Author Archives: ChrisGriffith

The Club’s Future and What YOU Can Do…


Some of the people who have given much of their time and effort over the past several years have recently turned over the “reins” to others. Many thanks to Jane Hardy, Teresa Boli, and Gilbert Siegel for serving the kayak community here, and we are grateful to them. They will still be involved in club activities where they can. Jane will continue to lead some advanced skills sessions, and we will see Gilbert and Teresa on the water also.


Debbie Van MartinDebbie Van Martin has become our new “Social Events Coordinator”, and will be announcing some events in the future to bring people together in fun ways. She is high energy, a great cook, very interesting to talk to, and a lot of fun to be around.



Dave BeckmannDave Beckmann has been leading a “Meet Up” group on Wednesday nights for several years, and will now be doing that for the club also. Dave is skilled in kayaking (you can see him performing a snappy “roll” on our website in Skills), and has experienced some interesting paddles back east. Come paddle with him and others each Wednesday at 5:30pm (launch at 6pm). Boat rentals are available through Aqua Adventures at a special rate of $15 for these paddles.

You can check out Debbie’s and Dave’s “Bio” on our website:


Starting December 14th our cool club hats (in Kaki, Chrome, and Black) will be on sale again at Aqua Adventures (AA) for $20. The hat sales proceeds will be used to pay for lessons and activities to foster club growth and events, so help us in this effort by purchasing a few. They make great gifts and will help the club in many ways. We do not have any membership dues, so this is the way we will pay for things. Please help support our club in this promotional effort. It’s a win-win: you get a new hat, the club gets a new member, and someone gets a free introductory lesson.


In order to help the club grow, each hat sale will provide one free lesson to someone wanting to experience an introduction to kayaking. In a joint effort with AA, once we have at least 6 hats sold, and 6 people signed up (and signed up as new club members), we will have a Beginner’s Lesson at AA, lasting for an hour or so. AA will provide the equipment and dock help (that the club pays for), and the club will provide instructors. The lesson will go over just the basics, allowing a person to get in a kayak and learn a few paddle strokes and basic boat handling. More advanced skills lessons will then be available through AA for those who want to pursue this sport. We need club volunteers to help teach the Beginner’s Lessons, so please reply to me if you can assist in this. It would be great to have a ratio of one-on-one. This would also help new people make friends with those already in the club. Mentoring is the way to grow our club.


We need people to help lead paddles, teach the Beginner’s Lessons, and assist with social events. Let Debbie or me know what you can do to help foster our club’s events. If you are a young person, we especially want you to help lead the club’s future with the next generation, passing on this great sport to others. Anyone is welcome to contribute an article on kayaking on our club website. 


Debi Nolan is now preparing the space where the deli was for years, with plans to open sometime in April or May. There will be live entertainment on weekends and others times and will be open during extended hours. I have already discussed with Debi having a club party there, which should be very fun. Having this next to AA should bring more people to paddling, and is exciting news for everyone. She already has a cart out front to sell some food and beverage, so stop by and meet her. I don’t know if she paddles, but we will get her in a boat… J


AA has a good variety of decked and SOT boats to rent. You can find their website by the link on the club’s home web page for their shop info. They are committed to stocking more kayak items, so stop in to give any suggestions you want to see them carry. Congrats and many thanks to Craig and Ashleigh for their beautifully renovated shop, and all the hours they put in to grow the sport of paddling. We value the club’s partnership with them, and are grateful they are doing so much for us, TRR, and other worthy organizations in this area.

The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking’s Boldest Voyage

For you old timers who met and paddled with Ed Gillet or those who heard of the legend (the only kayaker to cross from the mainland to Maui, in 1987!), Dave Shively, the longtime managing editor of Canoe & Kayak and senior editor of SUP magazine, wrote up his story using interviews and Ed’s journal.  It was such an amazing crossing and he barely survived.

The Pacific Alone: The Untold Story of Kayaking's Boldest VoyageIn the summer of 1987, Ed Gillet achieved what no person has accomplished before or since, a solo crossing from California to Hawaii by kayak. Gillet, at the age of 36 an accomplished sailor and paddler, navigated by sextant and always knew his position within a few miles. Still, Gillet underestimated the abuse his body would take from the relentless, pounding, swells of the Pacific, and early into his voyage he was covered with salt water sores and found that he could find no comfortable position for sitting or sleeping. Along the way, he endured a broken rudder, among other calamities, but at last reached Maui on his 63rd day at sea, four days after his food had run out. Dave Shively brings Gillet’s remarkable story to life in this gripping narrative, based on exclusive access to Gillet’s logs as well as interviews with the legendary paddler himself.

Available at

For more about this book, the San Diego Union-Tribune has this article.

San Diego River Clean Up

Opportunity for Kayakers! The San Diego River Park Foundation has received special permission to enter the San Diego River Estuary in kayaks to remove trash out of the River on November 10!

If you can provide your own kayak, this is a great opportunity for a unique experience in your own backyard!

If you don’t have a kayak, but would still like to help out, they will be hosting a cleanup on shore from 9am-Noon.

RSVP is required and kayaker space is limited. To RSVP or ask a question, please email or call (619) 297-7380.

Kayaking around Coronado island

Call for support paddlers! The 3rd SEAL Memorial Swim is looking for some support paddlers for this event. They start just north of the rocks in front of Hotel Del and go all the way around and exit at Boy Scout landing by Glorietta Bay park.

The event is Saturday, September 15th The swim will start at 0700 and check in for the event starts at 0600.  They are looking for 2 paddlers. One to be the safety paddler to trail the group and the other to be the support paddler.

Most swimmers will be on relays and swimming for 20 minutes at a time and supported by relay boats. There will be a few solo swimmers who will all need their own kayak for safety and support.

It’s a great event and if anyone would like to help we will be having a luncheon afterward on a nice yacht right in the bay and they would be invited to participate.

If you can help out, contact Jeff Utsch <>

Skills Practice Session

Paddlers!  Come play with us.

We’ll use the usual format – buddy up and work on whatever suits you.

Generally, the veterans join in to help coach, so novice paddlers are welcome to get wet with us and be prepared for plenty of laughs.

DATE:                            Saturday, May 19

RALLY TIME:                  9:30 am

LAUNCH TIME:              10:00 am

DURATION:                   1 – 2 hours

LAUNCH SITE:               Aqua Adventures Dock

VENUE:                          Mariner’s Cove, where there is a nice beach and bathrooms

OPTIONAL:                    Getting wet, or not

RECOMMENDED:          Warm paddling clothes with a splash jacket or a dry top/dry suit



These paddles are not sanctioned San Diego Kayak Club or Aqua Adventures events. The announcer of this event is not the leader of such, merely a “coordinator.”  

Disclaimer: We will have experienced paddlers on this trip, but they will not be responsible for telling you what is or is not safe for you to do. We watch out for one another and assist one another, but all individuals are responsible for and manage their own safety. This responsibility includes assessing your gear, skill level, and physical conditioning relative to conditions and location, as well as making decisions about what you will or will not do. Participants acknowledge that kayaking on the open sea or bay is inherently dangerous and can lead to physical injury including death as well as property damage. Participants, on their behalf and on behalf of their heirs and assignees, agree to hold the announcers and other participants blameless in the event of such injury, damage or death. Please join us if you want to mildly stretch your capabilities, but please stay home if you would be wildly stretching them. Participants should have bracing skills, be able to self-rescue and assist in the rescue of others. They should be able to launch and/or land in small surf

Aids to Navigation

Aids to Navigation can provide a boater with information similar to that which drivers get from street signs, stop signals, road barriers, detours, and traffic lights. This booklet will give you, the recreational boater, the basic information you need about the U.S. Aids to Navigation System (USATONS). This information will help you recognize, understand, and navigate by the colors, shapes, numbers, and lights you will encounter on the water. It will also give you the basic tools you need to read a nautical chart. In addition, you will find information on safety, the proper way to interact with other vessels, tips on boating at night, and how to handle special situations you might encounter, like bridges and locks

Baja Kayak Fest

This is a rough water event for experienced sea kayakers.  You don’t have to be a superstar, but you should be comfortable paddling 10-15 miles in a day and are well-practiced at capsize recovery techniques. You should be comfortable in small surf and bumpy water.  Our location is a rocky peninsula that juts into the Pacific Ocean and provides the perfect playground for kayakers!  We will offer day trips for pure fun and rock-garden play, as well as skills development courses. Top coaches from the Pacific coast will mentor groups of 4-6 paddlers at a time!

You’ll find costs detailed on the registration form.  3 days of courses (including most meals) costs $525 (limited scholarships are available for professional guides who live and work in Mexico – ask us!).  Follow links for “accommodation” and “meals” for more cost information.  Round trip transportation from San Diego is available for $70 or we can help arrange to carpool with other participants.  Look around the site – you should find most of the answers to your questions!

Bahia Point Paddle and Appreciation Day

Saturday. March 10th – 9am

Come out and show your appreciation for all that Bahia Point has to offer.

If you don’t know, there are plans underway for the Bahia Hotel to expand their footprint, taking away all the parking access on Gleason Road and around Bahia Point. Come show the city and the media that this land is much too popular and valuable for the Bahia to take away from the public.

For more information:

Yukon Paddle (Aka Whale Watching)

John O’Hagan, Kirk Rozelle, and Dave Beckman are going to lead a paddle out to the Yukon wreak, with a possibility of sighting a whale along the way. According to two sources, apparently the whales like to migrate at depths between 100 ft and 165 ft, but whales have been spotted a mile west of the Mission Bay jetties in the past. That means we may be able to see some on this paddle. The Lat/Lon for your GPS of the Yukon on the map below is N 32 46.786, W 117 16.981, which is at the 105 ft bathymetry line. (The whale site on the map is just where we have paddled to in the past, and the red buoy is no longer there).

LAUNCH TIME: 9 AM  (be there at 8:30 to set up)                                                  

LOCATION: Aqua Adventures dock 

DETAILSPaddle out to the Yukon and back – about an 8 mile paddle. Open to all types of craft (kayaks, surf skis , SUP, etc..) as long as you can self-rescue. AA has a few rentals, so call them in advance to check that out: 619 523-9577

WHAT TO BRINGSuggested: Camera, sun glasses, hat, snacks, GPS, sun screen.  We will have people with VHF radios. If you have one, bring it.  

Required: We do want you to have a life jacket, compass, water, whistle, bilge pump, and paddle float as minimal equipment.  

WEATHERAccording to the Magic Seaweed surf report, and NWS forecast, the weather and water conditions look very good for this paddle. A 4 to 5 mph head wind on the way out, and an 8 mph wind at our backs going in, and very little swell.  

Bahia Point Access!

Bahia Point is a terrific launch spot and is used by many of us.  There is a proposal to eliminate the parking along the Point which would shut down access to this portion of the Bay.  Please take the time to show up at this critical meeting. 

Following is a summation by Alan Chalom of a proposal to remove all of the parking spots used by paddlers at Bahia Point. Here is the location and time of the meeting where the proposal will be discussed:

Paddlers! This next Tuesday night (02 Jan 2018) will be a very important meeting of the Mission Bay Park Committee affecting all of us who use Bahia Point to launch boats, hang out and enjoy our access to the water.

The Bahia Hotel wants to expand their footprint and take away all public parking along the shoreline where we now park. Over 250 public parking spaces are to be eliminated along the water and relocated far from the shoreline! This proposal has been in the works for many years but is now active and up for approval. The hotel owner, Bill Evans is very politically connected and will succeed unless there is an overwhelming public outcry over this proposal.

Your involvement is required!! The Mission Bay Park Committee is an advisory committee to the Park and Recreation Department, the Park and Rec Board and the San Diego City Council. Their opinion counts and we have to persuade them that this proposal is extremely detrimental to our way of life! We need everyone to show up and be prepared to say something about how this would affect your access to the water and how important this access is to all of us! You don’t have to make a speech, but your concern/outrage needs to be made clear to the committee.

 If you want to appear and speak at the meeting, you will need to fill out a speaker slip, even if you only want to make a short statement. If you want to attend but don’t want to speak, that’s OK too because I have a longer statement prepared but I need others to cede their time to me so I can talk for longer than the usual one minute allowed to speakers.

 Please spread the word to anyone and everyone you know who uses and values the parking along the water at Bahia Point! That includes SUP paddlers, OC1, surf ski, swimmers, paddleboarders, families who just want to BBQ, and anyone else who finds this idea offensive.

 I can’t stress enough that this is a real threat and our overwhelming active involvement is the only thing that will save our access to the water at the Bahia!