Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 / salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com

12/07/2017

Paddler's Dilemma - Call Authorities Before Rough Water Paddling, or Not?

Yesterday, it was blowing over 20 kts and as a result I took a stoked student out for a downwinding class on Shilshole Bay in Seattle. Gotta say, the bumps were epic. Quite a few 4' rollers and bright winter sun made for a great session.

Right before we headed in, we heard sirens, infact a lot of sirens. Class was done, so we headed to the beach then into the parking lot just as two ladder trucks, a fire truck and one of those fire dept SUV's rolled in.

There was a 911 call for 3 paddle boarders in distress. There were only three of us out there, my
student and I and another local paddler, Lindi. We were not in distress but to a condo resident with a view of the water, brushy whitecaps and wind, plus 38F (December), it certainly looked like it to an untrained eye.

At one point we did switch boards and stalled a few times to give direction. And my student, as students do, fell in a few times. But to a non paddler, we may of looked questionable and worthy of a 911 call.
Lindi posing by the fire truck, Ballard Elks beac

All ended well with us informing the fire dept we were good (still stoked from the waves), well dressed for the air/water temps, high vis color, vest PFD's, leashes and VHF radios.

The caller showed up with shorts on (note it was 38F and blowing less) and we all discussed the situation thanking the caller for thinking of us.

A fire dept woman suggested we call dispatch before going out again. But minutes later her colleage suggested that wasn't necessary. 

Leaving us a bit confused, I posted that question on two local paddling FB pages.

The result of about 22 comments of back and fourth resulted in these two findings...

Don't Call Before Going Out..
(Most Popular Decision)

-They can't track everyone who calls (and the varying types of boards). Downwinding here is hot. In fact, 2 guys got off  water as we arrived, 2-3 went in after we left. Do I call every time I go out?  Some of us paddle daily throughout the year.

-By making smart decisions, dressing for the air/water temp and staying within your skill level, the chance of an emergency thus rescue will be nil.

Call Before you Go Out..

Downside - If you really need to be rescued, will the call be dismissed by the Fire Dept or CG?

Lack of Communication / Response Time
Two fire dept friends responded on the post. One mentioned that their response time is usually too late for water rescues. So it becomes a body recovery vs a rescue.  He continued by stating that most fire departments (in Seattle) don't have a quick deployed water craft. The crews that visited us yesterday were not ready to get on the water or dressed for it.  The Coast Guard station is 5 miles away and the Harbor Patrol (Police) have to drive 3 miles to the Locks, lock out (20min) to get to our location.

The two also noted that the fire dept don't monitor VHF radios, which are used in marine environments to communicate. We carry them on downwinders and off shore trips.

What you Should Do?
Contact your local fire dept and related officials in inquire about which option you should use - Call or Not?


Any questions give me a holler: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167
Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification

12/05/2017

The Sound Rowers 2018 Race Schedule

The Sound Rowers put on a series of epic annual rowing and paddling races throughout they year. Despite their title, they represent paddlers of all types and welcome all types of paddler to their races.

Here's a list of their 2018 Races..

  • 2/3     LaConner - Swinomish Slough to Goat Island, RT
  • 3/10   Bellingham Bay
  • 4/21   Jetty Island/Everett
  • 5/5     Lake Whatcom Classic (Bellingham)
  • 5/12   Commencement Bay (Tacoma )
  • 6/23   Rat Island (Port Townsend)
  • 7/14   Lake Sammamish
  • 7/28   Elk River (Westport) - this could be very cool and a different pov of Westport.
  • 8/4     Shaw Island - A circumnavigation! Beautiiful scenery
  • 8/25   Great Cross Sound (West Seattle) - Alki to Bainbridge and back!
  • 9/8     Bainbridge Island
  • 9/15   Budd Inlet (Olympia)
  • 9/22   Lake Samish (Bellingham)
  • 9/29   Wenatchee - Columbia River!
  • 10/6   Mercer Island (Seattle)



La Connor Race, 6m, Feb 2018

Great Sound Race

Great Sound Race - in a shell


12/01/2017

SUP Tips for Traveling to Hawaii

Traveling to Hawaii this Winter?  Here's some tips for a better trip...

Every year, I've had friends come back from Hawaii with everything from reef cuts in their feet, a twisted knee to unpleasant experiences with locals. Follow these tips and your trip will more likely feel like paradise. I was on Oahu a few weeks ago with a few fresh reminders to pass on to you.

Wear Reef Shoes or Booties - 
A local once told me 'no one here wears shoes in the water.'  Guess what? I'm not from there and in the NW winter, I've been wearing shoes and socks for several months so my feet are no where close to the leathered bottoms of locals' feet.

In October, I brought over my NRS Freestyle booties which unlike cheap reef shoes, provided ankle support and protection from walking on razor sharp reefs and protection from the smoking hot pavement and sand. The wider tow box worked as additional propulsion and floatation for swimming.

If you get shoes, make sure they fit your feet and don't slide around inside. Local surfers have told me that cheap or loose reef shoes can lead to broken ankles.

Security - 
Always Lock your Car and Keep it Clear of Stuff - Our local friends suggested we always locked the car make sure nothing can be seen in our car while out on excursions. In Makaha, we saw a rental car with a freshly broken window at the Kaena Point trailhead. That was our sign to move on. We later hiked from the other side at Kaena Point State Park which had state park rangers present in the lot.

Rental SUP Gear - 
Friends suggested I rent from a specific surf rental shack on Waikiki.  I did but the gear was awful. I won't give out the name of the company unless you're going and inquire directly as they did give me a great discount due to my friend's connection. But I had a heavy aluminum paddle with pool noodle zip tied to the shaft to prevent it from sinking. The board was one I sold 4 years ago, a super heavy old school Surftech which I dragged to the water.

If you want good gear, check out Moku in Waikiki and Blue Planet Surf in Honolulu or inquire on Standupzone.com for the other islands.  We did rent two light plastic boards from Rob at Blue Planet for a day tour. They tied the boards on the rental car as well.

Tip: If you really like your paddle, bring your own. This is a simple carry on the plane. And 2 and 3pc paddles are available from various manufacturers.  Pad it with bubble wrap and/or foam.

There are paddle bags, but I recommend adding more padding just in case. Write your name on your paddle with a sharpie. They can easily be ripped off. Shipping SUPs to Hawaii is pretty expensive, unless it's a short board.

Note: C02 cartridges in waist PFD's should be removed before you fly. If you don't, they will. If you forget to look, check when you get there, it may be missing. 

Surfing - Inquire from local shops before surfing. Surfing on Hawaii can be crowded, territorial and dangerous if you don't know your stuff. If you don't see a SUP in the line-up, don't go out. Strong offshore winds can blow you offshore easily if you're not paying attention. Maui has regular rescues of inexperienced tourists being blown offshore. In 2014, a Seattle man was blown 11 miles off Waikiki. 

If you downwind on Hawaii, note you'll be entering and/or leaving the water through a surf break most often. Unless you can handle shore break, go with a local who can help you out.  

Take a lesson if you're not experienced. We teach surfing all year here (learn before you go) and others such as Blue Planet Surf on Oahu or Jaecy Suda and Suzie Cooney on Maui can provide lessons as well.

Downwinding - 
Ditto for the above info. Downwinding in Hawaii is another beast vs here. You're in ocean swell, currents and wind. Add big shore break and surf for launches and take-outs. 

Definitely get with a local. Again Blue Planet on Oahu is a great resource as are Suzie Cooney, Dave Kalama Jaecy Suda and Jeremy Riggs on Maui. Jeremy has told me he's turned down some tourists who don't have the open water skills to downwind Maui.

Local Tip - Blue Planet and Jeff Chang offer a Wednesday evening Downwinding Group paddle/surf every week at Waikiki. Contact Robert @ Blue Planet for details. Mention me.

Outrigger
Check in with Island Paddler in Waikiki about beginner outrigger paddles on Oahu. Cool guys and Elks members too.  

Body Board
A great option if you're not up for surfing a board. It's easier to learn if you have the right gear. There's a few shops in the islands to get local info which I recommend. For example as a beginner, don't go to Sandy's as you'll not only get pummeled by waves but the locals may give you some stink eye.  On Oahu check with these two shops for info Town and Country and a bit further out but a specialist in the sport. hidentitysurf

Get Off the Beaten Path - 
I'm not a fan of crowds or the heavy tourism scene. During our Oahu surf Blue Planet took us to the Kahana River (see pic) on the Windward Coast (NE) part of Oahu. This very picturesque bay an hour from Honolulu provided us with a pristine river paddling experience in a jungle like environment. 

We paddled 2 miles up the slow moving river then back out into the bay. There's several other rivers like this on the island (and other islands), as well as seemingly untouched bays and inlets.  Stay clear of fish ponds and other sites of historical and archaeological status.

Tips for Falling off your Board - 
Fall as flat as you can! Think like a pancake or the Hi-C Plunge. Falling in shallow water on reefs isn't much fun. Never dive. Booties will prevent feet cuts when kicking in the water above the reef when getting back on our board. Read my blog post on falling off a board. 

Lifejackets in Hawaii 
Lifejackets are not required in Hawaii for non surf paddling. But if you feel you need yours, go for it. Co2 cartridges generally can't be brought on planes but check with the airline prior to confirm. If you can't swim 1-2 miles back to shore, a PFD is a good option (and always a leash).

If you're an Elk member, definitely check out the Honolulu Elks
It's on Diamond Head with epic views, great poke and a pool as well as surf break access to Tongs and Old Man's. And a great way to meet local folks. It's $5 to park. Register at entry. 


North Shore Oahu - Sunset Beach

Waikiki Public Board Storage

Windward Coast Oahu - Kahana River



Any questions give me a holler: salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com / 206.465.7167
Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification

SUP Tips for Racing in the Deception Pass Dash

Tomorrow is the 11th annual Deception Pass Dash, a winter paddling race in tidal rapids north of Seattle. A 6 mile race, paddlers of all kinds launch together at slack (minimal current) to round an island, go through the Pass, round another island then through the Pass again, then one more island and sprint to the finish.

Surf ski's usually win by a mile, then OC's, then SUPs and kayaks. The race has never been a big draw for SUPs but a hardy small group shows annually, usually with river sup experience which is great cross training. 

We may run our own race at the Pass in mid 2018, keep your eyes peeled for updates.

Gear Required to Succeed in the Race with Style..
- Waist attached coiled leash with quick release

- Whitewater Helmet (not a bike helmet)

- Full wet or drysuit (water is in the 50's, air can be in the 30's)

- Booties - shore is rocky

- Rubber fin - You will hit your fin. Better it flex off the bottom than chip off. These also help you slide through kelp vs getting stuck in it. We use Surfco SuperFlex 9" fins.  

- Neoprene gloves - You may need to push off a barnacled covered cliff wall

- Full vest PFD (not C02) - for body protection, warmth and a place for your energy bar, VHF radio and knife. Bright colors are best to be seen.  Black is cool looking but not functionally cool. 

- Fast race board that isn't 22" wide. You need speed and stability in boils, eddylines and rips. 

- Paddle length- I'd go for your normal longer length (vs a short surf/race length) for bracing in rapids

- Playing there on non race days, a tow rope is great but not needed for the race given plentiful safety boaters.

How to Train
Train for this race like any other with standard race techniques plus knowing how to paddle in river current (fast river current, Class 2+).  Knowing how to eddy hop, cross eddy lines and paddle over boils is essential. Reading water is a requirement.  Our Tidal Rapids class covers all of these and we can customize to your skill level in a 1-1 environment.  Many of our alumni doing the race have been in the Pass several times. 

Best Tips for Racing
- Use eddies to get up current.
- Rubber fin and don't worry about scratches on your board.
- Short quick strokes to go up current and up wind
- Cut corners through eddies and kelp to save time/distance
- Know where eddies are
- Paddle when you get tippy. Don't balance - paddle. 
- Ferry across NW Pass from D Island back to Bowman. Ebb will be full-on. 

Note Race starts before slack on the tail end of the flood 1:15pm, so you have 50 minutes (which is a lot) to get to the bridge before the ebb builds. 

Currents for Race:
2017-12-02 Sat  1:46 PM PST   -0.1 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
2017-12-02 Sat  4:17 PM PST   Sunset
2017-12-02 Sat  5:04 PM PST   -8.0 knots  Max Ebb

2 Course Maps for Best Routes for NE or no wind AND SE winds..
(Sent to our alumni on our Alumni Page 2 nights before the race)

NE or no wind route


SE wind route


Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.











11/27/2017

How to Not Paddle into Pilings, Rocks or other Paddlers


In 1985, a driver's ED teacher told me, "If you look out the window at a dog, you'll drive off the road!" She was right. Same goes with paddling. If you don't want hit that piling, wall or buddy, look where you want to go and your body will compensate.

Ferrying Across Current
For those that have taken our Tidal Rapids class or do river paddling, you should have learned to ferry across current. This means angling your board at approx a 45 degree angle up current, then watching your destination. If you look away from your destination (up or down stream) the current will push you away from your destination.

Paddler ferrying tidal rapids at Deception Pass near Seattle

Look Where you Want to Go
For buoy turns, keep your eye on where you want to go. I see many who are focused on the buoy and the other paddler not on the prize - the finish line.  

When performing turns such as the Cross Bow, look in the direction you're turning. Many look straight during the turn thus limiting their flexibility and result of the turn.

Surfing and Direction
In learning to surf a SUP, we may contradict the above by looking at the wave behind you as you paddle forward. This allows you to determine when to pick up speed, where to be on the wave and look for other surfers - while paddling towards the beach (using a vertical shaft). That conversation is for another future SUP surf lesson. But when surfers turn, they are looking where they're going. 

Couples and Paddling
In teaching, we've noticed couples run into each other on their first day - because they're watching each other.

And don't look at what you fear. Years ago, a whitewater kayaking buddy saw a big rock he didn't want to hit - but he locked his gaze on it, and run into it thus capsizing his boat. 

Beginning Students / Paddlers
I've seen many nervous beginning students or beginners do the same. They'll lock their gaze on an obstruction vs looking where they want to go. We teach to look and turn away from the obstruction or worse case, stop asap (back paddling) or turn away from the hazard.


Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.

11/25/2017

How to Dress for Winter Paddle Boarding


Below are tips for what to wear when paddling in cold region areas in winter. I'm in the Pacific NW, its currently 29F out. Send in tips for what you wear for this or colder temps! 

Wetsuit - Modern wetsuits not bought from your local general sports store are actually quite dry and have less issues than more expensive drysuits. I prefer a RipCurl 5.5/4mm suit which has a fleecy interior. It looks thick but is quite flexible and comfortable. Mine is top loading which isn't fun to get into, so I wear a rash guard under for additional warmth and to help get out. Most 5/4's come with hoods. Slightly less thick would be a non fleece lined 5/4mm or an upper end 4/3. These should be seam sealed either with a hood or not, and back zip or top loading. If you have shoulder issues get a back zip. I find them as warm and dry as the top loaders. If yours doesn't have a hood buy one separately (or scull cap) or get a hooded vest to wear over or under. Try before you buy. You'll lose your no tax benefit online ordering from Oregon or elsewhere if your neck is too tight or your arms are too short.

What does 4/3 mean? 4mm thickness in legs and chest, 3mm in arms. 

- Drysuits - Drysuits are good option for cold temps as well. Personally, I prefer wetsuits as they're easier to swim in, aren't toast if you get a hole and have less maintenance (no latex gaskets). Some drysuits have neoprene gaskets making it less work to keep in shape. Kayakers tend to prefer drysuits. I did have two Kokatat Meridians in my kayaking days here in the PNW and I find I stay warmer in a good wetsuit. But I know others prefer drysuit, it's a personal thing. Drysuits do come with pee zippers (often women now wear men's versions to assist with this).  Good brands are Ocean RodeoStohquistKokatatNRS.  

-Making your Wetsuit Warmer - Have a 3/2 or cooler 4/3? Wear a thin polypro or SmartWool top under your suit, add a hooded vest under your suit as well (either or both). Over your suit, wear a nylon or Gortex shell or paddling jacket to cut the wind chill. Add a hood/scull cap (below). On cold days I may put a scull cap over my hooded vest hood. :)  NRS has a few nice zip up and pull-over neoprene jackets. Got a Farmer John? Get a full suit for winter. If you run hot, that's great but if you fall in you'll take longer to warm up, if at all and I don't like worrying about whether I'll fall or not.

-Booties - 7mm surfing booties are popular, but I found mine only lasted one season after the pull tab ripped out. I now use the NRS Desperado Wet Shoe (and Freestyle shoe). Both are fleece lined, waterproof and quite warm but not as thick and hard to get on as the 7mm versions. Zipper booties tend to leak but are fine in warmer seasons. I haven't found a sock-bootie combo yet that keeps me warm. On a few super cold days, I've been wearing a SmartWool sock under my bootie. Make sure to place your wetsuit legs over your bootie to reduce water seepage. The Desperado bootie has a nice thick sole with a good tread. Many surf style booties have a thin sole to 'feel the board' and every rock on the path.

-Gloves - I use Glacier Gloves which are fleece lined. The Maverick glove by NRS is good but not as warm.

-PFD/Lifejacket - Vest style will keep you warmer and overall is more safe than a c02 version which will inflated slower in cold temps. Get one with good visibility, a pocket or two and again, try it on first. Great brands are MTI, Kokatat, NRS, Stolquist, and Astral.

-Scull Caps / Hoods - I carry an extra in my PFD even with my hooded suit. I prefer one with a chin strap so it stays on when I surf or fall off the board.  Kokatat has a toasty fleece lined cap. ProMotion (wetsuit.com) has a few nice options. Some sell a full neck/head thing but we've found those make turning your head difficult.

Read my 30 Tips for Staying Warm in Winter on SUP Magazine / Contact me for any questions or to demo rentals.

How to Choose a Wetsuit - (Stoke Mag post) - Click Here

PSUPA members get a discount at ProMotion, MTI, Astral) 


Spokane River surf wave day with the Cindric family, winter 2015. 





Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - beginning to advanced instruction and PSUPA Certification.

How to Not Paddle into Pilings, Rocks or other Paddlers


In 1985, a driver's ED teacher told me, "If you look out the window at a dog, you'll drive off the road!" She was right. Same goes with paddling. If you don't want hit that piling, wall or buddy, look where you want to go and your body will compensate.

For those that have taken our Tidal Rapids class or do river paddling, you should have learned to ferry across current. This means angling your board at approx a 45 degree angle up current, then watching your destination. If you look away from your destination (up or down stream) the current will push you away from your destination.

Paddler ferrying tidal rapids at Deception Pass near Seattle
In teaching, we've noticed couples run into each other on their first day - because they're watching each other.

And don't look at what you fear. Years ago, a whitewater kayaking buddy saw a big rock he didn't want to hit - but he locked his gaze on it, and run into it thus capsizing his boat. I've seen many nervous beginning students do the same. They'll lock their gaze on an obstruction vs looking where they want to go. We teach to look and turn away from the obstruction or worse case, stop asap (back paddling). 

When performing turns such as the Cross Bow, look in the direction your paddle is going when crossing over our nose/bow. Many look straight during the turn thus limiting their flexibility and result of the turn.

In learning to surf a SUP, we may contradict the above by looking at the wave behind you as you paddle forward. This allows you to determine when to pick up speed, where to be on the wave and look for other surfers - while paddling towards the beach (using a vertical shaft). That conversation is for another future lesson.


Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.