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Welcome to new members, group info and help wanted at Sea Kayaker Magazine

From: Saul_K
Sent on: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 6:45 PM
Welcome to all of our new members, I hope that you have all been getting a chance to get out on the water. I have shifted back a bit more to bicycling this year as a way to regain my fitness that I lost over the last 5 years, hopefully everyone is getting out. I know our organizers have been keeping busy posting a variety of events this summer, some like the Ross Lake trip filled so fast that we posted three trips a few days apart to try and give everyone a chance to explore the beautiful area. Some of you sent me emails with fairly extensive questions in the last few weeks, I got a bit behind, but I think that I have answered all of them, if you are still waiting for an answer, please re-send your question. For those of you who are new to the group, we have a lot of volunteers that like to get out on the water and paddle as often as they can, with my work putting me overseas quite often, it is these other volunteers that make the group function as well as it does. Thank the other organizers when you see them, planning and conducting safe and fun trips is a lot of work. We have 28 organizers, although a few have started families and with the youngsters they are less active, others have picked up the slack and are keeping on our track of at least 3 or 4 events every month. We also have been given great support from a lot of area businesses, they are listed on our sponsors page, the support has ranged from free instruction (essential for our organizers and other members) to great deals on equipment purchases and rentals. Tips for not damaging borrowed gear: Drysuits - don't wear jewelry, watches, earings, piercings, as these can get stuck on the gaskets and tear them, replacing gaskets runs me over $1,000 per year, I'd rather spend the money on kayaks. When you are taking the gasket of, put your fingers behind it to gently stretch and lift it off, it tends to panic people when it sticks on their face and they yank and rip it. Due to the cost of repairing these I have reduced the number of events that I am willing to loan them at to be those where I can help people get them off without damaging them. The Kayaks themselves, make sure they are floating when you get in, they will be much more stable than they are if one end is resting on the beach, and you will do a lot less damage to the kayaks than you will if you get in and then push off from shore dragging the bottom of the kayak over small (or big) rocks and sand. I have to patch the bottoms of pretty much all of the kayaks each season due to bottom damage, sometimes the patch job isn't that great and water leaks in. Rudders - it's best to actually learn how to paddle a kayak, and rudders often keep you from learning, that said, at times they are really useful, so we want to keep them working, a few details that help with that. Don't launch the kayak backwards if the rudder is down, I spend a few hundred bucks every year replacing bent and broken parts on rudders, they are not designed to go backwards, we bent two last week. Rudder pedals, keep in mind that most kayaks are built for people between 5'6" and 6'2" if you are outside that range, the pedals will really not adjust to fit you very well. If you are under 5'5" you will probably be able to break the plastic track that the pedal slides in. Let's be cautious about how far we try to adjust these, I have put new tracks in all of the kayaks this year and would like it if we get a few more years out of them. Late in the season, like we are now, we start getting into routes that require a higher level of skill to keep things safe for everyone, to do that we encourage members to take classes locally from places like the Mountaineers, Rogue Wave Adventures, The Kayak Academy, Olympic Outdoor Center as well as many other great places. Additionally we do some really basic skills sessions on some of the weekends in the April through June time frame and again in September, those sessions are typically where you demonstrate your ability to self rescue, you need to do that to be able to do any of the San Juans trips as well as some of the other trips. You don't have your own kayak, so can you join us on a paddle. I own enough kayaks and gear for about 30 people, so when I post, I usually make gear available. To manage the gear, I usually post each event twice, once for those with their own gear and often no headcount limit (I still limit if I think the event will get too crazy) and then once with gear for those that need to borrow and I limit those to the amount of gear I am willing to carry. I usually go no charge on the bring your own gear events and $5 or $10 on the ones where I provide gear to try and cover repairs. If you see two events posted and you sign up for the bring your own gear version, don't expect me to bring gear for you. If an event is full, you can join the waiting list, I try to get everyone from the waiting list on to the going list, but sometimes it takes me a few days of calling friends to get more gear or recruit more leaders. Don't crash the party if you don't make it on the going list, it becomes a bit of a safety overload when we get more people than we are willing to deal with, and sometimes we actually remove people that can't seem to figure this out from the group. Where do we paddle? A bit of everywhere. Paddles for beginners: Lake Union and Lake Washington, we generally host more than 50 of these each year. Overnight trips for beginners: This is a bit more limited, generally these are base camp type trips, where we drive to a location and camp and do day paddles. If the weather looks especially benign, I may post a paddle to a place like Vashon or Blake Islands in part because they both have easy bail out options that allow the use of a ferry. If you want to kayak camp, the best thing to do is work on your skills so you can do it safely. Paddles for those with safety skills: Puget Sound, places like Golden Gardens, Magnolia, Chuckanut Bay, river trips like the lower Skykomish, the lower Snoqualmie, the Snohomish, the Skagit. Overnight trips for those with Safety skills: San Juan Islands, Ross Lake, Gulf Islands. Why do I push for the safety skills checkouts? Because it's easier to teach you in advance than it is to teach you after you screw up and need help and it's safer for everyone in the group. Also keep in mind that for years I didn't worry about it, I figured if you were smart and in good shape, nothing could go wrong, then it did and I learned things the hard way, not something that I want to repeat. But isn't this called Flatwater Kayaking? No it's called Sea Kayaking, sometimes it's flat, some times it's not, you need the skills to be safe in the various environments that we paddle in. Are the trips rated? Many are, we have been using the rating system from the University of Washington Kayak club which takes into account things like: Fetch, length of crossings, etc. I am evaluating if we need to change to a more commonly used system. How do I know if the Safety Skills are required, the Organizer will post "experience required" or "Safety Skills required" in the event. How come when I reply to an email it goes to the whole group... Because email goes to the email address in the ReplyTo command in the header of the email, most systems make that go to the sender, meetup is different, unless you are a total geek you probably never look at headers, Meetup defaults to Reply to the entire group, so if you don't want everyone to know something personal, look at the e-mail and copy and paste the email address you want to send an email to, if it says something like sea-kayaking [address removed], then it is going to the whole group. Some of you were in the group when I learned this the hard way, it was kind of funny, but better avoided. I'm looking forward to paddling with all of you soon. I hope this answers your questions - Saul Saul Kinderis [address removed] cell[masked] ******************************** Help Wanted at Sea Kayaker Magazine****************** We have an opportunity here that someone in the Meetup group might find interesting: The person who has been measuring kayaks and running them through the computer program for us for us has had to retire and we’re looking for someone to take his place. It takes about 5 hours to run a boat through the process. Half of that is using a vertical tracing board to trace the lines, half entering data on the computer using detailed instructions. No experience is required, just a willingness to careful, accurate work. The pay is $14 per hour and we do 12 boats per year. It’s best to do the work outside of our 9-to-5 office hours, so availability evenings and/or weekends is preferred. The timing is flexible although we have to work to meet our publication deadlines. Anyone interested should get in touch with our editor at [address removed] or at (206) 789-1326. If you know of anyone in the group or feel it is appropriate to post the note on the Meetup web site, we'd appreciate it. Thanks again! Chris

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