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NSPN in the Currents at Cohasset, Sunday August 24, 2014


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NSPN in the Currents at Cohasset, Sunday August 24, 2014

Wow! What a fabulous day! For those of you who thought of coming, but didn’t; or had planned to come, but couldn’t…you missed out on one great day! Cathy initiated the trip to coincide with mid-morning high tide, so we could take advantage of a full day by the bridge at Little Harbor, to play in both the flowing and ebbing tides. She also dialed up the Weather Gods, because what we got was as perfect a day as a late summer day can be. Bright sun in a cloudless sky; just enough wind to make the ride from the launch over to Little Harbor bouncy and fun, but not enough to knock down the waves (as had happened in our first trip here earlier in the summer); and low humidity and temperature just warm enough to make our (frequent) dunks refreshing rather than unpleasant! (And, as we were to find when we got to the bridge, no fishermen to compete with for the spot.)

Cathy, Andy, Dan, Bob V (another Bob in the confusing NSPN crowd of Bobs and Roberts and Robs!) and I comprised the group. The flowing tide was already running close to max when we arrived, and we rode under the bridge with happy whoops – or in Cathy’s case, happy screams! For the next couple of hours, we circled in and out of the current, rode the train to its messy end in shallow water eddies, ferried across, and attempted to catch the standing wave right under the bridge.





All of us flipped over…sometimes intentionally to practice a roll, and many others, because that’s what the current did to us. I am happy to say that each and every one of us accomplished at least one combat roll, and in Andy’s case, it was about a thousand combat rolls (because he was really pushing the edge), and in Dan’s about five hundred (ditto). We also discovered how hard it is to effect a rescue in a very fast moving current that went all the way to shore and then curled in between a couple of large rocks, all over very shallow water (less than a foot). Hard to stand up, easy to get knocked by the boat if you ended up on the wrong side, easy to lose hold of the boat after you’ve emptied it only to have it full of water again.

As the current lessened, and the meeker among us were emboldened, stupid kayak tricks- in-current ensued with Dan the initiator. Paddling across the current with his spray skirt off and legs hanging over either side of the cockpit. Then Andy divesting of his paddle and doing a hand paddle ride and ferry.


Followed by Cathy.


A lazy lunch on the big rock – or little rocky island - in the middle of Little Harbor, where we reluctantly had to evict a flock of exceedingly attractive white herons before we landed.

Followed by a tour of the high priced real estate. Photos don’t do justice to the setting of the stone house on the rocky point.


We had been so leisurely that we found the ebb current already running with some gusto when we headed back under the bridge toward the ocean side. We (easily) missed being hit by a guy cannonballing off the bridge, but were a bit alarmed that neither he nor his buddy standing above had any idea how deep the water was (or wasn’t) before the jump, and both professed astonishment that conditions under the bridge would ever be anything other than what appeared from above to be flat calm, but which proved on entrance to the water to be anything but…

We saw a group dressed in paddling gear on the cobble beach by the bridge walking toward where we were ferrying back and forth across the current. In a moment we realized that this was Bob Levine’s ocean skills class from CRCK. We exchanged greetings and news of the day, and then were happy to see Marc Parsons, who was assisting with the group. They launched away from the current.


We rode the current and ferried back and forth across it, waiting for the standing wave off the rock at the entrance to the channel to grow.

The standing wave, and a bit of a wave train behind it began to build, and Andy and Dan spent the rest of the day riding it as it grew. The rest of us spent more time in the current and waves behind, riding and ferrying.



There were also a few mini-rollers on the other side of the channel, and I caught a couple of rides toward the beach on them.

And then it was creeping toward 4 pm, and we (well, except Andy) were ready to call it a day. “Just one more…from each direction!” said Andy, the enthusiastic little boy at heart that he is, before riding that wave two more times.




We thought we might have to throw a tow onto his boat to drag him out of there!

By the time we returned to the launch, the weekend party at the sand bar at Cohasset Harbor was in full swing, boats anchored side by side, little children frolicking in the knee deep water, boom boxes playing, and the ice cream boat plying its trade.

All that remained was packing up, and a PPPO with all but Andy at the Irish pub near the launch, where we ate outside and chattered about the events of the day. By the time we hit the dreaded Southeast-Expressway-on-a-summer-Sunday, the traffic was manageable. A perfect end to a perfect day!

Thanks to Cathy for initiating, Dan for all the photos (I didn’t bring my camera because I just knew it would be wet all day!), and Andy and Bob for being such fun companions for an excellent day on the water.


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Thank you, as always, for writing the trip report! It was a great day in this spot that has become my favorite even though it still scares me. My goal for the day once I was there was to get to the point where I wasn't screaming every time I ventured into the current, which I did!

I look forward to returning and becoming bolder each time I go.


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Cathy, Pru, Dan and Bob:

Thanks to all of you for a truly perfect day on the water. Cathy, thanks for initiating and tide-planning this trip and great job on visibly progressing in your level of boldness over the course of the day. Pru, as always, your trip reports are the cherry on top and nice first combat rolls! Dan, great pictures and sweet standing wave-surfing! Bob, your Nordkapp was definitely the toughest boat to paddle in current. Congrats on staying upright more than I did in my fits-all-skills boat! As for my part, Pru, I think "a thousand failed braces" describes it better :)

Hope you're already planning the next Cohasset trip for the coming fall, Cathy.


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Nice report, Pru. It makes me smile to see Cathy initiating trips to Cohasset and saying she intends to return again and again. It was just a year ago when I vividly recall her asking in that very location, "Now what, exactly, do you find FUN about this standing wave?!"

Edited by Lorrie
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Nice report, Pru. It makes me smile to see Cathy initiating trips to Cohasset and saying she intends to return again and again. It was just a year ago when I vividly recall her asking in that very location, "Now what, exactly, do you find FUN about this standing wave?!"


This is all thanks to you! You have a coaching style that really helped me break through the fear. You are, above all, encouraging and supportive and honest. You take the time to explain where to paddle, how to paddle, what's going to happen, what it's going to feel like and how to respond. You help people start off slowly and work up to larger conditions. You answer questions and call out instruction (not criticism) while students are paddling. All of that is critical for those of us who become paralyzed by our fears. I hope all the other coaches out there are reading this. The method of just try it and then we'll discuss, does not work for everyone.

Thank you!!!! :)

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It really was a special day for those of us who have felt intimidated by these conditions, and now there are two more of us who want to go back again and again to play in it. Amazing!

The only damper on the day was hearing about that great white in Duxbury the same afternoon. Imagine doing a combat roll and coming face to face with THAT!


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Thanks so much for your kind words, Cathy. I am glad I was able to be helpful. Different students do best with different types of instruction, so I'm happy I struck a chord that worked for you.

Pru, it would indeed be intimidating to come face to face with that shark upside down while rolling. But, it would be far worse to come out of your boat and face it! Might provide a strong incentive to nail that roll... Phil and I did comment that Duxbury is not so far from where we like to surf in Scituate, too!

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