Thursday, March 11, 2010

The long way home from Golden Gate

Photo By: Paul Kuthe

The 2nd Annual Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium went well despite challenging conditions.  Sean Morley and Matt Palmariello did an AMAZING job organizing the weekend.  Over 90 participants took part.   








Friday morning eager and aspiring sea paddlers were met with overcast skies, lots of wind, rain, and a bit of hail thrown in.  The swell was pushing 20 feet on the outside keeping all the classes limited to the bay for the duration of the event.  That's not to say there wasn't any action.  
I was working the rock gardening classes all weekend and we managed to find some goods.  On Friday we were right in the midst of the Yellow Bluff tide rip with the Rock Gardening Safety and Rescue class as a squall blew in bringing horizontal hail and 50 knot opposing winds. 


 Roger Schumann and I had to perform an exciting rescue during the height of the storm, but kept things contained for the most part. 
 

It turned into a great real life scenario.  I had my proudest moment when Morley said, "That was the most extreme weather event I have ever seen in California, along with the most impressive rescue I have ever seen!"  It would have made for a great teaching moment except that no one could see what was going on due to all the water being whipped off the tops of the waves and the hail beating into our faces.




Saturday and Sunday's weather was much better, but the swell continued to punish the open coast line.  We managed to find some great things to work with just outside "the gate" on the North end.  We found a great blow hole, some nice elevator rides, and some larger rocks to cruise around amidst the waves.  


I enjoyed meeting so many new people, but I was most excited by the return of some of the same locals that I met at last year's event.  Sharing in their experience and seeing their excitement about how much they have improved is always the most fulfilling part.  I also had a great time chatting, boating, and working with some of my more distant coaching friends.  One of the best parts about these type of events is that it draws some of the best coaches from all over the world.



Check out this amazing photo sequence by Richard Davis.  Paddler was Greg Bermann













        


Before we knew it the last few boats were being drug up the beach at Horseshoe Bay and the weekend was over...for everyone else that is. 


 Dave White and I planned to take the long way home.  I had to get back to Portland to lead a whitewater course, but not until Thursday night.  We had enough Food, time and money for another week with some of the best paddling in the world between us and home.  
Photo By Dave White


California boater Bryant Burkhardt came along to show us some of his favorite spots.  We checked out Point Reyes, found some elephant seals, and took several beat downs at Dillon Beach.  The scenery far surpassed the surf on this particular occasion, but it felt good the get the boats into some bigger stuff.  Thanks again Bryant!
Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Point Reyes Light House 


Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Beach Flower amidst the elephant seals


Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Resting elephant seal 

Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Sleeping elephant seal

Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Pist off elephant seal...



Photo By: Paul Kuthe
Happy elephant seals.



photo By Paul Kuthe
Point Reyes (South Side) -amazing rock gardening

Photo By; Paul Kuthe   Paddler: Bryant Burkhardt
Bryan takes one of the few rides had on any green face that day.  


Photo By: Dave White   Paddler: Paul Kuthe
Getting out was...challenging

Photo By: Dave White   Paddler: Paul Kuthe
Once you were out, the rides were just ok.  


Photo By: Paul Kuthe   Paddler: Dave White
That illusive wave beyond the big dumper kept calling to us...


Photo By: Dave White         Paddler: Paul Kuthe
...but Getting there was no easy task


Photo By: Dave White          Paddler: Paul Kuthe
Most of the time you got out far enough to see THIS happen right in front of you and you quickly realized that no one was getting out past the break today.


With rain and big seas plaguing the forecast, Dave and I decided to switch it up.  
We rallied up to Arcata to meet up with Matt Porter from Kokatat and do some whitewater paddling.  Matt had to work, so we hit up the N. Fork of the Smith.  It's always been one of my favorite mellow Cali runs.  Low stress with LOTS of reward.  It's 12 miles of amazing scenery and fun rapids.  We saw some huge steelhead, carnivorous plants, drank some super clean river water and surfed until the sun went down.  



Photo By Dave White    Paddler: Paul Kuthe
Clean enough to drink!  We were able to just flip over and slurp a drink whenever we needed.


Photo By: Paul Kuthe   Paddler: Dave White
The water was soo clear on the N. Fork that when you looked down it was as if you were flying over the rocks on the bottom.  It made reading the river super easy.  When you can see EVERY rock in the river, it's easy to find the line.



Photo By; Paul Kuthe
Part of the reason for the pristine water shed is that it's never been logged.  The soil does not hold enough nutrients to support large trees, but carnivorous plants thrive along all the small waterfalls that pour into the N. Fork.





Photos By: Dave White           Paddler: Paul Kuthe
It's a paradise only 6 short hours from Portland.  




      

2 comments:

John F said...

I want to hear more about the rescue Paul!

John Kuthe said...

Amazing Paul! Just amazing!

:-)