Surfing The Oregon Coast

Well, I went surfing about ten days ago out at the coast. The conditions were perfect, getting a ride was a pain in the @#!, but it was 60 deg. and amazing. I didn't feel all that great but was getting some rides on the smaller four foot surf. There is still alot of power in those waves. There was 5 of us total and 4 of us on the water. Three surf kayaks and one wave ski. The outer break was about 6-7 feet tall and was just super green and gentle breaking!

What a great day for catching waves. I really don't like the Valley Storm that I have been using for a bunch of different reasons. I would have to say the biggest reason is that I am about 20 lbs. over the capacity and I can feel the boat cavitation in the stern as I approach the bottom of the turn. Well, that is what I get for not being a average height! I will try to get more boating in soon, but the hiking has been superb as well.

PS. On my last white water adventure I swam with my camera and lost it to the river gods, but I was able to save the memory card. All is but a memory now!

White Water Run before Texas

I am flying out of Portland at 7am to head south for 10 days. It has been about two years since I have seen my family down that way. Not really looking forward to rising around 5am, but I can be a champ. I will miss not be able to paddle. I did get a few runs on some class II+ with a good friend. It was actually my first time in a play boat, liquid logic CR 125, and had a swim after 5 min on the river in this big boiling eddy line. Rushed my roll so I swam, but hey we are all between out swims!

I have learned that I need to roll before each run if possible. I had never been in this little boat before and I had no idea how it felt to run.

Actually after the swim I felt fine and rocked the river the rest of the way down. At the end we drove back up to the top and decided to do the run again. Since the day was about 40 f we started a vehicle, warmed up with some hot tea and lunch. In about 30 min. We were ready to make the run again. This time Kevin and myself had a great run and worked on a bunch of skills. Mostly trying to surf what ever wave we could find.

I have noticed that when I go down the river I try not to aim straight down and am mostly sideways. I am learning that if I can be sideways I can move around the river with alot more speed. I am already heading down river. I think that initially for me it was being comfortable on the river and most of that is learning to relax and not fight the flow of the water to much. Many times it is just about getting into the drivers seat by getting forwards in the boat and turning on the power when needed. Other wise just relax and have FUN!

I will try to post some pics of my adventures in Texas and I hope to paddle New years day.

Happy Holidays,

dufek died of a bad stroke

I wanted to talk about my favorite stroke known as the Dufek Stroke. I can remember the first time I saw this stroke. I was watching a sea kayak movie when I was about 20 years old and saw this stroke. I saw this person spin the whole boat 180 degrees with one stroke. I couldn't believe it! Went to try the stroke myself and discovered it was not as easy as what I saw.

5 parts to strokes: examining the dufek
Hand position - Stacked hands (top hand over bottom with safe shoulder position)
body rotation - body needs to be rotated facing your work
boat tilt - use boat tilt to and edge to carve turn
paddle angle - more vertical has less support but more power moving laterally
Length of Stroke - where is the paddle placed

All Five parts are important and should be considered.

In addition to these five parts is one more concept known as an open face, closed face, and neutral face blade position. Think of this as catching water with the scoop, slicing water, or pushing water with the backside of the paddle.

We will look at the dufek on long boats and should rarely be used for smaller kayaks. The problem with using the Dufek is that it is like turning on the brakes and you will lose all speed but turn sharply.

Lets take a look at my Modified Dufek. Take notice that I initiate the stroke with a sweep stroke - kayak held on edge. I hold the edge, rotate to the lifted side, and place the blade at a neutral position at about my knee. When entering the blade into the water remember you dont want to grab any water yet - Neutral Blade! If placed any further forward the boat will slow, the kayak will turn quicker but will surely loose speed. If you do bring the blade forward you also want to rotate and lean your body forward taking weight off the stern. This speeds up the turn.

The length of the stroke is the nearest to the kayak as possible for maximum effect.

I rarely use a traditional dufek that is placed at the bow. This is even more valuable in white water. If you use this in short little boats you will not turn, but simply spin out. To experiment with the stroke try to place the blade in the water so that it is slicing and not grabbing water -neutral blade - then slowly open the paddle to catch water. Once the boat is turning, close off the blade angle, notice that the boat is still turning without a strong open blade face. You may even notice that the neutral blade position will turn you just as well as the open position without compromising speed. The most important part of the stroke is the initiation of the turn, sweep then bow rudder.

This is Jason Self showing us a great bow rudder. You can read further about Jason at Kayak Angler Blog

Here is another example; the kayak is initiated into the turn with a sweep stroke, body is rotated towards stroke, stacked hands, boat held on edge, and the blade is held at about the knee, but you will see white splashed coming off the blade. A neutral blade will reduce the splashing and keep the boat speed.

Hope this helps out. Of course there are many situations and many different subtleties when using this stroke in different water conditions.

Here is some fun video.

Happy paddlin-