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Localized "conditions" for skills practice


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Can anyone help me locate some places to find localized conditions for practicing skills? I am looking for locations where a particular condition (surf, waves, current, etc.) can be found within a localized area that affords a "safety" area nearby. The type of skills I am looking to practice are self rescues, assisted rescues, boat handling and various paddling techniques. Some examples are as follows:

WAVES: Last year's 1st on-water CAM session between Childrens Island and Commorant Rock had 2'-3' waves contained only in the space between the Island and Rock, while a calm area in the nearby cove at the bottom of Childrens provided a nice regrouping spot. Is this a predictable occurrence (for example: if you have a 10kt+ wind from the west and ocean swells of 2' or more from the west, you will get those waves in that spot) or was that just dumb luck?

STANDING WAVES: Cathy and I encountered the tide race under the bridge at Hampton Harbor this past year and found it to be quite a unique experience. However, I don't know if it is a safe area to practice any skills in. Our thought is that if you get into trouble, you can let the tide flush you out where the water calms down and it is easier to get back into the boat. My big concerns there are boat traffic as well as the lack of landing sites due to the granite jetty and the swimming beach next to it. Are there any other areas that offer a better spot to play in standing waves?

SURF: A recent trip to Milk Island in Rockport produced some small waves in the north point near the sand bar that were very useful to practice bracing against broadside pushing waves without having to deal with getting beached and paddling out against the incoming surf to get back into the action. While maybe not ideal for surfing, I would be looking for similar spots where you can surf without having to deal with beaching.

If you can think of any other locations that would be good for practicing skills in conditions with the safety of nearby "calm" water would be very helpful.

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Hi Robert-

Asking us to give away our private play spots eh? ;-) Look for spots where salt ponds of 100+ acres or so enter the ocean through a constrained entrance. For example look at Little Harbor, Cohasset on the south shore. On the flood, you can practice crossing eddy lines, and if you trip you get washed into a big, effectively quiet pond. Similarly, on the ebb you can get standing waves, or at least the current induced amplification of windchop to interesting levels. Nice thing compared to harbor entrances is that the boat traffic is substantially less.

As for practicing bracing in the surf, you dont need much but some wave action. Any beach break will do. If you actually want to practice surfing itself, then an off shore reef often causes waves to stand up, but then readily disappear when the wave hits deeper water. Rescues are easier in the deeper water, but bring a group as the swim might be a lot longer if you separate from the boat.

Looking forward to more water play in the spring.



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