Monday, December 21, 2009
I’m warm, dry and a little achey from shoveling but slowly getting bored waiting for the pool sessions in February. I am looking forward to shaking rust off my rolls and helping others learn theirs. Sunday sessions are the sign that another kayak season is coming. Has anyone seen my pool PFD?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Starting to surf in the late 70's there was always some guy who went to Hawaii for the winter. Whomever he was,when he returned he would always be the guy with the biggest smile and most aloha!
I never did Hawaii for the winter gig. Never felt the need or desire. I preferred the trips to the Carib,Mexico,Guatemala,Nicaragua,Central America,Ireland and of course the mainland of the United States.The interesting parts of cultures in foreign lands always got my juices flowing. Becoming part of the local culture and live like the locals.
Hawaii always seemed like this place I had NO desire to see. That's the place where angry locals hate all hoales,or so I thought. My first trip to the Islands of Hawaii was a few years ago . My brother and Kristina went there to marry. I surfed in the warm waters and perfect waves of Maui for a few weeks. Not once did I get "stink eye" or "vibed out" by locals. Only Aloha!I knew I would return.
Last summer when I was SUP'ing around Aquidneck Island I met a crazy paddler from Kauai. He chased me down for an hour and asked if I had come from Hawaii or something. That's a quote. "No" I said. "I'm from Little Compton." 'Well" He said. You should come to Kauai and live at my house and get REALLY into the whole culture.
That's all I had to hear. Being immersed into a the Hawaiian surf culture is like a dream come true.
I'll be living on the North Shore of Kauai. Surf is commonly in the 20 foot range. Speaking to Kevin the other day he said it had been had been small. Nothing over 20 foot, mostly 10-15 foot. "But the kids are having a great time!" he said. GULP..double GULP....
Keep you all posted from the Emerald Island.Miss you guys already.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Morgan is making believe she is becoming unglued. Her usual habits were forced to change when I moved into the house for the week. She was locked in her cage for the duration. Her piercing whistle sets my nerves on edge.
The sun is warm, the boards swift and the company enjoyable. Bob and I chat as we wend our way down the river. The trip back a little quieter as the tailing breeze becomes a head wind and the outgoing tide accelerates. I am calm again, ready to face the birds for another day.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday for me.... whether at a ski area ... or on a river... or in the surf... always equals NO CROWDS!
I surfed the 11'0 SUP board from 8ish this morning till 2ish this afternoon with just a couple friends. Some old ..some new.
The feeling of surfing glassy head high surf with just a couple of friends, is something I wish I could bottle and give for birthday or holiday gifts!
I hope everyone had an awesome Monday,Stay tuned for the Next Monday Update.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
First impression was Fast and Stable! My up wind run had great glide and seemed effortless. I was using a quicker stoke and it felt like I was able to gain speed even up wind.
It felt very stable on edge and I was able to really dig in the rail to keep my direction.
With the wind at my back was where the magic happened! With one paddle stroke I was up on plane gliding faster than I have in the past. With each additional paddle stroke,Faster and Faster!
The efficiency and speed is for real.I've been on a few boards now and this thing is way different! I can't wait to get out on the open ocean. Stay Tuned.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I must be a sight to see. Black and yellow legs stick out from under a bright orange cag with reflective tape. The hood is pulled tight and rain drips off the brim of my hat.
My paddle dips into the water. I am off. Water lapping up and under the front of the board has me fascinated for a while. Entranced, I have to push myself to look up.
Grasses bend in the wind. Held by the sight, I could stop and watch for the rest of existence. It would be joyful to provide witness for this place.
Sam joins me on the river. She is also bundled but nowhere near as garishly. We head towards Hix. The browns, reds, yellows and greens make this my favorite time of year.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Well, several months have past and with many hours of test surfing under my butt, I can say these boats are sweet. First of all, the Lucifer or "Lucy" for short is a dream girl. The fit is comfortable and once on a wave is ready to shred anything in her path. I've never surfed a boat that gets barreled so easily, this boat wants to be covered up. Truly a boat that makes my heart pump. Speedy is a little bigger in every dimension and boy, really fast down the line. Dropping in on a peak and accelerating down the face of a wave has never felt this way before. Now I know where they got the name, it gives you a chance to work on your cutbacks!
The 666 first and foremost, is an IC boat. But once you surf this boat the word soul comes to mind. The smooth take-offs, long drawn out graceful turns and predictability at speed lets my soul come to the surface. Once again, after a long tiring surf session, I feel whole again.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Looking around, I wondered where the clowns were. Who was going to help me when it was time to get off? The bull started twisting left and I was forced to concentrate.
The world spun and suddenly I was on the arena floor or more accurately, under it. The bull had rolled and I was pinned. There hadn't been a buzzer.
I punched out and began collecting my things, swimming back to shore head lowered in shame.
I asked for a re-ride and was tossed again. It’s just not your day kid.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Going to a contest with my surfing brethren has never been far from my mind. I've walked away from the thought of contest surfing because my bro's are simply some of the best "free surfers" I know. Perhaps the judges wouldn't see it the same way,and my guys would be deflated...... Well we did it.
I spoke to Carl and Sam to make sure we could even make the contest in Topsail,NC. With a bit of logistics managing the trip was a go. With little less than 5 days to pull off a team we got after it.Sure did make it easy when the pool of surfers is already World Class. Will Rich and Robbie Fisher are the free surfing guru's . I felt if we went to the contest , no doubt there would be some Podium action.
Thursday 9/24 Robbie and I left Little Compton at 3:37 pm . We still had some loading to do in Fall River and meet up with the Gus Outdoors marketing Guru. With that all done and our new Team hats provided by Gus Outdoors dot com , off to East Providence to pick up team guy Will.
No more than 11.5 minutes later we were on 95 south for aprox. 14 hours. Like a well oiled machine we drove all night. Serious weather conditions en route couldn't stop our team driver set up. One of us slept in back while a first officer and pilot kept the van and trailer moving. All night we had seamless, almost telepathic transitions till we made it to North Carolina's,Topsail Beach.
Early AM I awoke in the back of the van with Will in the the #1 seat and Robbie in #2 seat. Robbie greeted me as if we hadn't even been on the road for 850 miles. He filled me in on where we were and what had been going on since I climbed in back. About 15 minutes later we were staring out at a nice waist to head high well groomed swell!
After Breakfast and a trip to the visitor center we made our way to the comp. site. It was about 9:45 am at this point. North Carolina has great access points to the sea. We had made our way to Broadway Street access Surf City NC. Perfect waves no one out, we didn't waste much time. Friday was a practice day and we better get to know the spot.
North Carolina is very tide dependant. Low tide can be 4 foot and perfect and 3.5 hours later when the tide fills in the waves go FLAT! It is all sand bottom so sand bars have a lot to do with it. Team Osprey shared waves and smiled at each other. For those hours in time,no one on the planet was having more fun...FACT!!!
It wasn't all fun and games. Robbie,Will and I discussed strategy and the rules of competition. Surfed till about 5:00 ,practicing all four categories. The categories for this contest were: under 9ft(HP) over 9ft(IC,International Class) Waveski, SUP . We were entering every category. After practice , we found a nice condo and some ribs!
Early Saturday 9/26 woke at 5:00 and went to go get breakfast fixins. Of course I left some loud music on the IPOD when I left so the Boys new it was time to rise. Biscuits,Eggs,Potatoes,Coffee,and of course Protein Smoothies. We arrived at the comp. site registered and prepared for our heats.
So many proud moments as I watched and participated in advancing into semi final after semi final. This was suppose to be a one day comp but because of safety concerns the organizers opted to take a vote on continuing. Team Osprey voted to do "what ever" . The whole group decided to finish on Sunday.
Saturday's surf was fun. 3 foot with bigger sets and poor shape. We really had to surf well to make our Team stand out. I think we all did so well because we were having fun. It didn't seem like our Team felt any pressure. We just went out, heat after heat,smiling and assisting each other on the beach. After a long day of competing ,we made our way back to the condo and dinner.Sunday 9/27 more heats at 8:00 am. The well oiled machine Continued to post awesome heats and all advanced to the finals.
I haven't really spoke much about what was going on during the heats. Let me tell you , We were no doubt the hardest charging guys out there! No, none of us got a first in the finals. What we did do though was show the East Coast that the talent from the North is awesome. For myself it was nice to bring my friends to a comp 850 miles from our small town of Little Compton and show the guys who go to ALL the contest who we are.
We all stayed around for the awards and recieved really nice prizes. Shook the hands of our fellow competitors and began our 850 mile drive north. All night mile after mile I was so proud of Robbie and Will. Arriving back in The City of Compton early am on Monday 9/28. Will woke me with my favorite phrase..."Hey!!!The suns up and there are waves,lets go surfing!"
Monday, October 5, 2009
By contrast, the shop is dark. A troll sits at the end of the table, unmoving. He has been sick a few days and radiates unhappiness with the imperfect world he has to live in.
Carl, Sam and Rob arrive and we swing into action organizing boats and gear.
I cadge a few moments for fishing…the troll has piscine company after a bit.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
My gaze is torn from my Kindle to the view out the train window. The horizon starts maroon then shifts up into gold stopped only by deep, dark, blue clouds. Water is a very deep purple and houses are flat black cutouts.
As the train pull into North Station the wedge of sky beneath the clouds is solid gold, the water has turned an inky black and the clouds are now purple with orange wisps beneath.
I wake to a noise in the house. The sound continues for a while this time. It is 4am when I get out of bed and turn the lights on to see what’s what. A little mouse has fallen into my mop bucket and can’t get back out. Its bulging, pupil-less eyes seem to follow me as I move around. I go back to bed.
My gaze lifts from the Kindle. The horizon is gold, water is again black and the clouds a dark blue. I am one day closer to the weekend and a kayak.
Monday, September 28, 2009
We had been fixated by Team Osprey’s trip to Surf City. Upon return from the Audubon trip on Saturday Rob and I had received the news that they were in the semi’s or finals in chosen categories. There was excitement around the shop. Back at the house that evening over amazing fish tortilla’s we speculated on events.
The road passes quickly but the clock in the truck tells me that the margin to make the train is narrowing dangerously. I kick myself yet again for having had to turn around to get my rail pass and ID.
Sunday was rain, wind and threats of thunder and lightening. Waiting for a call from the boys, we worked on pre-season’s, the website and various other chores. In the early afternoon the call came. Everyone had placed. Team Osprey may not have won but ESKA knew they were there in every category competed in.
I step out of my truck and eye the crossing gates suspiciously. The red was just a reflected brake light from a passing car. The train is running late as well. I think about the stories the guys will have from their weekend.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Rob and Will are in the Waveski Finals on CHAOS boats
Mike, Rob and Will are in the HP (high performance) semi's
IC (international class) standings aren't in yet.
Apparently it was "Victory at Sea" conditions...something like seen here from Hurricane Bill:
Friday, September 25, 2009
It came as a bit of a surprise when it dawned on me that I had heard that Mike and Rob were heading to a surf kayak competition down in the Carolinas somewhere. Talking to Sam later in the week confirmed that they were going to North Carolina and that Will was now accompanying them. Setting aside some reports I was working on, I did a quick check and found that sure enough ESKA (Eastern Surf Kayak Association) was having their “Battle of the Blade” this weekend in Surf City.
It occurred to me (after confirming Mike’s bio by looking at his web page) that this is a bit of a homecoming for him and that he may well be excited to show those folks the level of talent he has helped foster up here.
Mike, Rob, Will…good luck and show ‘em how we kill waves LC style!
Monday, September 14, 2009
Walking to the living room I turn on the television, Carl and Sam are at the surf event and I have just gotten back from the winery tour. I love those. They always seem to work out fairly well. The people who come out for them are always interesting.
I channel surf, ending up watching a documentary about the Aussie and South African surfers who hit the scene in the 70’s. Morgan begins to whistle as she decides that she wants to be social. I whistle back. Call and response begins.
Eventually I return to her room and offer a lift to the living room. She looks at me, deciding if she will accept or if it would be preferable just to bite me. She hops onto my hand apparently not having to think too hard about it. I deposit her on her perch. The whistling stops and she begins to watch me and the television while grooming.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Dark birds hunch over the marsh in Revere. Blue Herons mark the fall of the tide and the rise of the sun while Great Egrets form a buffet line between the grass and the transmission line tower. A lone Osprey sits preening on a perch.
Labor Day is a week away and my favorite time of year is here.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Frame by frame I want to see her swing to the left and rocket diagonally across the wave. I want to see her reach the summit and back-paddle off the top.
I watch the video of Izzy going over the falls and yet again feel a little queasy. I have a whole lot of respect for her, she has brass.
click the title for a link to the slideshow and video
Sunday, August 16, 2009
As the sun rose Saturday morning I still didn’t have a bandage and lost more karma on the highway.
Rob Banks and I headed to Bristol for our birding tour. He offset my karmic leak, which had caused me to get the rear wheels of the van stuck in sandy gravel at the landing. A beautiful venue and a nice tour helped the morning progress well. The shop was humming when we returned. Rob lent me a little of his karma in order to get back in one piece and since he was in the van as well, it worked out for him.
After the shop closed I stumbled through Lee’s and Tin handed me the best spicy tuna sushi I have ever had. It was followed by Carl’s famous “bacon makes everything better” fillet Mignon and a nicely quiet evening. I have some very good friends…one of whom has a couple of dogs that provided the right amount of fur time. How can anyone not relax when coated in a little dog drool and surrounded by doggie happiness that you are there? My karma finally coagulated.
Caffeine from Starfish fueled Sunday in a tasty way and my Intro lesson made for a great morning. Back at the shop a wave of energy was forming and my karmic issues seemed resolved.
The happiness which my clients left me got me up to speed to help the rest of the crew move folks to their rentals. Face after smiling face came through the door adding energy to the activities we love. There was a flow going.
A beanie counts for a lot in life, ask any newborn. The well crafted, steal gray one waiting for me at the shop after my Sunday lesson is beautiful and welcome…if not in the 90 degrees, in the future when temps cool down a little. Thank you.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The paddle digs in and the boat struggles forward. Rising up the face of the wave I turn to look back down the line. My boat pivots and starts picking up speed. The disembodied voice comes back “Use your rail!” I like Mike, he isn’t on the water and still his spirit is out here.
The boat slides sickeningly sideways. I am too flat and adjust my rail. I pick up speed racing down the line and swing around to look back at the pile. Spray flies out from the bottom of my boat as I switch rails. My paddle drags and I lose speed but the pile is racing towards me. Again I turn back down the line, banking off the foam. I must be near shore, the entire line is beginning to face. I pop off over the top and look around. My mind really isn’t present, muscle memory is all I have…and Mike’s instructions.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I kept my week low key and healthy. A couple of endurance workouts at the gym to get my energy up along with meals of rice and beans and other healthy things (I was pleased with the curried chicken salad I made on Tuesday). As much sleep as I could manage with my schedule and the humidity. Building up to running the crossing trip gave me focus.
As Saturday closed in I began to worry about the weather, it was going to be a close thing with the storms moving through (I only found out this morning that there had been a micro-burst in Beverly on Friday afternoon). The seas were supposed to be high and the winds un-fun. I say un-fun…so far this summer when it hasn’t been raining it has been windy…usually windier than they predict. By Thursday the predictions were for WSW winds up to 12kts turning to SSE at 11kts with 3-4 foot seas in the bay and 4-5 outside. It was going to be interesting.
I’ve been wondering why more of the clubs don’t do the crossing. To be honest, I stopped reading the message boards a couple of years ago but my sources haven’t mentioned any trips like that…and they would know…I love my sources. (The amount of information I have watched them accumulate over the years impresses the hell out of me. When they speak on a topic, I listen…they know what they are talking about.) The clubs seem to stick to Wood’s Hole, occasionally the Vineyard, the Race and sometimes something in ME…but never the bay…oops, I’ve digressed…
Friday I get a call from Carl…he has everything organized and is wondering how I feel about the trip. The wind predictions have dropped to about 10kts and are favorable...the sea state is concerning but is predicted to drop to 3ft in the bay and 4ft outside. I have paddled before with one of the folks and know his skills, the others I have not but Carl has and has said they have met the criteria to be included in the trip. I am comfortable making the crossing. A quick check of the weather Saturday morning confirms the storms have moved through and that the seas are at or below the predicted levels…we are going.
We launch from Gooseberry. There was surf on the Horseneck side of the causeway…there were consistent sets of 2ft surf curling around the point. 1/3 of the way the swells came…first 2ft…then 3ft and for a brief period of time 4ft (and yes there were a couple of 5ft swells). As we got near Cuttyhunk the swells gave way to 1-2ft cross-chop with 1ft surf at the beach.
The journey was epic for some...as swells can be. One paddler gained my deep respect for how she handled her odyssey. We hit the boat launch at Gooseberry tired. A RICKA surf trip to Allen’s Pond is coming in at the same time. That is fun as well but I still like doing the crossing a bit more. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I am finished.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The light the thick fog has filtered is perfect. The marsh's deep greens and browns coming into their own. The white of gulls popping out as they find places to sit out the limited visibility. A young one finds something dead to snack on. The breeze that brought the fog also bringing the smell of salt.
This is a good day and with David and Kelly in town, the evening will be as enjoyable.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I haven't been in Marion since I was fourteen (though I would swear swinging through to check out this launch site years ago with Carl) and applying to Tabor. It is still the little harbor town I remember. A breeze blows ocean coolness at me. The sand radiates a suprising amount of heat.
Clients start appearing...their smiles and enthusiasm blow through the cobwebs and the energy starts to build. A gear shifts or a switch is thrown (I have no idea which best fits my internal process) and suddenly I am ready to go. This will be fun.
...I wish Karma hadn't stolen my sunglasses.
Monday, July 13, 2009
On July 11th I began a day long journey around Aquidneck Island. The second or third annual Lucy's Hearth/Aquidneck Land Trust fund raiser was the occasion. It's a relay format where 5 person teams take turns paddling prone paddle boards,SUP,or kayak. The distance is 38 miles and the route is Third Beach Middletown around the Island clockwise returning to Third Beach. I chose to solo the distance on a stand up paddleboard with land support and a plan for dear friends to meet me in their boat.
My day began at 5:10 am the weather was perfect! I started paddling in the moonlight with a pink sky to the east. The sea was flat as I rounded Sachuest Point. I headed West into the moonlight. It was like a sidewalk guiding my way to Brenton Point. Being a couple miles offshore of Second Beach Middletown gave me a different perspective of a very familiar area. West towards Tuckermans Reef with the Breakers "cottage" on the horizon. At this point,about one mile off of First Beach Newport an amazing event occurred. The nose of my board was lit by moonlight while the tail was in the light of sunrise. Had to be one of the most awesome 45 seconds of my life.
Still heading west towards my first stop, I had to negotiate MANY reefs and rock out croppings with little swell washing over them. One minute it would be flat sea,the next a 4 foot wall of white water. No worries! I made it to Brenton Point 10 minutes ahead of schedule. My Mother and Father(Hank and Marion)were right on time with water and more food. For the record, I consumed 190 grams of protein during my day on the water plus more at the end.I was on the beach for 10 minutes before I headed north up the East Passage towards the Newport(Pell) Bridge.
I stopped at Rose Island Lighthouse because I always wanted to go there. Really cool Island. I suggest if you happen to be near it,land and explore.
Heres were it became challenging. WIND,CURRENT,and overall massive amounts of MOTION were trying to bring me down. For about the next three hours I was very focused to the say the least. My next rendezvous was Bend Boat Basin Portsmouth. It should have been about a 2 hour paddle. It took me 3.5 hrs. Again my amazing support crew was there with water and food. I woofed down two peanut butter and bacon sandwiches filled the CamelPack with H2O and headed North East towards the Mount Hope Bay Bridge. My water support crew met me near the Mount Hope Bay lighthouse off of Hog Island at the South end of Bristol Harbor. Bill and Parker Richmond in WAHOO Were a sight for sore eyes. Parker wanted to paddle so he jumped on the board and paddled about two miles for me. Although he paddled more like four because of the wind and side shore swell. It was very difficult for him to keep a straight heading. Weaving and bobbing in wind and swell, Parker was a trooper!
Heading South again I entered the Sakonnet Basin at Common Fence Point Portsmouth.This was the beginning of the end. The 4 knot current and 25-30 Knot head wind were in play. For the next 2 hours it took me about eight paddle strokes to move forward past one mooring bouy. So thats what I did, I used mooring bouys as my goal. I'd pass a bouy and head to the next. I did that for two hours and traveled at best one mile.I had to eddy hop around current under the Sakonnet bridge like it was class two white water. There was no relief from the wind and current. No matter how close I got to shore I couldn't escape it. Still heading South I began to realize, this is imposable in these conditions. I had a wave of contentment over come me as I saw My parents in the distance and Bill and Parker right near me in their boat. I looked at Bill and said'" I'm good. Can I get in your boat now?" My father made his way down on to some dock at Stone Bridge,Island Park Portsmouth and I told him I was going to call it and get in the boat, take a boat ride back to Third Beach Middletown.
I wasn't dissapointed at all. I still had a ton of energy! I can compare it to climbing a 14,000 foot mountain. You've prepared,left at the correct time, brought the necessary gear and get turned back from the summit with 800 feet to go. My total milage was 30.9 miles 7 miles short of the loop. It wasn't short of my goal though. My goal was to start on July 11,2009 and have fun paddling around Aquidneck Island. Mission Accomplished! Mike
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The fire chapter of the OSKA story finally comes to a close thanks to the efforts of Kathy Whalen!The Osprey Crew sends a huge thanks to Kathy for finding C&C Plastics in Woonsocket to recycle all the fire damaged kayaks that have been sitting in our garden for the last two years. At first we thought it would be easy to recycle the boats. After all, they are just high density polyethylene #2 which is recycled everyday. Unfortunately, every plastic company we contacted wanted to charge us a significant chunk of change to turn our melted boats into garden furniture, soda bottles, or other unimaginable plastic objects. So those old melties lay in the garden creating housing for mice, birds, and every bug you could think of. We were starting to get desperate and are ashamed to say we started to consider chopping them up and sending them to the landfill. Thank goodness that we met Kathy just in time. She got on the phone and relentlessly pursued the recycling mission and her efforts paid out big time when she spoke with Roger at C&C Plastics in Woonsocket. We are happy to report that over 30 kayaks were sent off to be turned into something shiny and new! As usual we turned a dirty job into a Tom Sawyer Party and had lots of laughs cutting up and loading boats onto Rogers trailer.
Sam & Carl Ladd
Monday, July 6, 2009
By Kearney (Nebraska) I had been so thoroughly educated on the definitions of plane/plain that I decide exploring the upper register of my speedometer might be a good idea. I find several other vehicles to play a multi-hundred mile game of "Magnet". By Lincoln...the red, white and blue strobes in my mirrors indicate that I might just have won so I pull over to see what prize the official has for me.
I hit the Mass border around 10 am several days later. The Berkshires welcome me with green, forested mountains and humidity like you read about. The storms to hit later are following me from New York. Grey drizzle welcomes me into Boston.
Over the course of the trip it was stunning to learn that I had been mistaken that left lanes were for passing. They are an opportunity for people to be able to thoroughly investigate their surroundings as they travel and have those following them do the same. I also found out that service area parking lots aren't for parking but are places for children to learn to walk, play tag and ensure drivers experience roller coaster like thrills at 5 miles per hour.
More importantly, I confirmed that I love road trips.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
After briefly looking around to see who was about her head dipped as she started tucking into a lush clump of grass. A proud young cowboy on his likewise proud looking horse had seen what she was up to and moved in to shoe her on. She glared at them in irritation and turned back to eating.
The horse looked at her as if she should have known better. For her part, the cow glared back and stood fast until the cowboy's boot swung out and gave her a kick in the side. She moved on with the rest of the cattle drive.
A big thanks should go to Montana Whitewater for not calling me back. As much as I would have loved to have had a whitewater lesson, their lack of interest allowed me the immense pleasure in driving the Beartooth Pass towards Cooke City and then swinging around through Wyoming desert. I loved my time on the road today more than you can imagine. Enjoy the brief video of the top of the pass.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
The singer's howl of primal rage and pain set me on fire with fight response. Every ancestor, back to those who added it to the pool, would have reacted as I did. Adrenalin dumped into my body. Muscles tightened, hands gripped the wheel tightly and I scanned for the threat. I was able to stop a return bellow but am fairly sure my teeth bared in a snarl before I could stop them.
This was an ageless, mammalian thing.
Kayaks on the roofs of cars reminded me that the land I was driving over was an ancient sea floor mussed up a bit by glaciers. The critters that swam that sea would have thought us a tasty little bite (including kayaks) if they thought of us at all. They and their ocean were far older than my reaction or even the existence of mammals.
I watched the land pass outside my truck and was glad the sea bed was now corn fields and the critters part of the plastic in the kayaks.
Friday, June 26, 2009
They seem to be a high volume rafting company with a side gig of kayak instruction from one of their guides but hey, Bozeman will be closer and the Gallatin looks to be a lovely river and I know nothing about river running except what I have seen in the videos and horror stories from friends...they call to set the reservation but seconds into the conversation they realize they may not have an instructor or water levels may not be right, they'll call back.
I start to pack for my trip, do I bring my gear? I call and ask about the instruction...they say the water level is too high call back a couple days before, maybe the water levels will drop...hmmm...do I cart my gear out west on the hope of getting on a river?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We finish dinner as the boys roll in with Alicia. The surf session had gone really well and they are in awe of Rob and his style on the waves. For his part Rob is happy, on the floor stretching while Morgan gives everyone the hairy eyeball and the tournament continues on TV. Izzy checks in with a call, completing the Saturday Osprey gathering.
Monday, June 15, 2009
My little sis came to visit the shop on Saturday after the WRWA River Run. The Run was awesome, and it was a georgeous day. A bunch of the OSKA crew were out paddling around on Standup paddle boards in the river right outside the shop. My sister is super cool, and super duper cute, and she's 11. She saw the boards and immediately wanted to try it. so we got her a paddle and a PFD, and she took off her earrings and hopped right on without any hesitation and began to paddle around. It was awesome. After a very short time, she had the board tracking pretty well, was able to turn it with ease, and was confidently dancing and jumping around on the board like a pro. She even gave me a ride on it! I am so psyched to paddle with her in the future! Stay posted for when we get her out in the waves surfin' kayaks, i'm sure she'll totally show me up out there!
Monday, June 8, 2009
My eyes open as we pull into Swampscott. Faces of fellow commuters blur past the window and again there are greens and grays. My breath is a little ragged as I engage my entire body in the pursuit of the paddle board yards in front of me. I pour all my upper body into the paddle while my legs power the board under my feet. I feel the tremor of wavelets slapping beneath the bow. Mike pulls ahead, easily distancing me.
Blurrily I register Lynn, the red brick buildings with black tar roofs. My bow plunges into the water and a V-shaped wall of water flies up the deck at me. I am momentarily blinded by spray. The boat rises as the wave pushes it onward. Off to my right the client broaches and pops back over the wave. He is all smiles. The wind picks up, the tide continues out and the ocean throws us bigger waves. Crisp, salt air fills my lungs.
I wake again, this time as the train pulls into North Station. My body protests the walk to work and brain, the shift to the chaos of the city.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I reach Town Landing when the wind shifts and picks up along with the speed of the outgoing tide. This is what will crush me but there is nothing for it. I huff, add more crunch to my stroke and shorten my reference points. Thoughts of how much the trip has started to suck are mixed with dreams of triumphantly pulling into the landing at the shop and being surrounded by smiling friends congratulating me. Underlying everything is a joy to be out on the water in such a beautiful place. The forces of nature push me out to sea so I angle towards shore more and run through my bailout options.
Breath rushes from my mouth. My heart beats furiously and muscles cry out for respite. I register the river entrance ahead and there is a sinking feeling as I watch how fast the water is moving. Half tide was not in my plan, at least not with high winds urging it on. I ferry across to Boater’s Beach. Excitement adds adrenaline as I cross eddy lines and dance briefly in the channel.
I try to ignore the pain but I have never heard my body scream like this before. I am spent but have no other option than to continue. The boat ramp is the bail point but I need to get there first. Dispirited, I flog myself onward. The dredge is a dangerous spot with the water moving so fast. Identity is lost in the struggle forward. There is no time to rest, that would invite disaster.
Relief floods through me as the wind is blocked by the island. Instinct has found an eddy that helps me move upriver. Some shred in my core paints pictures of the final yards to the shop and how good that will feel. I have ticked off every bailout point on my list and only Hick’s Bridge is left to get past.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Coming around the corner at the “Roll Hole” and looking down river towards “Turtle Flats” I spotted OSKA boats. Rental clients were being driven towards the shop by stiff gusts of wind. As they passed, I swung the board around and started traveling back with them. While chatting, it struck me. The vantage from the SUP board was offering me a different vista, way of relating to the world and an added depth to my kayaking. Kayaking was again giving me a base from which to expand my world. It was giving me the chance to SUP.
I love paddling.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, May 14, 2009
We just brought in some Laird 12'1" SUP boards and a couple 9'0" trainer boards to add to our 11'0" NSP boards. We already have folks coming in and asking about "those giant boards in the yard". SUP is a great way to tour around our area. The ability to see over the banks and bushes along the river is great.
Although it requires a bit of balance, I feel like anyone can do it. SUP is also something the work out freaks will love. Talk about using stabilizer muscles and core development , You couldn't ask for more.
I'm training now for an event in the Adirondacks. It's called the Adirondack Canoe Classic. It's a 90 mile race over three days in the lake region of Upstate New York. 30 miles per day with portages. Looking forward to the challenge. See you out there! Mike
-SUP video re-edit
Monday, May 11, 2009
We are allowed a little recreation. Rob, Carl and I are dropped off at the start of the Upper Upper with our “Masters”. A mossy bank, quiet sylvan setting and being in boats have us grinning like fools. The rushing sound of water over rocks comes from down river…not the quiet gurgle of a stream.
My boat and I sweep around the corner carried quickly by the current. The last run to Forge Pond is before me, laid out in steps of rocks and tongues of water. My eyes focus down river, brain plans the moves needed to negotiate the rapids. I feel a joy as I eddy out at the bottom and wait for the others. Both follow with the same large smiles seen all the way down this stretch of the Westport River. It isn’t huge water, but it is lots of fun in its unique way.
We still have the upper stretch to go before we arrive back at the shop. We cross the pond, the road and re-launch below the dam.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Morning came when Morgan’s shrill “Where are you?” whistle pierced my sleep. No way could she be missing me. Sam’s whispered voice carried through the quiet house as well. “Shhhhh Morgan, I'm right here”.
Something wasn’t quite right. I pulled my eyes open and looked around. Nothing had changed since I went to sleep except dawn’s light coming through the window. The sound of the coffee pot making its morning elixir occasionally percolated through the silence. I inventoried myself….consciousness, um...check…….all extremities intact, check….sweating, check….darn. That was the problem. I was sweating and it was still April. A quick check of the time told me it was 5:30am. Double darn.
Evening found me on my father’s deck relaxing in the moderately cooler breeze. The day had been long and brutally hot for one such as me, especially since I had not been out on the water. My only saving grace had been the ability to hide in the shop’s shade. Luckily, I was the only one who wished for a return of cooler weather. A steady stream of renters all had that glazed look indicating that they had almost given up hope of the heat’s return but here it was again.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Bill Littlefield’s voice is on the radio for the second time in 12 hours and I am heading home. Easter is tomorrow.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
This should be fun. I will be on the water with Bryan and Todd and that will be a learning experience. A bonus is that the screening will be at the Back Eddy.
The Osprey web site will be updated as this week progresses but for now, the on-water events are free but require pre-registration.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Included this year:
- Greek Isles - We are heading back in '09!
- New tours and instructional courses
- ACA Assessments - test your ability!
- Cuttyhunk Crossing has returned...in August we head to the islands!
New faces will be joining our staff this year and many familiar faces will be returning so swing by for a visit, renew acquaintances and meet the new folks.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I lift him while hooting and hollering and turn to show him triumphant to his father. Luke doesn't giggle or move at all. I look down to find him smiling to himself. He looks up at me and gives me his public smile.
What does this have to do with kayaking? Nothing other than most everything we do is learned in baby steps and he is now 3 steps closer to kayaking.
Luke continues to refuse to walk for his father by falling down in gales of laughter. Now I am in on the joke too.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
When I go into a class as the coach I prepare myself with a syllabus and a few key points that I believe would be beneficial to my students. I always make it a point to listen to the needs of my students but sometimes I get caught up in my agenda.
This past session a young man really drove home the point that the syllabus is in the students not in my lesson plan and that all I need to do is draw it out of my students. I had a plan of clever games and exercises for him to do, when it came to the class his needs were really just to be comfortable in the pool surrounded by a bunch of crazy adults messing about in small boats. For a young boy he was probably fairly intimidated just by the fact that he was the only kid. My plan was to try and teach him kayaking what he needed to learn and what we ended up doing was learning how to be comfortable learning how to just be in a boat and how to relax to the point where learning can take place while being the only kid in the pool.
In retrospect the whole lesson might have been more valuable to me than him.
Thank you Andrew you are a great teacher.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I stand in the pool watching the students and feel envy. They are overcoming fears, perfecting motions and experiencing a new chapter of their story. There is always more to learn or to master and life continually plays out but there is a sadness in knowing that I would have to move on to something different to regain that “first time” rush. I feel envy and am a little jealous.