Author Archives: Jay Murdock

Staying Healthy While Being Active in These Uncertain Times

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

Tall Ships Paddle 2015

Over the past year some people have expressed concern to me about participating in paddling and other outdoor sports, and especially going to indoor social events. We are hearing different, and often conflicting advise on how to keep ourselves healthy, and a lot of it is unfortunately political in nature. From the start of the Covid-19 spread, I was determined to find truth in what works to help me from getting sick, and how to continually stay healthy. I also decided not to let undo fear control my thinking and my life. The right kind of fear– having a healthy respect for things to avoid — is part of our nature, placed there to keep us safe. We are blessed with incredible bodies having amazing immune systems… we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and have the ability to learn what is best for us. 

As an appraiser, I’m trained to weed out false information from the data. When you have opposing claims to the “facts”, by examining each for flaws in consistency, and errors, you can eliminate the implausible, and arrive at a point that makes sense. You then apply comparative analysis in order to form an opinion that correlates with reality…the truth. Using those tools for staying healthy, I have recently researched (because “science” changes and evolves over time) primary data (not someone’s article or interpretation about that data) to get answers. It takes considerable time to search deeper for truthful information, but your health and safety are worth it. The key is to find sources that do not have a political axe to grind, that publish original clinical research that has been peer-reviewed. The following information is based on several articles published in 2020 and 2021. The pertinent sources are referenced at the end of this article. 

Therapeutics for Covid-19

Given the facts that the Covid virus can morph into different variants, that face masks cannot effectively stop the virus (even the N-95 mask, which filters 95% at .3 microns can leak, or the virus can even enter the body through the surface of the eye), that vaccines can lose potency over time, our best defense is to bolster the body’s ability to prevent the virus from replicating inside us. The following is what works for me. You want to decide for yourself, and/or consult with your doctor to see what you should do. 

The American Journal of Medicine, January 2021 issue states that Zinc is a known inhibitor of coronavirus replication. Clinical trials of zinc lozenges in the common cold have demonstrated modest reductions in the duration and or severity of symptoms. By extension, this readily available nontoxic therapy could be deployed at the first signs of COVID-19. Lost in all the controversy over Hydroxychloroquine is the fact that it simply aids in the body’s ability to absorb zinc, which the Journal goes on to explain.  

I take 80 mg of zinc per day, which I get in AREDS 2 by PreserVision. Included also in those supplements are vitamins C, E, along with copper, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Taking these pills for the past 3 years have effectively stopped the progression of AMD in my eyes, and unknowingly, most likely helped to keep me from contracting Covid. You may consider taking them even if you do not have AMD if you are over 40, in addition to other supplements. They contain essentials for a strong immune system and eye health.

I also take 5000 IU of vitamin D3, which has been found to benefit the body’s immune system. This vitamin, magnesium, and zinc may be the most important therapeutics to take daily to strengthen your body against the virus. Copper and vitamin C have also been linked to cellular health and may be helpful in preventing a virus infection.

In summary, it is up to each of us to take charge of our health, so we can be active and fully participate in life and experience the joy of relationships.

Supporting Primary Data:

Pathophysiological Basis and Rationale for Early Outpatient Treatment of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Infection – The American Journal of Medicine (amjmed.com)

Vitamin D and Its Potential Benefit for the COVID-19 Pandemic – PubMed (nih.gov)

Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths – PubMed (nih.gov)

Serum zinc and copper in patients with COVID-19 and zinc supplementation in parenteral nutrition – ScienceDirect

Masks Don’t Work: A Review of Science Relevant to COVID-19 Social Policy | River Cities’ Reader (rcreader.com)

Ophthalmic Manifestations Of Coronavirus (COVID-19) – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf (nih.gov)

New Research Suggests Magnesium and Vitamin D Can Help Reduce COVID-19 Infections | Saint Luke’s Health System (saintlukeskc.org)

Note: While the article on masks is an opinion piece, the primary clinical research is presented as the foundation for those opinions, for you to read and decide for yourself.

John O’Hagan – In Remembrance

-by Jay Murdock, a friend of John

John looked like a giant to us, sitting in our kayaks

We have lost a wonderful member of our kayaking and hiking community, and a dear friend to many of us. John suddenly passed away a few weeks back while hiking with his dog, doing what he loved to do. This unexpected event has left those who were privileged to know him in shock and sadness. Those of us who knew he was a man of faith, know he is now in a better place…but we still miss him.

Taking a break while Nordic skiing
With his wife Dorothy at Laguna Meadows

Off Pt Loma and a Saturday morning (John is 3rd from left)

As Lori Nickerson said, “We just saw him on his paddle board on a Wednesday morning paddle a few weeks ago.  We used to see him fairly often way out in the ocean… a speck in the distance, so tall with a distinctive stroke. ‘Oh, that must be John!’  We’d paddle towards each other and chat for a while before going our separate ways.  Such a fine and gentle soul”.

With Bob Jones on a hike…that playful smile is what we always observed
It was a joy to ski with John
Getting back on his kayak after a “nature break”, causing some of us to always get a good laugh…but he never capsized

John was only 62 when he set out to hike that day, not knowing what the future held, but he knew the One who held his future. He loved the woods in all seasons, and used to solo camp in the back country in this “secret spot” amongst the pines. But John also loved to be with others in all the sports he aggressively participated in. A great companion to have on any paddle, hike, pack trip, or Nordic ski, he was always strong and confident in what he was doing. On one Yosemite pack trip, John took the pack of a gal who could not hike the rest of the way to base camp, quickly hiked up the trail, and then returned to get his pack. We were all amazed at the strength of this man, and the humble and cheerful way which he conducted himself. But that was John, always giving to others.

Looking dapper in his kayak outfit on a Saturday paddle
On a pack trip up Mt San Jacinto with other kayakers (John on far right)
He had a smooth and natural Nordic style

John was a good and loving husband, father, grandfather, and friend. His faith and the relationship with his Maker were the guiding forces in his life, and he understood that life is a precious gift with purpose and meaning. Of all the great attributes that could be said about him, the one that stands out as the pinnacle, is that John was simply, yet profoundly “One of His”.  James Dobson once said “At the end of our lives, what really matters is who we love, and who loves us”. As John moved through life, he left a large “wake” of people who knew his love, and loved him back. And what a tribute that is. Well done, John.

John and Dorothy

Jane Hardy – 2021 Kayaker of the Year

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

It is long overdue to give tribute to a great kayaker, an early SDKC leader, serving many years as the club president, and valued member of our kayaking community. Jane has been a leader and helper to many on trips and numerous skills sessions she has led… and a great friend to many of us. In putting this article together, it was decided to ask several people to contribute photos and comments. You may learn, as I have, some new things about Jane. She is an accomplished world traveler and adventurer, going to many wonderful destinations for hiking and kayaking. People from as far away at the UK sent some amazing photos (and a video, which will be posted at a later date). Looking through all the photos, it is a trip down memory lane, covering a time-span of several years with old friends. And what a pleasure it is to know her, because the best part of life is who we have the privilege of knowing.

It is natural for Jane to be a Sea Kayaker, as she has salt in her veins. She grew up in New England, often helping her dad on his lobster boat. You have to work fast and efficiently on those boats, often in rain, cold and wind, all while watching your feet so the line does not wrap around them and drag you overboard to the bottom. She is very comfortable in sea conditions that would turn back many of us, and is always willing to try new experiences to test her skills and ability. And that is how she has become a very accomplished kayaker. She is in a relatively small group of kayakers who have paddled the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Jane also loves the mountains, and is a great person to have on any trip. She has hiked and kayaked in at least 12 countries, and several states, including Alaska. I’m sure that if we could see all the photos of her on these trips, they would fill several albums. The following photos and comments are randomly presented. So, we raise our glass to you Jane…

Baja – Photo by Donna Sylvester
Whale watch paddle in 2009, La Jolla Shores
Hebrides, UK – Photo by Steve Banks

“I would suggest changing the award to Kayaker of the Decade. No one’s resume comes close to the things Jane has experienced over the last few years. Northern California/SF Bay, Fort Bragg, Channel Islands, Kern River, Grand Canyon, UK, countless hours of BCU instruction, and Croatia, are just a few of Jane’s adventures that come to mind. I suspect there are many more I am not even aware of. Not to mention all she has done for San Diego and So Cal. paddling.”      -John Brindle

Colorado River, Grand Canyon – Photo by Teresa Boli
Grand Canyon – Photo by Teresa Boli

“My awesome trips with Jane as illustrated by these photos (above) from Grand Canyon, circa 2009.  She was always geared up, organized, and rarin’ to hit the water. Photo of rapid descent (you can imagine how big the Grand Canyon rapids are): she would attack challenges like whitewater kayaking the Grand Canyon with a positive attitude and always set her sights on improving her skills.  Photo of waterfall: Jane is always so much fun out of a kayak, too. A kayak trip with Jane is always fun, full of learning, excitement, and fun.”   -Teresa Boli

Mission Bay Skills Practice – Photo by Joe Morin
Sierras 2013
Colorado River below Hoover Dam 2009
“Perching”, Mendocino 2010 – Photo by Dennis Hyndman

“I first met Jane in 2005 and have shared a number of great times on the water with her. She was then, and continues to be, someone who is always improving her skills in order to tackle anything the ocean can throw at her. More importantly, she has the competence to enjoy the ocean in all its moods.  Jane was a much better surf kayaker than I ever could hope for.  On a Mendocino trip, I remember trying to figure out the surf in my small boat, just to see Jane gracefully surfing to perfection.  I didn’t spend a lot of time with her in the surf, but that moment has stuck with me as she was, once again, pure calm and having fun on the water.”     . -Dennis Hyndman

Dore Holm, Shetland 2015 – Photo by Steve Banks
Cuba 2017 – Photo by Lori Nickerson

“You will often find me hanging out with Jane, because she’s usually right in the middle of where the fun is happening!!”     -Lori Nickerson (Cuba, 2017)

Wednesday Morning Paddle 2012
Shetland UK – Photo by Steve Banks
Skills Practice 2013 – Photo by Joe Morin

“Jane Hardy is as bad-ass as they come! She’s kayaked the Grand and all through Europe: and she’s hiked all over the world. She’s led skills sessions encouraging all to try their best. San Diego is lucky to have her!  There is no mountain too high and no body of water too full of motion for Jane. I’m happy and proud to call her a friend and mentor. Big Hugs.”  -Sheri Belling

Sierras 2012
Shetland 2018 – Photo by Steve Banks
Papa Stour, Shetland UK -Photo by Steve Banks

“Croatia, May of 2010, one of the many ‘excellent adventures’ I’ve had the privilege of going on with Jane.  You couldn’t ask for a better travelling companion.  When Jane has the helm, you know you’re in good hands.”       -John Nickerson

Off Point Loma 2009
Sierras 2012
Hanging out at Aqua Adventures 2007

“I met Jane many years ago when I was taking my first ever kayak lessons. They were in San Diego with Jen Kleck. One day Jen sent us out to do rescue practice with Jane and your group. She welcomed us and included us in her skills practice. Since then, we became good friends, have taken many kayak courses and joyfully paddled together in many parts of the world. Jane is the most positive person I know. She always makes the best of every situation. I’ve never heard her say anything bad about anyone or any place. Fortunately for all of us, her positivity is contagious. I have a ton of photos of Jane from Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Iceland, Croatia, Baja (Pacific and Sea of Cortez), San Francisco, Redding, Mendocino and who knows where else. I have many stories, but just say Donna said “It’s your turn, Jane”. She will laugh.”           -Donna Sylvester

Mission Bay 2008
Christmas paddle 2019 – Photo by John Vermeule

“Having done 4 Star training with her, I recall Jen one day calling me at home and saying there was a small craft advisory for the following day with gale force winds.  Did I want to go out and work on our rough water skills?  I jumped at the opportunity and was glad to see a group of very accomplished paddlers when we launched from Mission Bay.  The day was a bit crazy as we didn’t get out of the channel before someone capsized and then one paddler got seasick north of the PB Pier.  We had to call the life guard to remove him from the water.  After towing an empty boat and practicing various tows scenarios we landed on a crashing beach at the Marine Room.  I remember that Jane said it was good to have her friends on the water with her that day.  I seconded the thought.”        -Dennis Hyndman

Orkney Island, Scotland – Photo by Donna Sylvester
Ireland 2015 – Photo by Donna Sylvester
“At the Helm” – Photo by John Nickerson

“I first met Jane paddling in Baja when I was over in San Diego and filled in for an absent staff member on a trip.  Jane then put me and my partner Ursula and then baby son Ralf up for 3 months in 2011 whilst I was conducting research in California.  She has since been over to stay with us on about 10 occasions and has joined about the same number of sea kayak trips which I run.  Like all the other folk who repeatedly come on my trips, Jane has fallen in love with the NW of Scotland, including Skye and the Hebrides in particular. Shetland however, takes the prize for most outstanding paddling destination on the planet (I’m biased but not much!).  Shetland has many of the world’s biggest and longest sea caves and has hundreds of miles of coastline which are a ‘Swiss cheese’ of stacks, cliffs and caves packed with amazing wildlife. All Jane’s British paddling friends send their regards and missed her on the recent trips.” -Dr. Steve Banks, UK

Baja 2014 – Photo by Steve Huemmer
Baja 2014 – Photo by Steve Huemmer
Baja 2014 – Photo by Steve Huemmer
Baja 2014 – Photo by Steve Huemmer

“I can only echo what others have said:  wonderful companion on all paddles and adventures, always curious and determined to improve her paddling skills and knowledge, and to generously share it with others.  It is safe to say that the Club owes its continued existence to her consistent efforts and leadership.” -Steve Huemmer

Wales – Photo by Donna Sylvester

“Stay Ready” – Increasing Your Odds of Keeping Safe

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

I recently heard a great message by David Jeremiah about the human condition, which some elements have direct applications for our sport. It examined the fact that people tend to live for the moment, responding to the immediate and not the important, and put off those things that will prepare them for future events and uncertainties. I’ve expanded on that message to fit our needs.

Our nature is to avoid making hard decisions, those that may increase the level of stress in our lives. This is why we don’t go to the doctor when we should. Part of our make-up is something called the “Normalcy Bias”, the survival mechanism in our DNA which causes us to think everything is ok when confronted with danger of any form. What typically comes to mind is how unprepared people are for natural disasters, like a hurricane. Having not prepared well in advance, they are not staying ready for the event, then have to scurry at the last minute to get ready, often falling short of what is needed for survival. But this is also what keeps us from being prepared for every day occurrences that put us in harm’s way. This is why we have to learn how to be a defensive driver. Learning to be afraid of, or having respect for something that has not yet happened is what changes us from careless behavior to wise and cautious people.

The old adage of “trusting your instincts” only applies when you have developed wise and careful instincts to begin with. We learn as kids to not touch hot objects, but we can also learn vicariously what to avoid. Too often I have read of the tragic consequences of someone venturing into the wilderness or on the water, and not heeding the warning signs of danger. We are out to have fun, and our “guard is down” of paying attention to those signs. Learning to recognize, analyze, then act on those signs will increase the odds of our staying safe. It is one thing to sense danger; it is another to act on that.  

It is better to over-prepare for any event, making careful plans, leaving your itinerary with someone back home, bringing the right equipment, and so on. But the most important thing to take on any outing is a prepared mindset. Go over in your mind every possible danger that may occur on the trip, and think about the safest action to take if that happens. This will give you the ability to act quickly and decisively. That is why going over first aid and safety procedures at the start of the trip is so important. It gets everyone on the same page in thinking about safety, and how to respond as a group. This is why it is critical to know who you are trusting to venture out with. Does that person (especially the leader) have the right mindset for safety.

But there is another aspect of this, one that is related to the Normalcy Bias, and that is the tendency to “freeze up” in the face of immediate danger, and how to better your chance of this not happening to you. Why this is so important can be demonstrated by three examples I have personally witnessed.

While ocean fishing years ago I had three others in my boat and we were trolling for albacore several miles south of San Diego on a calm day. I let someone else steer the boat, who also owned a boat and was familiar with ocean fishing. Suddenly we spotted a six-foot-high breaking wave coming at us off the right side of our boat. At that instance, he froze and did nothing to save us from the likelihood of being capsized by the wave hitting us broadside. I had to physically pull him off the helm, turned the boat into the wave, and pushed the throttle full speed. We were able to punch through the wave, but the boat was half full of water. Keeping the speed up while turning on the bilge pump eventually drained the water out.  

The second instance was being driven home by a friend at night, and we were on the I-8 freeway when a car in front of us clipped another in the rear bumper and it rolled upside down. My friend froze at the wheel while we sped toward the accident. I shouted at him to stop, which jolted him out of that trance, and we narrowly avoided hitting the upside-down car. He later admitted the accident did not look “real”, and he was mesmerized by what was happening. He was mentally unprepared to deal with something out of the ordinary. This explains why some people get up out of their seat in an airplane accident to exit the plane, while others who are able to get up stay put in a bewildered trance. They have not mentally rehearsed that emergency scenario in advance.

The third experience was in a float plane on the Alaska Peninsula during a moose hunt. We did an emergency landing at a remote hunting lodge on the Stony River when we could not get through Merrill Pass to get back to Anchorage. Having stayed overnight, we boarded the plane, pushed out into the river going downstream, and the pilot pulled the throttle cable to increase engine speed. Suddenly the cable broke with the RPM at half throttle. He looked at the broken end and handle in his hand and screamed “look at this”. Then he froze, just staring at the handle. We were still on the water, going really fast, and heading toward a sharp turn and several trees. Disaster seemed eminent, then my brother-in-law (who was also a pilot) reached over and turned off the magneto, stopping the engine. While our young pilot was very experienced in the bush, a broken throttle cable had never happed to him, and he was not prepared for that specific event; the shock of it froze him. Something that older pilots do is go over various emergency scenarios, and the actions taken to avoid disaster. And they do this over and over again. By doing this they develop the ability to focus, think and solve problems under extreme pressure, which transfers to new situations.

It is mental training before something occurs that makes the difference. And through that training we become consistent in our response in an emergency. By repeating that mental training, we gain “mental and muscle memory” which lets us respond to a crisis without stopping to think about it (our mind and body acts automatically). The goal is to be “consistently consistent” through discipline and repetition, and by that we are staying ready for any emergency.

Learn from your mistakes, and take action to not repeat them! I’ve made some notable errors on trips I’ve led, and after each trip have evaluated the event, researched the remedy for not repeating that mistake, then shared that info with the group. While these events and evaluations are serious, finding humor in them also helps to move beyond them, while not allowing trauma to paralyze us. “To err is human, to forgive divine”.

One last element that is essential for a quick response to an emergency is confidence. We gain confidence through that mental preparedness and compliance to the essentials of what is important to know and act on. That confidence gives us the courage to act through the fear of the moment. During the war in England the famous preacher G. Campbell Morgan saw that people were fearing the invasion from Germany, and wanted to bolster their confidence. He told them that all around England were “Strong Men” of consistent action and focus on what is important, and that the “fixed heart is one of courage”. Churchill was giving the same message, and the country became resolved to fight on at any cost.

Be prepared, be brave, stay safe…

December 5th Ocean Paddle

Jane Hardy led a group of 13 paddlers out of Aqua Adventures on a crisp and calm morning up to the Pacific Beach Pier.

Jane sporting our cool club hat
Jane sporting our cool club hat
Dana Voss
Other paddlers not shown in photo
Thanks to Dana Voss for the last 7 photos – Come join us on the next paddle!

October 31, 2020 Skills Session

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

Jane Hardy has been leading weekly skills sessions, with consistently good turn-out. Fourteen paddlers showed up for this one, and the weather and water temp were nice. Thank you Jane for your contribution and leadership in this effort.

Jane on a roll / past photo

Our website contains considerable information on kayaking skills, presented in step-by-step procedures. Click on the Skills tab at the top of this page to view that.

Debbie, Dave and I took a few minutes to discuss some up-coming paddles for the club, and we’ll let you know about those in the future. In the meantime, Dave is still leading the Wednesday evening paddles out of AA, and you are welcome to join in. They launch at 6pm, and you can rent a boat from AA in advance if needed.

Debbie and Dave

2019 June Lake Trip Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

We had mostly great weather this year in the Sierras while watching the Aspens turn color (they were green at the campground when we arrived, and yellow when we left).

We paddled Silver Lake and Gull Lakes, and hiked to Parker Lake.

Jennifer’s parents and daughter joined us, and they entertained us with songs from the Sound of Music as we hiked. Each night we went to different restaurants for dinner and had good conversations. It was a relaxing, beautiful trip, and time well spent. Hope you can join us in the future.

Sitka Trip Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

In June of 2019 fifteen of us ventured to Alaska, this time to a very special place with a Russian name. We had several paddles on the bay, and at a lake nearby that we were flown to in a float plane with an amazing pilot. The Swing EX inflatable boats performed well, and we are already planning our next trip in 2020 to Austria.

Kevin’s modified Cessna 185 that he has mastered the art of flight in
Mary getting ready to paddle Redoubt Lake

We were able to launch at the dock in front of our hotel, which was very convenient. After our paddles we would walk around town to the shops and museums, go on hikes, and gather at several restaurants to dine. Sitka is a very cool place to visit and a wonderful place to paddle. The water is clear and calm, protected by the many islands that dot the bay. We could see starfish 20 feet down, and got up close to several bald eagles. Everyone had a fun and memorable time.

First day getting our boats ready to launch.
Taking a lunch break on “Friendly Island”…
Janet and David looking at an eagle

We had four main sponsors for this trip. Innova Kayaks gave us a good discount on the boats, the Totem Square Hotel gave us discounts, Kevin Mulligan of Baranautica Air Service gave us special treatment and hats when flying us to the lake, and West Marine gave us cool water repellent hats and gear discounts. We also received help in letting us launch from the dock from Wayne and Joel of FishBaranof.

Thom showing he can paddle…without a paddle.
Jennifer looking good in her boat
Our hotel is just right of center. Thanks to Eric Emerson for taking this and two other photos here.
Mark took this photo after 10 pm. The fishing never stops in summer with 20 hours of daylight.

Beginner’s Class Report

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

The Club hat-sales-proceeds free class for beginners held on 4/27/19 was conducted under ideal weather/temperature conditions at Aqua Adventures.

The class covered introductory basics of getting in and out of a kayak at a dock, holding the paddle, the low brace, and the forward, back, sweep, J, and scull strokes.

We then practiced the power forward stroke, using the legs and torso, and discussed some safety issues like hugging the shore, crossing a busy channel, and the signal light.

We also discussed having some second level introductory classes, which are now being planned. Those classes will be called “Basic Safety Instruction”, and will cover the wet exit, self-rescue using the paddle float, assisted re-entry using the heel-hook, T-rescue, quick tow rescue, dealing with extreme temperature, lightning, fog and wind, hugging the shoreline, using a VHF or phone, crossing a busy channel, the buddy system, group travel, using a signal mirror and/or flag, filing a Float Plan, and the signal light. These classes are open to those who have already taken the Beginner’s Class, or have evidence they know those basic skills.  

Many thanks to AA, and to Gary Billick and Jesse Nodora for assisting in the instruction.

A great day on the water…