Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Thule Website goes live featuring sweet video shot in Columbia River Gorge

The brand new International Thule Homepage wet live!!  Normally this would not be so exciting as to require multiple exclamation marks, but the new site happens to feature none other than...ME!

Just go to  pick your language and country.  When you get to the home page be patient and wait for the whole thing to load.  You should see 4 different cars you can click on.  Click on the kayaking car and start going through all the paddlesport stuff...I'm the hairy one.
 You will even find a really flashy short video that shows some nice shots of the gorge.

"When it rains, it pours"...More Great News is rolling in.

Outdoor Research  makes some amazing adventure wear and outdoor gear.  I look forward to developing a strong relationship with this local NW based company.  They will be helping to support future projects of mine through the donation of some sweet gear.  I remember admiring the goods back in the day when working the sales floor at The Alpine Shop as a "kid".  I am proud to be sporting some of the finest threads in the biz.

Thanks Guys!        

Joining the Kokatat Team

It's official as of today... I will be joining forces with Kokatat for future projects, trips, service projects, sport-growing initiatives, and events.  I am listed as an "Ambassador" on their homepage with some pretty big names.
Check it out!!..

Also Check out the nice plug Kokatat provided "Boat with Paul"

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!

Saturday, October 24, 2009 River of Action Portland Oregon

"TODAY, people in 181 countries came together for the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history. At over 5200 events around the world, people gathered to call for strong action and bold leadership on the climate crisis."

Portland's contribution to the 350 movement was a sight to be seen.  Over 150 determined Portlanders formed the image of "350" by combining kayaks, canoes, stand up boards, a small sail boat, row boat, rafts, and other paddled craft in the Willamette River proving once and for all that cats can be herded and that the paddling community is strongest when banded together in a fight for a common cause.

   Portland Boathouse Dock

Thanks Andy Maeser for all your hard work.  Without Andy's motivation and dedication this demonstration would not have happened.  Nice work Andy!!

Also, be sure to thank your local paddle-sports businesses and organizations that donated time and boats to make all of this possible with a minimum impact.  Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe, Next Adventure, NRG, Willamette Riverkeeper and others brought boats to the event so people had the option of taking public transit, biking, or walking to the site.  

Keen Footwear and Wend Magazine were also big contributors to today's efforts.  A big thanks goes out to them as well!!

And of course...A thank you to all who volunteered today!! Nice Job Portlanders!

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