One of our own team mates capsized, lost his kayak and got unconscious three kilometres offshore during our last trip. It’s probably one of the worst nightmares that can happen to us. Luckily it’s just a training scenario, the “worst case scenario” in fact! In our group we train these things on a regular base. Not only because we paddle safer, but also to build up trust in each other, to learn from mistakes and to get better in what we do. It’s also team building and thus great fun! The week before we did practically the same scenario but in rougher conditions, it works also. It’s important to state that this is in no way a training video, we just want to show what is possible and how we respond to such an incident as a team. There is certainly no “one solution for every problem”, but this is a possible way to counter these events. Always make sure to take care of the (unconscious) paddler first. Retrieving his kayak comes later. If the paddler is conscious and you’re sure that he is OK, you can go after the drifting kayak and bring it back to him. Most important is to communicate with each other in a loud and clear way. Work always as a team not as an individual, get everyone involved. Make sure to take First Aid classes every now and then, make sure to know how to use your equipment (radio, cell phone, Personal Locater Beacon,….) and dress for immersion. Always wear your PFD, no exceptions!
I have a question. Why do you go paddling? I asked myself that very same question years ago. Years ago my answer was because of the sports, the adventure, the close contact with nature… Now my answer has slightly changed. I kept telling myself that I’m addicted to sea kayaking, that I needed the workout and the companionship of my teammates. That is maybe not the whole truth. Those reasons are merely a cover up for what is maybe the real reason. I’m addicted to the sea… Do you think that a fisherman sails the seas his whole life just to catch fish…? It’s that attraction I think…. That counts for us also. We are sea wanderers! We love to be in the salt water, for so called rescue drills! Yeah right! While sea kayaking we spend perhaps more time in the water than in our craft. And the smiles, that’s an extra!
As a sea kayaker I’m often confronted with pollution. On my many trips I encounter a variety of marine litter. The things I recover the most are balloons, Styrofoam, fishing nets, toys (especially during the summer months), plastic bags, tin cans and bigger things. I’m hoping to convince others to take the initiative of collecting garbage, and to put it where it belongs; in the bin! I know I’m not alone, I’m certainly not the only one doing this on a regular base, but there’s much work to be done. We also have to change our mind set and way of life. We have to stop using that amount of plastic in our daily lives. I made this video with the footage of years filming and photographing, in order to shove it under the noses of those who are thinking that there is nothing wrong! We have to take care of our playground, it’s full of life and beauty. The only thing that is missing sometimes is the will to act! So don’t think, but DO!
We are in the first place real sea admirers, and in the second place sea kayakers. This is the last video of the year 2016. It contains footage of the last sessions we did with the team. After ten years of wandering our piece of the North Sea, we are more enthusiast than ever! We wanted to start the video with a fitting poem, as a tribute to this wonderful water mass that provides us with intriguing, challenging and beautiful conditions to paddle in. We want to thank all our team members for their friendship, our sympathizers for their support and al others who made our team grow during those last years. Come with us on our last journey of 2016, we’ll see each other next year on the water!
It’s been a while since we’ve been out for a paddle along the Northern French coastline. We chose to meet with other team paddlers at the pebble beach near Audresselles early in the morning. We planned our trip around Cap Griz Nez so that we had two times the tidal stream in our favour. Ideal to paddle as close as possible to the rocky beaches with the least effort. There wasn’t much wind but the swell was good and provided small waves for us to play on. We are used to paddle along Belgium’s sandy coasts, so this was a welcome change. Although you may not see it in the video, the British coastline was clearly visible that day, both on the water as from an elevated position. We’re not sure, but I think the Dover cliffs were calling us…. Enjoy the video, and when in the neighbourhood with a kayak on the roof of the car, make sure to stop for a paddle along this beautiful coast.
This is the fifth “Wetwork” video that we have made so far. We want to take you with us on open water, surf sessions and other stuff that can make you wet! It’s good to share the vibe, and we hope you enjoy it. Nothing world-shaking but honest footage from our spring and summer sessions. See you on the water!
There is more to sea kayaking than just forward paddling. You will enjoy paddling even more when you are fully in control of your boat. You will be able to get closer in and around things when having certain abilities. It’s a lot more fun too. This time we have put some of the most important manoeuvring techniques in one video. It is not a training video, therefor it is to short and it lacks some explanation of the details. But we will let you see what is possible with a sea kayak and a good paddle in your hands. As you can see in our others videos, those techniques are working well in the rougher stuff or in the surf zone. It sure will take some time to master those manoeuvring techniques but it will be worth the while. The video contains footage of some draw strokes, turning a sea kayak, both low and high brace, bow and stern rudder. We filmed from different angles to show you how it’s done. We’ve put a lot of effort and time in this video and we sincerely hope that it may be of use to other paddlers. Paddle safe and take care of each other!
Two years have passed since my last visit to the Oostdyck Radar Tower. Today, conditions were good and so we set of from the Oostduinkerke beach. It is a very good navigation exercise because, although the tower is 36 metres high, you mostly cannot see it until half way. The tower is located not less than 22 kilometres offshore. It’s operational since 2003 and its purpose is to provide guidance for the bigger ocean ships. The international shipping lane is nearby and also the Westhinder anchorage (where ships have to wait for the pilot to come on board). On some days, with extreme good visibility, you can spot the tower from the coast when standing on an elevated position. We have been nine hours on the water to reach the radar tower and get back to shore. Again, it was worth the effort, reaching it and not being able to see the coast! Three hundred and sixty degrees of pure, open water, absolute peace and quiet…… The tower itself is unmanned.
29 July Porthdafarch – South Stack, via Penrhyn Mawr, with Ed Loffill
2 August Soldiers Point – South Stack, via North Stack with Ed Loffill and Justine Curgenven
Sea Kayak Sailing/Surfing at Penrhyn Mawr
Sea Kayak Sailing/Surfing at South Stack
The sail was taken down for surfing steeper waves at South Stack
The sail back up to surf closely past South Stack’s headland
Beam reach sailing back to Porthdafarch
South Stack with Ed and Justine
The Delphin MKII CoreLite X
The biggest improvement I found in the Delphin MKII CoreLite X is the extra speed and responsiveness it has in surf. This is thanks largely to the greater stiffness in the plastic construction. The cockpit has also been improved to provide better comfort and connectivity. The day hatch is a welcome addition, as are the sailing fittings. In summary, the Delphin MKII CoreLite X has all of the great features of the original Delphin but with some very useful additions/refinements and stiffer plastic for even more fun surfing.
Sea Kayak Sailing in Tideraces
It is a bit of a balance whether/or not to deploy the sail in a tiderace. When the waves are not particularly steep the addition of a sail makes catching waves far easier, increasing the number of surfable waves and the length of the runs. At some point the balance between fun and fear will probably tip towards fear, or at the very least uncomfortableness. It is now time to take the sail down as the surf has steepened up and you probably don’t need any more help catching the waves.
It has been a while since we have been on the water together. So today, we planned a little daytrip to Northern France, more specific Cap Gris Nez. It is located along the Dover Strait (Pas de Calais) on the French side of course and is known for its strong tidal current and fast changing weather. We planned on paddling near the rocks and cliffs around high water. While it was very sunny the first part of the trip, weather began to change very fast (within 30 minutes) and a sea fog set out all over the area. When in the neighbourhood with a kayak on the roof of your car, make sure to stop by and enjoy the scenery (and meet the grey seals that live there)!