Thursday, June 15, 2017

Surf's up!

Wednesday evening and it was windy and cold.  Warm if it was January but for June 14th at 4C with a windchill of 0C it wasn't very seasonal.  Then with a NW wind of 20 knots gusting to 30 it was, shall we say, raw.

I arrived to see only Shane there concerned no one else would show.  I was already in my drysuit and here's Shane walking around in just jeans and a T-shirt.  I must have been exaggerating the conditions *lol*.

We got ready and headed out of the channel to face the wind and waves.

The idea was to paddle into the wind and waves for some distance before turning to catch surf rides back.  The first run was right into the teeth of the wind and uphill on the larger waves.  There's not much protection to hide from the NW wind but I knew it would be a short evening if I continued with that tactic.  So, from previous experience I paddled into the wind closer to shore and rest ...

... briefly between runs in this smallest of sheltered spots before heading back into the waves.

After an hour it seemed the wind was dropping slightly so Shane suggested a paddle up the shore some distance.  While the wind did drop some the sea state did not as we paddled close to the shoe in the waves and clapotis.

It was just the two of us.  I knew several other regulars had commitments but where was everyone else?  One of the objectives of Wednesday evening practices is to develop conditioning to paddle in challenging wind and waves when necessary.  The question then arises in my mind, do I have an obligation to tow anyone who doesn't see the need to put in the effort and suddenly find themselves in over their heads and unprepared to deal with the conditions?

Obviously, there is a need to tow in case of an injury.  But, I'd have to think long and hard otherwise.  Fair or not?


  1. My opinion... If I am going to leave the beach with other paddlers then I believe I have to be prepared and willing to tow anybody who may need to be towed, regardless if they are practicing or not in conditions, and regardless if they are able to tow me or not. If I am not prepared to tow them then I should turn around and go back home or paddle in the other direction. I guess what it comes down to is that when we paddle we should be selective in who it is we are inviting, or if being invited then decide if we are satisfied with whom we will be paddling with.

    My paddling motto is "we are all in this thing together." If I paddle with someone they would expect me to tow them if the need arises, and I would do it. In return I expect the people paddling with me to tow me if the need arises without having to think about it... that is a fair expectation. But in order to tow people have to have a tow rope. I see too many people paddling that don't have them, or have them but don't take them, or don't take proper tow ropes.

    If memory serves me correctly, on my last paddle only half the people had tow ropes. C'mon paddlers, get a proper sea kayaking tow system, learn how to use it, and practice towing with it...

    1. Of course I would be prepared to tow anyone where safety is concerned but as a last resort. I wouldn't be too quick to clip in. Rather, I'd slow to paddle alongside as support and encourage them to keep paddling. No pain, no gain!

      We don't always get the chance to pick who we paddle with as in, for example, club paddles.

      Yes we are all in this together but everyone needs to judge for themselves whether their skills are equal to the conditions, or expected conditions, before getting on the water.