Monday, February 25, 2013

Surfs Up!!

Man those winter wind storms can play havoc on planned paddles. Such was the case this past weekend when our trip over to Discovery Island on Saturday was wiped out due to the forecast of gale force 50 knot winds from the west. "Oh sure" we said when we woke up to relatively calm conditions but checking the lighthouse and buoy reports confirmed what was coming at us. Saturday would be stand down day.

On Sunday we had planned to head out with SISKA on a Relaxed Paddle just off Sidney but once again the gale force warning was up but this time it was going to be a south easter. This meant that Haro Straight would be in the direct fury of the winds and so would the paddle group. Opting for the Plan "B", the SISKA Paddle headed over to the sheltered waters of Brentwood Bay while we just decided to pass on the group paddle for the day. Another stand down day which meant that we wouldn't be getting a chance to try out the borrowed Greenland paddles that I picked up from James during the week. Or would we??

After a few texts between Robyn and Sheila they decided that the three of us would meet up at Esquimalt Lagoon and play in the surf a bit. Since it is somewhat protected from the SE winds it would be a good opportunity to get out and see how our skills match up in the chunky surf zone. Arriving at the beach the first thing Sheila asked was if we had ever done a surf launch or landing ...... "Ah, no" was my response and it didn't take me long to find out the hard way or should I say wet way.

Well that didn't work .... empty kayak and try again the right way.

By not identifying the best location for my kayak to launch myself, I soon found out that I had placed it too far into the surf zone. By the time I got into the kayak, a couple of big dumpers rolled over my deck and filled my cockpit 3/4 full of water. DOH!!!

You learn quick from mistakes like this because bailing a kayak out with a hand pump is not easy work. After draining my kayak back on the beach it was time for another attempt and this time it worked like it should. In the kayak almost high and dry, spray skirt on, incoming wave, gorilla scoot out into the surf all nice and dry. 

Oh I forgot to mention that kayaking is an activity that is best served when wet. So after a few wave bracing demonstrations Sheila was in the water (planned??) and it was time for me to perform an assisted rescue. In fact, I did a few of these with her today but I think she got tired of me being able to perform them so we went surfing instead. Robyn was our camera person today and she caught all of our (Sheila's) time in the water. I actually enjoyed using my assisted rescue skills as there is no better place to try them than in ocean conditions.

We paddled over to the mouth of the lagoon where the rollers were braking pretty good. Every so often a set would come roaring in creating great opportunities for us to catch a wave and have a few moments of "Ya Baby". This was the first time using the GoPro in a good surf zone and I really wanted to capture images like some of the Baynes Channel legends get. Although the waves are nowhere near what Baynes has to offer, I managed to catch a few good waves and ride them until they closed in behind me. Dude..... I was so stoked that day!  LOL

What goes in, must come out which meant busting through some of the breakers on the way back out to the set up point. I have to admit they were just as fun as riding the waves especially the drop down the backside of the wave and punching through the second wave right behind it.

Before heading back to the beach I put my rolling skills to test in the ocean environment. One after another I banged them off in succession and even managed a few with one of Joe O Paddles Greenland's.  I must say that the water was waaaay warmer than Langford Lake last Wednesday. Almost pool like. LOL.

Did I mention that I was stoked about the day?  Three days later I still am!  Later dudes!!

2013 Paddle # 7 - Esquimalt Lagoon
Distance: 4.12 km (surfing)
YTD: 61.98 km

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