Sunday, April 19, 2009

In Search of the Paddling Gourmet

Thai Green Fish Curry
400 g Chinese noodles
2 Tbsp Thai green curry paste (pick up from Auntie Crae’s)
1 ¾ cup coconut milk ( Chinese grocery store)
1 Tbsp lime juice
12 oz cod or haddock

Cook noodles. Set aside
Cook curry paste X 30 sec on high heat
Pour in lime juice and milk bring to a boil – lower heat
Add fish and cook for 3 minutes
Add noodles, cook for 2 minutes

Last week Cyril Ryan(Culinary Creations) presented a great session on some gourmet cooking ideas.
Members were asked to bring a recipe. Those without a recipe contributed five dollars; the total will go to the purchase of a cooking package to be drawn at our annual retreat. The recipe above was one of a number of submissions, which will be published later in the Ebb and Flow.
Cyril on this occasion had the run of the community kitchen but kept his ideas confined to those which could be prepared on one or two burners.
Highlights of his presentation include these suggestions:
1. when purchasing a propane or gas stove consider what you want it to do eg.simmer
2. consider vacuum sealing and or dehydrating some meals
3. plan for meals in advance - you might need two burners
4. do some chopping ahead of time
5. ingredients for biscuits can be bagged
6. bringing a few key ingredients and spices can make a big difference
7. be creative
8. if you have the space in your kayak, bring the cooking pot you need.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Roll clinic

Sometime ago I stumbled onto a website entitled Roll or Die. It seemed an interesting title for a kayaking destination. However, here many of us subscribe to a Roll Otherwise It is a Nuisance(because we have to rescue you) approach. We like to give each other more options, since having the skill is severely put to the test when or if, you are upended into breathtaking bitter cold of the North Atlantic. To this end we have spent as many hours in the pool as possible - developing and honing skills in bracing and rolling.

Last night was a special event for the club where we assembled six experts and they instructed, critiqued and advised participants in a "workshop" format.

Rolling is a counterintuitive skill. As Bob Gagnon put it: you are fighting evolution. Since in almost every situations where we fall, and attempt to right ourselves > the head leads. This is also a neurophysiological reflex as I recall it -so we are in fact, trying to override a reflexive reaction.

We are actually training the head to follow the blade of the paddle and lag slightly behind until the hip and knee are driven up towards thigh brace and the back extends over the rear deck.

Apparently I still have highly tuned survival righting reflexes - that combined with some lumbar stiffness means I essentially manipulate my lower back and neck every time I do a roll. This is why the club sponsored a yoga session in December - in the hope that members had enough time to implement an agility and flexibility program that would allow them to do these manoeuvres. And here is the other thing - everyone thinks they are doing a full extension. The sense of where the body is, is often described as kinesthetic awareness. Sometimes this is skewed in our own minds. So these sessions are invaluable, provided you are paired with instructors who provide honest feedback. Thankfully KNL is blessed with numerous honest instructors. As a coach in another sport - technical analysis is critical at a certain phase. I would put some of us in the refinement category - so I was grateful to skilled feedback on what was going right and areas needing improvement.

The other aspect to successful rolling is to remember there is a significant mental skill component: visualizing the technique beforehand, repeating the arc of the shoulder punch and sweep, rotation of the trunk and the final lay back. I sometimes feel like a free style skier at the top of the hill. Same concept works though - visualization of the technique. To achieve the hip flick Bob recommended a walking exercise that appears like you are stepping on hot coals with hips rotated out. Of course, once upside down the other key is to relax and focus. Depending on your underwater experiences being upside down can be unnerving - so working on this aspect of training is another good reason for pool training. When cued by instructors not to rush, I have to remind myself what this means. It is harder than one would think. What is only 5 seconds can seem like 5 minutes.

One major element I am taking away from the clinic - hold onto the paddle with my lead hand with only two fingers. This is to cue myself not to power down with the blade. It works, for me.

Pool clinics are a great learning opportunity - this one was no exception. As with some many sports related training there is ultimately only one way of achieving
success - practice.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kayaks, Archaeology and Ethnology

You don't often have the chance to see and sit in real kayaks in a museum. But this past weekend KNL was part of a follow-up to a wonderful installation/exhibit entitled Slicing through the Waves.
Members of KNL were on hand to provide information to the public - of all ages who came down to the Rooms. A range of equipment and kayaks were on display to try out and test.
The Curator of Archaelology and ethnology - Kevin McAleese provided an historic look as Inuit skin boats, Linda Bartlett(KNL) gave a presentation on how to get started kayaking and the Coast Guard(OBS) were on hand with an educational video to make sure newcomers to the sport had all the information to make them safe heading out ont the water.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Positive and Negative Risk

Last night at one of our monthly off season KNL events, we tried something a little more philosophical - a presentation on Risk.
It was an interesting forum and it gave folks pause to reflect a little.
The biggest message that I took away is that there is far greater positive benefit from participating than the negative rating sea kayaking might be given.
Outdoor pursuits permit participation in what many might consider high risk activites. However, what is high risk is somewhat skewed by the casual observer since - newfoundland sea kayakers, largely perceive the drive to the site as the greater risk than the actual event itself. There are no doubt inherent risks in almost any activity: even walking along a beach in NL can be risky if you are 20-30 feet from the waters edge. Launching from a beach on the NL coast in a sea kayak is no doubt a risk but safety awareness, training and skills acquisition reduce the negative and create a powerful positive effect for individuals who get an opportunity to view the city, landscape,communities and wildlife from the ocean perspective.