If you are like me and you sometimes find it tricky explaining to your students the complex interactions between Low and High pressure systems or weather forecasting you need to pick up the amazing resource, The Weather Cycler. The Weather Cycler is essentially an 8.5"x11" cardboard slide chart and guide for interpreting and forecasting weather. What makes it very cool is that when you slide the inner card out, it creates a simple animation of a low pressure system moving into your area. While the animation is happening, there are other cut outs on the page that demonstrate expected weather, pressure and cloud formations at any given point throughout the weather system. It’s a fantastic resource. If you are looking to pick one up check with your local science shop to see if they have it though you will likely do better ordering it online. I recently picked up mine from the gang at Body Boat Blade and it was $12.50 plus shipping.

New Rescue Technique: The Dump
Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Holy crap! Why haven't been using The Dump all along? Just watch it and be prepared to be amazed with its simplicity.
A collective group of water safety experts from Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are calling on the outdoor industry to drop the term "PFD" in favour "lifejackets" when it comes to water safety education. It's part of a list of guiding principles related to lifejacket promotion that were recently developed by several water safety organizations including Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee, Royal National Lifeboat Institution (UK) and the Canadian Safe Boating Council. Here is the full list of the principles. I think it's a really interesting idea and something I support for sure. Ask anybody on the street what that dapper guy above is wearing and after staring at his moustache, they will tell you it's a lifejacket. Why would we want to confuse people by using the technical term PFD? Here is the thing; a PFD is just the name of a lifejacket that happens to be classified a specific way due to its design. Nobody cares and neither should we. So here my challenge to you fellow canoe/sup/kayak instructor. Drop the term PFD from your lexicon and just call them lifejackets. You students will be happy and they won’t laugh at you when you accidently refer to them as a PDF. Photo credit: cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Andreas Nilsson More info: lifejacketwear.com
Watch this video that was just recently posted on the Youtube.
This past weekend I was out paddling with by buddies Erik and Wilber here in Toronto on Lake Ontario. The three of us have been working with a group of intermediate paddlers introducing them to the wonders of late season paddling and the joys of rough water. It has been a lot of fun. So, after several weekends of fairly calm conditions we decided to push the envelope a bit and take the group out in rougher water since the SW winds on the lake was finally bringing us really a nice 2.5-3 foot swell. Out paddling in the rough water we had two people tip out into the water (not at the same time) and quickly got them back up and running again so there was lots of learning for everybody throughout the day. I know I walked away with some interesting insights and things that we should emphasise more so students are more prepared about rescues. Here they are in no particular order:   1) As instructors, we need to teach students that not to be a passive victim if you find yourself swimming. For some reason we always teach swimmers take direction from the paddler in the kayak and not to take any action until she tells you to. That makes good sense from the perspective that it teaches the paddler how to take control and give directions in an emergency situation but the reality is that in real life conditions, if the swimmer is perfectly fine I believe they should take a more assertive role in helping the paddler help them. As rough water partners, both should know their roles and the steps to rectify the problem. It just speeds the whole thing up considerably.   2) We need to really, really, really drill home the idea of holding onto your gear and boat. My students understand the concept but when they are floating in the waves everybody forgets about their paddle. The concept grabbing and keeping your stuff from floating away really needs to be drilled home, over and over again as you can’t swim…
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