Spring 2015 Coast&Kayak Magazine

Page 1

COAST&KAYAK Magazine The magazine of Pacific coast adventures and recreation

Volume 25, Issue 1

Spring 2015

FREE online FREE at select locations Or subscribe for home delivery

Restrospectives A look back at 25 years of paddling on the Pacific coast

Favourite places

t s a l r u O ue iss

as Coast&Kayak Magazine. Here’s to a great past and a look to the future. See page 3 for details

PM 41687515

Editor’s pick: the locations around the world that made a lasting impression




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The First (and Last) Word

John Kimantas

A goodbye, but also an introduction Back in 2008, when I was kicking around for something to do after settling down from some kayaking adventures, I honed in on Wavelength Magazine as a good base for spending the last 20 years of my working life. It combined most of my interests in one tidy package. It seemed perfect. That, of course, was immediately before the recession, and before the switch to social media marketing and the emergence of Google AdWords that knocked the socks off the magazine and publishing industries. I can’t say I was deterred. I felt if my competitors suffered a drop in circulation that could only be good for Wavelength (soon to be Coast&Kayak Magazine), as our ‘free’ distribution model protected us from a drop in readership. There was also a plan for an East Coast edition. I felt if I could offer a national advertising package with more readers at a considerably lower cost than competitors, then only good things could result. Well, the market changed again before that could happen. I won’t go into the details here, but anyone interested can check out the ‘News’ tab on www.coastandkayak.com and look up the open letters to the American Canoe Association and Paddle Canada. For online readers, the links are here and here. I never wrote those letters to whine, and if they read that way I apologize. It was, in fact, to alert two large and influential organizations that if they meddle with businesses they are large enough to effectively kill the natural composition of that market. Bad things will happen. In the fallout, however, there was a surprisingly encouraging side effect: the core of supporters who have stood with us are and are the smaller, regional operators who are the heart and soul of the Pacific paddlesports and adventure travel industries. They’ve supported Coast&Kayak for a reason – they know and love this region and see the value in it. In assessing what to do when a kayaking magazine is pushed out of the kayaking industry, here was the answer. To a tee, every company advertising in this magazine is not a ‘brand name’ created solely to mass-market products. Rather, these are people who answer their own phones and do what they do for the love of what they do. Many – such as Delta Kayaks, Seaward, Nimbus, Salus – are defying the market and rooting themselves in their

home bases, producing locally, not to maximize profit but because they see this as a better way to conduct their business. The tour operators such as Bruce at the Paddlers Inn in the Broughtons, Chessi and Ben on Galiano, Adam in Powell River, Jay on Pender Island, Steve in Telegraph Cove, Ryan and Hilary in Baja, and so many more (sorry I can’t name you all) – they are all catering to kayakers for a love of what they do. The retailers are people who still own and operate their stores – Mary, Bob, Don, Richard, Brian – people who want to give the best and most interesting products at the best value. There is no corporate chain store represented here, just the owners you’re as likely to see on the water as behind the store counter. Building a new magazine around this side of the industry is going to be a pleasure. So the answer to a seemingly impossible market situation is going to be perfect, a place I will be happy to hang my hat for the next 20 years. The new manifestation of Coast&Kayak Magazine will be Wild Coast Magazine. It will focus on adventure travel and outdoor recreation on the Pacific coast, and of course primarily British Columbia – not so different from Coast&Kayak in that respect. Its reason for existing will be to inspire, educate and motivate people about the coast and everything it has to offer. It will explore the nooks and crannies and the ways to get you there. The magazine’s world will expand to include canoes, whitewater, foot, rope, bicycles, SUPs – any way that brings this world alive without destroying it. Yes, conservation will be a key theme. The name of the magazine will be as perfect as the subject. Wild Coast is the name of the publishing company, the books that first inspired all of it and even the name of the boat that is the magazine’s office – the MV Wild Coast. Look for it when you’re out exploring. Drop in and say hello if you see us somewhere at anchor. Chances are it’s a working day for us, but your company will be welcome nonetheless. I suspect many hard-core sea kayakers will be disappointed. But I hope the vast majority of you stay with us as we make the transition. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t the vision. But it’s still going to be a great place to be. - John Kimantas editor@coastandkayak.com

A sunrise or a sunset? You decide. SPRING 2015



Inside Retrospectives Fall/Winter 2014

Volume 24, Number 3 PM No. 41687515

For this special final issue, Coast&Kayak Magazine looks back on the history of kayaking on the Pacific coast through differing lenses.

Find Us: Online: www.coastandkayak.com Contact Us: General queries: kayak@coastandkayak.com Editorial: editor@coastandkayak.com Advertising: kayak@coastandkayak.com

John Dowd


COAST&KAYAK MAGAZINE is an independent magazine available free at hundreds of print distribution sites (paddling shops, outdoor stores, paddling clubs, marinas, events, etc.), and globally on the web.

Notice to print subscribers: This is the last edition of Coast&Kayak Magazine under that name and the last with the primary focus on sea kayaking. The Summer 2015 edition will switch to the name Wild Coast Magazine with a more broad outdoor recreation/adventure travel focus. See page 3 for more details. This means there will be only two magazines in 2015, whereas subscribers signed up for three. Those who paid by cheque or credit card will have subscriptions extended to receive the number of magazines purchased. For those who have paid by the Paypal $5 automatic renewal option, it’s a bit more complex. If you choose to cancel the renewal option, you will still receive three magazine. But we hope you stay with us as we transform, as subscribers are an essential component to continuing to publish. We do not receive ACA or Paddle Canada subsidies nor Heritage Canada Aid to Publishers grants. The $5 subscription was designed to enable us to qualify for the Aid to Publishers program, but we do not qualify yet. In other words, your continued support of a subscription during a difficult time is crucial to us. Thanks for sticking with us if you can! If you have questions or concerns, please email us: kayak@coastandkayak.com

Brian Henry


Other views


Mary Bayes Chris Ladner Liam McNeill

Unforgettable images

Downhill both ways

Answering the call

© 2015. Copyright is retained on all material (text, photos and graphics) in this magazine. No reproduction is allowed of any material in any form, print or electronic, for any purpose, except with the permission of Wild Coast Publishing. Some elements in maps in this magazine are reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada 2010, courtesy of the Atlas of Canada. Also, our thanks to Geobase for some elements that may appear on Coast&Kayak maps.


All it took was one kayaking trip to give John O’Malley the bug, which for him meant having to build a cedar strip kayak. Follow John’s story for an idea of what’s involved in doing it right and making it beautifully.

Coast&Kayak Magazine is dedicated to making self-propelled coastal exploration fun and accessible. Safety and travel information is provided to augment pre-existing safety and knowledge. A safety course and proper equipment are advised before any exploration on water. See a list of paddling instruction locations at www.coastandkayak.com



Surge Narrows has a frightening reputation for the hazards of rocks, strong tidal streams and whirlpools, but if managed wisely it can make for a remarkable day’s trip assisted the entire way by current. Alan Dunham shares his considerable knowledge of what’s involved to create a potentially leisurely 50-kilometre outing.

Wild Coast Publishing



As part of the goodbye edition, Coast&Kayak editor John Kimantas felt it appropriate to dig into his own archives to pick out some of the most remarkable images from his years of kayaking on the coast. Some go back to the days of slide film, but the memories remain as strong as ever.

A product of: PO Box 24, Stn A Nanaimo, B.C., Canada, V9R 5K4 Ph: 1-866-984-6437 • Fax: 1-866-654-1937 Email: kayak@coastandkayak.com Website: www.coastandkayak.com Physical address: Aboard the MV Wild Coast, Somewhere on the Pacific Ocean The world’s only magazine published from aboard a boat (that we know of, anyway).

Wayne Horodowich 14







T FEELS STRANGE to be asked to write a retrospective on sea kayaking – like being asked to write an obituary for someone who is not quite dead. For more than a century kayaking has gone through several cycles of popularity and obscurity and I suspect the cycles will continue long after this current generation of paddlers have all hung up their boats and settled down in rocking chairs. Prior to 1980 kayaking was known by a confusing array of names such as ‘ocean paddling’, ‘canoeing’ (the British never did figure that one out), ‘blue water kayaking’, ‘kayak touring’, etc. Eventually ‘sea kayaking’ caught on because it sounded catchy, and apart from paddlers on lakes, it covered the ground pretty well. The name stuck. Sea kayaking under its various names had been flourishing in the Washington Kayak Club since the forties. Originally a club of fold-boaters, composite boats were soon being designed and built for members by a wave of ‘downsized’ Boeing engineers operating out of their garages

Where have

the paddlers gone?

in the Seattle area as well as a couple of whitewater boat builders (Nimbus and Necky) in the Vancouver area who shifted to building ocean going boats as demand grew.* Some touring kayaks were imported from Germany and the UK. The boats were generally of a quality that would never find a market today and builders competed mostly on price. The result was that there were a lot of ex-Boeing engineers and whitewater paddlers who were not eating very well. In Vancouver, Ecomarine opened the world’s first specialty sea kayak shop on Granville Island. It sold almost all the kayaks on the market, protected as it was by the US border and an initial lack of competition. Soon Ocean River Sports opened up in Victoria with its own line of boats, then Western Canoeing of Abbotsford started to sell sea kayaks. Gradually more and more sea kayak retailers and manufacturers opened across the continent.

Editor’s note: I asked Steve Schleicher, designer of Nimbus Kayaks, about this, and here’s his response: “We actually started out trying to sell touring kayaks a few years before John Dowd appeared on the scene. We were too far ahead of the times then I guess. But later as more folks wanted touring kayaks we changed back to building them. Besides, the whitewater crowd never had any money, making for an unreliable business model.”




It did not take long to realize that nobody in the industry knew much about running a business so TASK (the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking) was formed to pool what was known and bring in advisers from the marine and ski industries to explain how matters such as pricing and distribution worked. One of the first lessons was that as a kayak businessperson your main allies were other people in the trade. That was when sea kayaking really took off. From selling boats for a wage and the cost of materials, suddenly the prices doubled. There were margins for the manufacturers and for retailers. Once plastic boats were introduced there were even margins for distribution. Everyone was making money and there was enough left over to pay for boat shows and

‘Control’ became the name of the game. Fearful of being dictated to by a ‘bunch of freshwater canoeists from Ontario’, not one, but two professional guide associations formed in BC to regulate commercial tours and restrict competition in the parks. On the world scene, hard-core kayakers were doing some extraordinary trips. Paul Caffyn paddled around Australia as well as Iceland, the UK, New Zealand, Greenland and Alaska. The Japanese embraced sea kayaking with gusto until their economy took a dive. Today there remains a core of dedicated Japanese expedition paddlers cruising the world’s coastline. Other kayak

adventurers have dragged their boats across the Arctic ice, crossed the Tasman Sea and paddled most of the coastline of the world. Perhaps most extraordinary of all are the epic journeys of Freya Hoffmeister who knocked a cool month off Paul’s time to circumnavigate Australia, and as I write this is on the last leg of her solo circumnavigation of South America. By 2000 the certifiers were firmly in control and even the British had moved in with the hierarchical BCU program that had decimated the ‘canoe’ industry that had flourished in the UK after the Second World War. u

photo by Trigo Morrison

advertising in magazines. The quality and range of boats skyrocketed and workers started to receive a decent wage at last. Sea kayaking had become the fastest growing part of the marine industry. TASK expanded to include manufacturers, retailers, paddling publications and for a while tour operators. It had a mandate and a modest budget to develop the market for sea kayaking, based on acceptance of the idea that the real competitor was not the other kayak manufacturer or retailer, but windsurfers, backpackers and mountain bikers. The heady days of the eighties looked unstoppable to those involved. Sea kayak symposia sprung up all over North America with crowds of new paddlers picking over hundreds of new boats. But the prosperity soon caught the attention of the regulators and despite, at the time, the best safety record in the marine industry, they moved in with a promise (to insurance companies) to make the sport safer. The American Canoe Association found a sea kayaker willing to show them the skills needed and they were away, certifying people and running courses across the USA. The Ontario-based Recreational Canoe Association (later to morph into Paddle Canada) scrambled aboard the bandwagon and after some wobbly starts put together a solid program so they too entered the business of issuing certificates.

photo submitted by John Dowd

by John Dowd

Sunset on Dick and Jane’s Beach on Vargas Island, one of the premiere kayak campsites in Clayoquot Sound as well as the long-time home of John and Bea Dowd (pictured above).




Retrospectives About this time I did a consulting job for a retail store that sold both dive gear and sea kayaks. I asked the staff, “What are you selling in this (diving) part of the store?” The consensus, after much discussion, was that they were selling ‘belonging,’ since all divers must be certified and have undergone ritual acceptance by their peers. “So what are you selling in the other (kayak) part of the store?” The consensus was ‘freedom.’ Estimates of the overlap between the two types of customer was between ten and fifteen percent. Put another way: if you shift sea kayaking from a ‘freedom’ to a ‘belonging’ (certified paddlers) activity, chances are you will reduce the appeal to about ten percent of the original group of people. That is consistent with the British experience.


N 2004, while participating in the making of a video about seamanship for kayakers, I stumbled upon what for me was my dream home, built of beach logs and cedar shakes on a famous surf beach at the northern end of Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound. Known locally as Dick and Jane’s Beach, it was a popular spot for sea kayakers. During our early years there it was frequently so crowded in summer that tent spots were hard to find and kayaks lined the beach like coloured pencils in a box. Thirty or more parties could be counted on a holiday weekend. In 2013, just before we moved back to civilization, a water taxi landed a single party of campers on a calm sunny Labour Day weekend. No kayakers at all. The dropoff had been precipitous. For the past few years, private parties had become increasingly rare. In their place were instructor and guide training courses; young people training for jobs that had little chance of paying – if they existed at all. Only

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the school parties remained constant, coming back every year, introducing hundreds of teenagers to the joys of sea kayaking and kayak camping. So what happened? Much as I am tempted to pin the blame for its decline solely on the institutionalization of sea kayaking as the controlling types squeezed out the innovators, I suspect there are other forces at play. Retailers are still selling sea kayaks, though the emphasis has shifted to smaller play boats and day-trippers rather than the long composite expedition boats. Also, as corporate America bought up successful companies and started selling to big box stores, the price cutting returned. That tended to squeeze out the undercapitalized little players and those who resisted the price advantages of building offshore in favour of quality. One large multinational corporation bought out an established kayak manufacturer that had a net profitability of 30 per cent and in two years turned it around so it made a net annual loss of seven per cent. They tried to fix things by cutting wages and competing on price, then building offshore, in the process, killing the geese that were laying the golden eggs – the small innovators. Fishing from sit-on-top kayaks, a sideways venture into the massive sport-fishing world, took off in the past ten years as fishers discovered that kayaks were cheaper, quieter and better for your health than motorboats. It was certainly a welcome addition for merchants, but it is more of a niche market and not really sea kayaking as we have come to know it. Today the sport of kayak fishing has its own glossy magazines and videos. It may well prove the most active legacy of sea kayaking. In 1980, sea kayak literature was thin on the bookshelf. There were only a couple of British manuals that drew heavily on river touring techniques, plus a brilliant reference piece by Adney and MULTI-PURPOSE VEST


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In 2011 the American Canoe Association made a deal to purchase magazine subscriptions automatically for its members through a membership fee. In 2012 Paddle Canada followed suit, buying mandatory subscriptions for members from the same company. Because these are considered ‘paid’ subscriptions, the same deal qualifies that magazine publishing company for additional Heritage Canada Aid to Publishers grants. Consequently these ballooned from the pre-ACA level of $7,094 in 2010/11 to $93,315 for 2014/15*. Due to the grant structure, Coast&Kayak gets $0. This combined institutional and governmental subsidy to a competing paddlesports magazine company has completely changed the market dynamics, and particularly Coast&Kayak Magazine’s ability to grow to remain competitive, forcing Coast&Kayak Magazine to bow out. For how this affects a paid subscription, please see your notice with your magazine or the notice on page 4.


If you enjoy reading us...


49 lbs

John Dowd is author of Sea Kayaking, first published in 1981 and now in its sixth printing. See page 42.


Chapelle. By the end of the 1980s half a dozen manuals graced the market as well as several specialty sea kayaking magazines. Today you can fill a bookcase with kayaking books, though its two most specialized publications, Sea Kayaker and Coast & Kayak Magazine (formerly Wavelength) have now folded for good. (Editor’s note: well, actually we’re transforming, not folding. See page 3.) It is probably no coincidence that the drop-off in interest in the sort of kayak touring that flourished in the eighties and nineties comes at a time when the world has become addicted to WiFi. Where once people took ten days to paddle the West Coast, now many cannot bear to be unplugged for more than a few hours. Then of course there is the explosion of stand-up paddleboards. A recent visitor to the Outdoor Retailer trade show counted more than 60 booths of paddleboards and four of traditional sea kayaks. No doubt the regulators will have noticed that too. So where do we go from here? My guess is that sea kayaking will shrink to a small nucleus of hard-core paddlers – with or without certificates – who will continue to go touring and will provide the reservoir of skills and knowledge for future generations of paddlers. A larger group will confine themselves to short coastal and harbour paddling, possibly playing in rock gardens and surfing. Expect many to be plugged into their iPhones. The bureaucratic structures will doubtless remain until their flow of clients dwindles to the point it becomes unprofitable. They will then shift into certifying the next growth activity. Maybe then sea kayaking will re-emerge as a freedom activity for our grandchildren.


system, Contour seat system, front deck Day-Pod, new dual-density soft grip handles and innovative bungee risers.

Delta Kayaks would like to thank COAST & KAYAK MAGAZINE and WAVELENGTH MAGAZINE for the contributions they have made to the paddling community over the years. We are privileged to have been a part of it.

For everyone else, we ask that if you enjoy this magazine, please continue to support us as we adapt. We have offered $5 subscriptions to boost our numbers to qualify for Aid to Publishers grants, but we’re still far from that mark. A ‘free’ way to support us is to subscribe online, which allows us to quantify our value to advertisers. In addition, please read the ads, support our advertisers when you can and mention us in your visits to them. Thanks for the 25 years of support, and here’s to the next 25 years as the new Wild Coast Magazine, which arrives May 2015. See page 3 for details. * http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1273583771753/1314996919801. Totals are combined for Adventure Kayak, CanoeRoots and Rapid magazines.

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COME from a time when kayaks were not sold in stores. In fact, kayaks were obscure and rare things, especially sea kayaks. At the age of five, I had a second-hand plywood kayak given to me by a cousin. It was called ‘The Wee Mariner’ and even had a sail for when there was wind. She seemed perfect in all ways. At eight feet long, two feet wide and flat-bottomed, she was stable and tons of fun. I paddled and sailed this little boat for hours at a time in Cordova Bay, near Victoria, where our family used to spend our summers. I continued to have a love affair with the ocean as I paddled logs in Victoria’s Gonzales Bay. Then my father bought me a nine-foot clinker-built rowboat and things changed. This fine craft was able to go a little further afield, and in fact, two friends and I took a whole day to row out to Trial Islands just because we could. I learned about tides and currents that day, as some of the currents at Trial Islands can run up to 8 knots at times. At nine years old, we felt like Huck Fin and his friends, off on an adventure. It was all so much fun until we saw Ronny’s mother waiting for us on shore with her arms crossed. We were grounded for two weeks so we had to modify our plans in the future to suit our mothers, but it did not stop us messing around in boats. As a young adult I signed up for a whitewater kayak class at our local YMCA and immediately got hooked on whitewater kayaking. The adrenalin, challenge and amazing beauty of this sport was captivating. It was almost impossible to buy kayaks at that time because the sport was very new and obscure. Like other enthusiasts, a few friends and I decided to build our own kayaks. With no fibreglass experience beyond verbal directions, we borrowed a mould and built our first six river kayaks in my little workshop in Sooke. Those boats were paddled hard and helped us develop our skills and explore Vancouver Island and many mainland rivers. For me, there was always a draw to the sea, and so I outfitted my river kayak with a skeg to aid in tracking and started to explore the west coast of Vancouver Island. I even did a number of solo trips on the island and to the Queen Charlottes (now Haida Gwaii). 10


From the ground


Brian Henry looks back at the heady pioneering days of kayaking on the unexplored Pacific coast In the late 1970s there was no ferry to the Charlottes, but I was determined to see the islands in the best way possible – in my kayak. I flew over to Masset and barged my van, which was also my home and kayak transport. I paddled various areas of the Charlottes for a few weeks. This solo exploration was a major turning point for me to pursue my passion about sea kayaking. It also made me want to come back to paddle more in the Charlottes. SPRING 2015

As I pursued sea kayaking more, I wanted to build my own boat with features I felt were important. I borrowed a mould from a friend for a touring sea kayak and with the experience of building our river kayaks, I built a fibreglass sea kayak. I added bulkheads, deck rigging, a comfortable seat and even a rudder system. The result was a kayak suitable for long trips, with load-carrying capacity and comfort. I would now be able to go further, faster and longer. I paddled my

photo by Lee-Anne Stack

by Brian Henry

new sea kayak everywhere, including a return trip to the Queen Charlotte Islands for a month-long expedition. Kayaking for a month was unheard of in the late 1970s. I was determined to do this long expedition and take my friends. Our whole team embraced the challenge to go where few had gone before. We were a hodge-podge of obscure boats and gear. Most of the boats were home-built with two WT-500s, three Eskies and one Sea Swan as well as one factory-built kayak, a Pacific Watersports Sea Otter, that my good friend Bruce Holland bought from kayak expeditioner and author John Dowd in Vancouver. John had recently opened Ecomarine, the first and only kayak store at that time. We departed on this month-long expedition by carrying our kayaks and

gear onto BC Ferries from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. While on board, to our amazement, we met some expedition whitewater kayakers. Because we were all river paddlers too, these guys really intrigued us. They were heading up to attempt the first descent of the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River. This was a daring endeavour, as this river was thought to be too treacherous to paddle with steep canyon walls and Class 5 rapids. This team of five paddlers was headed by the famous river paddler Rob Lesser. We had never seen such magnificent river kayaks. These plastic Perception Mirages were state of the art – sleek yet amazingly durable. We were in awe of these guys and their gear. It turned out that they were in awe of our boats and gear and asked us as many questions as we did about theirs. We sat in each other’s boats, and on the overnight ferry ride the Canadian sea kayakers got to know the American river paddlers, sharing ideas and stories well into the wee hours. Rob’s expedition was well funded and a film was done on their epic adventure and this expedition is still considered one of the great river paddles. When we landed in Prince Rupert, we hugged each other and wished each other good luck and safe journeys. Rob and his river paddlers drove off to challenge the Grand Canyon of the Stikine and we waited for the new ferry to take us to the Queen Charlotte Islands. We landed at Skidegate and hired a truck to drive us south to Moresby Camp to depart for our month-long journey. We were on the water and excited to be en route to see and explore this amazing part of our coast. Our destination was the southern tip of Moresby Island and the historic village of Ninstints, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When we returned, we had stories to tell and a slide show to share with everyone who wanted to see. I guess I felt like this great sport of mine was soon to become a sport for more people. We shared our adventure and let people know that sea kayaking is accessible and can open up a whole new world of exploration. We also shared how amazing it is to explore nature in the purest way. I have always been a bit of a risk taker and I was inspired to share my passion SPRING 2015

Where it all began: with The Wee Mariner.

The early crew, left to right: head guide Dave Pinel (now of West Coast Expeditions), Derek Hutchinson, Bruce Holland and Brian Henry.

On the way to the Queen Charlottes.

with others, so I decided to get into the business of kayaking. My mother did not feel quite the same way but she gave me support, as did many of my friends. I started a small retail store, called Ocean River Sports, in November 1981. My store was located in Market Square in downtown Victoria and my total space was only 250 square feet. I was the only employee and I used to put a sign on the door, “Gone product testing” when I was really out paddling – and testing. It was so exciting to do things that nobody had ever done before. The little store grew each year and more and more people discovered the joy of kayaking, both in the ocean and on the river. u COAST&KAYAK MAGAZINE



by Brian Henry

The Stikine Expedition leader, Rob Lesser, was the Perception sales rep at that time and sold me boats. I also learned of others who designed and built kayaks, such as Nimbus, Pacific Water Sports, Easy Rider, Eddyline, Ecomarine, Necky and Werner Paddles. I soon had products to sell. Eventually, I joined these pioneers of the sport and we formed the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking (TASK), that went on to promote sea kayaking by creating safety literature, and also by putting on the famous Port Townsend Sea Kayak Symposium that ran for more than 20 years. I lived and breathed paddling, both river and sea kayaking. I was already a certified whitewater instructor, and an experienced sailor, so I took those skills and created an introductory sea kayak course so I could share my passion and build my business. With other kayak schools and touring companies springing up, the sport was fuelled with the enthusiasm of many and kayaking continued to grow. It did not take long for me to want to design and build my own sea kayaks. The first boat design was the Pisces, followed by a small sister, the Equinox. These boats

were originally built under Ocean River’s name. A paddling friend, Dugald Nasmith, worked with me at Ocean River and decided that he could build great kayak paddles. His small company was named Current Designs, a very clever name I thought. We worked out a deal and we took over the paddle production and adopted the name for our whole company and Current Designs became the brand for all of what we built: boats, paddles and accessories. In my search for the best builder of kayaks I discovered Campbell Black, who was so skilled it did not take long for us to partner in the business and we worked side by side for many years. Campbell [now owner of Blackline Marine Repair, see page 8] built the boats and I did all of the designs, marketing and sales. At the time our only problem was that we could not build enough products to supply the demand, and it was very exciting to have this problem. I was fortunate to have met and worked with many of the finest sea kayakers and kayak designers in the world. I forged a long-term relationship with England’s Derek Hutchinson and we negotiated to

build his British-designed boats here in North America under my Current Designs brand. The industry was small and everyone knew each other. We all seemed to work together for a common good to promote the sport. It was a very positive experience to have been in the sea kayak business at that time. Much has happened over the last 35 years. The market has matured and there are many manufactures building all sorts of kayaks, from small recreational to full sized sea kayaks. You can now buy a kayak either from a big box store or from a specialty shop like the one I continue to run. Kayaks have become mainstream. That was a goal of our original trade organization. I continue to sell kayaks, teach kayaking and guide tours at Ocean River Sports. I also still mess around with new designs, looking for the next great breakthrough. Brian Henry is owner and founder of Ocean River Sports as well as a founder of Current Designs and designer of many well-known sea kayaks such as the Pisces, Solstice, Storm, Libra and more.

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Groundbreaking Expeditions Expedition kayaking has many similarities to mountaineering, where once unachievable climbs, once conquered, become commonplace over time. Yet it is the groundbreakers who inspire, educate and demonstrate so that others can follow in their path. These are some of the most notable kayakers who conquered their own personal saltwater Himalayas.

Paul Caffyn: Paul set the benchmark early for circumnavigations, rounding the North and South Islands of New Zealand,

by Coast&Kayak Magazine

Great Britain and the four main islands of Japan, among other adventures, but the pinnacle was circumnavigating Australia in 1981 and 1982. That may have been eclipsed recently by Freya Hoffmeister who not only accomplished the same feat but in a shorter timeframe. However, Paul, his explorations and his subsequent books set the standard for long-distance kayaking. http://paulcaffyn.co.nz/ Derek Hutchinson: In June 1976 Derek made history paddling the North Sea 160 kilometres from England to Belgium along with Tom Catsky and Dave Hellywell. It was a turning point for kayaking as it proved kayaks could perform as a serious ocean-going vessel. Derek passed away in 2012 and is considered by many to be the father of modern kayaking. Nigel Foster: Nigel first circumnavigated Iceland in 1977 with Geoff Hunter, but probably his most notable trip was kayaking from Baffin Island to Labrador solo. Though ill-fated and abandoned, the trip set a new standard for daring by tackling huge tides and currents, conditions until then unheard of in a kayak.

Ed Gillet: By kayaking from Monterey, California to Hawaii in 1987 Ed set a benchmark for an open-water crossing that still stands. It was far from straightforward due to weather, lost equipment and lack of food and may have resulted in a rescue had anyone bothered to search for him after repeated requests from his family. But after 63 days he arrived safely, making the 3,500-km journey into Kahului Harbor, onto Maui Beach and into the history books for a remarkable long-distance solo crossing. Steph Dutton: In a trip of particular interest here on the Pacific coast, Steph made his mark in 1993 by paddling from Victoria, BC, to Ensanada, Mexico in 54 days, completing the coast from BC to BCS (Baja California Sur). Supported by a ground crew, the achievement was notable in part due to Steph’s artificial leg, and so combined long-distance kayaking with the added complication of a handicap. Also notable was the difficult conditions in paddling the Oregon coast. There are many other notable trips, of course. An excellent online resource for the history of kayaking trips can be found at www.expeditionkayak.com.


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FIRST got into a kayak in 1981. I was 31, which fit the demographics at the time for sea kayaking (in the 30- to 50-year-old range). I used to squeeze into an old whitewater kayak in order to teach myself how to roll in the campus pool. I wish I had a video of that escapade. Thank goodness I taught scuba diving, because it taught me great breath control. Otherwise I would have drowned, I’m sure. When I started sea kayaking I had to figure it out for myself. I used my whitewater kayak to paddle along the Santa Barbara coast. Until I learned a reliable roll I had to swim ashore with my kayak when I capsized, because a self-recovery with that kayak was impossible for me. That is why I paddled on the shore side of the kelp beds. At that time I was directing the outdoor program at UC Santa Barbara. I wanted to develop a kayaking program so I figured I had better learn how to do it so I could teach others. In the early 1980s there were only a few kayaking schools on the West Coast. Many of the brave souls I met out on the water never took a class. One of the common elements I found in all ocean paddlers of that time was the passion for the sport. All of the paddlers were hungry for information and adventure. Many others, including myself, owe our basic skill development to Derek Hutchinson’s first book on the sport. As instructors we too were hungry for information. At the time the American Canoe Association (ACA) did not have a sea kayaking certification program and the British Canoe Union (BCU) was still focusing their energies in the UK. The main organization on the west coast was the Trade Association of Sea Kayaking (TASK), which was a committee of the different sea kayak manufactures formed to promote the sport of sea kayaking. A number of us instructors got together on different occasions just to share ideas and techniques, which grew into the Instructor Exchange Program sponsored through TASK. As an FYI, Derek Hutchinson wrote the very first instructional sea kayaking book in England and that was published in 1976 and it was called Sea Canoeing. John Dowd’s Sea Kayaking book was first published in 1981. The first issue of Sea 14


Riding the


Kayaker Magazine was published in the spring of 1984. It wasn’t around when I started paddling. The first issue of Wavelength Magazine was published in May 1991. I remember the collective desire to get our hands on anything that had to do with sea kayaking. I just counted over 100 books in my library relating to paddling. I also have all 157 issues of Sea Kayaker Magazine on my shelf. I didn’t even try to count my collection of charts and maps I used for my different expeditions. When I say passion for the sport I mean Passion with a capital “P” and I was not alone. I recall the first time I heard about the West Coast Sea Kayaking Symposium (WCSKS) in Port Townsend, Washington. I could not wait to get up there. It turned out to be a 20-hour drive from my house in Santa Barbara to Fort Warden State Park, where the event was held. Going to that symposium for a sea kayaker was like a pilgrimage to Mecca. All the big names in sea kayaking were there, either SPRING 2015

giving lectures or presenting their new kayak designs down at the beach. There was Derek Hutchinson, John Dowd, Lee Moyer, Brian Henry, Mike Neckar, John Abbenhouse, Tom Derrer, Ken Fink, Matt Broze and the Tsunami Rangers, just to mention a few. These names helped draw participants to the paddling events. After attending my first symposium in Port Townsend I began presenting there every year until the very sad day the symposium closed its doors in 2009. It was one of the premier kayaking events in the country. I was told that attendance used to be over 1,000 participants during the weekend in the busy years. Again, that thirst for information and the desire to share a common passion for the sport brought us all together. There were other events around the country that were similar gatherings of the paddling clans sharing their passion. My paddling buddies and I were doing everything relating to kayaking. We even started whitewater kayaking to sharpen

by Wayne Horodowich Wayne Horodowich rides a monster wave of about 5-6 metres on a play day after the world kayak surfing championships ended in Thurso, Scotland in 1991. The 4-metre kayak gives scale to the size of the wave. A storm in Greenland contributed to the wave size, with this same wave snapping the kayak of another kayaker who didn’t quite make the lip.

Wayne Horodowich reflects on 35 years of change in the world of kayaking our skills. We loved to go caving and play in rock gardens. We did surf competitions. I ended up being the captain of the US Surf Kayaking Team and competed in two world championships (1991 and 1993), which gave me the chance to ride huge

waves along the remote northern coast of Scotland and an opportunity to meet Prince Charles. Adventure on the water was our calling. It is also important to note that the kayaking manufacturers were all small companies each with their own unique design styles. You could easily spot the difference between a Current Design kayak, a Necky kayak, a Northwest kayak, a Pacific Water Sports kayak and a Mariner kayak. These founders/designers of the early kayak companies were personally invested in creating their kayaks. Each year when walking the demo beach the designers were there beaming with pride about their new boat designs. Even though the different manufacturers were in competition, they all managed to work together to help promote the sport in order to see it grow. Most of the boat production at that time was focused on sea kayaks designed for touring. Many of the standard safety features on every sea kayak today were not available in the early 1980s. The first fleet of kayaks I purchased for the outdoor program did not have bulkheads, deck lines or rudders and skegs. I won’t even discuss the horrible seats. The primary rec boat of the time was the Scupper, which was a sit-on-top (SOT) kayak. There was very little energy focused on producing small rec boats.


OW TO the present. The Pacific Northwest, which is a kayaker’s dream location, no longer has a premier


paddling event like the old WCSKS. In fact, many of the older events around the country no longer exist. The main Seattle event presently being offered is basically a demo day on Lake Sammamish. When I went to the event I saw more folks on stand-up paddleboards than I saw in kayaks. During the last five years I gave lectures on how to choose a kayak at large retail shows. When I asked the audience what type of water they are planning to paddle, the vast majority answered calm, protected water. When I look back to the paddlers in the 1980s and 1990s the interest seemed to be open water and the expedition style of paddling. After we started offering kayaking classes at the university in the 1980s the classes were packed. In truth we couldn’t offer enough classes. I recently spoke with my successor at UCSB and he told me that they only offer a couple of sea kayaking classes a quarter and they usually don’t fill up. The ACA, BCU and Paddle Canada are going strong with respect to training instructors and paddlers. I want to take this opportunity to give all of my early fellow instructors a well-deserved thank you for their hard work, because one of our goals back in the Instructor Exchange days was to increase the level of instruction across North America and I have to say our efforts have paid off. Some of these certifying agencies now offer training in many paddling disciplines. The small kayak manufacturers were u



Retrospectives bought out by larger organizations. The larger organizations are corporations with a major concern for the financial bottom line. I feel the personal investment and vision of the original company founders has been lost. Now it is not as easy to distinguish between the kayak designs from the different companies. For many years the demo beaches have been staffed with underpaid reps who are just there to sell boats. When I speak with these reps I hear the majority of kayak sales have shifted from the sea kayaks to the recreational boats designed for calm, protected waters. This coincides with the verbal surveys I have taken from new paddlers. These corporations are also selling SUPs to get their part of the market share. When I compare the new paddlers of today to the sea kayakers of the past I don’t see the same number of passionate and committed paddlers entering the sport. I see a greater number of casual paddlers. This is an observation, not a criticism. I have learned over the past 40 years of being involved in the outdoor industry that trends come and go. Different times produce different

by Wayne Horodowich demands on our time. Priorities and passions shift. The electronic age is not only upon us, it has swallowed us whole. We are in instant and constant communication with others. This constant communication has made our lives even busier. When you’re busy you don’t have much time to get away for long trips. The trend in paddling has moved to quick and easy paddling. Even though I am not into SUPs I freely admit it’s a lot easier to slip on a wetsuit, grab your board and paddle and get on the water for a quick workout. If you fall in you easily climb back on your board and continue on your way. With all my years of experience it takes me a lot longer to load up and go for a one-hour paddle with the kayak compared to someone using a paddleboard. It also costs a lot less to get a paddleboard.


HAT HAS happened to the clan of hard-core sea kayakers? Many of us are still around and still paddling. Even though I moved to the Seattle area I get weekly emails from the southern California kayaking club California Kayak

Friends (CKF) announcing their weekend paddles. There is core group known as the “Old Farts” in CKF that head out each weekend. They are going out practicing skills, playing in the waves or touring together. It is interesting to note many of these paddlers have gone native. They have skin boats and have started using Greenland paddles. A few years ago there was a surge in interest in Greenland rolling and making your own kayak. I believe the hard-core paddlers were still looking for new experiences. I personally believe the original wave of sea kayakers were the backpackers, climbers, cross-country skiers and mountaineers who wanted to find new adventures. Plus they were getting older. Sitting down and paddling your gear to a remote destination was a lot easier than carrying it on your back. Since I am a member of this group I can say I miss the large gatherings of the paddle clan. I miss the passion I used to see in new paddlers. I am disappointed that the new paddlers to the sport may never know who Derek Hutchinson was and what he contributed to the development u

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Retrospectives of sea kayaking. I am sad that folks will no longer experience the enthusiasm and excitement that Eric Soares brought to an audience when he would introduce the newest adventure of the Tsunami Rangers. However, change is not only inevitable, it is constant. Even though I miss the old days I also recognize how much this sport has grown. What used to be called the sea kayaking industry is now known as the paddlesports industry with a vast array of disciplines. Even though I miss the passion of the early paddlers, I know the pendulum is always swinging. Just two weeks ago I joined my buddies on a backcountry ski trip into the Sierras. We stayed in a Sierra Club hut. In the same hut were three young men who made the six-mile trek in on backcountry split snowboards instead of skis. These three fellows were firefighters in their mid to late twenties. I felt old because I used to do trans-Sierra ski trips with a 60-pound pack over 14,000-foot peaks before these guys were born. What brought me joy and hope was seeing the all-too-familiar passion for the outdoors and the desire for adventure these guys expressed. I believe one day they will be getting their butts in kayaks as they get older and their bodies tell them it is time for sit-down adventures. Paddlesports will never end, only change. Wayne Horodowich is the founder of the University of Sea Kayaking, LLC (USK) and has been teaching Sea Kayaking since the mid 1980s and is the producer of the “In Depth” Instructional video series on sea kayaking. Visit www.useakayak.org for information about USK and sea kayaking education.

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Other views Mary Bayes, Western Canoeing and Kayaking: When you ask a serious sea kayaker who enjoys several weeks a year out on trips why are there fewer long distance sea kayakers out there, the response is, “We don’t know, but I’m sure glad there’s more beach space and fewer neighbours.” Recently I heard on several news programs that there has been a serious drop in the sales of pianos in the last 10 years. I wondered if there could be some common social reason why there could be a drop in sea kayak sales and pianos. They both require a fair amount of skill to truly master. Heading out on BC’s Wild Coast requires more than mastering the technique of a good forward or bracing stroke. I’m sure that good piano playing also requires more than just hitting keys in the right order. They both require effort and training. Lessons are recommended for both. Is it a lack of confidence that the necessary skills can be learned? Is it the feeling that it’s too much effort? Perhaps it’s just easier to book an all-inclusive trip to Mexico. I asked my friend Andy, with whom I have done many paddling trips, what is it that draws him every year to do at least one seven-day kayaking trip. His answer was, “I feel more alive out there.” Degrees of “aliveness.” Interesting concept. I can remember as a child arranging furniture in the living room and creating a shelter with blankets and sheets draped over the top – playing make-believe that we were on a bit of land by ourselves and on our own. Or collecting large cardboard boxes and creating our own dwelling – again on our own. Maybe some of us haven’t outgrown the fascination of self-sufficiency. Arriving by sea kayak at a white sandy beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island is somewhat like the play scenarios of our childhood. The beach is our playground. We get to decide where the tent will be pitched, where the fire will be built, and maybe we will even catch our own dinner. Maybe there is too much “risk,” my friend Andy suggested. “You can screw up out there with serious consequences.” This reminded me of a trip we took with Andy and his wife to Smith Sound a number of years ago. We were dropped on a long sandy beach by a water taxi which took us from the northern tip of Vancouver Island over to a remote inlet on the mainland. After being dropped by the water taxi driver, who promised to return in a week, we noticed a fair number of cougar prints in the sand. No big deal except that we had Andy’s two-year-old daughter running around. We drew long marks in the sand down to the water and told her that she could not step over those lines without an adult with her. The “risk factor” was somewhat reduced. Watching whales broach close to our boats the next day definitely made the trip worthwhile. So why are fewer sea kayakers out there? Some say we don’t like being away from our electronics for so long. Do we have fewer vacation days from work? The risks are too great? Confidence is too low? Too much to learn? Just too many other things to occupy our time? Maybe it’s worth the effort if you want to feel more “alive.”

Chris Ladner, Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres: For those of us who have enjoyed being paddlers, we need to take our experience and build a foundation of passion for the future. What we loved about paddling needs preservation for more to enjoy. I bought my first kayak 43 years ago in Cambridge Bay, NWT. It was covered with seal skin and 14 inches long. I was 12 years old. At 14 I built a kayak as a school project. This one was 14 feet long with a wood frame and canvas skin. That kayak lasted 30 years. Paddling has provided me with a unique prospective of the outdoors that I have shared as a family and with friends. We have travelled around the world seeking out unique paddling destinations. And found them. Paddling has to be a mainstay of outdoor experience as it is so important for our community. It has been proven time and again that outdoor experiences build essential skills in children, with the adults contributing towards a better community. After 25 years of owning Ecomarine it is time for a new generation to take the helm and ensure paddling remains an integral part of everyone’s quiver of outdoor experiences. Liam McNeill, Tofino Kayak Company: It may be cliché, but the future belongs to the youth. Whether a cultural tradition, language or sport, when the youth of a community partakes, it thrives. Sea kayaking has hurdles

to overcome and opportunities to seize to stay relevant. For our younger generations, we need to provide opportunities to bypass the financial costs, provide mentorship and inspire a new vision of what kayaking can be. I’m not necessarily young anymore. I’m in my early thirties, married with a young son, house, cat and various responsibilities. As a father I realize there is no better marker of success than what you teach the next generation. To satisfy my youthful 0yearnings for adrenaline I needed something more than paddling into a sunset. Thankfully every generation has those individuals who push the limits to new extremes in rock gardens, surf zones, tidal rapids and rolling. Trying to emulate these activities sometimes left me in precarious positions, but it was necessary to keep me inspired in the sport. What really hooked me, though, was the simplicity of landing on a remote beach, empty of people and signs of civilization. The satisfaction of travelling to far-flung locations, under my own power, inspired my sense of adventure. Some youth will travel to Asia or Europe, but I fulfilled my need to explore by paddling distant corners of BC. From the rugged west coast of Haida Gwaii, the intricate passages of the Broughton Archipelago, or the white sand beaches of Clayoquot Sound, every location I paddle has its own unique charms. Every time I slip my kayak into the water, for an afternoon or for a week, I know I will experience something new.

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From the desk of Coast&Kayak Magazine editor John Kimantas: impressions from adventures that have left their mark 1. Carter Bay, the Central BC coast Back in 2005 when I was kayaking up the BC coast to Alaska I turned inland off the main Inside Passage route south of Klemtu to explore Fiordlands Provincial Park. Traveling blind in terms of expectations and information it turned out to be an exquisite location with some of the best mountain scenery on the British Columbia coast. Paddling out and back to Klemtu I saw an old hulk lying in a bay and sallied over to explore. It turned out to be the Ohio, which hit an uncharted rock in




nearby Finlayson Channel in 1905, with the quick-thinking captain running it aground on a sandy beach nearby, a move that no doubt helped contribute to avoiding any loss of life in the mishap. Conditions were perfect for my visit, as the higher tide level allowed the most spectacular ghost ship image. I’m surprised this has not become a more prevalent coastal icon given the creative potential. Perhaps not enough people have visited and so the ship rusts away in obscurity.

by John Kimantas



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2. Solander Island/Brooks Peninsula, Vancouver Island On a trip along the west coast of Vancouver Island in 2003 I was rounding Brooks Peninsula in advance of an approaching gale. I left my campsite before dawn and celebrated the start of the day with a humpback whale breaching directly in front of me. Tufted puffins were everywhere, and a calm day meant being able to safely approach normally moody Solander Island with little more than an undulating swell. I snapped this image with a wide angle lens which masks the imposing height of the island’s main bluff, which rises sharply to about 100 metres from the ocean. Nearby was a fleet of grey whales cruising the water off Clarke Point, and so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when a grey whale




surfaced in front of me so close it essentially blocked my path. That was spectacular enough, but more surprising was a second grey that appeared and began to rise between the other whale and my kayak. The result was two whales stacked in front of me, with the nearest at one point so close my fingers wouldn’t have fit in the gap between it and my kayak. I snapped photos, but this was in the days of film, and it turns out the last shot on the roll was wasted accidentally as I was setting up the camera. So the most enduring image I have of my trip that day is a memory only. But it remains the best one of a spectacular location I still call my best day of paddling.

by John Kimantas

The other photos: Anyone who asked my favourite kayaking location in the past decade will have received the same answer: Brooks Peninsula (pictured bottom left, in some sort of isolated weather system in a view from the Bunsby Islands to the south). I’ve been back many times since my first visit in 2003, and will have to go again. One reason is to revisit the beach at Nordstrum Creek along the outermost exposed shore. It’s a mystical place I’d like to see again. The whale photo is just because it’s the one I did get,

not the one I wanted to get. Also below is an old house post at Acous Peninsula, one of the better preserved original village sites remaining on the coast, but at each visit showing distinct signs of deterioration. Lastly, bottom right, is the campsite beach at Apple Islets, the best spot for staging a run around the peninsula. I tend to think a detailed feature about Brooks Peninsula will have to be in one of the early issues of the new Wild Coast Magazine. It will give me a reason to return sooner than later.



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3. Drake Bay/Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica Ben Miltner of Gulf Islands Kayaking painted an exceptional picture of the possibilities for kayaking Drake Bay in Costa Rica for me, and so after several years of missed opportunities I finally rose to the challenge. Drake Bay turned out to be a wonderful base, still off the beaten path (no formal road to reach it just yet) and adjacent to Corcovado National Park, one of the great jungle wildlife sanctuaries of the world. Imagine my surprise that not only did toucans exist in the wild, but they flew in flocks. This was paradise, evident in a thousand and one new ways each day.




Ben lent us a pair of his Nimbus Kayaks, two of only a handful of traditional sea kayaks you’ll find in Costa Rica, and on one stop on the outer peninsula for a lunch break we were joined by some white-faced capuchins. There’s nothing unusual about seeing them on the peninsula, but to have them explore the kayaks was certainly an unexpected pleasure. No doubt their motivation was food, not the Nimbus craftsmanship, but regardless, having ‘kayaked’ with monkeys remains an especially poignant memory. You can see Ben’s Costa Rica ad on page 41.

by John Kimantas

4. Isla Coronado, Baja California Sur, Mexico Last summer’s Coast&Kayak Magazine featured three articles about kayaking Baja Sur, and one of the authors, Gerhardt Raven Lepp, said to me his favourite spot after kayaking various Baja locations was Danzante Island off Loreto. So this winter when I moved the Coast&Kayak Magazine office to Loreto for the winter (sorry about that, everyone who had to stay north in cold climes), a day trip to Danzante Island was on the must-do list. Eventually I did the trip with fellow kayak guide author and BC Marine Trail advocate Paul Grey. And it was indeed spectacular. Later we planned a second circumnavigation of nearby Isla Coronado, and were actually disappointed with the coastline

until we hit the exposed outer shore and found some brilliant rock formations (one example is shown below left). But the real pleasure was an exquisite band of beach hidden along an inner peninsula. It was heaven: a perfect crescent of beach facing an aquamarine cove protected by an outer headland of rocks for just enough protection from wind and waves. I returned a few days later to spend a day here; it called out to be visited again to share the beauty. It remains a highlight of an exceptional winter spent in Baja. If you were wondering why we were slow to answer the phone this winter, here’s one reason. Just one of many highlights of a winter spent in Baja.

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5. Spring Island/Mission Group, Kyuquot Sound In the Spring 2012 issue of Coast&Kayak I entitled a feature about Spring Island in Kyuquot Sound’s Mission Group as ‘The Perfect Island.’ It may not actually qualify as truly perfect as it is remote, difficult to reach and prone to some difficult weather if you time it wrong. However, by any measure it is among the




coast’s most beautiful places, and I think this image of paddling along the south shore facing Rugged Point tells the story: big water, big sky, lots to see and wonderful places to explore. It’s the type of place that’s always on my list of places to revisit. Even if not perfect, the memories it has created are.

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6. Hardy Bay/Port Hardy, Vancouver Island North Some encounters with killer whales are truly magical, and I have published pictures and been rebuked for showing an image violating the required distance from passing whales. Kayakers will know, however, that when a killer whale is determined to cross your path there’s not much you can do but enjoy it. Such was the case when a small pod passed me on a perfect day of kayaking

returning from God’s Pocket (see page 34) through Hardy Bay on my way back to the Bear Cove launch. One orca surfaced just next to me. With only the ripples it created disturbing the water and the Masterman Islands in the background, this remains one of my favourite kayaking images. To me it captures the essence of the British Columbia coast: peaceful, majestic, larger than life.

7. Gosling Island/Goose Group, Central BC Coast When I kayaked up the BC coast to Alaska in 2005, the main difficulty was in finding worthwhile campsites. Often I set up a tent atop a jumble of rocks hoping the tide clearance was enough for the night; many times high tide came shockingly close. So when I discovered a beautiful beach it was always a cause for celebration, and none greater than the discovery at the Goose Group where the sand was soft and expansive – truly a blessing 28



well worth the questionable crossing of Queens Sound. The coast here was like this: it challenged you to your mental and physical limits, but every so often it rewarded you with a gift to cherish. There were others like this – the McNaugton Group, Wolf Beach, Lucy Island near Prince Rupert – but the Goose Group was perhaps the most special for being such a welcoming location after a long and dubious crossing with no idea of what I might find.

by John Kimantas





Adventure destinations


EYMOUR NARROWS has a reputation for being dangerous. George Vancouver called it, “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.” Sailing Directions states, “Small vessels have been capsized with loss of life while navigating Seymour Narrows even near slack water and in reasonable weather conditions.” BC Parks adds, “Paddlers should avoid Seymour Narrows and only travel through Surge Narrows at slack tide.” However, the reason Seymour Narrows is hazardous – the strong current – also makes it interesting for kayakers. With a bit of planning and by being prepared, a kayaker can ride the ebb current north from Campbell River through Seymour Narrows, have lunch at Browns Bay while the ebb turns to flood, then ride the flood current through Seymour Narrows back to Campbell River. It’s like bicycling a return trip that is downhill both ways. With a maximum current of 16 knots, Seymour Narrows is one of the fastest tidal rapids in the world. The current follows a geographic dogleg, bending at Race Point and at Maude Island. These bends produce backeddies, whirlpools and boils. Where strong countercurrents meet, large whirlpools can suddenly wink into existence and capsize your boat. Other boats can also be a hazard. Tugs and barges tend to go through at slack, but they have very limited maneuverability as they must keep the towing cable from snagging on the bottom. Cruise ships and freighters are less common but sit high enough that kayaks may not be visible to them. Commercial fishing boats are likely the safest of all as their pilots know the area extremely well. But one should watch out for them if they are travelling against the current, as they must follow a certain path which reduces their ability to dodge around a kayak. It should be obvious that a kayak being pushed by a strong current has very limited capacity for maneuvering. Sport fishing boats are mostly commercial and driven by experts. Fortunately there are very few drunken idiots in powerboats willing to tackle Seymour Narrows when it is flowing. Wind can make the waves larger when it is pushing against the current, but sometimes it seems to flatten them out. The biggest hazard of wind can be in making it difficult to keep to a timetable. 30



both ways

The northward ebb current is not that hazardous. There is a pronounced downstream current just past Maude Island * that diagonals from east to west. One should avoid the large backeddy on SPRING 2015

the right, as the opposing currents produce small whirlpools. To the left of the current are the remnants of Ripple Rock, an infamous underwater pinnacle that sank many ships until it was blasted in 1958 by * Numbers relate to locations on the map on page 32.

by Alan Dunham

Join kayak veteran Alan Dunham for a detailed look at what’s involved in running Seymour Narrows Left: Paddling a baidarka into Seymour Narrows at the start of a Quadra Island circumnavigation. Above: whirlpools and rips at Ripple Rock as viewed from the shoreline. Below left to right: a small freighter adds an element of surprise; a sandy boat skid just south of Race Point; Mike Preston paddles by the Copper Cliffs; and Cape Mudge lighthouse stands watch over the tide rip.

the world’s largest non-nuclear explosion. While much safer now, Ripple Rock still produces boils and turbulence where it is slammed by the strong current. There are smaller boils and whirlpools as the current

dissipates, but they are not that bad. The challenge is in finding a line through them that will maintain your forward speed. The southward flood current is more of a concern. As you exit the narrows proper, SPRING 2015

there is a clearly defined path where the bulk of the current flows smoothly and coherently. That is, it is clearly defined once you know what to look for. Or you can hike the Ripple Rock trail and get a bird’s eye view from land. To the west of the main flow is Menzies Bay , which is a giant backeddy. Just south of the overlook, the Menzies Bay current clashes with the Seymour Narrows flood. This area is a breeding ground for large whirlpools. I made the mistake once of turning west here and got caught by one. I had to roll up three times before it let me go. Give this area a wide berth by staying on the east side of the main flood. As the current turns left (east) before Race Point , there is a zone of turbulence to work through. At Race Point itself, the eastward flowing flood meets static water south of the point. At flood speeds of 6 knots or more, this area produces whirlpools that are best avoided. I prefer to travel on the north edge of the flow, even if this means a reduced forward speed. Once near the Walcan Seafood plant on Quadra Island, whirlpools are not a concern, and it is clear sailing to Cape Mudge . u COAST&KAYAK MAGAZINE


Adventure destinations

Seymour Narrows A rip is almost always near the lighthouse, fun on most days, but should be avoided in a strong southeast wind.


O NAVIGATE Seymour Narrows, you must know the current speeds. They are not obviously related to the tide heights. While the information is commonly available as a list of times (minimum/ maximum/slack), I find a graph to be more useful. After deciding on a comfortable maximum current speed, you can look at the graph and see what time you should be at the narrows. When to launch depends on the launch location and the current in Discovery Passage. One strategy is to launch three hours ahead of slack at the Ken Ford boat ramp , enjoy the max ebb in Discovery Passage, then land near Yellow Island to wait for the current in the narrows to decrease. The time it takes from the overhead hydro wires to Browns Bay gives you how long you should allow to travel from Browns Bay back to the hydro wires. I usually add a few minutes, more if there is a south wind to paddle against. One of the biggest rewards of kayaking Seymour Narrows is seeing the resident pod of sea lions. They often fish near the Maude Island light. Their main haulout is on the east side, but I have seen them in other locations. Whales are rare, but a treat to see. Seals and seabirds are common. The nature of the trip prevents it from becoming boring, even if repeated often. You must pay attention to the water conditions as you travel. There are often small rips off Quathiaski Cove and Walcan that will keep you awake; they may even test your bracing. In the narrows itself, you will have to make some route decisions. Generally you want to avoid boils and whirlpools. No matter the current speed, you can try to choose a path that follows the fastest currents. The push provided by the current is a lot of fun. It turns a longish trip (50-plus kms) into a fairly easy day. And if a headwind pops up in the afternoon, you can still make fast-forward progress despite the wind. Al Dunham has kayaked since 2000, in part by paddling around Vancouver Island in stages. When he’s not working on his rolls, Al kayaks Discovery Passage and Surge Narrows.




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Adventure destinations


O YOU recognize any of this?” my wife called back over her shoulder from her beat-up, 25-year-old sea kayak. She was only a few metres in front of me in my equally battered, 30-year-old Pisces, but I could barely hear her over the roar of the wind as it raced down Queen Charlotte Strait into God’s Pocket Marine Provincial Park. I’d spent a week kayaking and camping in the park five years ago, enjoying a series of leisurely day-trip paddles around the group of protected islands that form God’s Pocket, but I couldn’t recognize anything along the shore. We’d launched that morning from Bear Cove near the BC Ferries terminal outside Port Hardy at Vancouver Island’s northern tip, timing our departure with the tidal flow out of the town’s deep harbour. But now, after a three-hour, 10-kilometre paddle that included a brief lunch break on the beach at Songhees Creek, my glasses were spotted with saltwater and steamed up from the workout of getting across Goletas Channel and into God’s Pocket. In truth, I could see even less than I could remember from my earlier adventure, but I told my wife that the big, dark spot on Bell Island, less than 30 minutes away if we could get through the ferocious chop, looked familiar. Sort of... I couldn’t remember very much. It had been a decade since my wife and I had taken a trip like this together. We both had other kayak partners: mine, a grizzled senior like myself; hers, a pair of older gals whose health issues stopped their annual sea kayaking adventures last year. So my wife was a little leery of my hazy memory and worn out from the day’s paddle, and a little scared of the tidal flow which was causing crashing waves while the wind pushed our heavily loaded boats. We’ve been together for over 30 years, and I could hear it in her voice when she called again through clenched teeth, “I’m getting cold! Do you think that hole in the bush is the campsite?” A few minutes later we could see the opening to a narrow channel leading to a three-metre cliff formed by a midden built up by thousands of years of First Nations clam feasts and topped with a thick, flat carpet of moss. The one big drawback to kayaking in 34





A trip into God’s Pocket Provincial Park captures the essence and magical attraction of the region God’s Pocket is the scarcity of beaches and campsites along the islands’ steep, rocky shore. We pulled up on the beach and only then noticed the generator noise from the Marine Harvest fish farm further down the channel. When we climbed up on the cliff to our campsite, we were fortunate we could no longer see or hear it. God’s Pocket Marine Provincial Park is over 2,000 hectares of small islands and diverse sea life. Flocks of rhinoceros auklets, oystercatchers, harlequin ducks, gulls, guillemots, petrels, loons, mergansers SPRING 2015

and other seabirds bob on the waves here, pick at the abundant intertidal life and streak over the open water in long lines of flight. The nutrient-rich water pouring down from Queen Charlotte Strait teems with life, and during our week kayaking we saw several orcas, a couple of humpback whales, lots of seals and what looked like a bulbous-headed pilot whale, though it vanished before I could be sure. Sea otters popped out of the kelp beds near God’s Pocket Resort, an old fishing camp that the owners turned into a diving and kayaking resort about 15 years ago.

by Joseph Blake

Joseph Blake approaches the almosthidden first campsite on Bell Island. Photos by Lynne Milnes.

Jacques Cousteau called this area some of the best cold water scuba diving in the world, certainly the best on the Pacific Coast, which is why the resort runs scuba adventures from March to October with week-long kayak tours in July and August. During one of our day trips from our comfortable campsite on Bell Island, we

were invaded by a tour group from the resort. Six brand new double kayaks and the two guides’ singles packed our beach. The group was on a lunch break and they set up a large folding table with sandwich ingredients, chips, fruit and desserts. They were the only people we saw all week besides a pair of gray-bearded Englishmen in beat-up, grimy boats older than ours. We met them during an early morning paddle to a campsite tucked into a little bay on Hurst Island. On another drizzly morning during one of our day trips the ferry up to Prince Rupert steamed through Christie Passage past the lighthouse on the north end of Balaklava Island. It made us feel small as we bobbed in its wake. Four sea lions followed us as we made our way around the island, and we were watched from the tops of towering old snags by dozens of bald eagles and a sky and sea full of auklets. We saw an overgrown logging road that ran down to a cluttered campsite at the beach on Balaklava and another at Nolan Point further south that looked occupied too, but we didn’t see any kayaks on the water. After our first bout with rough paddling in afternoon winds in Browning Channel and Christie Passage, we learned to launch our day trips around the protected shore of God’s Pocket very early each morning. We paddled about five hours a day before returning to camp for a hearty lunch. We relaxed and read, drank cups of Kettle Valley Pinot Grigio or Stag’s Hollow Simply Noir that we’d stuffed into the nose of our boats, and spent the dying light around small beach fires built with dry, fallen limbs from the forest behind our midden cliff camp. u

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Checking a chart during a lunch break at Songhees Creek before crossing Goletas Channel: Yes, it is easy to get lost here.

God’s Pocket knocking my boat sideways and giving me a little thrill before I managed to paddle free and into the channel where a family of white-sided dolphins swam with another ferry out of Port Hardy. After about an hour, as we neared Bear Cove, a huge sea lion swam under my boat and growled loudly, emerging with a splash right in front of me. One big, red eye and a mouthful of teeth were so close it took my breath away. Before I had time to be scared he submerged and vanished, leaving only his wake to add yet another memory to a week’s worth in the glorious, natural paradise called God’s Pocket.

A rope helps to scale the midden at the Bell Island campsite.

For a couple of nights we camped at Duck Bay, on Hurst Island, another moss-topped midden near the resort. We walked ten minutes on a fir forest trail for a special birthday dinner that my wife had prearranged for us at the resort. We hiked back to our tent after chocolate cake and candles and listened to a wolf howl nearby. The full moon pulled the year’s largest five-metre tide beneath our boats, which we tied securely to trees on the cliff just in case. Two days later on our way back to Vancouver Island where we had parked the car at the Bear Cove launch, we mistimed the tide and got stuck near a fishing camp in the pass behind Duval Island, forcing us to pull our boats along tangled kelp beds and over the rich intertidal life thick with good-sized crabs and sea stars. Near the Port Hardy side of the pass the tide turned and flooded over the rocks,

Joseph Blake is a part-time journalist and gardener in Victoria, BC. He and his kayak partner Rudy Van der Vegt kayak around the coast every summer. Joseph’s wife, Lynne Milnes, took the photos for this story. Joseph’s current project is to raise a six-metre welcome pole designed by Songhees master carver Butch Dick and carved by his son Clarence Dick for the new Oak Bay High School.


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Adventure destinations The view from Roe Islet in the Roesland parcel of the Gulf Islands National Park reserve.


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ACK IN 2003 when the Gulf Islands National Park reserve was first created, it was both a gain and a loss for kayakers. The park was the best hope for preserving the last and best undeveloped parcels of land in the Gulf Islands, but at the same time, the park’s mandate for conservation meant steps such as cutting public access to the park’s many islets. Consequently many of the best kayaking campsites in the region were suddenly off limits. Protecting these perfect little examples of coastal bluff ecology was understandable enough, but the problem became that without replacements, transiting this region by paddle was going to become substantially more difficult. The Gulf Islands National Park Reserve has taken steps to accommodate visitors, naturally, with the first being a new campsite on Saturna Island at Narvaez Bay. Another for 2015 will be a small additional campsite at Shingle Bay at the Roesland property on North Pender Island. It will be walk-in or paddle-in only, and so creates a valuable new waypoint for trips through the region. Situated just a few minutes south of the Otter Bay BC Ferries terminal on North Pender Island, the waterfront location includes 10 backcountry campsites with views of Captain Passage and the nearby (off-limit) islets. The sheltered bay and fine gravel beach make it ideal for kayak landings. If you choose to walk in, a small parking area is available at the end of Shingle Bay Road, a 240-metre walk to the campsites. Nearby is the Roe Lake loop trail, a 10-minute walk that starts from the parking area. Shingle Bay was the site of the Pender

Island Fish Products Company reduction plant that operated 1927-1959. A fire destroyed the plant in 1940, temporarily forcing it to close. Although rebuilt in 1947, another fire in 1959 closed the plant for good. The fish plant was supported by the store and gas service at nearby Roesland, another historic component of this beautiful national park reserve property on western North Pender Island.

Work in progress at the new Shingle Bay campground. Photo courtesy GINPR.

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The relativity of


Current World Marathon champion Hank MacGregor, three-time Olympic medallist Clint Robinson and current International Canoe Federation world champion Sean Rice battle it out at the Canadian Surf Ski Champs. Photo by Viviane Nishikiori


ANY SEA KAYAKERS are interested in the speed of different boats. It’s a fun debate and it’s natural – as we are the hardworking motors for our craft, we want our efforts to translate into forward speed. But ‘speed’ is a slippery subject. I recently came across some excellent information from Greg Barton, the American powerhouse who won four Olympic medals at three Olympic Games (two of them gold). He’s also a mechanical engineer and the founder of Epic Kayaks (along with business partner Oscar Chalupsky, the 12-time Molokai World Championships surf ski winner). Barton has calculated the results that he would expect for each of his surf ski models on a 10-kilometre flat water timetrial or race. This is not a scientific test, but rather his very educated guess based on his many years of developing and racing kayaks. He has also included an estimate

for an intermediate racer’s results. While these are surf skis, rather than sea kayaks, a number of truths emerge. Firstly we see that Barton, as a truly elite paddler, is much faster than the intermediate. For most of us, we need never look at his times again, because we’ll never achieve anything approaching his performance. While a better kayak will certainly improve our paddling and increase our enjoyment, it can’t magically make us competitive with elite paddlers. It is interesting to note however, that over a 10km course, Barton’s time difference between the sea-kayak-like V6 and the V14 (possibly the fastest surf ski on the planet) is only three minutes and 20 seconds. While that’s absolutely monumental in racing terms, it doesn’t seem like so much in the context of going for a nice recreational sea kayak jaunt. The difference for the intermediate paddler is less – just 1 minute 50 seconds.

Again, this is significant when racing, but far less important on a paddle with pals. For a racer, any possible edge in speed is going to be very significant, and there are very legitimate speed differences between these boats. But elite skis like the V10, V12 and V14 are very challenging to paddle, especially in rough conditions. “Stability before ability” is a great adage. A paddler must be stable before he can take advantage of any increase in hull speed. In many cases, rather than achieving more speed by moving from a stable boat to a “faster/tippier” one, an intermediate paddler may actually go slower in the “potentially faster” boat. Bob Putnam of Deep Cove Outdoors puts it this way: “While most of us can jump on Lance Armstrong’s bike and immediately see a performance increase, the same is not true for jumping into an elite paddler’s boat, even if you can keep it upright.”

Epic Boat Model


Greg Barton’s Time

Intermediate Paddler’s Time


16’ x 23”




17’ x 21.25”




18’ x 22”



V10 Sport

20’ x 18.9”




21’2” x 17.7”




21’ x 17.1”




21’ x 16.9”






by Alex Matthews ‘faster’ boat is usually narrower but much longer, and therefore has more wetted surface area. The faster boat’s longer length and finer entry only pay dividends at speeds well above three knots. But ultimately, if you still lust after speed, get quality instruction on your forward stroke, increase your fitness... and yes, get the fastest, lightest boat you can handle, preferably built out of carbon, and with red in the colour scheme – because we all know red goes faster. Alex Matthews is Coast&Kayak Magazine’s skills guru.

Sometimes it’s a fine line between

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The problem is you cannot go faster if you are too unstable to apply maximum power, are constantly bracing to stay upright, or are swimming beside your boat. This does not signify that you cannot improve to take advantage of a tippier/faster kayak, it just means that you will need to invest the time and effort to increase your stability before you can reap the benefits of a faster hull. At the elite level, the law of diminishing returns quickly appears – the faster the potential speed of a boat, the lower its stability, and the harder it is to pilot. To use entirely made up numbers: if you could achieve a two percent increase in potential speed in a boat that was 25 percent more difficult to keep upright, would you do it? Racers will tend to say yes. Recreational sea kayakers will say: “No. Are you mad?” Now, compare the times for the V6 and V8 – two skis with dimensions comparable to popular sea kayaks. The V8 is two feet longer and one inch narrower than the V6, but the intermediate paddler registers only a 40 second difference between the two over a 10km flat water course. When it comes to popular sea kayaks of similar dimensions and design, there are obviously going to be differences in speed and efficiency from model to model, but the differences are relatively modest. There can, however, be a huge difference in speed from paddler to paddler. So rather than obsessing too much over boat stats and advertising copy, if you want to go faster, start with your motor: you, the paddler. Take some courses on how to paddle forward more effectively (Oscar Chalupsky travels the world offering exactly this sort of skill). And increase your fitness – because a stronger, fitter paddler with better technique is definitely a faster paddler. A final thought for us sea kayakers is that in reality we’re typically more concerned with ‘cruising speed’ rather than ‘top speed’ anyway. If you tour, rather than race, you should be more interested in how easy a kayak is to hold at three knots or so rather than knowing what its top speed is. Most of us cruise rather than race. In fact, some ‘fast’ boats with high top speeds will require more effort to hold at three knots than a ‘slower’ boat with drastically less top-end speed potential. The reason is that the

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Books/CDs to managing the day’s catch. The main appeal will be for beginners who require subjects such as a rudder-skeg overview as well as basic strokes to understanding fundamentals of Greenland rolls. The latest edition ensures the volume will continue to have a place on the bookshelf of kayakers for years to come.

power herself around the world on one of the most gruelling stretches: the Aleutian Islands. The string of Alaskan Islands remains an elusive attraction for all but a handful of skilled kayakers due to the remote and stormy conditions, and Justine’s production gives the necessary visual insight into what’s involved in managing the winds, tidal currents and windstorms likely to be found here on a daily basis. The result is a stunning overview of the archipelago in remarkably varied cinematography. Justine was at Deep Cove Outdoors for a premier screening on Feb. 26. Check www.cackletv.com for more dates.

Sea Kayaking The Classic Manual for Touring, from Day Trips to Major Expeditions by John Dowd Greystone Books

John Dowd returns to the bookshelves with the sixth printing of the 1981 classic instructional volume Sea Kayaking, the essential introductory skills book for now multiple generations of sea kayakers. Naturally the latest volume is updated including a foreword by Freya Hoffmeister, though the bulk of the book remains the core body of knowledge espoused by John encompassing most aspects of sea kayaking, from first aid

Paddling the Pacific Northwest

Wayne J. Lutz Powell River Books

Kayaking the Aleutians An Epic 2,500 Kilometre Journey Along the Aleutian Islands by Justine Curgenven Cackle TV Productions

Justine Curgenven has opened eyes to many great kayaking adventures simply by exploring great places with a video camera. In her latest Cackle TV entry, Justine joins Sarah Outen in her attempt to

Cabins float in a cut-off fjord of British Columbia’s South Coast, where mountains drop into the sea and lifestyles focus on self-reliance and a different sense of purpose. One of 12 books in this Canadian series of off-the-grid publications.

Grab a paddle as the author leads you on day trips and overnight adventures on the coastal rivers, creeks, and lakes of northwestern Washington. A travelogue memoir for kayakers. Paperback $12.95 eBook $5.99

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Coastal British Columbia Stories www.Amazon.ca – paperback and eBook





Discover Canada 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures by Leigh McAdam Granville Island Publishing

It’s an epic proposition to create an anthology of worthwhile adventures across a country as large as Canada, and Leigh McAdam has taken that on, listing a hand-picked selection of favourites from Newfoundland to Nunavat, including picks from British Columbia of course. The range of activities is from canoeing and kayaking to ice climbing, so there’s a something for everyone in the list. While it’s impractical to suggest the book will be a hands-on tool for most people, as the geography is simply too vast, the beautiful photos and descriptions are a useful addition to a library for people inspired to consider new places to explore. If you needed assurance Canada is a great place to plan an adventure, here’s the proof.

Kayaks & Gear

by John O’Malley

John O’Malley, inset, enjoys a paddle in his self-built cedar strip kayak, shown above at Malcolm Island. It became a labour of love that began by catching the kayaking bug at Surge Narrows.

Answering the I

T ALL STARTED with a phone call back in 2013. Out of the blue I received a call from a friend in Bellingham from whom I had not heard in several years. She informed me she was planning to join a party going to Quadra Island to kayak in October. I suggested as we had not seen each other for such a long time that she come up to my place a day early so we could catch up on news. It was during that evening while she was explaining the details of the trip, red wine in hand, that a thought occurred to me. Why don’t I go up also? So it was arranged for me to join the party. Upon arriving at the Discovery Island Lodge at Surge Narrows, I was introduced the lodge ‘mother,’ Beth Hayson. She quizzed me on the amount of kayaking I had done. When asked if I had done a wet exit, I replied ‘what’s that?’ which earned me a well-deserved roll of the eyes heavenward. I was then installed with full safety kit into a Seaward 17’ sea-going kayak. After some paddling instruction I was let loose on the ocean. I should explain a point here, having grown up in England sailing small racing dinghies on the tumultuous North Sea, that I felt fairly comfortable being in a small boat where I am sitting slightly below the water line. I had four glorious days of paddling with a wonderful group of new friends. Surge Narrows also


gave me the kayaking ‘bug.’ Upon arriving back in Nanaimo, my hometown, I delved into the Internet for kayaking information. It has actually been a dream of mine to build a cedar strip kayak as I have seen some beautiful examples of this art. Having worked as a carpenter for many years, I surmised I could do this ‘thing’ and ordered a set of plans which arrived in short order. I found a great local marine

Waters Dancing

lumber yard in Parksville, Beaumont Cedar Sales, where the owner, Al Small, allowed me to ‘cherry pick’ his stock of kiln-dried cedar. I knew in advance the colours I wanted in my design so I selected a certain amount of red and yellow. I had previously joined the Cowichan Bay Maritime Museum and as a member had access to their great woodworking machine shop where I was able to cut out the forms as per the paper plans and mill the rough lumber into the required strips. There was, however, a bit of a problem on how to transport a large bundle of 19-foot wooden strips from Cowichan Bay to Nanaimo where I planned to build the boat. Fortunately, a good friend of mine had a 35-foot Winnebago where the strips fit comfortably on the carpeted floor. Payment for the trip was one large bottle of good red wine. I live in a condo and I did not even bother to ask the strata council if I could u


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Kayaks and Gear

The Wavedancer in the early stages of stripping the hull.

the stern to the tip of the bow of the deck. I was pleased with myself as I felt I had turned a negative to a positive. Plus it looked pretty. A good number of well-meaning

friends advised me that my attempt to have the kayak fully finished by the end of April 2014 was just not possible. I thought I’d show them, but I didn’t. I did however, finish the kayak the day before I was due

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build in my living room so I rented a garage in Nanaimo. I had to start in February, as January was so cold, the glue would not ‘set up.’ Another friend of mine who had built two cedar strip kayaks gave me his ‘strong back’ which holds all the forms in a straight line and in position. I started ‘stripping’ as per the instruction book, applying the shear line strip first and building out from there. Early on I found it frustrating as building was very slow due to having to wait for the glue to set before fitting in another strip. One day I was in my local Home Hardware (I love this little store, they have nearly everything) when I spied on the shelf a PVA glue that sets up in five minutes. Eureka, I shouted quietly to myself, and bought two bottles. From then on progress went much more quickly. I built the kayak upside down to complete the hull first and then turned it over to complete the deck. One of my problems was although I had yellow cedar long enough to go from bow to stern in one piece, not so the red cedar. I did not want to have scarf joints in the strips so I incorporated a yellow cedar detail strip to run from the underside of the hull at




by John O’Malley

A look at the finished boat.

Showing the deck detail in June, above, and the view of the bow at the sanding stage, right.

to join my Quadra Island friends for another visit to Surge Narrows in September. John O’Malley is a Nanaimo senior looking forward to resanding the boat, putting in a new seat and getting on the water.

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25 5 0




New Gear

u Salus Capri The Salus Capri is meant for women – designed to curve in all the right places, which of course is especially important when you are showing off your moves on the water. Outfitted with a practical utility lash tab, reflective trims and fleece-lined hand warmer pockets, the Capri is designed for performance but molded for comfort. The Capri is one of the extensive line of paddling PFDs made in Canada by Salus.

Pacific Canadian Waters Kayaking Journal

u Paddlecam Caralin Adair was paddling the Sonoma Coast when she spotted a grey whale swimming among the sea stacks. It surfaced so close to the boat she was torn between wanting to back away from the whale and taking the best whale photo ever. That conundrum – juggling the paddle and the camera – led to the invention of the PaddleCam, a simple bracket with a custom tripod screw designed to be workable with gloves on. A leash means you won’t drop it, and the quick release means you won’t be left behind by your buddies while putting the camera away. This works with all tripodmount cameras, plus there’s a GoPro option as well. www.paddlecam.net.

R Record your West

Coast Adventures

R Full of important contacts and information, Hospitals, Coast Guard, Weather and much more.

Available at most fine kayak shops in BC and on line at www.phkayaking.ca

u BC Coast Explorer Vol. 2

Feather: Graphite / Basalt Carbon

Kiska: Fibreglass / Basalt / Carbon

Coast&Kayak Magazine’s parent company, Wild Coast Publishing, is almost ready (almost!) to release Vol. 2 of its acclaimed BC Coast Explorer series. The first volume was recipient of an IPPY (Independent Publisher award), and the second volume improves on that quality with brighter maps and presentation. It covers the south Vancouver Island coast from Bamfield down the West Coast Trail, around Victoria, through the Gulf Islands and up the east coast to Comox. It was a labour of love, taking four years to produce. Advance copies can be ordered online at www.coastandkayak.com.

Secure Your Next Adventure

Easy paddling, lightweight, durable paddles for over 40 years

Cable Locks for Your Kayak

Lasso Security Cables are simply the strongest, easiest and most effective theft deterrent available for your kayak.

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There’s more to read online...

2015 Kayak Gear Guide

Browse hundreds of kayaks and items of gear, from paddles to PFDs.

2015 Adventure Tour Guide The most comprehensive online resource for adventure travel destinations. Search for a complete adventure holiday from a selection of top outfitters or create your own trip using transportation services and accommodation listings. It’s an adventure to read!

www.coastandkayak.com SPRING 2015



There’s a reason it has taken four years to produce the second volume of the BC Coast Explorer series. Some things can’t be rushed. Advance orders now being taken for collector’s edition numbered copies.

www.coastandkayak.com 48