Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Class

Saturday was the first class I have run since pool sessions this winter. I had a blast. The people who came out were great and I got to be part of the process of them expanding their expectations of themselves. I really enjoy coaching when this happens. Watching folks see that they can do more than they thought is an awesome thing and to see them face themselves more than once...and up the ante is...yeah, I'm gonna say it...inspiring. I am definitely going to remember the client who pushed past something that scared them when they had every opportunity to decline the challenge.

The rest of the weekend was enjoyable as well. It always is when Chuck and Betsy come for a visit. I am bummed that I did not get to stick around this evening for the Monday Surf Expression Session. Jason (from NSPN and The Sea Monkeys) came down to hang. It was nice to see him and I am bummed that I couldn't stay to get out on the water...or at least have a beach picnic and fly a kite. Oh yeah, I still can't fish...and catch what I am going after...thankfully this is not something I need to do to survive.

Friday, May 23, 2008

IDW: a student's perspective

Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 3 day open water IDW course. The IDW is the ACA instructor development workshop which is the pre-requisite for the certification examination. Carl lead the course with the assistance of the lovely David Lee, and as always, their leadership was stellar.

We started out our first day in the classroom with some presentations and excercises to discuss our ability to present information and some basic and important topics about kayaking. This indoor time was just enough for me to get to know the group and to quell my nerves. I was a little nervous, but once I got to know everyone I realized that all the folks on the course were really cool and that I was very excited to paddle with them. We all donned our drysuits and headed out. Day one was on flatwater--we practiced our presentations of strokes, rescues, and on water group management skills. It was really nice to be able to exchange some coaching techniques with the folks on the trip, and I learned a lot of really interesting things that I will certainly carry with me.

Day 2 was all day in the Westport Harbour. we got some really nice headwind and a fair amount of current to play in as well. We did a lot of rescue practice and group management work. We talked about navigating through hazards such as boat traffic, the harbour, rocks, docks, and of course, the channel. It was a great day and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it, but I was especially excited for day 3: open water day.

Day 3 was out around Sakonnet Point, for homework we had charted our floatplan, and so we paired off to take turns leading the group from Sakonnet Harbour out to West Island near the Sakonnet Lighthouse, and over to Briggs Marsh in Little Compton, RI. I have paddled around Sakonnet Point quite a few times, but I never get tired of how beautiful it is, it is really stunning, and we lucked out and got a really georgeous day. We played a little in the rocks and caught some nice little waves around West Island. We did a surflanding into the beach for lunch and met up with an ICE (Instructor Certification Examination) group. This was a great opportunity for both groups, and we got to serve as students for the ICE instructor candidates to demonstrate their teaching skills on.

Here I am looking like a dork off the beach after lunchtime. (its cuz i don't have my cool helmut on)

On the way home we hit some big swell, it was a little unexpected, but it was really fun. I was surprised at how comfortable I was in it, I think this was because of the Carl's coaching expertise and the organization of the trip. Each day was a little more challenging and so my confidence in myself and the group increased as the course went on. The swell seems to get larger everytime we talk about it, but all I know is that when I paddled up the swell, the entire length of my kayak (which is 17 feet) was on the face of the swell, and then when I slid down the back it was the same story.

All in all, it was a fantastic course, I had a great time, learned a lot, and built up a lot of confidence both in open water and in my teaching skills.

A big thanks to David and Carl who were fantastic leaders and to the other 6 members of the group who made the course really helpful and enjoyable.

-- Izzy

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Greece Video

Hey so I finally was able to sit down and put together a quick video from my last adventure in Greece. Unfortuantely, it's too big for the blog to it's up on youtube which means the quality might not be so good. Anyway, enjoy!


Monday, May 19, 2008


Greenland style kayaking (as demonstrated by Cheri and Turner and some others) can be an amazing form of recreation or way to get in touch with the root of the sport. The grace, beauty and shear fun is well worth taking a class or investing in a twig (whether home made or from a manufacturer like Years ago I had an argument with one of the guys who introduced me to twigging (a shout out for Keith and John) that a euroblade has more power than a twig. John disabused me of that when he showed me a sliding stroke. Keith reinforced the technique at a symposium a year or two later. However, I have a quandary again…Mike and I taught a course this weekend on launching and landing in surf. A participant had a Greenland paddle (and obviously had some training in technique) but seemed not to be able to use the slide to gain effective purchase on the water in the shallows of the impact zone. This seems to me to be a limitation of twigging and a reason to use a euroblade. I am hoping that Cheri and Turner can help me out with this when they come for the Southcoast Kayak Skills Symposium because I can’t imagine the progenitors of the sport didn’t have to deal with waves in some fashion or other.

That being said, the course was fun, the waves were there despite all predictions (yay groundswell), it was fun seeing Mike in a long boat (both surfing and teaching) and the sun was bright...the temperature right and things were learned by all.

Hey...we have a new newsletter so sign up to get it at the Osprey web site.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It's a Sunday morning!

This is what a carbon rudder looks like after it has been too close to a fire...and what the plastic in kayaks does as well. The shade tree by the shop has been cut down, a new changing room has been built and there has been grass seed put down. The shop is back to looking like it should and a new season has started. Sam was on the water yesterday with a school group while Carl, Mike and I held down the shop listening to my iPod as we worked.

The web site is coming together, there is some more work to do and descriptions to be written but mainly it is looking good, if I do say so myself. I think I have been through the Osprey photo album enough to feel like I have been at every event where a picture was taken.

One of these days I will be back in a boat, but until the initial work is done...that isn't happening.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Stuff from Hugh

So there I was all day, staring at the pictures of surfing I have hung up in my cubicle. This is probably some sort of torture set up by my subconscious. On one wall I have a nice picture of me looking all epic in huge waves (forced perspective is awesome) and one of Izzy sitting looking out at waves in a boat with her spiked helmet can see the picture around, we all love it. The next wall is in 2 sections...section 1 is the WALL O' SHAME. It contains a picture of me getting a wave in the face (full nasal cavity cleansing), a picture of Carl catching a rail and one of me rolling to avoid Carl screaming down a wave. Section 2 drives me up a wall. It is 2 pictures of me doing better than any other time on a wave...yet there are faults in my form...grrrrr...then the is a nice picture of Rob launching a surf yak on a Sunday morning. We both lost feeling in our extremities that day. The week is almost over so I can practically feel the water under my keel. -Hugh

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hi...I'm Hugh

Hello and welcome to the Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures Blog. The idea for this blog was that various staff could get on and talk about what we are up to. For me it is working on the website and starting this up tonight. As time goes on this will grow and evolve.