Bob Putnam, Owner of Deep Cove Kayak decided it was time to take his Epic V8 Surfski out on the famous Skookumchuk Tidal Rapids and they decided to bring along David O'Brian who works freelance as a videographer and digital animator. The footage turned out so good they decided to turn it into a mini commercial for Deep Cove Kayaks and Epic.
This past weekend I was invited to teach at the 2nd annual Pacific Paddling Symposium which took at Pearson College place just outside of Victoria, British Columbia and boy did I have a good time.
With just a few work vacation days left (it was poor planning as I have used up almost the entire years' worth already...) I flew into Victoria on Wednesday night with the plan to get together with some friends on Thursday afternoon and do some paddling in the tidal currents off Trial Island (map link).
Even though the locals said the currents were not as fast and gnarly as they often are, the 3.5-4 foot high surf waves were perfectly fun with lots of hoots and hollering from all 10 of us out playing in it.
The event started on Friday morning with an instructor training day for the coaches working the event. This year's guests included former Olympian coach, Dan Henderson who did a forward stroke clinic as well as Nigel Foster who ran a clinic in the afternoon on messing around in kayaks with weird and silly strokes.
The main part of the symposium itself took place Saturday and Sunday and attracted about 80-90 local, mainly intermediate paddlers who attended a wide variety of clinics covering everything from coastal exploration, paddling in currents, surfing, fitness paddling, Greenland rolling, and rough water paddling plus many more.
This year I was able to work with a pretty top-notch group of instructors including an introduction currents class with Kate Hives (from The Hurricane Riders), boat control with Nigel Foster and bracing and edging with one of the event organizers, Gary Doran.
I really enjoyed working with Kate's intro to currents class as she is a pretty fantastic instructor. She has a good ability to read nervous paddlers and make them feel like they shouldn't be worried and just give the activity a try.
Since we had a full day to work with, we were able to get out of the bay and work our way up the coast with the students looking for current and eddies to play in. The class was scheduled to take advantage of the slack tide so it was probably 2 knots at the time we were out playing in it. It wasn't anything major so it was perfect for beginners. Later in the afternoon the same current was traveling along at a much more respectable 4-5 knots but we were back home by then.
The coaching list this year was a really fun group of people to work and hang out with including Matt Nelson, Blair Doyle, Erik Ogaard, Michael Pardy, James Roberts, Dympna Hayes, Rowan Gloag, Meaghan Hennessy, James Manke and my buddy, Costain Leonard.
You know what's also cool about British Columbia? It has a whole pile of nature and it's happy to shove it right in your face. I guess there is nature everywhere but let's be honest, I get excited at home if I see a perch in the water at home. Over the weekend we saw Bald Eagles, jellyfish, starfish, 7 deer, a huge number of seals, a mink and a military submarine. The sub was awesome to watch getting towed out to sea presumably on its way to attach some bad guys or to sneak a world-class spy into a foreign country.
So, what are you doing this time next year? Make sure your calendar is clear and keep an eye out for registration dates. Did you know that the entire event sold out in 26 hours? Yes it did. Paddlers around here don't mess around when it comes to registration dates so make sure you register early.
More info: pacificpaddlingsymposium.ca
This past Monday, a concerned citizen called BC search and rescue saying that a paddle boarder was struggling out in gale-force winds and need help.
Crews geared up and went out to save the day only to find it was Canadian Olympic medallist triathlete, Simon Whitfield who was fine and told the SAR techs that he was, "having a blast in the swells."
All of the excitement took place in the Enterprise Channel off Oak Bay shores just outside Victoria, BC.
"Search-and-rescue [members] are volunteers and I felt badly that they dropped what they were doing and put on all their gear to come out for me," he said, adding they were "all class" on Twitter.
While he had all the gear including PFD and a drysuit, his would be rescuers suggested to him that he carry a VHF radio when out on the board as he could have responded to the general marine broadcast on Channel 16 and let everyone know he was not in difficulty.
Simon Whitfield has had a hugely successful triathlon career. Before retiring 2013 he won the Canadian triathlon championships 10 consecutive times along with gold in the 2000 and silver in the 2008 Olympics.
Glad his adventure turned out ok in the end.
Photo credit: Simon Whitfield
Check out this quick promotional video for Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak centre in North Vancouver, British Columbia. There is just something about aerial video that makes paddling look like the most relaxing activity in the world.
Watch the whole thing then watch the opening shot again. That big, sweeping single shot is brilliant.
My friend Conor sent me this email letting me know about a new sea kayaking film that he discovered. I couldn’t have written the description any better so I just stole this from him:
Thought I'd share this great short film about sea kayaking in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest--the same wild channels that could soon be plied by supertankers if the Northern Gateway Pipeline happens. The 8-minute film is excellent not for its technical proficiency but rather for the compelling story it tells. It doesn't focus on politics but rather the simple joys of being immersed in wilderness. It's well worth watching and sharing with others.
I just heard the news that Vancouver Island Paddlefest has decided to take a year off from their long running event.
Here is part of the statement from their website:
The Vancouver Island Paddlefest Society will not be hosting a Paddlefest Event in 2012. The Society will use this hiatus to develop a strategic plan to potentially continue with a new mandate.
The Society recognizes the paddlesport industry has evolved greatly over the past 14 years and it is time to look at re-structuring the volunteer/business model to develop a new mandate which will accommodate the needs of the public as well as the contributing partners.
This isn’t the first long running paddling symposiums to shut down on the West Coast over the past couple of years. Back in 2010 the West Coast Sea Kayak Symposium also closed up after 26 years.
Hopefully Paddlefest will return in 2013.
Thanks to @kayakyak for the heads up.