Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 /


Seventy48 Training - Route Finding Class - Wed Feb 21 in Seattle

Seventy miles in 48hrs seems like a lot!  But in truth it's totally doable if you do the research, make smart decisions and work with the conditions.

Join me on Wed Feb 21 @ 7pm in Seattle for a 2hr clinic on smart route planning for the Seventy48 (or any Salish Sea trip). 

We'll discuss:
- Which resources to use for planning tides and currents.

- How to use the currents to your advantage thus avoiding those that will slow you down.

- If the wind blows, how can you take advantage of it?

- If mother nature packs a surprise, what are our alternative routes?

- On-water tools to help make the smartest decisions

- What other tools, skills or advantages can we use to get there sooner (or less painfully)

- How to train for the race to improve paddling skills, overall physique and fitness

Class Location:
Holly R Studio (Oak Tree area): 10916 Linden Ave N, Seattle, 98133

Cost: $75ea.

Give me a holler to sign-up - / 206-465-7167

More Info and other Seventy48 Training Courses/Clinics

More Seventy48 Training Links:
                                                      5 Books I'm Using to Plan for the Race

Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
and PSUPA certification.
Seventy48 Training


SUP Business Consulting Available

Starting a SUP or paddling related business? Ready to learn how to start successfully by designing your business model, create an easy to use marketing plan, smart pricing, locating equipment and building community?
With over 25 years in small business and nearly a decade in the outdoor recreation I can guide you to avoid the mistakes that so many business owners make when launching their businesses.
What You'll Learn and Walk Away With:
  • Choosing the best business model and assistance setting it up
  • Developing an easy to use and effective marketing plan that will grow your business, including SEO
  • Building community through educational and competitive events
  • Choosing paddling clothing and equipment, finding reps, storage and safe transport of gear
  • Assistance with developing educational programs, curricula and pricing
  • Hiring and training of staff and developing a staff training manual.
  • How to generate great reviews and replace negative reviews
  • How to stand out and be unique in your market
  • Starting and maintaining a safe rental program
  • Developing international outdoor trips and programs
  • How to design an effective website and help improve your existing site.

    Who is a Good Fit for Consulting with Rob?
    You're looking to start a business or are seeking to improve your current business, you're tired of getting caught in the race to the bottom with your pricing, want to save time and money making money faster and efficiently by having someone who has 'been there done that' and has the t-shirt for it. I am the leading authority in this arena..heck I even wrote the book on it - Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers.

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.
    Seventy48 Training


    2018 Paddling and SUP Festivals / Symposiums

    Looking to test and demo new gear, meet reps and get killer show deals? Attend one of the many upcoming paddling festivals held every Spring prior to the busy summer season (in N America). 

    Here's a few of the big events: 


    - Caneocopia - In Wisconsin, it's listed as one of the biggest festivals.


    - NW Paddle Festival – near Seattle. Great event with a race, demos and presentations. 

    - Florida Cup - Race and event

    Carolina Cup - Big sup race and event


    - Gorge Downwind Championships (week long), Hood River, OR

    Aug -

    - Gorge Paddle Challenge - Hood River, Or

    Find More Races & Events from these SUP Industry Links
    Note: Races often have gear demos, reps available and clinics / presentations

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.
    Seventy48 Training


    Sound Rowers - La Connor Race - Paddler's Tips

    This Saturday is the annual February Sound Rowers La Connor Race, a 7 mile route down the Swinomish Channel from the Rainbow Bridge in La Connor out to Goat Island and back. Trip #26 in my Kayaking Puget Sound book.

    It's a fun race because tidal current is involved giving racer's a sorta free ride with the ebb out then providing the challenge of paddling up current back to the starting/finish line.

    Race / Event Link

    Sound Rowers Swinomish Race 7m Course

    And the scenery is great starting at picturesque La Connor then following the narrow lightly developed jetty lined channel through it's rugged hilly mouth into Skagit Bay past the wooded Goat Island then back again. Goat Island strangely has a WW1 coastal defense bunker on it just in case any enemy fleet happened to make it through the more effective natural barrier of Deception Pass.

    Tides & Boating Hazards
    The Swinomish Channel separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland. Tides are not listed for the southern end of the channel, so use the tides from the Berentson Bridge to the north, then subtract an hour.

    For the local vessel assist operators the southern entry into Skagit Bay is known as the 'the million dollar mile' due to all the boaters who get stranded on the extensive mud flats at the mouth, or on the jetties leading to the mouth. Paddlers in summer have been stranded 1-2 miles out from the Skagit River mouth after not watching the tides.

    "Million dollar mile" From Gunkholing the San Juans

    The Race
    Slower craft such as paddle boarders and other craft will start their race at 9:45. More efficient faster boats such as OC's and ski' start at 10am.

    The race starts on the ebb and finishes on the end of the ebb and/or slack depending which time you get there.

    The 2018 forecast looks mellow with 5-10kt S or SE winds which shouldn't affect the course.

    Race Tips
    After rounding the buoy use the edges of the channel and eddies for less current. See in these images the red routes, these follow the paths of least resistance. On the ebb, the current will miss the little coves, bays and indentations in the shoreline thus giving you an advantage (or a break) to move up current.

    Also watch out for current escaping the Hole in the Wall, a break in the south jetty just as the channel opens into Skagit Bay. See it in the second image below, mid right side.

    Image showing ebb current and eddy (bottom)

    Follow the red to avoid current

    Surf Boat Wakes - But if you get a boat wake going in your direction (thus bucking the ebb) it could be a fun ride if not a free ride upstream. Pay attention to any feature that will give you and advantage - including drafting other paddlers - let them do the work. :)

    Watch for Boats - Do give boats the right of way. Racers tend to get too serious and forget about the rules of the road.

    Swinomish Channel Tides:
    Dairiki Tides (local site)
    DeepZoom (cool site for tides/currents)

    Get my book Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands
    (La Connor and Swinomish Channel are in the book)

    Learn more about paddling in tidal current from my blog (Trip #26):
    Seventy48 Training - Port Townsend Canal
    Take my Deception Pass Tidal Rapids Class 
    How to Paddle in Current and Not Hit Things

    Photos from Google Earth and the Dept of Ecology WA Shorelines site.

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.
    Seventy48 Training


    Seventy 48 Training - Tidal Currents of Port Townsend Canal

    I love tidal currents. With smart planning, paddling in currents can be a free ride or at least a lot easier if you plan for the current.

    How Currents Work - A brief intro:
    Currents are the horizontal movement of water. Puget Sound has diurnal currents, meaning we have two low's and two high's daily. Each period is 6 hours long. Most current tables show a curve from low to high. The period between the flood and ebb is called slack, a 10-30min period of no or little current. After slack, let's say the ebb would start as a trickle then really build in the first 1/3rd of the cycle. It'll peak (strongest) is at the 'max ebb' then taper off in the next 3hrs slowing down to slack, then the flood builds, and so on.  Sometimes right be before the end of the cycle, the current will build or surge a bit, then taper off before switching to the next cycle or direction. 

    There's two methods of reading current in tables. One is with the above mentioned curve and the other is just data (see samples of each below). Some current tables show both or one or the other.

    - Wind and Currents - Note that any tide or current chart list predictions, not actual reality (but close).  Rains, wind and wind direction can affect the timing of currents. Wind pushing current can speed it up considerably. In using a table to time for a specific spot, give yourself extra time compensate for any differences. Boats often wait below a tidal area for the change so they can proceed.  The advantage to paddlers is that we can skirt along the edges and eddies to move upstream if needed as we have less draft (depth) than a boat.

    Hood River is an example of how a westerly wind bucking river current can jack it up to waves. 'Downwind' paddlers and wind sports folks surf up river, sometimes for 11 miles or longer depending on conditions.  The west wind against the ebb at Deception Pass makes standing or progressive waves below the bridge which we surf. 

    Sometimes wind bucking current can make a big mess too. 

    How Land Shape and Depth Affect Currents - A brief intro:
    - If you look at a curve in a river, the current will speed around the outer bend but be less strong on the inside curve.

    - A point of land creates an obstruction for the current, thus the current will hit the point then refract around the backside thus creating a gyro or eddy. This then either creates an area of no current behind the point or a circular back eddy that pushes water upstream. In the pics below, you can see the areas of no current behind where the land juts out. You can rest here or use it go upstream in what's called eddy hopping.

    - Puget Sound's wider sections say between Edmonds and Kingston is approx 4-5m wide. There is current here but not super strong. In fact it's hardly noticable. Where you will notice it is in the bays, around points (Restoration Point, Jeff Head, Point No Point etc) or in channels such as PT Canal. 

    You can use guides like Currents of Puget Sound to know where this happens. On large bays, the entire bay can become a gyro. You want to follow the arrow that goes in the direction you want or avoid all together. Note that the arrow direction may not appear to be a shorter route, but using it will be quicker than attempting a straight line across or against opposing current. 

    - In the narrow channels or areas like PT Canal or Deception Pass, the current is squeezed into a slot thus speeding it up, sometimes into whitewater (search 'surf Skook').

    The above mentioned points of land or large rocks can create an eddy behind them. You may see a swirling yet mostly straight line extending directly behind the point/rock separating the current from the eddy. This is an eddy line. Crossing it can flip you if you don't it at the right angle or lift your rail (or for kayaks your hull) as you cross it.

    This site, called Mobile Graphics is what I use to plan our current classes at Deception Pass, because for me, I understand the listing of speeds vs the curve approach. I've pulled it up for Port Townsend Canal which is the last checkpoint for the Seventy48 race on June 11th (2018):

    Port Townsend Canal Currents

    2018-06-11 Mon  9:02 PM PDT    0.0 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
    2018-06-11 Mon  9:10 PM PDT   Sunset
    2018-06-11 Mon 10:59 PM PDT    2.6 knots  Max Flood
    2018-06-12 Tue  1:35 AM PDT   -0.0 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
    2018-06-12 Tue  5:10 AM PDT   Sunrise
    2018-06-12 Tue  5:11 AM PDT   -3.1 knots  Max Ebb
    2018-06-12 Tue  9:05 AM PDT    0.0 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
    2018-06-12 Tue 11:34 AM PDT    3.3 knots  Max Flood
    2018-06-12 Tue  3:01 PM PDT   -0.1 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
    2018-06-12 Tue  5:54 PM PDT   -2.8 knots  Max Ebb
    2018-06-12 Tue  9:10 PM PDT   Sunset
    2018-06-12 Tue  9:51 PM PDT    0.0 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
    2018-06-12 Tue 11:45 PM PDT    2.6 knots  Max Flood
    2018-06-13 Wed  2:15 AM PDT   -0.1 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins
    2018-06-13 Wed  5:10 AM PDT   Sunrise
    2018-06-13 Wed  5:54 AM PDT   -3.1 knots  Max Ebb
    2018-06-13 Wed  9:42 AM PDT    0.0 knots  Slack, Flood Begins
    2018-06-13 Wed 12:19 PM PDT    3.5 knots  Max Flood
    2018-06-13 Wed 12:45 PM PDT   New Moon
    2018-06-13 Wed  3:46 PM PDT   -0.1 knots  Slack, Ebb Begins

    Current Apps
    Deep Zoom - Using augmented reality and a slide bar to show differences in current through the cycle.
    Mobile Graphics

    Current Table Books
    Captn Jacks
    Waggoner's Tables
    Evergreen Pacific Tide/Current Pocket Guides

    Port Townsend Canal

    The images below show Port Townsend Canal which separates Olympic Peninsula from Indian and Marrowstone Islands. Originally an isthmus and later dredged into a canal, tidal current can rip through here.

    The Seventy48 race put on by the NW Maritime Center has a last check point on the south side of the canal in Oak Bay (top of pic here) for those paddling the 70 miles (in 48hrs) from Tacoma to Port Townsend on June 11-13.

    PT (Port Townsend) locals tell me they downwind the canal when winds buck the current thus building large surfable waves.

    Given outward flow in the pics below, you can see why you want to time for the ebb when you pass through here.  Note the water flow in the image from the top of the image northwards to the bottom of the image.

    During the 2018 race, there's large tidal exchanges on the ebbs (Low Tides):
    6/12: -1.8 @ 9:15am
    6/13: - 2.6 @ 10am

    Ebb - Take Middle for free ride (watch for boats)

    Miss the ebb?  Paddle along the shore (red arrows) using the eddies created behind each point sticking out, then fire up current to get into the next eddy.  Good time for a rubber fin. Or surf behind a boat going your direction if you get lucky.  

    Note on the black/white image below how many swirls or gyros are created as a result of all the curves and points of land on either side of the canal.  Point A to B in a straight line isn't your fastest route here.
    Blue box includes area above
    Upcoming Tidal Currents and Navigation Classes
    Follow me to get info for upcoming Seventy48 prep classes in the Seattle area.
    Send me a note or join my mailing list at to updates.

    I recommend my Deception Pass Tidal Rapids class to really learn how tidal currents and how paddle in them. Super fun class too. 

    More Seventy48 Training Links:
    5 Books I'm Using to Plan for the Race

    Photos from the Dept of Ecology WA Shoreline Photos site
    Current Map in David Burch's Tidal Currents of Puget Sound

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.
    Seventy48 Training


    How to Outfit your SUP for a Day Trip or Overnight Trip

    Here's a video I shot for Canoe Kayak Magazine a few years back on how to outfit your board and pack for a SUP trip. The gear is a bit dated (2011) but the basic concepts still work.

    What You'll Learn:

    - What type of board to use for a trip. Note that surf style / all a rounder boards work fine as well. I now use both a 18' unlimited board as well as a 16' stitch and glue wood board with full internal storage from Splinter SUP.

    - How to outfit your board to carry gear. Learn how to secure your gear to the board

    - How to use dry bags to keep your gear dry

    - Which gear to pack and how to pack it and store in dry bags

    - How to be a minimalist and pack with packing the essentials

    - How to balance your load to prevent shifting which affects your balance

    Not in the Video:

    - Do a 'dry run' or a 'shake down' trip to test how your gear feels on the board. Feel like too much? Or maybe you could add more? Any shifting? Is your gear staying dry?

    - Keep in mind needing to step back on the tail for downwinding, surfing or tight turns in rough water or high wind conditions. I've noticed many packing loads of gear on both ends of the board thus reducing the opportunity to step back if needed.

    - Doing trips on inflatables. Most inflatables have D-Ring tie-downs on the nose. You can add additional D-rings on the rear if needed.  I'd suggest looking at a 12'-6" board or longer for more speed and cargo space.

    More Tips on SUP Trippin'

    Splinter SUP  from Port Townsend, WA

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.


    Seventy48 Training - Where to Camp for the Race on Puget Sound

    WWTA Campsites along the race course
    A few folks have asked me where to camp during the Seventy48 race. Here's a map of legal campsites courtesy of the WA Water Trails Association and other useful info..

    If you go the regular route up Colvos, there's plenty of legal options until you pass Bainbridge - then it's time to pull out the camo netting and go guerilla style until the south end of Indian Island.

    Luckily the race route follows the Cascadia Marine Trail run by the WA Water Trails Association. On the map below you have plenty of options.

    Click here for the WWTA site to get detailed info for each site. Look for number of campsites, site fees (bring cash), water options, sanitation options, fire restrictions, and other info. The Kitsap Water Trail also has a few of these on their Map

    The WWTA site can also help you plan your trip between each site with marine chart info, distance between each site and trailheads as well as GPS coordinates. Join the WWTA for more detailed info, discounts and to support public access and to keep these sites open.

    See the image here for Blake Island which has 3 campsites.  The NW site is WWTA, the E site at
    Tillikum Village which has the most space and water. The S 'primitive' site only has 1-2 tent spaces.

    Things to look for with legal camp spots:
    - Water
    - Fees
    - Tent sites (how many)
    - Sanitation options
    - Raccoon issues (get a bear canister). Blake Island does have bear boxes. Raccoons can and will rip into your kayak hatches and dry bags.

    Guerilla / Stealth / Ninja Camping
    Should these options not work for you either due to where you happen to stop for the night and/or your camping style, you could get away with guerilla camping.  Use Google Earth to scout for non-developed areas. The former SeaTrails sites do on occasion list private and government land to avoid.

    Things to Consider for Guerilla Camping:

    - Daily high tide - NOAA tides for Puget Sound
    - Know the rules and avoid development
    - Read more about guerilla camping below..
    - Leave No Trace

    From the Mariner Kayaks Owner's Manual
    Beach Camping Hazards
    On an outgoing tide you could become stranded in tidal basins with wide areas of muddy shallows such as often occur where a river enters a bay. A long shallow beach could mean a long carry to a resting or camping place at low tide. Also on this shallow type beach the tide comes in very rapidly so you must be especially careful not to leave your kayak unsecured for even a few minutes or it could float away. Carry your kayak and equipment well above high tide line and then tie it to a fixed object in case you misjudged the tide. More great info from Mariner

    Here's a few links to help with guerilla camping..
    Guerilla Camping for Paddlers
    We May or May Not Support Guerilla Camping / Adventure Journal
    Stealth Camping Tips
    Stealth Camping 101
    Fresh off the grid - Free camping resources
    How to Camp on a Beach

    How to Find Guerilla Camping Spots:
    Wth both sites, check past and current years to see how the beach can change. And look for sites with some driftwood so you'll be above the high tide line.
    Google Earth
    Dept of Ecology WA Shoreline Photos (love this site!)

    2 NW Paddle Guides to help plan your trip:
    Water Trail - Joel Rogers (out of print) Joel paddled from Olympia to Pt Roberts. Great info and photos on everything in between.

    Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips (my book). The Seventy48 route is well covered in the book.

    Check for future posts on this subject:
    -How to pack your SUP for an overnight
    -Outfitting your SUP for overnight trips
    -Finding Ultralight gear

    Check out my other 70/48 Posts;
    5 Books I'm Using to Plan for the Race

    Salmon Bay Paddle / Paddle Smarter not Harder
    Beginning to advanced SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest
    and PSUPA certification.

    And Seventy48 Training in-person or via phone