A tired me, crossing the finish line…but I finished! (Photo by Bill Rostenberg)
I just participated in the SeaTrek Regatta and ETC Paddle-A-Thon, a charity race for Environmental Traveling Companions. Those who pledged to my participation raised over $500 for this excellent charity, and I got to paddle my first race ever, a 9.5-mile course around Angel Islandin the San Francisco Bay.
And somehow I won first place in my age and boat category. How could that possibly happen?!?
I categorize carabiners in two über buckets: rescue carabiners you need to trust lives with, and accessory carabiners that simply help small items stay put. ITW, a military equipment manufacturer, has created possibly the most perfect accessory ‘biner for sea kayaking: The GrimLoc. Swords to paddleshares, I say!
In a world where sea spray, salt, and sand could spell death to normal ‘biners, these things are ingenious, invaluable, small, light, and oh-so-convenient. What makes them so cool…and unique?
At least I’ve never had any encounters with falling stone(r)s.
Wayne Horodowich published a guest post on the Tsunami Rangers blog about being a kayak escort or safety boater for swim races or triathlons. Wayne asserted that kayakers are often untrained and unprepared to serve as escorts, at least in a way that can make a difference and not make the kayaker him/herself a liability to the race organizers. I agree. I’d also like to address the problem by helping paddlers understand what’s involved, what can go wrong, and how prepared you need to be.
I’ve done several escorts for full swim races and triathlons, and have enjoyed every one. The intense gratitude shown by the swimmers afterwards is powerful. They can be cakewalks, or filled with drama, so are as variable as any other kind of paddle you might take. However, if you’re considering doing so – or if you’re a race organizer who wants to optimize the escorts you’ve assembled on race day – here are some observations and tips based on doing escorting in and around the San Francisco Bay.
Every year, dozens of paddlers from Bay Area Sea Kayakers assemble on the rugged northern California coast for a weekend of rock gardening, ocean whitewater, exploratory coastal paddling, food, and drink. This is known as Mendocino Madness. This was my second year. It is always amazing. And this is some of what I saw.
Enjoy the video, and remember that you can view it fullscreen in HD by the controls in the playback bar, or just watch it much larger on Vimeo.