Monday, September 30, 2013

Riders On The Storm

Download video and pictures.... edit in some Jim Morrison and Doors "Riders On The Storm" and it could have been epic except ...... the storm didn't arrive!

All day Saturday we hunkered down as the first storm system of the Fall season rolled onto the west coast. Sunday promised to be even better and so Roy Scully sent a FB message on Saturday night for those hardy enough to head to Esquimalt Lagoon on Sunday morning. We awoke to monsoon type rains but very little trace of winds but even so decided to head to the promised land in search of surf conditions.

We met up with Roy, James Manke and Peter Marshall at the beach to warm calm conditions in a light drizzle but decided to go for a paddle anyway and maybe the wind might rise by the time we got back to the beach.

Robyn and I started out using our euro-paddles only in hopes that we would be paddling in more challenging conditions. It didn't take long to make the switch to our Greenlands and try different maneuvering strokes that we are so accustomed to doing with the euros. Although we have used our Greenland paddles primarily for touring purposes, using them in the tight rock gardens environment felt really alien to me. It's a stick for heavens sake!

Peter (in Roy's Reflection) and Robyn chat along the way towards Fisgard Lighthouse

We paddled out to Fisgard Lighthouse and across Esquimalt Harbour following the shoreline all the way to Macaulay Point searching for any rocky outcrop that would allow us to run through the surge channels. Only for the odd rollers coming in from freighters out in Juan de Fuca Strait there wasn't really much to play in but it was still great to be out on the water.

Roy hugging the shoreline in search of rock gardens to play in.

A tiny rock garden surge pushes me through the gap in the rocks while James and Robyn watch.

One thing for sure ... Greenland paddles (GP) are not the ideal for rock gardening with and my Joe O Paddles took a bit of a beating as I learned quickly how to use it in the tight, shallow channels. I also took advantage of watching James work his magic with his GP and in particular how his hands and wrists moved around the paddle. There was no death grip as the paddle just seemed to flow through his fingers so fluidly. It definitely is an art that both Robyn and I want to explore further.

James in one of Roy's kayaks. It was great watching his paddle technique in the rock gardens.

We paddled back towards the beach in hopes of finding some waves to surf on near the lighthouse but there just wasn't anything worth trying to catch. Other than a bit of fun in the currents near the bridge heading into the lagoon that was it in a nutshell.

Back at the beach it was time to try a few GP sweep rolls that I watched Robyn do while she was working with James over the past couple training sessions. James did try to tell me that the water was cold on the head but that didn't stop me from completing my first two sweep rolls with a GP. I actually came away from the day with a really good vibe about using the GP and I am committed to using it more. Heck ... they sure are nice to roll with!

Greenland sweep roll with James watching closely just in case I missed it. Not gonna happen dude!! 

Foot Note: Robyn and I took her Mom out for dinner to celebrate her 80th birthday at the Beach House Restaurant in Cordova Bay later that evening. Look what showed up! LOL

2013 Paddle #60 Storm Riders
Distance:  5.18 nm ( 9.59 km)
YTD:  333.53 nm ( 636.10 km)

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