Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sharing My Day with a Turkey

Another birthday! I'm as excited about it as the turkey was.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back


Photos Primal Pictures Ltd

Didn't get out paddling this weekend, my shoulder has been hurting a bit, and can't risk injuring it any further. The yoga I've been doing seems to have exacerbated a slight rotator cuff tendonitis I"ve had. My Doctor says I've got a calcific rotator cuff tendonitis.

calcification tendonitis refers to a build-up of calcium in the rotator cuff. When calcium builds up in the tendon, it causes a build up of pressure, as well as a chemical irritation. It's been pretty painful.

In addition to the chemical irritation and presssure, the calcium deposit reduces the space between the rotator cuff and the acromion affecting the normal function of the rotator cuff, leading to an impingement when lifting the arm.

According to the Doc, they don't know why the calcium deposits occur, but certainly the rotator cuff tendonitis is an overuse injury. According to him, it's easily healed with good Physical Therapy. So I'll start that this week.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let the Training Begin

This week I officially started my 2007 WaterTribe Everglades Challenge training. Only 16 weeks left. Since the Ultimate Challenge last April, my fitness activities have all been recreational, another words, "I've not had a serious fitness program", so I've got a bit a work to do.

So how does one train for a distance adventure paddling race? First you need to decide on your goal. Are you a racer, wanting to compete against the other challengers, or a cruiser hoping to just finish the Challenge in the allotted time? Next, you need to devise a training plan to met that goal, one that includes both physical and mental conditioning.

Don't underestimate the mental work. Endurance races are a huge mental challenge. In these Challenges, all the paddling and physical conditioning in the world isn't going to help if your afraid to be alone on the water at night in the dark, in fog, in all kinds of marine conditions, crossing unfamiliar inlets, being a couple miles from shore, dealing with boat (sometimes ship) traffic, needing to do surf landings and launches, and all in a sleep deprived state. You have to be able to keep your calm when your scared, cold, feeling totally lost, and hurting everywhere. If you can handle all that, then you are in for the adventure of a lifetime :)

Personally, I'm a cruiser, and I even like to say I'm more a tourist. It's enough for my ego, and hard enough on my body and mind, to just meet the deadlines. Cruisers still need to train. In the end, it's the cruisers who paddle longer hours every day, and often for more days during the challenge week.

There are a number of archived articles on the WaterTribe Magazine that are directly related to preparation and training for this kind of Challenge.

If your interested in doing a Challenge, there are also many articles about the Challenges from previous participants in the Magazine. Lots of information on preparation and planning, including routes, potential camp sites, suggested equipment, nutrition advice etc...

Then it's time to start working. A future blog posting will detail my training plan, and I'll start maintaining a daily online training log.

P.S. My son Alan (left) and his friends Matt, Chris, and Mike, are also planning to enter the Challenge next year, beginning with building their own boats. Check out Alan's blog, they just bought the wood.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Turner Wilson at Lake Jordan

Luckily it warmed up to 50 degrees by afternoon Sunday, with lots of sunshine. Turner Wilson on his way home after spending the week at Sea Kayak Georgia's Skills Symposium, stopped at Lake Jordan near Chapel Hill North Carolina, and spent the day teaching Greenland Rolling and Strokes with some of us local stick paddlers.

Turner is so inspiring. My homework is to keep working on that front deck recovery for chest sculling, storm rolls, and low brace rolls (turns out I had taught myself some back deck rolls with a high brace rather than correct low brace technique). I'm sure hoping next Spring I'll make it back to Charleston for the annual East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival, where I'll be able to show Turner my progress.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Kayaking in Surf

It's nothing new, lots of experienced paddlers do it. But I think many people might think skin-on-frame kayaks and greenland paddles are not up for that challenge.

Check out this great article with photos.

Photo borrowed from a site, well worth visiting.

Hmmm, I'm thinking that after March, likely my last WaterTribe challenge (time to move on), I'll get my skin on frame kayak finally skinned, and focus on my surfing skills.

Lucky me, I'm off to the Lake to meet up with Turner Wilson who's in the area and putting on a Greenland rolling class. Yikes! It's 30 degrees outside.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


The WaterTribe Everglades Challenge, March 3, 2007 is only 4 months away. So now is the time to get serious and start my training (a future posting). Perfect timing, I just got the WaterTribe Ultimate Challenge DVD in the mail. I absolutely love it, and what great motivation.

The DVD, is a 50 minute video that introduces the 10 original Challengers, and offers the viewer a sense of our excitement, challenge and adventure. Pelican (Nick Hall) another Challenger said it best, "Chief and Jenning did an outstanding job of capturing the highlights and spirit of not only the challenge, but also the WaterTribe. The DVD is a 'must have' for those contemplating their first challenge, as well as for those wishing to relive a WaterTribe event."

This is not a million-dollar Hollywood production. Most of the on-water shots were from film taken by the challengers themselves with their own affordable cameras. Unlike professional film-maker Justine Curgenven's "This is the Sea" and "This is the Sea 2" (which I also highly recommend), the producers of the film could not be on the water in the middle of the action, always at the right place at the right time. There are certainly gaps in the available video coverage of events. Still, having amateur video made by the challengers themselves gives the film great authenticity and momentum.

The film was the brain-child of Jenning Gee, a clinical social worker, and California paddler. Producing this DVD required hundreds (thousands?) of hours of Jennings' effort. The making of the film was actually another challenge within the Watertibe Ultimate Challenge. Jenning heard about the race, and decided it was so unusual that it would be a great film for the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, this the main reason the film is only 50 minutes long. She is not a professional film maker, had not had any real formal training and little previous film-making experience. Along with the support and help from Chief (owner and leader of the WaterTribe), she also had friends help her with some of the filming and editing.

Most importantly, and in true WaterTribe spirit, Jenning had an interest and a goal, and set out to accomplish this, her personal challenge. She submitted the video to the Festival last month.

The DVD is available for sale, online at the WaterTribe Store. In addition, the Challenge Viewer page on the WaterTribe website is still up, this contains many files of photos and videos taken during the Challenge last year.

Are you up for a Challenge?