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Surfing Lake Champlain, early october


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For some of you this might be a little boring, but for me, a beginner

kayaker it was incredible. I have been paddling for 4 months, with a

VCP aquanaut, and a werner bent shaft corryvrecken paddle, 210 cm.

The reason that I am posting this here is that I have to thank many

members of this site for their indirect help, and for their insights

into techniques and methods.

I am in Montreal, and yesterday the weather was warm and there was

almost no wind so I went down to Lake Champlain to roam around. When

I arrived at North Beach, just north of Burlington Vermont I was in

for a surprise, whitecaps all over with 2-3 foot breaking waves on

the beach and windy. I didn't know that the forecast was for winds

15-25 knts with waves 2-4 feet on the lake.

Well I had to give it a try sometime so I unloaded my kayak and got

everything ready on the beach. I have explored the internet looking

for information on techniques, and have spent some time thinking about how to make use of what I read and had seen on a variety of sites, and here was my chance to see what I had learned.

I set the kayak to be able to back into the surf to try and keep the

sand out of the skeg box. I got in and sealed the sprayskirt, and

every time a wave came in I did the knuckle walk backwards into the

surf. Waves were slapping me in the back, but it worked like a

charm, no problem. I backed up a little, checked that the skeg

worked, turned around and headed out.

I was paddling directly into the waves, going over the top and

driving the bow into the next wave, water washing over the front deck

and splashing up into my face. It was great.

When I was about 500 yds off-shore I decided to try my rolls, I had

to see if they would work in this stuff. Everything worked like a

charm, screw rolls and c-c's on side and offside so I was good to go.

I turned around and did some surfing in towards the beach, catching

some great rides on some of the bigger waves. I turned around and

headed back out and repeated this several times.

Then I decided to work on kayak control, so I raised the skeg and

headed towards Burlington. I was taking the waves on the beam at 90 deg on the right side with no skeg down. I find that this is a good way to work on boat control.

I went out and looked at their lighthouse on the end of their

breakwater, and watched the waves breaking on the outside. Then I

turned around and headed back towards the beach.

On the way back there is a long metal and concrete wall where they

park the ferries (I think). There were some reflecting waves coming

off the wall so I went and played in that for a while. I tried my

rolls in the clapotis and they worked with no problem. Great as a

confidence builder.

Afterwards I continued on towards the beach, heading out and surfing

in several times. Now I was starting to get a little tired, and the

waves had been building slightly ever since I got in the water. I

decided to head into the beach and to try to land on the back of one

of the breaking wave.

As I headed in I was still surfing, and all along some of the best

waves were in closer to the beach. As I approached the beach I was

picked up by a fairly large wave and started surfing in. All of a

sudden I realized that I was going way too fast to stop, and if I

kept on I was going to drive the nose of the kayak into the sand and

I was going to come to an abrupt halt. I was already fighting a

broach so I raised the skeg and let the kayak finish the broach and I

leaned into the wave with a high brace. The wave gently deposited me

on the beach as if it was an intentional move.

Thus ended the best day I have had so far in my kayak. This was my

first day in these type of conditions, and I thoroughly enjoyed

them. The marine forcast for thursday is the same as yesterday so I

am going back to play.

Now I have to go and find some place to take some courses. I think I

have just about reached the limit of what I can learn without some

more formal courses, and there is nothing available here in the great

white north.



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