Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Escape to Alcatraz Sailing Adventure

On any given weekend sailboats, catamarans and ferries race back and forth across San Francisco Bay.  Clear skies, calm moderate breezes in some places around the bay, working up to those strong wild winds coming through the Golden Gate provide spectacular sailing conditions for all. It was something I always dreamed about doing. When sail boating friends offered my wife and I, a day on the bay we climbed aboard with excitement.
 San Francisco Bay surrounded by both the picturesque landscape and  the city's skyline is a sailor's paradise. Angel Island, Mount Tamalpais and infamous "Rock" of Alcatraz were the backdrop to our sailing adventure. Stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the new Bay Bridge will amazed any sightseers, but seeing them from water was extraordinary treat.
 We started our voyage on Treasure Island. We rounded the island, before heading due west to Alcatraz. After a time of bouncing in the waves, we turned south to enjoy the city's waterfront and skyline.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Training, Loading & Racing for Eppie's Great Race.

Eppie's Pre-Race Kayak Clinics

Current Adventures Kayak School, in conjunction with Eppie's Great Race and the The River City Paddlers, sponsored paddling instruction clinics for several weeks to get paddlers ready for the Eppie G Johnson Memorial Pre-Race and Eppie's Great Race.
 Kayak instructors and top competitors from the local kayak racing scene provide inside tips and insight into the techniques and strategies that can help the paddlers be more effective and safe during Eppie’s Great Race.

Like in the scene from the movie Braveheart,  Dan Crandall of Current Adventures inspires the paddlers.


San Juan Rapids
The Eppie Johnson Memorial Canoe & Kayak Race
 Paddlers were invited to join the flotilla of kayaks floating down the American River in honor of Eppie Johnson, the originator of Eppie's Great Race, who passed away in September.  There were
snacks, awards and great prizes for all paddlers after the race at River Bend Park.

Folks toss flowers into the American River in remembrance of Johnson.
 John Weed escorts Eppies' kayak down the river.
Weed and Crandall at the after race celebration.
Going down the river with a Current Adventures training session.
Sunset on the American River.

Kayak heaven. Kayaks being prepared for the racers.

Getting the boats ready for the race.

Eppie's Great Race Day"The Great Race" is an annual triathlon that includes running, biking, and paddling. On race day, boats are unloaded and place on both sides of the Jim Jones Bridge for the paddling part of the triathlon. Current Adventures had over 90 kayaks rented out for the race.


Ready to race.

Kayaks on the American River Parkway
Finish line at River Bend Park

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kayaking Tandem, Date Night on Folsom Lake

Tandem Date Night on Folsom Lake
 In his book, author Gil Stieglitz in Marital Intelligence stresses five foolproof guides to strengthening your marriage. The book is being used as part of our couples enrichment class coursework at our church. As I read through the book's five problems facing married couples, it struck me like being whacked over the head with a paddle, they also apply to canoeing and tandem kayaking.

Meeting Each Others' Needs:  First of all, remember how you promised to take her on a luxury Viking River Cruise that you see in the commercial before Downtown Abbey.  Well, this isn't it. But, finding a little common ground is a good way to start. You are there to paddle, so your needs are met already. After you unload the boat, pack the lunch and the camping gear inside. Comfort is key, make sure her seat is dry and her gear is safe.  After that,  help her rub on her sunscreen and push off. On a peaceful night with the setting sun, a cruise of beauty and inspiration will give you some great one on one time.

Immature Behaviors  Remember on the junior high church canoe trip how there was always that guy who splashed and swamped the girl's canoes and then laughed when they came out of the water soaking wet?  Those days are over. If you ever want to kayak with her again, the whole idea is to keep the water out of the boat and off your mate. Keep the craft stable and emphasize safety and fun. Remain calm and patient. Nothing sinks a boat trip faster than yelling at your inexperienced paddling partner. Providing a relaxed fun environment will ensure she will be eager to go again.

Clashing Temperaments  We often hear tandem kayaks or canoes being called "divorce boats"You put a couple in a boat to make them work together and often a squabble will ensue before getting to the other end of the lake. One will attempt to steer from the bow (front), while the mate will trying to navigate from the bow (back).  Before long they are going in circles or worse, crashing into rocks.
You should remember to work as a team and make compromises. Paddling is like dancing. Keep rhythm with your paddling partner by communicating direction, synchronizing to their strokes and where to stop for lunch or a good place to swim or hike.

 Competing relationships   Honey,'re just not listening to me, is a tandem kayaking conundrum. With the front rider is facing bow with their mouth and ears are pointing forward, it is difficult for the person in the stern to hear things like Awe, look the cute little deer or  LOOK OUT FOR THE ROCK!
The bow (front) paddler is the eyes of the kayak and directs the stern (back) paddler around obstacles that can't be seen because their view is blocked. The person in front needs to look back when talking to their paddling partner.
The kayakers must also share the same tempo in paddling the boat. I like to paddle like a machine with powerful deep movements while Debbie's stroke resembles a dipping and chipping motion. I splash, while she leaves the water in the lake. I adjust my stroke to hers to avoid hitting our paddles. Slow it down and take it easy. And really, what is the hurry anyway?

Past Baggage  The reason you are out there in the first place is to have fun and get away for awhile. Leave the bills, laundry, and chores at home and enjoy the serenity of the lake. This is chance for you both to energize your body, spirit and soul and find harmony in being together.

Paddling together is a successful marriage of working in partnership to get across the lake or down river. Sharing these experiences with a partner will hopefully bring your bond even closer.  Follow these rules and even in rough waters, it will be a smooth ride.