Make it FUN - What ever the goal or resolution. Find a way to make it fun and it will be more attainable. This is where recruiting a fun-loving friend, coworker, or family member will help.
Learn proper skills and technique. Some aspects of kayaking are intuitive; however, there are many nuances and tricks that one can learn that will make kayaking more efficient and more fun for paddlers of at any skills level. We (and many other instructors) often share tips on twitter, facebook, and in our blogs, but, the best way to develop proper technique is to work with an instructor or coach who can give instruction and feedback. Kayak symposiums are a great way to meet different coaches and find that right mentor. Two of our favorite west coast symposiums are the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium in February and Lumpy Waters in October.
Try a new discipline of paddling. The skills that you learn with a different type of boat or paddle will improve your overall skills in all disciplines. If you like to paddle a sit on top kayak, take a sea kayak lesson in a decked sea kayak. If you like to sea kayak ocean rock gardens, try a whitewater river class or rock gardening in a whitewater kayak. Jeff and I are expanding our paddling skills this year to include Stand-Up Paddling (SUP).
Sea Kayaking - Pick a BCU Star Award to work toward. The BCU system is a well organized guide for skill progression. It gives a paddler a way to assess their skills and plan for improvement. Trainings and assessments are available throughout the US and in many other great kayaking destinations (Baja, anyone?). If you are new to the BCU, consider taking a 2 Star Assessment or 3 Star Sea Training this winter or spring. Here's a link to LFK's BCU schedule.
Whitewater River Kayaking - Make 2012 the year that you style the river rather than survive it. Perfect your eddy turns and ferries and dial your wave surfing by a few minutes of focused practice on each of your river trips. Either with a class or with friends, see who can ferry across the river with the fewest strokes or time each other on surfing waves.
Surf Kayaking - How about training for an event? The Santa Cruz Paddlefest is March 16-18. See some of the best kayak surfers in the world as well as have a chance to surf at Santa Cruz Steamer's Lane. Here's our video from 2011.
Have a Reliable Roll - For the safety of yourself and others, you need to have a reliable roll if you are paddling challenging waters. For most of us, this takes a lot of focused practice and often some good coaching. Often there is one little thing that we can do or focus on that will improve the success of our rolls. How do we find that one little thing? Usually it involves feedback from a coach or friend who analyzes your roll. That one little thing can be as simple as making sure you finish ( Creating a Reliable Roll by Phil and Mary Dereimer) or using an active leg drop (Shawna Franklin's tip in Adventure Kayak Magazine) or just relaxing and taking a moment to relax before rolling.
Improving your fitness - We of course advocate cross training. Cardiovascular training will make long paddles or slogs through a headwind easier. Hiking, mountain biking, and swimming are our favorite cardio exercises. Recruit a friend, family member, or coworker to power walk, hike, bike, or swim 2-3 days a week. Set a schedule with specific times and days and try to stick with it.
Strength and flexibility are equally important and will help with injury prevention. I am a reluctant yoga participant, but Jeff has been rallying me to regularly practice. We do our strength and flexibility workouts first thing in the morning so that they get done and we feel great the rest of the day. It is best to work with an instructor, but I have a hard time getting myself to the gym or studio and prefer to practice at home. My two favorite yoga workout dvd's are Yoga for Cyclists and Anna Levesque's Yoga for Kayaking.
Be prepared for emergencies - Prevention, prevention, prevention is our motto; however, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. CPR and First Aid are a must for anyone. This year, we have recruited Sierra Rescue to come to the Mendocino Coast to teach a Wilderness First Aid Class for the outdoor enthusiasts in our area. If you are playing in whitewater, a swiftwater training is a must as well. If you have had training, rally your friends to practice scenarios and to maintain a dialog of contingency plans.
Cate and Jeff
Greetings Friends of Liquid Fusion Kayaking,
Thanks for visiting our website. We've been busy creating our 2012 kayaking program. For 2012, we are expanding some of our Mendocino kayaking programs and creating some new ones. We also have created special gift certificates so that you can share the fun of Liquid Fusion Kayaking with your friends and family.
For 2012, we are excited to announce our Mendocino Waves and Caves Weekend. This weekend of rock gardening and sea cave kayaking fun is fashioned after the infamous Los Arboritos whitewater weekend that Greg Knight and Jeff used to lead for Aqua Adventures. Those that have paddled both Mendo and Arbo describe Mendo as "Arbo on Steroids." Don't miss this fun trip that includes camping, meals, and adventure.
Our Sunday Paddles are expanding for 2012 to include First Sunday Estuary Paddles, Second Sunday Sea Kayak Coastal Exploration, and Third Sunday Sea Kayak Rock Garden Exploration and Play. These paddles are guided by both Cate and Jeff and will run monthly April through October and are only $40/person.
In February, we are teaming up with Sierra Rescue to offer a Wilderness First Aid Course on the Mendocino Coast. Prevention, prevention, prevention is our motto, but it is good to know what to do when a medical emergency arises.
Whitewater river kayaking season is coming be sure to check out our line-up of whitewater kayaking classes for this winter on the rivers of Mendocino County.
Speaking of the season - give the gift of adventure this holiday season. We are offering special deals on Liquid Fusion Kayaking gift certificates for you to share with your family and friends. Choose from dry and mild or wet and wild or call us to make a custom gift certificate.
Best of days,
Cate and Jeff