General News

Last Sunday (July 13) thousands gathered in Newport Beach, CA to pay tribute to Ben Carlson, a lifeguard who gave his life while attempting to rescue a struggling swimmer. The highly respected 15 year veteran lifeguard got the call and jumped into the water to save the swimmer struggling in the 6-8 foot surf waves. Both men were pulled back into the water by a large wave as they struggled to get back into the rescue boat. Sadly Ben was pronounced dead after an exhaustive 3-hour search. If you are unfamiliar with surf culture, when a fellow surfer passes away (either in an accident or non-surfing related cause), the community will organize a memorial service out beyond the surf. Typically they will form a ring, have a moment of silence and throw flowers into the center of the circle. It's been a tradition for years. Watching the video of the memorial for Ben Carlson above, it makes me wish that the sea kayaking community had a traditional way of mourning those who have passed away as well. I guess we tend to keep things more internal and that's ok but there really is something very powerful about getting the kayak family together and going paddling in someone's honor. I remember attending a memorial at the Great Lakes Sea Kayak Symposium three years ago for a fellow Great Lakes paddler (and former student of mine) who died doing what he loved.  Rev. Bonnie Perry led the short service and spoke about the impact he had inspiring others to get out and live your dreams. I got to admit it was pretty tough one to get through but even while standing on the beach, I remember thinking that this should have taken place out on the water. Bob would have thought that would have been even cooler. It might be a weird but maybe it's time to brainstorm our own method of mourning the loss of a fellow community member. Any ideas? Photo credit: Associated Press
Typically kayaking can be viewed as a relaxing experience, washing away the stress of the day including your boss (or kids) yelling at you. Sadly it looks like it might have had the opposite effect on a gentleman from Westfield, Massachusetts who, according to court records pleaded not guilty to a host of charges (including attempted murder) after he allegedly attacked another man with a kayak paddle and held his head underwater. All while out kayak fishing one evening. Wait, what?
The other night on "The Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon" Jimmy challenged Cameron Diaz to a kayak race. Though it didn't actually take place on water it was clearly just as dangerous as they had to run a through a waterfall, dodge a cranky old fisherman and salmon swimming upstream as well as two super dangerous obstacles that consisted of an Elton John impersonator singing the most annoying part of "Crocodile Rock" and another on a jet ski singing the worst part of "Bennie and the Jets". You will need to watch the race to find out who was victorious and who sunk...
As a freshwater kid who rarely gets to the ocean, I think that tides are just awesome. That's why I was excited last week when I stumbled upon this very cool collection of low and high tide comparison photos from around the world. I'm always amazed at how much of a difference there is between low and high tide. If you are this guy, I've got a pile of resources that will help explain how tides work so that even a 6 year old will understand. Download your free teaching resources here.
What started out as a funny idea to get more people out enjoying nature and the wilderness, the Paddle in the Park Contest has blossomed into one of the coolest, awesomest, bestest contest I’ve read about in quite a while. Now in its second year, the contest is pretty simple. Canoe paddle manufacturer, Badger Paddle partnered up with Preston of Portageur.ca to find a bunch of celebrity paddlers and authors to go out and hide six paddles along the portage trails in Algonquin, Temagami and Killarney areas. Between now and September 15th they will be sending out clues to help campers figure out where the paddles are hiding. Find a paddle along the trail? It’s yours! Just try to name a cooler contest out there, just try. With the contest just getting going, I got in touch with co-owner of Badger Paddle, Fiona Westner-Ramsay to tell me all about it:
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