CanoeKayak.com just posted part two of their ongoing series called Skook Classified. Episode 2: The Journey is a great little short film telling the story of The Hurricane Riders putting together Skookfest, an invite-only extreme rough water sea kayaking event in the tidal rapids at
Speaking of rough water, make sure you take some time and check out foampile.com which is a really great website filled with the greatest rough water sea kayaking videos on the net. It’s curated by both The Hurricane Riders and Nick Castro from Active Sea Kayaking.
If you have always wanted to paddle Skook but feel you don’t have enough skills or guts, Nick from Active Sea Kayaking is going to be offering training in April and June of 2013. The multi-day course is focusing specifically on sea kayak surfing and paddling in tidal currents. Nick promises that things will start off gently than build up from there. Sounds awesome.
Check out the quick video below:
I’m super excited to finally unveil Paddling Headquarters, the next step for Paddling Instructor.
The idea for the rebrand started a couple of months ago when I was looking back through the site archives and I realized that even though there is a lot of teaching resources and “how to teach” articles scattered throughout, the site is much bigger than that. I think the name; Paddling Headquarters is more about what this place really is. A spot for people to come and discover the crazy weird stuff out there related to the outdoor world.
For those who might worry, I don’t have any plans to change the type of content I currently posting. It’s all stuff that interests me so why would I write about anything different? I do have plans to expand the instructor resources available for download over the winter as some of the existing content is getting a little long in the tooth.
So let me know what you think. I’m always interested in your thoughts, story ideas and suggestions.
A very special thanks to goes out to Keith Wikle for the name suggestion, it’s greatly appreciated. You should have heard the duds I was going to name it...
An interesting story is coming out of the UK this week. On the 19th of April, seven sea kayakers were out paddling in very rough seas when they got into trouble and had to be assisted by Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
What’s interesting about this is that they were all advanced paddlers and several of them were sea kayak instructors.
From the RNLI press release:
Initial reports indicated that there were people in the water. When the lifeboat arrived on scene it was quickly established that three people, one of which had been washed out of his kayak, were ashore on Porthmelgan beach. It was decided that St Davids inshore lifeboat should be launched to escort two of them back to Whitesands while St Davids coastguards brought one person to Whitesands in their 4x4.
I wanted to do dig more into this and went to my trusty UK news source, ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum. There I found a forum thread with a more detailed report and discovered that the incident actually took place during a BCU 5* assessment.
Taran Tyla posted the following:
The incident happened on a 5 star assessment I was attending. One of the Guinea Pigs was struggling a bit with the conditions & had capsized a few times which were quickly sorted out. After one capsize it was decided that he should paddle into Gesail-Fawr, the last get out before St Davids Head, he was doing great considering he had a boatful of water but unfortunately he capsized again just before Penllechwen & got swept past that headland minus his boat.
Just prior to this I was told to tow his boat onto the beach which I did. This left the swimmer, assessor & the other 5 star applicant heading around St Davids Head whilst myself, two other Guinea Pigs & the Assessors assistant landing on the beach.
There is more to the story and you should read through the entire conversation thread. Taran also posted a detailed report on his blog with some amazing photos of the sea conditions, riding home on the rescue boat and close-ups of one of the damaged kayaks.
I decided to highlight this incident not to pass judgement or play the old, you-should-have-done game like so many currently are in the forum. I wasn’t there and not positive that my decisions would have ended up with a different result. What this is is a good reminder that that incidents can happen to anybody. Even when you are on the water with some of the most highly trained instructors in the world.
Update 9:30pm: Reading through the thread since I posted this, Douglas Wilcox has brought up a couple of very interesting points in his comment on the forum and is worth a read. I agree with his point that peer review of all incidents is critical in making sure that we learn from our mistakes so the patterns don’t repeat again. Here is the link.
Photo credit: Taren Tyla
If you are like me there is a very good chance that you struggle to explain to your students the basics of how tides work.
To help solve the mystery, the gang from Minute Physics produced a very cool video that explains the basics so simply that that my 10 year-old could understand.
Also, if you have also got an extra minute why don’t you learn why some rocks on the shoreline are round while other rocks are flat and perfect for skipping across the water.
Who knew that gravity affected our lives so much? I didn’t.
We all know First Aid or CPR instructional videos can me more boring than watching grass grow in the middle of winter. To help get the message out about the new hands-only CPR technique, the British Heart Foundation enlisted the help of Hollywood tough guy, Vinnie Jones to show us how to do it properly.
If you want more information on hands-only CPR, head over to the American Heart Association’s website, handsonlycpr.org where you can also have the pleasure of watching an extremely boring instructional video in the tradition we have that we have all come to love (and hate).
Thanks to my buddy Mike for the video tip.
David Wooldridge from Ridge Wilderness Adventures in Maple Ridge, British Columbia assembled a really well done instructional video specifically for Big Canoe paddling.
Over the past couple of weeks I have seen a large uptick in the number of Big Canoe videos released. By large uptick, I really mean I went from seeing zero big canoe videos to 3 in the past month.
As you might know, Paddle Canada rolled out their Big Canoe instructional program this year and what’s happening is the newly certified instructors are developing teaching resources for everybody else to use.
Creative Commons Licence on Flickr by tlindenbaum.
The American Canoe Association recently unveiled a new resource for instructors called the Journal of Paddlesports Education or JPE for short. Aimed towards certified instructors, the JPE is filled with a wide variety of articles related to sea kayaking, whitewater, and canoeing instruction.
So far the collection is pretty decent. I really liked the article, Teaching and Learning Paddle Sports by Mike Aronoff which is filled with a hodge podge collection of thoughts and ideas around what makes an effective instructor.
Even thought some of the articles could be edited down for length (heaven knows I ramble!), the JPE is off to a great start in producing a list of technical, “how to” industry resources.
Also, I do appreciate that they have applied an Attribution Creative Commons license to everything on the site which means you can use the resources for anything you want as long as you give proper credit to the original author. You can even use the material for your commercial use which is very generous indeed!
Check out the Journal of Paddlesports Education.
If you are looking to get some more sea kayak training under your belt before the 2011 paddling season ends, check out the duo certification course going on this October in
The first 3 days will be spend on the eastern shore of Nova Scotia working on navigation, rock hopping, on water leadership, surfing and tidal paddling.
The last 2 days will be spent on the Shubie tidal bore learning about advanced tidal paddling, rescues, tide race paddling and more leadership activities.
The coaching staff includes Scott Cunningham (Paddle Canada Level 4 Instructor Trainer), Christopher Lockyer aspirant level 4 coach and guest coach Nick Cunliffe who is a BCU level 5 sea coach.
Nick’s name might be familiar. He is the same coach on the Kayak Essential’s kayak instruction DVD series that I reviewed last week.
If you are interested in participating, you had better jump on it soon as registration closes August 25th and there are currently only two spots left.
The cost is $900 which includes food, camping, a course manual, Paddle
There is the registration info.
Photo credit: committed2thecore.com
BCU Level 3 Coach, Nick Cunliffe and Matt Giblin recently released their second instructional DVD in the Sea Kayak Essentials series. Last time they focused on foundation kayak skills aimed at beginner and intermediate paddlers but this time they are stopping it up a notch as they focus on intermediate and advanced boat handling skills.
Sea Kayak Essentials covers a wide range of topics including open water forward paddling, moving water skills, tide race paddling, rock hopping and surfing skills.
The paddling nerd in me really liked this video. Be warned that in some areas it’s very technical which could turn of casual paddlers looking for pure entertainment. That being said; they do a fantastic job breaking down some very technical skills (eg. tidal race paddling) and present it in easy to digest chunks.
If you are the self learning type of paddler then this DVD will appeal to you. You know who you are; you read info in books or watch a DVD then go out and practice yourself and figure it out. This DVD will be right up your alley.
One thing that I do really appreciate is that the producers have also written 40 pages of technical notes to go along with the DVD allowing you to get even more detail out of the video. It’s a great resource for students but I believe it will also be a fantastic resource for instructors who are looking to increase their technical knowledge for rough water paddling skills. You can grab a copy of it on their website.
Except for Jennifer Lopez’s masterpiece Gigli, no film is perfect. One thing that I do wish Nick and Matt did was to spend more time explaining some techniques from a boat. Nick does a great job as host and instructor but I sometimes noticed the editing formula would be to introduce the skill and explain the key concepts while standing on a rock then cut to a boater in rough water doing it with nice background music. There was a couple times where I was longing for a voice over or specific graphics so I knew what to look for. As somebody who easily got distracted by the amazing rough water footage and scenery, it would help snap out of dreaming mode and back into learning mode. Of course didn’t happen all the time but it was a noticeable point to me.
Final verdict? If you are looking for a solid video textbook to get you going I found it for you.
You can grab your copy for £19.95 if you live in the UK or £21.95 if you are living anywhere else in the world. Sea Kayak Essentials is available in both PAL and NTSC formats.
My friend Graham was digging around through some off-site storage at the Paddle Canada world headquarters when he stumbled upon a box of ancient VHF tapes labelled Canoe Canada. For the young kids out there; VHS was a format long before DVD’s that was good for movie rentals or to record that episode of The Dukes of Hazard you missed because you had to work Friday nights at McDonalds. But I digress...
Not owning an actual VHS player; Graham shipped it off to the closest person he knew who had one which actually happened to be ½ way across the Canada in Alberta. The video was converted over to DVD and uploaded for your viewing pleasure.
Canoe Canada was a ½ instruction ½ canoe promotion video that was funded by Paddle Canada and the Canadian National Search and Rescue Secretariat.
Not sure of the exact date but we figure that Canoe Canada was produced in around the very late 1980’s or early 1990’s so it’s a great opportunity to see some really classic camping and paddling gear. I haven’t seen so much plaid jackets and bushy beards since...well, yesterday since they are both back in style with the cool kids here in Toronto.
Here is the intro below to whet your appetite. When you are done, click through to the Paddle Canada site to see the last three parts. It’s some classic footage indeed.