Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Forward Paddle Stroke for Propelling Your Kayak - Animation

Although the river provides much of our forward momentum, whitewater kayak paddlers need a powerful, efficient forward paddling stroke for navigating with the current, across the current or against the current at critical moments. The explosive power and high endurance paddling strokes needed for kayaking at a high level come from torso rotation.

A. Forward Paddle Stroke - from the kayaker's perspective.

Forward Stroke Animation 1 (opens in a new window).

1. 90 degree rule sets hand positions on the paddle; extend arms straight to form a strong paddler's box.

2. Tilt your paddler's box on its edge with your left hand as the top hand.

3. Rotate left and plant your vertical paddle completely in the water at the bow on the right.

4. Rotate torso to the right to power the paddle.

5. The forward stroke ends when the paddle blade reaches your hip.

B. Forward Paddle Stroke - from the river's perspective.

1. Animation 1 above was done from the kayaker's perspective, but what is really happening is seen from the river's perspective. When you "plant" your paddle blade in the water it stays fixed at that location. Your torso rotation actually moves your kayak ahead to the location where your paddle is "planted."

Forward Stroke Animation 2 (opens in a new window).

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006


Electra Run, Mokelumne River, kayaking class II, Aug 26, 2006

TaylorC, PaulG and I kayaked the Electra Run on the Mokelumne River (Amador County, California, USA) at a flow of 900 cfs (CA DWR CDEC Interface). TaylorC was in my Dagger RPM, PaulG paddled his Wave Sport Frankenstein and I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo.

Waters of the Hundred Playspots

The flow was only ~200 cfs lower than it was on our last trip on the Electra Run and that made a very noticeable change in the river. We found not quite so many small playspots in the first part of the run, but there were still lots of them.

After lunch we found two great surfing spots. The first spot was just a little jet of current coming off of a rock that made a little diagonal wave-hole. Very precise edge control was required. Dropping your upstream edge just enough enabled some great surfs, but dropping that edge too much or for too long produced a surprisingly rapid smackdown for such a small wave-hole. And we all got smacked there.



The second spot was a much bigger, faster wave-hole that was a little tricky to get into and then was very tricky to stay on for any length of time. It was a glorious white-knuckle ride for as long as it lasted, partly because of the speed and power of the current and the complexity of the wave-hole, but also because many of our exits from the wave-hole were less than graceful (i.e. trashed and spit out).

The flow was still a little bit too high to surf on The Green Wave. PaulG got some great rides on wave number two in his speedy Frankenstein kayak.

Practice, Training, Learning

We explored the river inch by inch for playspots, eddies, and ferrys. It was neat to pick out challenging lines through rapids, then try them and succeed. Throughout the day we all were working on our timing and stroke mechanics. TaylorC worked really hard on his eskimo roll and made great progress. We all ran nice lines at The Slot and S-Curve rapids. We played for a long time in the runout at the bottom of S-Curve.

Throughout the day TaylorC and I got out our cameras and took photos and movie clips. I think this kind of photo & video feedback will help us all to improve our paddling techniques. No matter how conscious you are of what you are trying to do, you just can't see what you are really doing until you look at the pictures.

More pictures from the trip are at BRT whitewater kayaking photos. TaylorC video 1. TaylorC video 2.

After seeing no other boaters all morning we saw a few groups of kayakers in the afternoon. We were working and playing the river so hard that the other boaters were long gone when we got to take-out, so Taylor got to ride the bicycle shuttle to get Paul's truck at put-in.

On the way back we stopped for beers and bare-knuckle kick boxing on TV at the Drytown Club.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Friday, August 25, 2006


Repair cracked polyethylene kayaks & canoes with a duct tape patch and a hair dryer

Fix cracks and holes in your polyethylene boats.

How to repair a cracked boat - oregonkayaking.

Its "fast, cheap and easy" to repair a plastic kayak or canoe that has a small crack, possibly even a small hole. This site describes how a duct tape patch heated with a hair dryer becomes a strong and durable patch. Lets keep those old boats out of the landfills a little longer!! Patch them up and keep them going on down the rivers!!

If you try this patching method please post a comment on the blog to let me know what kind of results you got.

More about: Reviews - Equipment.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006


Sweep Stroke for Turning Your Kayak - Animation

In river kayaking the river establishes the primary direction of travel, but kayakers often need to go in another direction for safety, fun, or rest along the way. Thus, turning your kayak in the direction you want to go is a fundamental skill. The sweep stroke is the primary method used to turn your kayak.

A. Forward Sweep Stroke.

Forward Sweep Stroke - Animation 1 (opens in a new window)

To do a forward sweep stroke on the left side of your kayak:

1. Maintain straight arms and a strong paddler's box through the entire sweep stroke (see post "How to hold your kayak paddle").

2. The sweep is a flat, horizontal stroke. Keep your entire paddle shaft as low as you can throughout the entire stroke.

3. Rotate to the right. Plant your paddle blade entirely in the water on the left side at the bow (front) of your kayak. The power face of the paddle should be facing towards the stern.

4. Rotate your paddler's box to the left via torso rotation (see post "Principles of kayak paddling strokes").

5. A full sweep stroke ends when the paddle blade reaches the stern (rear) of your kayak. Partial sweep strokes are often done if only a little change of direction is needed. A partial sweep stroke can begin and end anywhere along the arc of a full sweep.

6. Also practice the forward sweep on the right side of your kayak.

7. Forward sweep strokes help to maintain your forward momentum while providing the change of direction needed.

B. Forward Sweep Stroke - from the River's Perspective.

1. Animation 1 above was done from the kayaker's perspective, but what is really happening is seen from the river's perspective. When you "plant" your paddle blade in the water it stays fixed at that location. Your torso rotation actually rotates your kayak underneath you relative to the location where your paddle is "planted."

Sweep Stroke Animation 2 (opens in a new window)

C. Reverse Sweep Stroke.

1. To do a reverse sweep on the left side of your kayak first rotate your paddler's box to the left. Plant the paddle blade entirely in the water next to the stern of your kayak with the back face of the paddle blade facing toward the bow of your kayak. Rotate your torso to the right.

2. Partial reverse sweep strokes are often done when only a little change of direction is needed.

3. Also practice the reverse sweep stroke on the right side of your kayak.

4. Reverse sweep strokes will reduce your forward momentum while providing a change of direction. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not. Notice that a forward sweep on one side of the kayak gives the same change of direction as a reverse sweep on the other side of the kayak, so choose wisely depending upon whether you want to maintain or lose your forward momentum.

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Principles of kayak paddling strokes - Paddler's Box & Torso Rotation.

Paddler's Box & Torso Rotation protect against elbow tendonitis and shoulder dislocation.

Perfecting your paddle strokes is important both for performance on the water and for prevention of common paddler's injuries.

1. Use torso rotation to power all paddling strokes because big torso muscles are stronger and have more endurance than skinny arm muscles. Wide separation of your hands on the paddle (see 90 degree rule in post "Holding the paddle") limits the range of motion you can get with elbow bending and helps force you to power the paddle with torso rotation.

2. Paddler's Box. Keep arms straight to efficiently transmit your torso rotation power to your paddle and to maintain your paddler's box (see paddlers box in post "Holding the paddle").

3. Keep hands and paddle down low (except for top hand on forward and other vertical strokes) to maintain a low center of gravity and keep the paddle blades in position for flat strokes like sweep and brace.

4. Elbow tendonitis. If you can get "tennis elbow" from a few hours per day of tennis, imagine how much damage you can do from all day long paddling trips. I got "paddler's elbow" a while back and lost many weekends of kayaking waiting for it to heal up. Then I learned how to paddle correctly with straight arms and haven't had any more sore elbows since then, despite many years of long and hard kayaking.

5. Shoulder dislocation. There is little or no risk of shoulder dislocation when arms are kept low and held straight in front of the shoulders in a good, strong paddler's box.
      a) When the river starts to tumble you around (e.g. getting trashed in a big hole) letting your hands get up to shoulder level is dangerous. When the river grabs your paddle blade and throws your arm even higher, then you are in a dislocation risk zone.

      b) Letting your elbow or
      c) elbow and hand get behind your chest breaks down your paddler's box, opens up your shoulder and places you in danger. Again, if the river grabs your paddle blade and pushes even farther, then you are in another dislocation risk zone.

Shoulder dislocation is a big, scary injury. Although many recover sufficiently to return to paddling, nobody ever makes a full recovery from this injury. Once a shoulder has been dislocated you are likely to have repeat dislocations of that shoulder in the future. Paddling with straight arms and torso rotation provides almost perfect protection against this debilitating injury.

6. Bottom line. Both for better performance and for protection against common paddling injuries everybody should be sure to learn proper paddling technique. Lets all have fun, perform well and be safe out there !!!

More about: Kayaking Techniques.

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Monday, August 21, 2006


Coloma to Greenwood Run, SF American River, kayaking Aug 20, 2006.

We kayaked the Coloma to Greenwood Run on SF American River at 1800 cfs (El Dorado County, California, USA). TaylorC paddled my Dagger RPM, PaulG was in his Wave Sport Frankenstein, BruceH was in his Dagger Crossfire & I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo. Quite an interesting fleet of boats representing many different periods of plastic kayak design.

In the first part of the day we worked the river really hard. Taylor got his first experiences at lead boating. We caught lots of eddies, made lots of ferries and surfed on anything we could find. There were a couple of pretty good waves above Gremlin. Then we spent a bit of time at Gremlin wave, and a few of us got bitten. First time on the wave I got a good ride, but then was tossed off and flipped in an instant. I made my roll, but that was a bit of a wakeup call. Paul led a good line, we caught some eddies and learned some lessons at Old Scary Rapid, but only some of us were scared by it. Then I caught my first blackberry eddy of the year. How sweet to eddy out and have nice ripe blackberries within easy reach! The big eddy line above the Hwy49 bridge was a little snarly as usual, not too bad if you kept your right edge up, or a smackdown if you didn't.

By the time we got to Henningson-Lotus Park I was totally ready for lunch and maybe a nap or a takeout. But after a little food and a little rest I was happy to get going again. I followed a whole flock of merganzers down a little rapid above Camp Lotus. Then we saw some black ducks with white patches on their necks; I'm not sure what they were. A big family of Canada Geese was so calm and majestic as we floated by them at Camp Lotus, but I was already getting revved up for the main event.

Barking Dog Rapid was a howling good time. I finally figured out why I have been struggling to learn how to paddle that SuperEgo tugboat. After cruising on class II all day, you have to rev it up a notch or two when playing the Dog. Ferrying out the first time I was having second thoughts about this big growling monster, but once I dropped in the ride was so sweet. I stayed on it long enough to show that I belonged there, but then I had a dynamic pearl out, straight vertical for a microsecond on the way towards being totally slammed down. Remembering the last time I swam in the swirly water below this wave-hole, I set up very carefully and I was so happy to make that roll and get into the eddy on river-left. After a couple of brief dips into the wave I got one more big ride on my fourth time. Nice ride, kept my bow up by surfing back and forth across the wave. Then I thought I was washing out to the left, no problem, but I hit a wall of water and then oops, suddenly was back in the wave backwards. Holy @#$& what am I doing here, what am I going to do now, OK quick spin and I'm front surfing again! Wow that was cool! Best surfing I've done in a long time, even if it was more reflex than intentional!

Taylor picked out some good eddies at Current Divider Rapid. Then we all had good runs at Highway Rapid, the longest stretch of whitewater on the run, although there was a little rock bumping done off to the left of the main channel. Swimmers Rapid was a nice roller coaster ride to finish the run.

BruceH did a quick roll class in the pool at takeout and Taylor picked up a darned good pool roll, pretty darned quickly!

On the way home we stopped for dinner at Thai Style Dining in Cameron Park - my favorite! We ventured up to medium seasoning and it was great. Maybe next time we can try it hot.

After putting all the boating gear away there was a blazing orange sunset over the Coast Range, but the real exclamation point at the end of a great day was sitting in the hottub and recounting the day in my mind as I started drafting out the trip report.

More pictures from the trip are available at BRT kayaking photos at Flickr.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006


How to hold your kayak paddle - 90 Degree Rule & Paddler's Box.

90 Degree Rule & Paddler's Box improve kayak paddling performance and reduce risks of injury.

How you should hold your kayak paddle is amazingly NOT trivial. This can set you up for good body mechanics and powerful, efficient paddle strokes, or you can be on the path for weak, low endurance paddling and high risk of injury. When they pick up a kayak paddle for the first time beginners always hold the paddle with their hands too close together and power the paddle with arm muscles and elbow bending. It always amazes me when I see many experienced paddlers still making these same foolish beginner mistakes. Those who make the effort to really perfect their paddling techniques will be rewarded.

1. Paddle length. Choose your kayak paddle length by reaching straight overhead and picking the paddle that is as tall as you can reach with your second knuckle. Slightly shorter paddles are needed for squirtboats and other low volume kayaks. Longer paddles are needed for inflatable kayaks (IKs).

2. 90 degree rule - set your hand position on the paddle with paddle shaft over your head and elbows held at 90 degrees. Mark this position on your paddle shaft with tape if necessary. This is critical. Don't let your hands drift closer together as the day progresses.

3. Right hand control means that the right hand always holds the paddle rotated for paddling on the right side of your kayak. Rotate the paddle shaft in your left hand whenever needed to get the paddle blade in position to paddle on the left side. (European paddlers use left hand control paddles. Take your own paddle when you travel. Whichever one you are used to, using a "wrong" hand control paddle is amazingly difficult.)

4. Paddlers box. The paddler's box is a ~square produced by your chest, straight arms and the paddle shaft. Reach out with straight arms and always hold your paddle as far from your body as possible. Keep hands and paddle as low as possible (except the top hand on a vertical stroke like the forward stroke). Maintaining your paddler's box during all of your paddling is critical for power, endurance and prevention of injury. (See my post "Principles of kayak paddling strokes")

More about: Kayak Paddling Techniques - BRT Insights.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006


Kayaking Equipment Purchase Directory

Here are some places where river kayaking equipment can be purchased.

Used kayaking equipment.

Paddling club newsletters.
End of summer sales at river training organizations.
Craigslist - Sacramento.

Kayaking equipment stores in northern California.

River Store, Coloma, CA.
California Canoe & Kayak, Rancho Cordova, CA.
Clavey River Equipment, Petaluma, CA.
REI, Sacramento, CA.
Sierra Adventure Outfitters, Lodi CA.
Sierra Outdoor Center, Auburn, CA.
Sierrra Nevada Adventure Co., Arnold, CA.

Kayaking equipment stores online.

Kayak Online - kayak equipment and kayaking information.
NRS - Northwest River Supply.
Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Cascade Outfitters.
Wyoming River Raiders.
Sierra South.

More about:
Reviews - Equipment for Whitewater Kayaking.
Whitewater River Kayaking Directory - BRT Insights.



Boating Clubs for whitewater river kayakers, rafters, canoeists & tubers.

California whitewater rivers - it just doesn't get any better!!

Joining a club is a good way to meet other whitewater boaters and to get more invitations for private river trips and club trips. Here are some paddling clubs in the northern California area:

* California Floaters Society.
* California Kayak Friends.
* Chico Paddleheads.
* Class II Kayak Paddlers.
* DavisKayakers Group.
* Fresno Kayak Club.
* Gold Country Paddlers.
* Kern River Valley Canoe & Kayak.
* Lodi Paddle Club. Lodi Area Kayaking Enthusiasts.
* Loma Prieta Paddlers.
* Marin Canoe & Kayak Club.
* Never Enough Water Kayak Club.
* Reno Whitewater.
* River City Whitewater Club.
* River Touring Section - Angeles Chapter Sierra Club.
* River Touring, SF Sierra Club.
* Sequoia Paddlers, Redwood Chapter Sierra Club.
* Shasta Paddlers.
* Stanford Kayak Club.
* Team River Runner - Menlo Park & Palo Alto Chapter. Kayaking for Wounded Warriors and Their Families.
* Valley Wide Kayak Club.

More about:
Whitewater River Kayaking Directory - BRT Insights.



Basic training classes for whitewater river kayakers

Whitewater river kayak paddling skills classes.

Most people begin kayaking by taking training classes in paddling skills, river running and eskimo roll. These classes are available in the northern California area from:
California Canoe & Kayak.
Current Adventures.
Kayak In Northern California!, Chico, CA.
National Outdoor Leadership School - Water Skills.
North Rim Adventure Sports.
Osprey Outdoors Kayak School.
Otter Bar Lodge Kayak School.
Outdoor Adventures at UC Davis.
River and Rock Adventures.
Sundance River Center.

Ocean surf zone - kayak paddling skills classes.

Point Reyes Outdoors - Surf Zone Fundamentals class.
California Canoe & Kayak - Surf Zone class.
Monterey Bay Kayaks - Surfing in Kayaks class.

More about:
Kayaking Techniques.
Whitewater River Kayaking Directory - BRT Insights.

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Friday, August 18, 2006


DeLorme Northern California Atlas - Road Maps for Kayakers

DeLorme Northern California Atlas and Gazetteer

(ISBN 0-89933-204-8)

This book of maps covers northern California from the Merced River in the south to the Smith River in the north. The big detailed topographic maps are great trip planning and for navigating the back roads we use to access the rivers and creeks. The skinny blue lines on the maps that represent the creeks and small rivers are sometimes tricky to follow, so its not quite so good as a river map. Nevertheless, this DeLorme Gazeteer is a very valuable resource for river kayaking in California. (**** - my rating 4 stars out of 5)

More about: Reviews - Books Etc.

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Friday, August 11, 2006


Creeks and Rivers to Explore

Creeks and rivers to explore,
Flashing paddle as waters roar,
Fast and frantic or a mellow float,
The river spirits will guide my boat !!

Kayaking is truly a spiritual experience for me. The camaradarie of my group, getting close to nature, and feeling humbled by the awesome power of a whitewater river, kayaking always refreshes my perspective and recharges my batteries !!

BruceT surfing on the Mokelumne River (photo by TaylorC).

More about: River Quotes & River Philosophy.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Basic Paddling & River Safety Skills for Class II Whitewater Kayaking.

Paddle techniques, invididual & group skills, safety & rescue skills.

Warm, sunny summer days are a great time to help the next generation of whitewater river kayakers to get excited about the greatest of all sports. What do beginners need to know before they take their first class II river kayaking trip? Most boaters learn their basic skills by taking a paid training class, but then most continue their learning on private river trips.

What is the basic skill set of a "fully-qualified" class II kayaker? What additional skills should they have learned at the class II level before you start inviting them on your class III river trips? I've seen way too many kayakers advance way too quickly on to class III, IV and V boating with just partial skill sets. After surviving one hard rapid or one hard run they beat on their chests and loudly proclaim themselves to be a class whatever kayaker. Ho hum, I'm so totally NOT impressed!

Its way too easy for novices to follow a more experienced kayaker and count on the experienced boater to save them whenever needed. A group of "fully-qualified" class II kayakers should be able to navigate safely on a class II river where they have previously run with a more experienced kayaker, or explore a class II river run for the first time without a more experienced kayaker to lead them.

Individual kayaking skills - paddling & river safety techniques.

Wet exit. Kayaks are designed to tip over very easily. Nobody goes downriver with me unless they can exit easily and safely whenever their kayak tips over. (Or make a successful eskimo roll.)

Beginner eskimo roll. I take lots of novices on class II river trips knowing that they cannot roll up after tipping over. But no kayakers come on my class III trips until they have at least a beginner roll that works pretty well in the pool and works in the river more often than not.

Forward stroke. Kayaks are designed to not go in a straight line. Forward propulsion of your boat depends upon your skills. Vertical paddle, straight arms and torso rotation!

Sweep stroke. Spins the kayak in the direction you want to go. Flat, horizontal paddle, straight arms and torso rotation.

Brace. All braces are LOW braces. Flat, low, horizontal paddle, blade flat on the water, straight arms. Keep a low center of gravity. Always brace on the downstream side!!

Ferry. Paddle across the eddy line while maintaining your bow on an upstream angle. Maintain that upstream angle while paddling out into the current, possibly all the way across the river.

Eddy turn
. Used for entering and exiting the eddies. Head-snapping, breath-taking fun when done correctly, or ends in a flip when done poorly. Ferry out into the current, sweep on the left, brace on the right (or vice versa if you are on the other side of the river).

Swimming in whitewater. First get that critical breath of air that you need, then float on your back & keep your feet up, hang on to your paddle!!, get the paddle and the end loop your boat together in one hand and have the other hand ready to grab the back loop of the rescue boat. Listen for additional instructions from the rescue boater. Kick with your feet to help the rescue boater tow you to shore.

Recognize and avoid hazards. Recognize hazards like strainers, undercuts, pourovers and ledge holes. Paddle like crazy and/or swim like crazy to avoid these hazards. If you and your kayak are unavoidably broached on the upstream side of a rock first hug the rock, then wiggle forward or back to get out of there as soon as possible.

Group kayaking skills - organization & river rescue techniques.

Follow the leader. Listen to the leader describe what is coming up, watch the leader, follow the leader.

Hand and paddle signals. Critical for communication when the group is too spread out to hear each other.

Read the river & pick your own route. Always watch what the river does to the leader's kayak, but maybe you will choose a slightly different route. Show a good line to the kayaker who follows you. Oops, the river has pushed you far off the leader's route, so deal with it. Or maybe the group is just class II paddlers like you. Observe what the river is doing and figure out your own safe, fun route through the rapids. Captain of your own boat, immediate rewards, immediate consequences, glorious fun!!

Scout and portage. Eddy out above the rapids, scout from shore if you can't see a safe route from the eddy, portage around the rapid if you are not sure you can paddle safely through the whitewater.

Plan A, Plan B. Part of making a good plan A to navigate a section of river is thinking about what happens if you cannot keep your kayak on the plan A route. If that puts you into danger, then maybe a different plan A is needed. Plan A often fails, so have a plan B ready in advance. As soon as you feel the river has pushed you completely off of plan A, then immediately start paddling towards your plan B destination.

Basic rescue skills. Novices are only expected to do their best to keep themselves safe. Real class II boaters should be able to help with rescues of swimmers, boats and paddles in the pools at the bottoms of the class II rapids. Can you tow a swimmer to shore? Can you work together with other boaters to quickly help push a boat to shore?

Constantly alert! Are you always alert to the safety of your boating friends? Are you ready to help rescue immediately whenever needed? Five seconds out of every minute on the river you should be looking around making sure all other boaters are safe.

More about: Kayaking & Safety Techniques for Whitewater Rivers - BRT Insights.

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Monday, August 07, 2006


Electra Run, Mokelumne River, kayaking class II, Aug 6, 2006

BruceH, TaylorC, JaimeC and I kayaked the Electra Run on the Mokelumne River (Amador County, California, USA) at a flow of 1100 cfs (Dreamflows). BruceH paddled his Dagger Crossfire, TaylorC was in my Dagger RPM, JaimeC used my Prijon Rockit and I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo. We headed down river after a brief paddle school in the big pool at put-in.



Her first river kayaking trip.
Already surfing.
Having way too much fun.
(photo by TaylorC)

Waters of the Thousand Playspots

The flow was too high to surf on The Green Wave, but there were numerous tiny and small playspots everywhere throughout the run. A perfect day for Taylor and Jaime to get introduced to river surfing and for BruceH and me to have fun showing them how its done. Truly a delightful flow rate; maybe the best surfing I've ever seen on this run.



Surfing in the SuperEgo kayak. It never ceases to amaze me how much fun a tiny wave-hole can be when paddling a tiny boat. (photo by TaylorC - friends who bring cameras are always welcome on my trips!)

And then there were the spots where the river got to play with us, so we also got some practice rescuing swimmers. The webbing that I tied onto the rear loop of the SuperEgo made it much easier for swimmers to grab on and hold tight while getting towed to shore.

Blackberries were ripe and made a very nice treat at lunchtime.

We all ran nice left-to-right lines at The Slot rapid. S-Curve rapid was a little tougher and we had one upset there. With all the surfs, swims and rescues I think we all got full workouts by the time we got to take-out just below S-Curve rapid.

Dinner and beers on the patio at Jose's Mexican restaurant in the town of Jackson were just right. And then we topped it off with ice cream at our gas stop.

A cloud of bats was taking flight as we crossed the causeway over the Yolo Bypass.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006


Whitewater Kayaking in The Zone - 2

"When in the zone ... the mind and body are united in their purpose. A visit to the zone is unforgettable. Some athletes report experiencing a state of focused energy, or a transcendent state of well being, or an altered sense of time, or being 'on a high.' ... It is characterized by an unexpected euphoric sensation, in which the athlete feels an increased sense of well-being, enhanced appreciation of nature, and transcendence of the barriers of time and space." "The five keys to opening up the zone are physical ability, focus, confidence, calmness, and excitation." (reference)

Getting into THE ZONE

What makes it so easy and automatic for me to get into THE ZONE on every whitewater river kayaking trip? Geology provides the gradient and the river provides a lot of power, so it doesn't take much physical ability to get a kayak really moving at high speed on a whitewater river. Then there are the mental components of paddling the boat through the rapids. The sights, sounds and feelings of navigating whitewater can easily provide a sensory overload that challenges our abilities to focus on what we need to do to navigate our kayaks safely down the river. The time that we spend studying the river and practicing our river running skills can give us confidence in our abilities. Scouting a difficult whitewater rapid, either from an eddy or from the shore, enables calmness as we decide on a plan to either run the rapid, or to portage if necessary. Finally, regardless of all this other stuff there is the total excitation of jumping on this powerful whitewater rollercoaster in a zippy, tippy little kayak.

Welcome to THE ZONE.

See you in the eddy at the bottom of the rapid!!

More about: River Philosophy & River Quotes.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


River Flow Updates on Your Cell Phone

You can now get river flow updates on your cell phone. River flow data for 386 creeks and rivers in California are available.

More river flow update websites: River Flows Directory.

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