|Sent on:||Friday, April 13, 2012 10:03 AM|
A hello to all the Seattle Sea Kayaking Group members and a welcome to the new ones.
Thanks to our great assistant organizers, Our calendar is starting to fill up again.
We had a pretty good season last year, lots of great trips, lots of good meals (thanks Kevin) lots of people took classes to improve their skills, we had no incidents, damage to boats was minimal (one broken rudder, one hole in a kevlar kayak, one broken paddle and three lost paddles), lost gear was minimal, damage to drysuits was crazy expensive (please ask for help when taking them off, replacing torn gaskets cost me over $1,000 last year and most of the womens drysuits got torn again, don't ask for a drysuit if you're prone to freaking out when pulling something tight over your head or you like to wear earings while paddling) When the gaskets are torn it's no longer a drysuit. The trick to taking off a drysuit if you have long hair is: 1) get help, someone putting their hands on either side of your head can open it up enough that you can slide your head through 2) put a nylon stocking over your head (like a bank robber) then the gasket will just slide over your head.
Events, we strive to have paddling events 6-10 times per month, I expect that by May we'll be there.
Loaner gear, I usually bring gear for people that need to borrow to the events I'm hosting, I've started charging a small fee (typically $10) for those and posting them separately in an attempt to cover the gear costs for repair and replacement and some of my fuel. I am now listing events as “for those that have their own kayaks” and “for those that need to borrow” with the same start times.
I'm happy to see that most people by about their 3rd year buy their own gear and spread their new found passion to their friends.
Safety and Skill development, as most of you know improving your skills gives you the ability to do trips in more scenic areas, such as island crossings in the San Juans with the ability to continue even after the wind picks up. While many trips the conditions can be glass smooth, you want to have the skills to make it home or stay put when they aren't, unlike hiking, sitting by a rock and waiting for rescue doesn't work so well in moving water, so you need to get your skills to an adequate level. Your first tool is your brain to analyze the information, current charts, navigation charts, landmass shapes, weather forecasts, your fitness and skills. We do a few free clinics on route planning each year to go over the decision making processes and how to use the tools. Fitness is on your plate. Skills, while I work with the other organizers to offer free truly basic sessions to cover minimal skills, the moderate and advanced skills are best learned from the various professionals (Bob Burnett (Bob B) of Rogue Wave http://www.roguewaveadventures.com/ incidently, Bob is the one who personally trained many of our organizers and offers a discount to our members ; George and Barb Gronseth of Kayak Academy http://www.kayakacademy.com/ are just a few of the many who have provided training to our members. Bob mentioned that he will be providing weeknight skills sessions on Lake Washington again this summer, if you do those prepare to be wet and to learn a lot, I'm hoping to make a few of those but I'm switching to a job on the Eastside next week (Bob and I keep switching sides of the lake and never in synch ;-).
also offer a variety of courses you can check out.
Personally, I will be posting 3-5 events a month, but with the calendar catching up to me, I'm finding that I have to put more time into cycling to maintain my fitness (running is out due to arthritis in the knee I shattered a few years ago) and my job keeps me busy enough that 3-5 events a month is probably my limit, but I will coordinate with the other organizers to get more loaner gear out.
So a thanks to all the organizers for sharing their passion and helping make this group what it is and to all of the members for being part of a great group, so welcome to the group and see you on the water soon.