Author Archives: Jay Murdock

Rough Water Skills Class March 18 – Report with Photos

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-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor

Thirteen people took part in the session led by Jen Kleck, designed to learn and practice skills in handling rough water and rescue techniques to quickly aid someone in a dangerous situation (close to rocks or in a surf zone). While the water conditions were too mild to experience and practice certain skills, we did practice bracing, but mostly rescue procedures. The following photos will show the sequence of what we practiced.

 

Below- Jen demonstrated the assisted re-entry using the leg hook (or heel hook) method. Emphasis was placed on keeping the swimmer in sight and having her hold on to her paddle. Jen’s paddle was kept across her lap, then placing the swimmer’s paddle there also just before re-entry. On still water, the swimmer’s body position while getting in the boat may be ok, but it is better to stay low on the aft deck for better stability.

    

Below- Jen went through the methods of getting someone who has exited their boat away from rocks or out of the surf zone. The quickest way to get a swimmer from danger is to have them swim to you. Have the person then hang on to your bow or stern handle while you paddle out of danger, then retrieve the boat later. A good way to get both the swimmer and boat to safety is to have them hold on to the bow and stern handles of your boat and theirs, and leg kick while you back paddle. The rescuer’s boat position should always be furthest from the rocks while performing this.

Below- Towing a person sitting in a boat can be divided into two categories, a quick, or short tow for rescue, and an in-line tow, which is not as urgent, and is for distance. We did not practice the in-line tow, which is done with a 30-50 foot line that is used for longer tows. We did practice a few methods of the quick tow for rescue purposes.

Quick Tow Methods:

Contact Tow– There are two methods of doing this. The easiest method is to simply have the person being rescued lean across your kayak foredeck and hang on to your deck lines while you do a forward or back paddle. The second method is to use a short line or leash and hook it to the other boat, performing a close tow. You can see Jen doing that in one of the photos below. More photos of these two procedures will be added at a later time to give more details, and this article will be then found in the skills group of articles.

Close Tow– This method involves a short line of 5-10 feet, and can be performed using your longer waist tow line, tied off for a short line, or a dedicated short line ready to employ and stored on your foredeck. If you use a line for towing, always have a knife ready for quick use in case you get tangled in the line. After studying this, I personally like the idea of having a dedicated line kept on your deck in front of you to use immediately for a quick tow rescue. By using a 5 foot line or webbing strap, with a carabiner at each end, the close-tow line is a contact tow line (because the two boats are making contact with each other). You can buy a manufactured non-stretch contact line, or make something yourself. If you make this yourself, be sure to file off the carabiner gate tooth so it will not snag the line, or better, buy a stainless steel carabiner that is “toothless”. Always hook the carabiner to the deck line from beneath that line, with the gate facing up. Store the line across your foredeck by hooking a carabiner to each side deck line, so you can employ it to the other boat on either side. Keep the excess line under a bungee line, or crisscross the line over the deck (the bungee storage deploys faster though).

    

Below- Jen demonstrated the cowboy re-entry method, and everyone practiced the assisted re-entry of clearing the boat of water and getting the swimmer back in. The morning was followed up with a fun time at the patio, and showing off the old and new club T-shirts. We will be having more of these skills practice sessions in the coming months, led by Jane Hardy. And next winter, if enough people are interested and Jen can instruct it, we will have another special session in rough sea conditions out in the channel. That will be done with a short notice, when we know the conditions are favorable and Jen is available.

    

Featured Kayaker of 2017: Stan Rohrer

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I have known Stan for several years, but never had the chance to spend much time with him on the water. In January of 2014 I lead a paddle out of Coronado Cays where Stan showed up on crutches and missing one leg. I was impressed at how he dealt with the challenge of getting his boat off his vehicle with determination and the help of his wife Barbara (in the first photo with him below). Later that year he lost his other leg, also to a blood clot. I thought that would slow Stan down, but that is not the case. On our Wednesday night paddle last December 7th, Stan showed up in his truck with his trailer and two kayaks. He turned off the ignition, reached to his left and grabbed a rope fastened to a pulley, lowed his wheel chair to the ground, then slid down out of the cab and proceeded to get his boat ready. I stood there amazed at this 86 year old man, fully in charge of his life. He is now 87, and not looking back.

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Stan graduated from Purdue and went into the Air Force as a communications officer, working in Korea. He then taught high school physics for several years, took up hiking and kayaking, studied pictographs in the desert, worked with Cal State Long Beach Rec program on the Kern, and built 4 kayaks and 1 canoe.

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One of Stan’s passions over the years is amateur radio. He maintained a repeater site tower on Mt Palomar for 17 years while installing more than 20 antennas. He has also canoed the Colorado River from Mexico to Separation Point in the Grand Canyon, and has hiked and backpacked in several areas in the Sierras and our deserts. You can still find Stan on the tennis court, in a kayak, exploring the desert in his wheel chair, and just enjoying life. He is an inspiration to all of us. The next time you think you can’t do something, just think of Stan.

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TRR Fundraiser for 2016 a Success

The Team River Runner 2016 “Pints & Paddles For a Cause” fundraiser on Mission Bay featured the “Chaotic Kayak Races”. Eight teams with three in each team – two paddlers and one using a water blaster aiming at the other boats – took part, and the event lived up to the name. What fun that was.

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The San Diego Kayak Club had eight safety paddlers show up to help in the Recreation Paddle, and eleven other club members took part in that event. My thanks to Heidi for taking pictures during the races. And thanks to all the club members who came out and showed support for this worthy cause.

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Next year TRR will repeat the “Chaotic Kayak Races”, so consider having your business or employer sponsor you and two other people, and form your own team. The team names were really fun, so use your imagination on that. Come on out and support TRR and how they help our wounded veterans.

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June Lake Fall Colors Trip Report

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Although we experienced some wind on this trip, everyone had a great time. We hiked through the Tufas on Mono Lake, kayaked on Silver Lake and up the stream feeding it, and did a nice morning hike above the valley to see a beautiful waterfall. Click on photos to enlarge.

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On the afternoon paddle over Silver Lake to the stream, we “hugged the shore” because of the wind, which at times had some good gusts. By doing that, we stayed within an acceptable “margin of safety” under those conditions (see article “Tragic Kayaking Death in Chile…” by scrolling down this page, then click on “older posts”).

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This trip we had two kids joining us, and those girls really added to, and made it a fun time. Next year, come join us, and bring your kids. The hikes are easy, and we will do a safe paddle on the small Gull Lake, which has kayak rentals for adults and kids (conditions permitting).

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20161014_141223The wind we had this time is relatively rare, and the only time out of the last four trips we’ve had wind. It presented a challenge for fly fishing the upper Owens, and this is our excuse for not catching fish! The fall colors are wonderful, the camp fire warm, and we experienced a new great place to eat our last-night dinner there. So set the middle of October dates aside next year for a great experience.

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Tall Ships 2016 Paddle & Picnic

Several kayakers showed up for the September 3rd paddle at Liberty Station. Jane Hardy led this paddle, and one on the previous day going out to see the Tall Ships under sail, assisted by our intrepid Robin Kedward and Chris Griffith. Steve Wilson sang some songs at the picnic, and all went home with good memories. The following photos were provided by Kirk Rozelle and Diane Boss. Click on photos to enlarge.

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La Jolla Cove Swim Lane & Ecological Reserve Area

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The Lat/Lon of the NE end of the swim lane is approximately N 32 51’20” / W 117 15’57”. This waypoint was taken from Google Earth, which uses the WGS-84 Datum. If your GPS is set to NAD-83 Datum, you will need to change it to WGS-84. If you paddle out from the LJ Shores launch point at the end of Avenida De La Playa at a 275 degree magnetic bearing, you should see the marker buoy on your left that is the NE end of the swim lane.

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This map shows the lower east-west boundary line of the Reserve 5 mph speed zone that is also the northern line of the swim lane. Kayaks are allowed in all areas of the Reserve, except the swim lane, the swimming-only areas of the beach, and the area between the caves and the cove, which is marked by a neon buoy.

My thanks to John Sandmeyer, Marine Safety Lieutenant, City of San Diego Fire Rescue Department for supplying these maps.

This post will be later moved to the Safety Articles Group.

Tall Ships Club Paddle and Picnic

Kayaking affords a special view

Kayaking affords a special view

The “Second Annual SDKC Tall Ships Paddle and Picnic” will coincide with the “Tall Ships” event on the “Big Bay” this year. The Liberty Station launch ramp is the ideal place for us to gather, launch our boats, and have a  picnic afterwards. There is plenty of parking, and restrooms are close by, just to the south in the park. The “Tall Ships” will be tied up at the embarcadero area of downtown, and there may be “Gun Fights” on the bay in the morning for us to view as we paddle.

Date: Saturday, September 3rd

Launch Time: 9:00 am

Launch Location: Liberty Station launch ramp (see map below)

Who is Invited: SDKC members, CKF members, Night Herons, Valley-Wide Kayak Club, TRR people, Thursday Night and Meet-Up Paddle Groups, and any guests you want to invite. SOT’s & SUP’s are encouraged to join in on the fun (life jackets must be worn by all paddlers). Youth 15 and older are welcome if they are experienced paddlers and able to paddle 7 miles on flat water. They must paddle with, and close to their parents at all times.

Rentals of Boats & Stand-Up Paddle Boards Available:  Aqua Adventures has special “overnight rental rates” for boats, paddle boards, and foam car top carriers. You must pick yours up at AA on Sept 4th. Give them a call to reserve yours at (619) 523-9577. 

Picnic Following the Paddle: Around 1 pm…or when we return from the paddle.  If you can’t make the paddle, come join us at the picnic!

Duration of the Paddle:  We will be on the water for about 3 hours, checking out the Tall Ships and gun battles out on the bay.

SAFETY NOTICE: This is a intermediate-level paddle of at least 7 miles, not intended for beginners (those with little experience). Please read the “Disclaimer” at the end of this announcement.

There will be a lot of power boats, personal watercraft, and sail boats on the bay during this event, so we need to stay close to shore at all times. When we cross the open water between Harbor Island and the B Street Pier, we need to stay in large groups, in order to be more visible to other boaters.

CAUTION: The ramp at our Liberty Station launch site can be very slippery, so be careful when you walk down that concrete ramp.

Our Plotted Course is in Yellow

Our Plotted Course is in Yellow

What to Bring: All safety gear (life jackets must be worn by all paddlers), VHF radio, camera, zinc sunscreen for skin and lips, sun glasses, water and snacks for the paddle, hat (a few of our new club hats will be available to purchase for $15), food and drinks for the picnic (everyone brings their own, and no glass bottles please), and a blanket to sit on. There is a grassy area next to the ramp for cleaning off your boat, so bring water for that.

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Click on these photos from last year to enlarge

Directions to Liberty Station Launch Ramp: From I-5 south and I-8 west, take the Rosecrans exit (which is Hwy 209 on the map). Take Rosecrans to Lytton Street (at the Sail Ho golf course) and turn left. Take the first right, into Liberty Station. Follow the one way street to Sims Road and turn left. Turn left on Historic Decatur, a one-way street which takes you back toward the entrance. You will immediately see another street named Perry on your left. Turn into the parking lot on your right at that juncture. The ramp is at the east end of that lot (LS Launch on the map). There are restrooms just south in the park (follow the sidewalk along the canal/park).

Liberty Station Launch Site

Liberty Station Launch Site

PLEASE NOTE: 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 along the rocky bay front.

2nd Beginner’s Class Report – June 2016

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Good weather and sunshine welcomed the last Club-AA subsidized class for this summer. 24 people took part in these classes this summer, a great start to this partnership between our club and Aqua Adventures in teaching skills to our members. AA has sold a lot of our gear. The hats are so popular they have sold out again! More are on order and should be there in a few weeks.

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Jen, with the help of Billy Kroll, led the paddlers through drills in the “Draw Stroke”, “Sculling”, the “Low Brace”, assisted and self-re-entry techniques, and boat handling. Jen demonstrated the stand-up paddle board technique in a kayak (amazing), and everyone said they really enjoyed the class. Many thanks to Jen, and thank you Billy for assisting in this class.

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June 2016 Leadership Class Report

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Click to enlarge photos

Six people took part in the first Leadership Class offered by the joint effort of the club and Aqua Adventures (AA). Jen Kleck conducted an excellent classroom session covering the topics of Leadership Characteristics, the Role of the Leader, Risk Assessment, Preparation for a paddle, and what to go over with the group prior to a paddle.

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The group looked at a map of Mission Bay and the anticipated paddle route while Jen discussed the various factors to consider on each leg of the trip. The group then formulated a “Trip Plan”, taking into consideration the different risks involved.

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The water session consisted of each member taking a turn at leading the group, and also involved a rescue practice in the open bay. Jen did an amazing job in both the classroom session and the water practicum. She teaches with authority, focus and energy. If you ever have an opportunity to take a class from her, you will not regret it. Be sure to check out all the courses AA has to offer to advance your paddling skills. The club thanks her greatly for her involvement with us.

These joint-effort classes are partially subsidized by the ongoing sales of our club gear at AA, so go in and buy some gear and help contribute to future skills classes for our members. The more gear sold, the more classes we will offer.

Note: The content of this course will be presented in detail soon, and found under the not-yet-created “Skills” tab at the top of this web page.

June 2016 Navigation Class Report

Robin Kedward conducted an interesting morning session at AA on the basics of navigation, covering the topics of magnetic vs true north, latitude and longitude, charts, measuring distance on a map, compass rose, taking and following a bearing, course correction, the parts of a compass, tides and how to deal with them, and the “Rule of 12”. The notes from this class will become a posted article found in our skills group soon.

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After the classroom session we went over to the dirt lot and everyone practiced “walking a bearing”. Jane Hardy came by to visit for a while, as she is briefly in town between trips to Wales and Scotland. We also took a minute to present Robin with a club hat and T-shirt as a “thank you” for his many years of service to the club and fellow paddlers.

Thank you Robin for all you do

Thank you Robin for all you do