Back in the day, I had a bombproof kayak roll. But gradually, I fell out of the habit of practising it. When I first abandoned whitewater and surf paddling in favour of exclusively ocean kayaking I kept it up. But over the years, I persuaded myself it wasn’t really essential for sea kayaking and probably wouldn’t work anyway with my sail on the boat. Besides, my brace worked fine (except when it didn’t.) Somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that age made it unlikely I could recapture my roll.
Displacement Hull Boat? Check. Wood Paddle? Check. Chunky PFD? Check. This must be me, surfin’ the 90s.
But this year, one of my personal and professional goals is to regain my roll. And to do it like a girl.
Life events and some (non life-threatening) medical issues have kept me out of my sea kayak for a couple of months – the longest absence from paddling I’ve had in decades.
Earlier this week I took my hopefully rehabbed body out for some sea trials. My standard voyage is a straight shot from English Bay Beach to the Jericho Sailing Association, about 45 minutes of brisk paddling against the stiff breeze of the afternoon inflow. Since I was testing my recovery, I raised the sail and did a series of paddle-sailing broad tacks up either side of the wind, adding some distance and about twenty minutes to my crossing time, but reducing the load on my body to about half of paddling directly upwind. Continue reading →
One of the many pleasures of camping out of a kayak — a boat that’s basically a floating cooler — is that for the first several days you can feast on fresh foods. But multi-week trips require provisions with reduced bulk and increased shelf life. For these, I carry a mix of what I consider the three essential food groups for extended camping: store-dried, freeze-dried and home-dried. Continue reading →
Today, let us praise those who are not content to passively take only what the outdoor retail market offers. All hail those explorers who tinker, tweak or make things from scratch. Sometimes economic necessity is the mother of invention: good gear ain’t cheap. Other times, it’s because what’s available doesn’t meet your purposes off-the-shelf. Or because there’s no product at all for your particular niche. Continue reading →
Regular readers know my fondness for sticking sails onto anything that floats. I even fitted a Hobie Mirage sail and Side Kick Amas onto my previous single sea kayak. As the pic below shows, the combination was a hoot for zipping around on daytrips. However, it proved too bulky to stow easily on or in the boat when not in use, so it was never very practical for touring. That’s why when I replaced my single kayak, I opted for a Falcon Sail. But that left me with a perfectly serviceable sail and outriggers crying out to be used. Continue reading →
Off-the-shelf kayak lights are an excellent way to increase safety when night paddling. By raising your light a few feet above the deck you can ensure it remains unblocked by your body and visible through the full 360. Plus, it won’t nuke your night vision by shining directly in your eyes. Continue reading →
My Personal Transport Team (AKA my long suffering wife) dropped me with my boat and gear at Deep Cove about 14:00 hours on December 30th. I’d been waiting for a window of clear weather; the temperatures are lower under cloudless skies, but it’s easier to stay safely warm in dry cold than in icy rain. That’s true both in the kayak and in camp. Continue reading →