Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lumpy Water Symposium Pacific City, Oregon

With strong winds and big swell in the forcast we weren't sure how it would go.  Everyone on staff had been glued to the surf reports all week long hoping for a break in the weather for the big event.  Ten to twelve foot swell was predicted to be rolling in all weekend with a slight chance of smaller seas on Sunday.

Despite never seeing any sign of good weather ahead; last weekend almost all 60 people who registered made their way down to Pacific City, Oregon for the first ever Lumpy Water Symposium hosted by Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe.

The goal of "Lumpy" as it came to be known by the staff,  was to provide an inclusive skill based weekend that could keep even the most seasoned paddler entertained "without ending up in a coast guard helicopter or on the 6 o'clock news."

While we did manage to challenge even the most talented students, we also provided a number of beginner paddlers a low cost, super fun experience that would keep them coming back for more.  The skill range at the event was quite broad, but the venue in combination with some amazing coaches made the weekend a great success.  

We caught a nice break on Friday.  The air was warm and moist, but no rain was  detectable.  The wind was light and the swell was small enough to create surprisingly forgiving conditions for most all the classes and trips happening that day.  

People were excited to be there.  Smiles were not difficult to find that first day...

...It was the second day that proved to be the real challenge.  Strong winds moved in from the south bringing unusually warm temps and lots of precip.  The sea was being whipped up by stiff gusts of balmy air creating an especially challenging learning environment.  There was much head scratching early that morning trying to sort out some of the more advanced classes and appropriate venues.

Dave White (left) did an amazing job as Event Safety Coordinator.  Saturday's weather gave him little to work with but he managed to put together a plan.  At least the towing / wind management class , or "towing in the wind" as it became known, had what they needed.

All the classes on Saturday went relatively smooth except for my "rock gardening" class.

Three Arch Rocks at Ocean Side, Oregon typically offers some rewarding off-shore rock gardening with minimal commitment.  The rocks are off limits during warmer months for un-disturbed marine mammal and sea bird habitat.  There is easy access into Netartz Bay close by or you can launch right off the beach at Ocean Side.  The bay can offer a route through the break that is doable even with large swell, and can offer a pretty sweet back up plan should the beach break intimidate participants.  
photo by Richard Davis

I was not the first to pull into the lot.  When I arrived there was already several wide eyed students anxiously starring at the sea.  We watched one pelican out near the rocks that seemed to be flying at top speed.  We watched that one pelican for a good 5 minutes without so much as turning our heads.  The South wind combined with the long shore currents made the sea appear as if it was a giant river headed to Alaska.      

  photo by Richard Davis

 photo by Richard Davis

Nick Jacob and I had a chat about the plan.  After listening to some of the student's comments and assessing the scene, it quickly became clear that this rock gardening class was going to turn into a play in the bay class instead.

We beat into the wind within Netartz bay for awhile, had some rescue practice on an eddy line created by the strong flooding current, and took out about 45minutes later a 1/2 mile up the bay from where we parked.

After a rainy lunch enjoyed in our respective heated        vehicles, the gang all decided to head back to Pacific City to either surf the slop on the beach side or work on skills in the river on the back side.

By early Sunday morning the winds subsided and the clouds gave way to beautiful blue least for most.  Three Arch Rocks to the north were still hidden in a vail of thick fog, while Pacific City and Salmon River to the South were mostly clear.

I had the pleasure of teaching the Advanced Long Boat Surfing Class Sunday and had a great time!

photo by Daniel Fox

photo by Daniel Fox

Overall, the consensus was that, The First Annual Lumpy Waters Symposium was a great success!!!  It was stressful and lots of work, but the constant stream of smiles and "Thank you's" made it all worth it.

If we missed you this year... keep your eyes on    for next years dates and to check out more photos and media from the event.

Daniel Fox was the event photo / videographer.  He provided me a couple photos for this post and his other videos and photos can be seen by visiting the links below.  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Dave Keppell said...

Thanks for an awesome weekend and for giving me my first ocean surf! Stoked. Bring on Lumpy 2010.