Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No kayaking today: fun on ice...

Schaatsen op de Oostvaardersplassen

It's winter in Holland: skating with friends and family on the Oostvaardersplassen.

Happy New Year!!!

Wave of the year...

Photographer and location unknown? - Thanks Ad for this picture!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Werner Paddles - ferrule system updated

Werner has redesigned their Adjustable Ferrule. The button is now flush with the shaft. The old button -shown in the pictures- popped out about half a centimetre. Some paddlers complained about occasionally snagging, or even worse: unintended release of their split Werner Peddles . The new design of the ferrule system should prevent this.

I own a Werner Shuna paddle since half a year. The ease of use and the rigidity of the ferrule system were part of the arguments to choose the Werner prior to its contestants. It never disappointed me, it proved to be very reliable (no unintended release) and after half a year of heavy use the fit is still perfect, no rattling and no signs of any wearing out. I only find it a pity (and not fitting to the perfect finish of the rest of the paddle) that Werner uses simple decals on the shaft to indicate the degree of feather. As shown on the picture these decals tend get loose - and it's rather stupid when they are lost: you then have to guess what angle you put the paddle together... The paddle on the video on the Werner website has a second degree-scale on the inside of the ferrule system. Also part of the update?

You may argue how useful the option to change the feather of a paddle blade on the water is - once you have found "your favourite angle of feather" you will probably stick to it. For coaching groups however, I find it a big advantage - I can give my paddle to any other member of the group regardless if he is left- or right angle paddling.

Werner offers customers with 2008 and prior Adjustable Ferrules, free of charge, the Werner Button Cover. This Button Cover allows you to retro fit your, 2008 and prior paddles, to perform at the level of the new ferrule design. The Werner Button Cover creates a transition from the shaft to the top of the button and will fit both Standard and Small diameter shafts.

Earlier this year I finally decided to buy the Werner Shuna as the new allround split-paddle (I own a collection of paddles: a traditional hand crafted wooden Greenland paddle, a full-carbon racing-wing, a rigid cranked white water paddle and several lengths of touring paddles). Arguments for the Werner were -beside the ferrule system - the light weight and good balance, absence of flex, the availability of a wide shaft and the good experiences I had with the Ikelos and the Cyprus I tried out for a long time. To be fair: the Wener Ikelos and Cyprus would have been my first choice - wasn't the price tag in Europe that extreme (500 euro at that time - despite the dollar/euro-rate...). The Shuna costed about 300 euro and I hoped for a similar performance as from the Cyprus. The Shuna lacks the buoyant feel on the water of the foam core blades of the Cyprus, but blade size is almost identical. It took a little while to get used to the Shuna, but now I really like it, especially under heavier conditions (loaded kayak, strong winds).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The forward stroke on the kayak ergo...

Two cold days and the water around Woerden is frozen. Ice not solid enough for skating -alas-, but thick enough to hinder the near-house training-paddle. Lucky are the paddlers with an kayak-ergo!

Between video's like "how to make the perfect X-mas pud" and "how to style short dark hair" on Howto.tv I discovered this instructive video on the forward stroke with Trevor Wetherall - former British National Team Paddler and BCU Olympic Coach.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shine a light - kayaking in darkness...

"Kiekeboe!": Well known Dutch seakayak-coach demonstrating how to shine a light...

Update 29-12-2008: René suggests in the comments an alternative solution - you don't have to shave your head: the Navi Light 360 - click here for René's review. Used on a baseball-cap with a large brim it must be a good solution for a solo paddler - for group-paddling it might shine to bright with 16 LED's...

Fijne kerstdagen! Merry Christmas!

We just had the shortest day - daylight is scarce these days. My paddling during the week now mostly takes place in darkness. Even on the quiet waters around Woerden, with seldom any other traffic on the water - it's important to be visible on the water. To meet Dutch regulations a kayak should have a white toplight that is visible from all directions (it doesn't have to be on continuously). Red/green navigation lights in addition are an option, but are not compulsary.

After years of experimenting with less durable solutions, since over a year I am absolutely contented with the Tektite Stern Light. The versions with one or two LED's are sufficient - 4 LED's are defintively to much - the bright light will blind you. The requirement that the light should be visible from all sides - makes mounting on the kayak awkward - I am not a fan of big constructions on the deck. Sea kayak-coach Axel demonstrates the perfect solution - very basic, preparation is just a regular visit to the hair-dresser ;-)

Downside of this solution is (1) that the suction cup sucks really powerful - dismounting may leave some questionable traces and (2) (more serious:) downside of a white light shining above you is that it disturbs your night vision. That's why I opt for the second best solution and mount the light on the deck behind my back. OK, this doesn't meet all regulations completely - the paddler is in front of the light, resulting in no 100 % visibility from all directions. But because most traffic looks down on a kayak from a higher position - on the water the light works also sufficient with approaching vessels.

To read compass and charts I use in addition a simple red LED-bikelight in a waterproof bag. Works better -and is much cheaper - than a chemical lightstick!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A large number of yellow buoys in front of the Zuid-Hollandse and Zeeuwse Eilanden...

Screenshot of the radar kindly supplied by Dutch Coastguard. Click on the image for a more detailed view. The light-blue-line is the reflection of the surf along the Aardappelenbult and the beaches of Goeree.

Quote from the Navber 81/08 Vlissingen: As part of the "Natura 2000-beheerplan Voordelta" a great number of yellow buoys have been laid in front of the Zuid-Hollandse and Zeeuwse Eilanden. These buoys mark resting areas-to-be for seals and birds and an area for bottomprotection. For further information see www.noordzeeloket.nl These areas and buoys will be published in the 2009-edition of chart 1801 and trough NtM's for charts 110, 116 and 122.

Paddling in the Voordelta last Saturday we "inspected" the yellow buoys Rijkswaterstaat has laid around the closed zone of the Aardappelenbult recently. Due to weather conditions (a cloudy and drizzling day) visibility in general was limited, yet the buoys were quit easy to be seen from the cockpit of the kayak.

The Buoys around the Aardappelenbult are named "BO" which is an abbreviation for "Bollen van de Ooster" (the more official name for the sand the seakayakers call A'bult).

The legal status of the resting area is made clear on the backside of the Buoys: "Nbw 1998, art. 20". "Nbw 1998" is an abbreviation for the "Natuurbeschermingswet 1998" - the Dutch law on nature protection, "artikel 20" refers to the nature reserves with restricted acces.

Buoys marked as waypoint with the GPS on 20-12-2008

The actual numbers on the buoys on the water differ from the numbers on the radar-screenshot. The marks on the radar-screen are based upon the Markeringsplan Natura 2000 gebieden Voordelta (click here - see the map on page 14). During the realisation of the "Markeringsplan" Rijkswaterstaat obviously decided to change numbers and names ("BO" instead of "BVO"). As far as we noticed, the location of the buoys is conform the screenshot and the markeringsplan: BO 16=BVO 104, BO 29 = BVO15, BO 27=BVO14, BO 25=BVO13).

The new buoys will be marked on the Nautical Charts published in early 2009. A good occasion to renew your old chart ( Hydrografische kaart 1801)!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mountain-biking in the Deltametropool

THE DELTA METROPOLIS represents the changing mosaic of villages, towns, cities and a multitude of urban overspills, innovations and fragments - the sprawling city - in a controlled and carefully managed dynamic maze of scenic and urban components, the synergy of which relies on a sophisticated and interlinked transport and communications system - the compact city. This change is brought about by the transformation of each one of the four components of the spatial planning system: the water in the delta, the man-made landscape, the areas of urban interaction and the transport and communications network.

Forgive me please: two weeks off, but recreating in the middle of the Randstad (=the densely populated western part of the Netherlands) it's impossible to completely forget work ;-)

This afternoon Alex and I explored the Mountain Bike Track "Dirty Hill" near Outdoor Valley in Bergschenhoek. It's a demanding mountain-bike track and we had some hours good fun. The highest point of the route offers a great overview over the complete urbanized area between Rotterdam, the Hague, Zoetermeer and Gouda. The panorama makes one clear that the time of four individual agglomarations is definitively over: this is one big urbanized area. And the MTB-track is squeezed in the middle of it...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter - Lunch at the beach

René and I lunched in the lee of our kayaks on the beach of Goeree. There were no other people on the beach. But don't ever believe you're alone. Even this winterly picnic "in the middle of nowhere" is documented. For the two kayakers out at sea in the middle of the winter this is a reassuring idea... Thanks for the photographer!

Winter paddling at the North Sea Coast - the Voordelta

Update 23-12-2008:
A more comprehensive impression of this daytrip and a review of the performance of the Silhouette-seakayak (Nigel Foster design) in lively water in René's kajakblog.

Brouwershavensche Gat: High tide 08.00 AM, Low tide 14.00 PM
Marine weather forecast: Warning Gales 7 Bft.W 5-6 Bft, later W 3-4 Bft, Warning Gales 7 Bft.
Actual Wind: W 5 Bft, later W 4 Bft.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Winter paddling in het Groene Hart - the Green heart of Holland

A short impression of a relaxed tour with Alex, Jaap and Paul on the first day of the "end of the year holiday".

Total distance: 23 km's.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter paddling in Scotland

PH has recently uploaded some promotional kayak-video's with Doug Cooper at the P&H website. Most of the video's feature short introductions to different P&H kayaks, there is a personal introduction of Doug and there are some basic "handy tips". Interesting is the video about the new cord-skeg-system - it looks like a fool-proof and reliable solution.

Absolutely fabulous in the video's is the scenery: Scottish coast in winter: so appealing!

PS: René posted earlier a more extensive description of the new P@H-skeg-system on his weblog.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cold water? Don't paddle without PFD!

...so hypothermia isn't the most lethal threat in cold water, but drowning is.

Note: 45 degrees Fahrenheit is 7 degrees Celsius. The actual water temperature along the Dutch North Sea Coast is about 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit), inland river water temperature (Lek, Rhine) is about 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit).

Thanks Joris for this video-tip!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Over and Out?

...as for 'Over and out,' you would be shot out of the water if you used the phrase on marine radio. 'Over' means 'I have finished speaking and am awaiting a reply.' 'Out' means 'I have finished the communication.' 'Over and Out' should NEVER be used together in serious radio communication.

Several fellow kayakbloggers reported about Dubside.net closing last week. On Youtube appeared a video of Tom Sharp (video-producer and partner of the Dubside.net) speaking on the Deception Pass Dash-kayakmeeting about his motivation to stop. After finishing his speak Tom hands out the last copies of the Greenland Rope Gymnastics, Greenland rolling, and Modern Greenland Kayaking-DVD's for free to the crowd. It's a painful image.

I guess I was just in time ordering my copy of Modern Greenland Kayaking a while ago. I am sure I won't be the only one missing the good stuff of Dubside and Tom. I never met Dubside in real life and I only had a short, but pleasant e-mail conversation with Tom about the Modern Greenland Kayaking-DVD. But both guys have contributed a lot to my passion for Inuit culture and Greenland rolling skills. Thanks Tom, thanks Dubside!

My personal first acquaintance with the Greenland kayak rolling-skills was back in 2000 watching a rolling-demonstration during the Eskimoland-exposition in the Museon. In 2003 I saw Maligiac Padilla performing his fascinating skills at the Anglesey Seakayak Symposium, in 2005 Freya Hoffmeister learned me in half an hour the essentials of the layback and forward ending rolls, later I practiced greenland rolling with Axel Schoevers in the swimming pool, but it was above all the excellent explanation of Dubside on the Greenland Rolling Dubside-DVD that helped me with the finesses. And that gave me a drive for many, many joyful rolling-training hours! The video's of Tom and Dubside are basic and essential - made with a very infective enthusiasm. I was eagerly awaiting Volume 2... The closing of Dubside.net is a pitty for all Greenland kayak enthusiasts. And a personal drama for some.

Backgrounds? Liability and the fear for lawyers and the claim-culture is one issue, discord in kayaking-communities and organisations is an other. It's always the same story - all over the world. I can't put this better in words than Derrick did.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kayak Indoor European Challenge

picture supplied by the Dansk Kano og Kajak Forbund

The kayak-ergometer was a very welcome instruction tool at the Forward Stroke Clinic for seakayak-coaches held early November. Above all it's a fitness-trainer. And for some it's a racing-tool. Here is an invitation from Denmark:

Dear Sport Friends,

The Danish Canoe Federation has pleasure in
inviting your Federation to be represented at
the Kayak Indoor European Challenge, for
Juniors, Seniors and Masters to be held
January 24th 2009 in Copenhagen. This is the
first indoor challenge hopefully leading up to
an official European Championship
recognized by the European Canoe

We are looking forward in meeting you at The
House of Sport.

With Sporting Regards

Danish Canoe Federation
Ole Tikjøb, President

Information and registration: www.kano-kajak.dk

NKB Zeekampen 2009

NKB Zee-opleidingsweek Zeeland July 25th - August 1st, 2009
NKB Zee-opleidingsweek Vlieland September 5th - September 12th, 2009

Yesterday-evening I promoted the courses of the NKB Sea kayak-committee in Alphen aan de Rijn. I had prepared a presentation in two parts: the first part was a powerpoint-presentation about the about the natural and cultural highlights of Vlieland and environs (and a bit about the fascination of kayaking in the Wadden region). In the second part I tried to give an impression of the program and the atmosphere of a seakayak-week-course with a slideshow.

Making a selection for the slideshow proved to be quit a big job - I had underestimated it a bit. I thought it would be simple as I have a huge collection of Vlieland-pictures. But over the years they have spread over different directories. Chaos in Gigabytes - I really must make a start to organise my pictures more efficient (On this purpose I Installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on my laptop long time ago, but I still must start using it...). And so it took some time last week to find the pictures I had in mind. Never mind - a lot of good memories came by, scrolling down the directories. And now I have made this selection, I can use it for more presentations. I uploaded the selected pictures in a public album on Picasaweb - so if you want to get an impression (without words) of the atmosphere of a seakayak-week on Vlieland: just click here.

The audience was great, visitors from kayak-clubs in the wider region. I am curious if I meet some of these enthusiast people at the seakayakcourses in Zeeland and Vlieland next year!

More detailed information about the NKB seakayak-course on the NKB-website. The information is still about the 2008-activities, but is due to be updated in the next few weeks. The 2009 dates are: Zeeland July 25th - August 1st, 2009 and Vlieland September 5th - September 12th, 2009. Registration for the seakayak-weeks in 2009 opens in the first week of Januari. A download form will be available at the NKB-website.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

DWD - Picture report

More pictures of a fantastic morning in Zoetermeer in the Picasa-album. The number of seakayakers exploring the white water discipline is steadily growing - today we were 3: Hans, Bernhard and Govert.

Jelle, Lieke and Bernhard's sons enjoyed the Flowriders indoors.

Look who is swimming here? It was not my best day ;-) Great fun though!

On days like this - you appreciate the drysuit! Kokatat Goretex Expedition - probably not the first choice of the white water kayaker, but it does a great job on an competition white water track too...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

3rd International seakayak symposium - Pagaia, Llanca - Catalonia

In April 2009 the 3rd edition of the International Sea kayak symposium on the Costa Brava is held. Last year members of the organising kayakclub Pagaia took part on the NKB-Vlieland-seakayakweek. I am very pleased that I can join their symposium in return. I am looking forward to meet my Catalan friends and to cooperate in this international event.

More information about the symposium: III Symposium internacional de kayak de mar - in Spanish, Catalan, French and German.

White water training at the DWD-site

Tomorrow is the final edition of this year of the NKB-white water sessions at DWD (-the artificial white water track in Zoetermeer). There is a short winter break for the NKB-sessions, but the site stays open. There are several training occasions, also during the winter-months, for (advanced) white water kayakers: visit www.wildwateracademie.nl for more information and time schedules.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

In the newspaper: Wyrda Pool Session

Click on the picture to read the Dutch text - AD, editie Groen Hart

Working with Natasha, Nynke, Hetty, Jos, and Jelle, I had no idea what was happening behind my back: Jan and Paul in a fight? ;-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Banner - for a good cause...

One of the reasons to use a Blogger-account for this weblog is the absence of banners and other advertisements in the layout. Banners are are getting really aggressive lately - especially on some MSN-websites (my hotmail account) - and that's on purpose: advertisers are using virals, pre-rolls, expandables and take-overs to attract the attention of the web-visitor. It works contra-productive with me: I don't feel like doing any business with a company that displays an advertisement as a layer that covers almost the entire underlying webpage (the "layered ad"). Stupid Marketeers!

Said this, you witness the first banner on "Kajaksport op groot Water". Hans has finally discovered how to integrate an html-script! I won't make it a habit - but this one is for a good cause: the KNRM is the Royal Netherlands Sea Rescue Institution - a non-profit organisation, that since its establishment in 1824, the KNRM and its two forebears managed to steer free of subsidies and without charging its ‘clients’. Costs are entirely met by voluntary contributions: regular donations by ‘Rescuers ashore’, legacies and gifts.
Deploying 60 fast lifeboats, which often sail in extremely heavy weather that would keep other sailors in port, and regularly training 1000 volunteers, is bound to be an expensive activity. Gasoil, maintenance to keep state-of-the-art craft in mint condition, repair of –sometimes quite extensive- damage, training and personal equipment of the crews, including the best of survival suits, and taking care of casualties, cost some € 12 million a year.

So here is the plug:
The KNRM needs your help to stay afloat, but we do not require you to embark on a lifeboat in terrible tempests and face the perils of the sea yourselves. You can help, though, by your contribution: even €15,- a year will make you KNRM ‘Rescuers ashore’ and in return the KNRM will keep you regularly informed about our work and invite you for special events organised for our backers. Click here...

Scroll completely down this webpage for a second KNRM Banner with a cute little sailing boat swallowed by the waves...