or breaking waves, and 1 to 2 knots of current). The “pop quiz” happens every time we go paddlin’ 🙂
Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently perform, assess and teach the basic paddle strokes and maneuvers, to include: Forward (touring & power)
Reverse & stopping
Forward and reverse sweeps
Draw (in-water / out-of-water / sculling)
High and low braces
Low and high brace turns
Demonstrate the understanding of and the ability to effectively and efficiently perform, assess and teach boat control skills, to include: Edge awareness and control
Launching and landing
Forward paddling, reverse paddling and maneuvering in a variety of sea states, wind conditions, wind directions and tidal current up to the Level 3 Coastal Kayaking certification course venue.
Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently perform, assess and teach rescue techniques in a variety of sea states, wind conditions, wind directions and tidal current up to the Level 3 Coastal Kayaking certification course venue: Wet exit w/ spray skirt
Self-rescue (scramble, paddle float w/ and w/o sling)
Boat over boat rescue (T-rescue)
Eskimo rescue (bow / stern / paddle)
Unresponsive paddler rescue e.g. Hand-of-God Swimmer recovery (bow, stern)
Working knowledge and individual proficiency in other rescues: Reentry and roll w/ and w/o paddle float
Eskimo roll (individual proficiency – perform an Eskimo roll in conditions)
Demonstrate knowledge of, and ability to effectively and efficiently perform, assess and teach, the following: Safety issues and hazards of coastal kayaking
Development of a float plan
Equipment selection / packing
Weather forecasting resources and interpretation
Leave No Trace, understanding ecology, conservation and stewardship
Basic chart reading and use
Hypothermia and hyperthermia; prevention and treatment
Signaling devices and safety equipment
Boat traffic, rules of the road
Kayak design and equipment
Kayak towing technique
Demonstrate the ability to effectively and efficiently perform, assess and teach group and incident management skills and concepts, to include: Communication and signaling (VHF radio protocol / pyrotechnics / smoke)
Appropriate leadership, judgment and group management in a variety of open water coastal environment
Our class picture, including L2 and L3 candidates. Clockwise from top left: Scott and David (instructors), John, Jorge, Felix, Luke; Jean; Patrick, Eric, and Justin (from the Navy Submarine Base in Groton, CT), Drew; and Serena (also from Navy base)