Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pool training

Now is the time of year we set aside for indoor training and a bit of fun.

It is good opportunity to review a skills before the start of the season which is coming up fast. Off side rolls, balance training, hand rolling... the list is endless.
It is also a good opportunity to test out gear. These shots were taken with a Fuji FinePix WP. In controlled conditions turned out to be great - I am going to need some weights to set me on the bottom for more rolling shots but for short distances it seemed to work well. I needed the accesories - if the front lens is scratched that pretty much ruins the camera. Also with WP cameras a float strap is an absolute necessity so I have to get in the habit of packing this in the bag and using it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Subaru sponsorship

This morning a number of us on the KNL board dropped by the Subaru dealer here in St.John's and met with Jon. Subaru is one of our platinum sponsors and they renewed their support of Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador today. It was great to have that kind of support for the club - plus they didn't mind us hauling another kayak up to the showroom to throw on the car. What a dealership.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Banff Film Festival - Day 2

Several great films tonite.

1. Africa Revolution Tour - this was a fascinating whitewater tour with a group of US kayakers who went through Africa. Not just paddling but promoting an important education cause through a group called Sun Catchers.Check out the website.
I am going to purchase their DVD through Heliconia Press.

2. Take a Seat - We first meet up with the main character in Alaska.It is his goal to ride from an isolated community there to the southern most point in South America. On a tandem bike. The idea is that he invites individuals in each place he rides through the hop on the back and ride with him, for as long as they can. The movie captures some interesting experiences on a long journey - well over a year. Well worth seeing. Keep an eye out for the book.
Plus here is the website:

3. Alone on the Wall
This film is unbelievable. It is extraordinary for the mental preparation aspect alone, never mind the physical athletic ability.

Banff Film Festival

Last night was the St.John's leg of the Banff Film Festival World Tour.
I think we have been attending for at least the last ten years.

It is always a great night.

A really unique film featured last night was Finding Farley - basically an extraordinary canoe trip taken on by a couple and their two year old son. Fantastic images and great commentary. Check out

A four person climbing trip to Pakistan was captured in Azazael. Uniwue shots and a great experience of four friends.

A trailer of the Signatures film can be found on You Tube, below.

This was a beautifully crafted film shot in Japan in incredible powder snow.

I noticed the Three Cups of Tea foundation highlighted in the program, it seemed as a sponsor. I had described the book as a must read in a post sometime ago and it is still an important and valuable resource. It highlights how important communication and understanding is in the process of making peace. This book should be required reading for anyone in the armed forces and personnel working in conflict zones around the world.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Steveston, BC

We stayed at the Steveston Hotel - the website has a good photo of the hotel. It is basic, clean and they serve a great breakfast at 0700 hrs. Adjacent to the hotel is the Buck & Ear which is a convenient place to discuss the events of the day over the local BC brews.
The Charthouse down the street was able to seat us outside thanks to the protective but transparent sheeting and a great heating system. We watched the hockey game from Vancouver wondering why we hadn't planned ahead better and taken the new skytrain right downtown and watched the game live. Of course then we would have missed the Pacific mussels.
While my primary misssion was judo related - coaching and attending the Pacific International I couldn't help think about kayaking destinations. You could use Steveston as a base and launch at numerous places in and around Vancouver. As I walked around the waterfront of Steveston you could easily see the influence of the tide. The region is a delta and in the early years subjected to substantial flooding according to my host and local judo instructor. The Georgia Cannery was according to the information I gathered - the largest cannery in the world, when it was operational. Those of us may not or would not appreciate that the Fraser River basin is a huge food reservoir - home to a large variety of pacific fish and judging by the number of boats tied up, still a substantial fishery.
No doubt in the spring and summer months the river, basin and the routes along the coast will be bustling with a considerable amount of vessel traffic.
Directly across from Steveston(SW) was a bird sanctuary and we could appreciate significant movement of birds throughout the day.
I am going to dig out and read Kayak Routes of the Pacific Northwest Coast by Peter McGee. It was given to me as a gift but will make more sense now and hopefully assist in planning another trip to BC, this time with some local kayakers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pacific International Judo Tournament

The Pacific International Invitational was a new tournament for me to attend.
Set in Steveston at the indoor tennis court site it easily accomodated 4 mat surfaces.
Great competition in both mens and women's events.
There seemed to be a good turnout from BC, Alberta, NWT, Sask, Manitoba and Quebec.
Referees at this tournament had their hands full trying to implement the new IJF rules. Rule changes to improve the amount of throwing, resulting in a number of penalties being applied to athletes and occasionally matches were lost as a result of accumulated penalties.

Coach Training in Steveston BC

This past week I was in Steveston, British Columbia. Fantastic spot - I felt right at home. Steveston is located on the delta of the Fraser River. Weather wise it was fascinating - the grass was green. I was glad I brought my rain gear as I did some walking from the hotel to the dojo. The last morning I was up walking around town at 0530, I only met two others - going into Starbucks and it was still rainy and very windy. Thankfully for the olympic organizers lots of mountains to store and make snow.
The community is home to the Steveston Judo Club which was founded more than fifty years ago by a group of dedicated judoka. It is now part of the Steveston Martial Arts Centre.
The Steveston Judo Club was host of Judo Canada's coach facilitator training session which I was fortunate to be invited. Those of us who facilitate coaching theory and technical judo courses were gathered to integrate both in a learning package that can be delivered to coaches and allow them to become trained or certified.
It was a great week but a busy one.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Communications & Restricted Operator Certificate

Early last year I purchased a VHF radio thinking it would be an additional safety feature to have access to communications with our various trips.
However, I found out it is illegal to operate a VHF radio without a certificate and one could be subject to a $5000 fine.
This motivated our KNL group to bring in a local communications expert: Fred Meadus from CONA who spoke at considerable length about communications generally, protocols, phonetic alphabet and equipment.
His talk motivated me to complete the course offered by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron and I subsequently received the ROC(M).
Having a certification doesn't guarantee you will be understood - so a key element of any communication is to speak slowly, calmly and clearly.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1st Paddle of the New Year

It is a KNL tradition to make the first paddle of the year a dip in the Quidi Vidi harbour. Despite the cold, wet, rainy and snowy conditions it is a great opportunity to put the kayaks in, even when conditions are not optimal for going beyond the breakwater. Plus it is a great chance to wish each other happy new year.

Happy New Year!!


In his constant efforts to be safety conscious Alex had PFD, thermal protection including hat and gloves, but the most obvious piece of equipment for any sea kayaker appears to sit waiting a bit of an unsafe distance from shore.
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We were kidding Alex - what actually happened was that he had landed at the end of the paddle but a combination of tide and river flow raised the water level of that section of the harbour quite quickly. And quietly moved his kayak off the beach.

But, his kayak sitting there all alone made for a good picture.