Thursday, July 31, 2014

On the Road With Business and Pleasure

Late last week we made a trip to Vancouver Island and more specifically to the stunning area of Strathcona Provincial Park about 40-45 minutes outside of Campbell River, BC.

We delivered a beautiful Esquif Presage to Campbell River for the good folks at Coast Mountain Expeditions.  Be sure to visit Ralph and Lannie's amazing Discovery Islands Lodge off Quadra Island sometime.  We can't wait to take them up on that rain cheque :)

From Campbell River we made our way to Buttle Lake Campground to connect with our good friends, Ian and Beth.  Some of you may remember Ian from his days as the Sales Manager at Current Designs Kayaks when they still called Sidney, BC home!

We enjoyed canoeing and hiking in this, British Columbia's oldest provincial park, founded in 1911. 

This was also a fantastic opportunity to stop in at Strathcona Park Lodge and say hello to Jamie Boulding.  I have worked in some capacity with Jamie for over 15 years as we connected when I was first working at North Water Rescue & Paddling Equipment.  The thing is, Jamie and I had never actually met in person!!!  The Boulding family has an incredible property on the south end of Upper Campbell Lake and runs one of the most respected outdoor leadership programs in North America. 

The COLT (Canadian Outdoor LeadershipTraining) Program started in 1977 and twice a year ten students arrive at Strathcona Park Lodge for a unique experience that will change them forever. The three-month program uses the Vancouver Island backcountry and this world-class outdoor education centre as a classroom to teach leaders and educators invaluable life long skills.

 As Jamie and I were sitting in the Lodge restaurant, Myrna's (named after his Mom, Myrna) along with longtime sea kayak guide, Richard, canoeing-goodess, Laurel Archer and Mark we smiled thinking of the perks of mixing business and pleasure.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tofino Surf SUP Race - Team Paddler, Eli Fischbuch

Check out this great write up from team paddler, Eli Fischbuch about the Tofino Surf SUP race last weekend
in Tofino hosted by Stuart and Andrew Robinson and the crew from SurfSUP

This past weekend I took part in my second race of this season, the Tofino Surf SUP race on July 19/20.  I have my new Werner Grand Prix M1000 which I was excited to test out, I’ve paddled a bit with it so far and love the extra reach that it gives on each stroke (this paddle is longer than my Nitro).   This race was part of the Vancouver Island stand up paddle board series.  This was the second out of three races of this series.  This race consisted of a short course which was on the first day of the competition and the second day was the long course.  The short course was the surf race which meant you can catch small wave when coming into the shore.  The long course was in the open ocean. 

Catching a little wave while going around a bouy photo: Taine Fischbuch
 The short course was super fun – it was made up of six bouy turns and a beach run in between each lap.  The youth, junior, surf class and masters did three laps and the open and elite classes did 4 laps.  I found this course challenging because there were four right turns and two left turns, which made it easy for goofy footed people but not for regular footed people like myself.  One of the right hand bouys was really close to the shore so you could catch small waves going into the turn and then try the turn while still on the wave.  For me, the first two laps went well for this turn but on the last I mistimed the turn and got caught by the wave and fell.  Another thing that added to the difficulty of this race was the beach run.  The tide was out, which meant that the run was extra long. This added to the excitement though – especially for the spectators!

It's a long beach run when the tide is out. 
photo: Taine Fischbuch
The second day was the 10km long course.  For this race we paddled straight out from Mackenzie beach into the open ocean, turned around an island and then paddled south towards Chesterman beach.  This was the longest and most difficult stretch of the race because the wind was coming from one side and swells were coming from the other side which made me fall in ALOT.  My board (Naish Javelin LE 12’6”) is great for flat water and I have had a lot of fun on it in downwinders before but for these open water, choppy conditions I definitely had a hard time!  This year the juniors were to paddle 2 laps of this course along with the open and elite paddlers.  After the first lap I was quite shaky on my board because of the conditions and had fallen in a lot.  I noticed a few of the open racers were going in after the first lap and thought this might be the best thing for me to do too.  I didn’t want to quit so turned away from the beach to keep racing but as soon as I did this I was back in the wind and chop and realized it was going to be too hard for me.  This made me stop after I finished the first lap.  Even though I think this was the right decision I was frustrated and disappointed to not finish this race.  Big congrats to the other juniors who had great races – especially the only junior girl, Mia, who completed both laps and still finished strong! 

First Place Junior - Evan
photo: Taine Fischbuch

Thanks again to Stu and family from SurfSUP and TinWis Resort for putting on another great event!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Waiting Game - Guest Blogger, Lori Neufeld

Today we welcome back, guest blogger, Lori Neufeld from Winnipeg, MB.  I always look forward to Lori's posts.  A woman focused on balancing a busy life as a working Mom and wife, with her passion for paddling! Go Lori Go!!!

We're still happily married after a Duo swim at Sturgeon Falls!  Photo by Steven Walker

With an exceptionally cold winter and a late spring, the ice finally disappeared on the Winnipeg River towards the middle of May. I eagerly jumped in the car and headed for the waves the following morning; the first playboating session of the season was a great way to spend Mother's Day! But it's the beginning of July now and we're still wearing drysuits. The chilly waters and record breaking river levels have meant that the current is too fast and the banks too sketchy to be safe for beginners and kids, so I’m leaving my family at home while we wait for safer conditions. I'm eager to take Finley out with me, but her well-being comes first. So we continue to be patient.

Meanwhile, our new Dynamic Duo is proving to be an awesome learning tool. After a short lesson on eddy turns on the river near our house, Dan was feeling a lot more confident and stable. Despite me being a little small for the back seat, shimming up the hips and pulling the feet closer was super simple. Dan easily removed the foam foot blocks for added leg room up front. We rocked the Duo on the river run at Manitoba's annual Whitewater Festival, making for a lot of jealous spectators. Unfortunately, we couldn't get our “Dynamic Roll” in a whirlpool the following morning at Sturgeon Falls and we went for swim. For those of you who have paddled in Manitoba, you know that our rivers are WIDE, so a swim is never a quick endeavour. We decided after that day to mount a small electric pump in the Duo for quick bailing, making a self rescue possible. We haven't tested it out yet, but we're hoping it does the trick!

Dan and I running Farmer's Rapids on the Whitemouth River.  Photo by Judy Wilson

 MEC's Paddlefest was another great day on the water and I was thrilled to teach a class of 6-10 year olds. Thanks to the Parkland Paddling Club, the Manitoba Whitewater Club and Finley's Fun 1, we had enough tiny boats to outfit the group. The kids were all very proud to paddle a kayak that was made just for them and they all learned quickly. 

On land paddling practice at Paddlefest with Cathy Woods & Steven Walker.  Fort Whyte Alive, Winnipeg.  Photo by Jenni Halbert

Teaching a young group of paddlers at Paddlefest with Cathy Woods & Steven Walker.  Fort Whyte Alive, Winnipeg.  Photo by Dan Neufeld

I also had a blast running the Duo down the toboggan run with anyone who was willing to join me.

Lori (stern) and Cathy (bow) enjoying the toboggan run! 
Photo by Dan Neufeld

Sometimes it feels like we'll never actually get Finn out on the water, floating down the local gentle streams of Manitoba. But then I remind myself that she's only 2! and we have many more paddling days ahead of us. Kayaking as a family isn't an obligation, but a fun activity that I want to share with my husband and daughter when the time is right. Thankfully, these high water levels are a sure sign we are going to have a long season!

Lori and her daughter Finley at the MEC Paddlefest in Winnipeg.  Photo by

Paul Fields

Lori and her husband, Dan along with daughter Finley drive over an hour to enjoy their local playspot (minus a farm run-off ditch in Spring :).  Lori works with inner-city youth and Dan works for +Wilderness Supply.  Lori's favourite place to paddle - Sturgeon Falls, Manitoba.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin