Please allow us to introduce ourselves as a new CASKA Sponsor. We are a husband and wife design team, Para Designers Inc., who have invented a product, Capsurz, that provides important functionality for hat-wearing outdoor enthusiasts, especially paddlers.
Capsurz is the only patented cap accessory cord that retrofits to your hat and keeps it on your head, hands free!
We invented Capsurz due to our own hat and wind challenges and are now working on letting all hat-wearing outdoor enthusiasts know how easy it is to be cap sure with Capsurz. We are native Illinoisians: Capsurz is made in Woodstock, IL and we'd like to help promote safe paddling and eliminate hat litter by keeping hats where they're supposed to be.
Thank you to Tom Bamonte and Emily Kornak for welcoming us to CASKA. And as a thank you to the group, the first three members to email us will receive a complimentary Capsurz, as long as you'll use it, review it (pictures, too!) and post it to this blog!
It's time for another trip to visit the islands of the Great Lakes. Last year's trip was to the Manitou Islands. Report here. This year's trip will be to a group of islands in Lake Erie, including north, south and middle Bass islands. Chart here.
The area is about a 5.5 hour drive from Chicago, almost all on the
Indiana and Ohio turnpikes. The islands have lots of history and
provide great paddling opportunities. The consensus view is that this
is the best paddling spot in Lake Erie.
Last year's trip included an 8 mile crossing and wilderness camping. The Lake Erie islands are very different. While shallow Lake Erie
can kick up quickly, the crossings will be significantly shorter.
There is frequent ferry service if the paddling conditions are not
good. We will be staying in a state park campground with running water
and the like. Ice cream, pizza and fermented beverages will be within
an easy paddle. Perry's Monument will provide a handy navigational guide. There is plenty of boat
traffic, which may sometimes be a nuisance, but that boat traffic can
come in handy at times from a safety perspective.
Consequently, this will be a good trip for paddlers who have some open water experience
and want to take the next step into working on navigation, kayak
camping, and crossings in unfamiliar waters. At the same time, the
trip will give experienced paddlers options to
test their skills through extended open water crossings
to islands in
Canada and at the fringes of the archipelago. The ferry provides a
back-up in case of bad weather and even an option for non-paddlers to
join the trip. Think of this as the WMCKA of kayak tripping.
The trip will occur over the weekend of June 25, likely from late Friday through Monday night. There may be an opportunity to spend an extra day. As with last year's trip there will be carpooling opportunities.
trip will come together quickly. If interested or you have questions
please contact Dave Kaknes or myself. We need to
get a headcount in order reserve campground space.
It was rainy, with 20-25 mph north winds and 5-8 foot waves for our paddle a few weeks ago at Rainbow Beach (79th Street). I recall that the air temperature was in the high 40s and the water temperature was about the same. It was as if winter's cold fingers were reaching through spring to brush us. John Groenier, Haris Subacius, John Tebbens, Sarah Hartman and I spent about three hours learning in and occasionally getting schooled by the churning surf.
(Photo: John Groenier)
We had the beach to ourselves, save for an occasional squad car or a desperate parent wanting to give their kids a quick run to release a little steam. I felt privileged to be a witness of a fine spring storm from this unique and somewhat bouncy vantage point.
I like to break out through the churning water near shore to the zone offshore where the waves are the highest, peaking before they begin their messy journey to shore. Scooting up and down the sheer wave faces is so much fun. The vantage point while one's boat is perched on top of a wave crest is just as spectacular. At times the well between wave peaks is deep enough that you notice the sudden decrease in the wind and the briefest patch of quiet. Bracing into the occasional early breaker keeps one alert.
Believe it or not, playing in the surf gives one plenty of time to think. I had ridden one wave in for a bit, curved to one side and found myself parallel to the next breaking wave. This one required a high brace. My boat spun suddenly and I was suddenly surfing in backwards. It was a rather tricky ride as I tried to figure out a useful rudder angle and supplemented this with a few quick low braces to avoid going over. When the wave petered out I was well-positioned to paddle out again, my bowed aimed out.
As I was paddling out after this sequence I realized that I hadn't gotten the accustomed adrenaline hit. The whole sequence seemed pretty routine, a mixture of braces and rudders and hip wiggles. Which got me to thinking--is the purpose of practice to end the reliance on adrenaline or is it to lay a foundation so you can ramp up the difficulty and risk level so you can keep sipping that sweet adrenaline?
There seems to be a certain tension between the sort of empty mind, calm and centered persona of a master of some skill and the addictive attraction of adrenaline, which is what makes a sport so exciting. Do we work to exhibit mastery by getting beyond the adrenaline rushes that bring us into a sport or is the goal to pursue those adrenaline rushes because only through them are we forced to develop new skills?
I was likely out of adrenaline because I had been paddling fairly hard for a couple of hours, not because of a Zen-like mastery of the surf. On the one hand, it felt kind of reassuring how routine and non-threatening a bumpy and challenging surfing sequence had become. Yet, at the same time I wondered if in the future I would still want to commit myself to the risks, rigors and discomforts of surfing if my emotions were not quickened by those pleasurable, consciousness-expanding jolts of adrenaline.
There were no answers on that day. When later looking at this photo of Haris from the surf session, however, I got my answer. I realized that the best way to steer a course between the stodgy calm of mastery and the jittery highs of adrenaline is to focus on having fun. Doesn't having fun in a place like a surf zone blend the two approaches in a most satisfactory fashion? (Photo: John Groenier)
CASKA is one of the sponsors for this open to the public paddlesports event. Reminiscent of years past Paddle in the Park, it is not only a place to network and learn about local clubs, local outfitters, paddlesport centers, and places to paddle. It is a place to get your feet wet, or if you're a more adventurous, to get all of you wet. There will be introductory and not so introductory classes on land and on water, fleets of boats to try and a film festival!
This will be the 2nd annual two-day canoeing and kayaking festival with low-cost on-water lessons in solo and tandem canoeing, river and sea kayaking; test-paddling of canoes and kayaks; on-land programs about paddling skills and adventures, paddling safety and more. Meet Illinois paddling clubs, paddle sport retailers, and river conservation organizations.
The festival admission is free. Paddling lessons are $ 20.00 for adults and $ 10.00 for children 10-17 when accompanied by adult taking the same lesson. Test paddling canoes and kayaks is $ 10.00 adults only for the day with a signed waiver. The film festival is $ 2.00 per showing.
Mastodon Lake was so named because the remains of the extinct elephant-like Mastodon were found in this 28 acre fishing lake in the 1930's and visitors to the lake can see a life size sculpture of a Mastodon and a restored prairie grass development, as well as enjoy a one mile walking path.
For more detailed information, directions, sign up forms and waivers go to:
CASKA will also staff a table to provide information about our club, safety and activities. We will be putting out a call for members to sign up to represent our club through out the event. Keep your calendar open.
May has arrived! I can start an official count down to my first symposium of the year!I can’t wait to see the kayaking friends I have made over the years, I don’t get to see enough of you over the winter months .
The 2010 WMCKA Symposium will take place at Camp Pendalouan on Big Blue Lake Memorial Day Weekend, May 28th-31st.
It's a family affair. There's a great children's program along with a variety of opportunities whether you are the newbie, the novice, the beginner or the slightly (who are we kidding) obsessed intermediate paddler including a 2 day BCU 3 star training. This is a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. Chances are whatever piece of kayaking information or skills development you are looking for can be found here. Instructors, ACA and BCU certified, from all over the midwest and great lakes provide instruction using contemporary (euro) paddles or traditional (greenland stick) paddles. Did I mention there's also a track for recreational style boats?
2010 Special Guest Speakers: Nigel Foster and Micheal Grey :
Nigel FosterHe holds a BCU Level 5 Coach certification and is credited with pioneering surf kayaking in the 1970’s.Nigel has led numerous expeditions around the world and has authored books and training DVD’s.Some of his books include: Kayaking: A Beginner's Guide; Nigel Foster's Sea Kayaking: Secrets From The Pro; Nigel Foster's Surf Kayaking; and Guide to Sea Kayaking in Southern Florida.
Nigel’s paddling philosophy is best summed up in his own words: “The only truly wrong way to paddle is one that will cause you harm. One size does not fit all! There’s a sliding scale of effectiveness for every individual, and that takes into consideration everything from personal physique, flexibility and physical fitness to paddle length and blade shape and kayak design. We adapt our most effective paddling style to suit the wind and water conditions we find ourselves in. I think we can truly say that everybody’s most effective stroke will be slightly different.”
Michael Grayis a regular instructor at the WMCKAsymposium and at many other symposia around the country.Probably best known for his outstanding sessions on backcountry cooking, this year we have asked him to also present on one of his sea kayaking trips to Michigan’s own Isle Royale.Michael owns and operates Uncommon Adventures, a sea kayaking company that specializes in trips to the Great Lakes, Alaska, Honduras, and Iceland. You will also be able to catch Michael teaching strokes, rescues, and other kayaking skills during the symposium as a Level 4 ACA kayaking instructor.
• The symposium takes place on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28 - 31.
Symposium registration begins at 5 p.m. on Friday evening.
The adult and youth programs start at 9:00 AM Saturday and conclude at 11:30 AM on Monday.
•The symposium is held at YMCA Camp Pendalouan on Big Blue Lake. The camp is approximately a 20 minute drive north of Muskegon, Michigan. See map on next page.
•Free walk-in tent site with registration.
•Free secluded lots for small RV’s. However, RV hook-ups are not available.
•Bunks in simple rustic cabins are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cabins have electricity. Bring your own linens and/or sleeping bags.
•A list of nearby local campgrounds, motels, and restaurants may be obtained on line at www.whitelake.org or by contacting the Whitehall/Montague Chamber of Commerce at (800) 879-9702.
•Camp Pendalouan provides seven meals during the weekend