In forthcoming articles we will provide examples of skills worth experimenting with, learning and perfecting, such as rescues (in good as well as bad weather), towing, re-entering a boat at sea, improving balance, rolling (for kayaks), or just turning in confused waves outside the breakers.

 

Furthermore, we are currently discussing the possibility of having a couple of sea kayaks made available to club members who do not have one but would like to try, or want to see how different boats can feel. Further details will be communicated closer to the start of this initiative, through this website and by email to members.

 

In the meantime a few kayakers will keep on paddling and training through the winter from the club, whatever the weather (it's magic when it snows...), most often on Sundays around 9:00 am for a few hours. If you are interested in joining them, contact Dominique Sellier at 416-363-8058 (office hours).  Drysuit, neoprene gloves, booties and hood, as well as a few other items such as hot tea will become necessary as the water temperature drops... Of course life jackets will always be worn!

 

Photos at left were taken in August when the weather was far more inviting for wet exits and rescue practice.

A new paddler was being introduced to these skills, which are excellent to build comfort and confidence.


 

 

October 2008

A short primer on sea kayaking and canoeing

Traditional canoeing and especially sea kayaking is taking off in a big way at TSCC and makes for a great off-season continuation of enjoyment of the water, fresh air, and maintaining physical fitness. If you are interested, you can ask members like J. Dominique Sellier who you may often see heading out in a sea kayak far into the horizon on weekends, or just practicing by the beach. Local specialized dealers like The Complete Paddler have complete knowledge of the sport and its equipment. A good time to buy is both at the end of season or at the beginning. For used boats, try KIJIJI (kayaks) (canoes), or the gear swap section of the Mountain Equipment Coop. If you are now looking for a boat, used or new, some expert advice on what to purchase includes this checklist:

First ask yourself which kind of paddling you would like to do. This will drive your choice of boat (canoe, kayak – the TSCC also has strong sections of outrigger canoe, dragon boat and surf ski practitioners – see the website), hull type (short and wide for stability and casual paddling, long and slender for performance and sea worthiness), handling ability under various conditions, safety features (flotation is key), skill level required to paddle the boat (“expert” boat are way more seaworthy but also less stable on flat water than “recreational” boats – like a bicycle versus a tricycle), weight, ease of portability, storage. Do you want utility or performance?

But the best advice is to try and paddle as many boats as you can before buying one. You will be surprised by how differently boats can feel from one another once on the water. Apart from the short term comfort of a given seat, sitting in a boat in a showroom cannot tell you much. And if you are new to the sport, try to participate in some initiation classes – pool lessons are offered through the winter by various organizations, like the ones mentioned above. With improved skills and confidence, you will become a better judge (and a more knowledgeable buyer) of the boats you will try. The best boat is the one that fits you best.

The location of the TSCC is excellent for paddling sports. The club sits in the middle of 5km (a 10km run back and forth, an excellent distance for fitness training) of protected waters, sheltered from the waves of Lake Ontario by a series of breakwalls. This is an ideal and safe environment for both canoes and kayaks, excellent for training and casual paddling. These waters also give access to the Humber River, its parkland and quiet waters. The TSCC being bordered by two other active clubs, our location makes for a lively paddling environment.

The open lake beyond the breakwall requires seaworthy boats, like sea kayaks. Care must be taken when in open water, and an understanding of safety and rescue procedures as well as a minimum level of skill in handling your kayak is strongly recommended. Lake waters can be surprisingly cold and dressing for the water temperature, as opposed to air temperature, is essential to avoid hypothermia in case of a capsize. Spring is especially dangerous (warm sunny days, freezing waters). With sail boats and motor boats around, a low boat is also very hard to see on the water. So it's best to travel at least in pair, remain aware of your surroundings, have means of communication and know how to use them.

Paddling skills are not difficult to acquire, and taking the time to acquire them only increases the enjoyment of the sport. Sea kayaking members plan to have, starting in spring 2009, a regular weekly meet (Saturday or Sunday morning) for interested members to share and practice their skills together – or just go for a paddle, depending on the mood of whoever shows up. Any member and any boat will be welcome. Details will be posted here. In the meantime, some of our members will keep kayaking all winter. If you are interested, contact the club!

As for spaces at the club to put your boat or membership details, just refer to our members section.