Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ava Setting Up A Roll....J/K

This pic reminds me I have to remove that stupid cleat next to the cockpic. It controls the drop skeg but it keeps taking chunks out of my paddle and knuckles!

It looks like she's setting up a roll, doesn't it?

Cirrus almost there!

Jeremie's Cirrus is SOOOOO close. He just needs to cut the hatches, install bulk heads, and rig it out. I love first-time-builder's new completions. You always remember your first boat!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

A Day At Bear Lake...

My wife's parents own a lot on Bear Lake. It is located on the west side of Michingan, just south of Frankfort. Its a nice lake to roll in due to the lack of swimmers itch and the abundence of friendly locals. I paddled about 4 miles out there today. It was beautiful and the water is getting warm, but I am still wearing my wet suit. I practiced solo wet exits today and reentry without a paddle float. Robin was able to snap a couple pics using her camera phone.

Ava found my boat today. She got a kick out of sitting in the cockpit and screaming at the top of her lungs. She is 15 months now and developing a cool personality. I am proud of her. She cried when I pulled her out of the boat. That's my girl!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Cottenwood Fuzz Used As Thickener?!?!

I was running low on thickener for my resin while in the middle of working on the Point Bennet. I actually gathered up a bunch of this fuzz from the Cottenwood trees around my house. It seemed to work alright for what I was doing with it! I wonder if anybody else has done this?

Yostwerks Templates....

Hey look! They all fit on one 2' by 4' piece of plywood! I am still figuring out exactly how the chines/keel/stringers actually sit in the forms. Do they stick out a little or are they completely inset? Who knows. But, it has been a fun little project so far!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Cirrus is coming together...

This is my friend Jeremie's One Ocean Kayak Cirrus. It is a beautiful design, and I think a little difficult for a first timer. But, Jeremie is not the type to back down from challenges. He worked through the learning curve and the boat is looking great! I can't wait to get him out in the lake with it. There is nothing like paddling a boat you built yourself!

This guy is getting married in a few months. How long do you think she'll let him keep that chick on the wall? :)


Greenland Qajaq Demonstration Video

This is a link to a cool video showing Greenland technique . Thanks to David Adler for putting out there for us. It is inspiring for newbies like me to see stuff like this.

The music during the clip really sets the mood. Very cool.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Free Paddle Carving Video....Feedback On My Paddle...

As I posted a while back, I made a few Greenland paddles using the free informational video from Matt Johnson. The video is downloadable and runs about thirty minutes (there is a link on the sidebar of this blog).

There is always apprehension when taking my "home-made" equipment in front of fellow paddlers. Whether it is a boat or paddle, I can't help but wonder what other people are thinking. When I made my first Greenland paddle, I had never even seen or held one made by an experienced paddler. I always think everyone must be looking at the flaws. Of course, most of the time, this is not true. People tend to look at the whole package and not the details. My anxiety again proved unnecessary regarding my paddles made from this video. At my first pool session, where I learned to roll, I was given feedback for my paddles from two experienced paddlers. One asked me what my source was for my paddles (which is a great compliment) and another said that my paddles looked like something that would be found right on the deck of a qajaq in Greenland. That made me feel good.

Not everyone has the time to build a boat, but almost everyone has the time to make one of these paddles. I found the experience of taking a raw cedar 2x4 and shaping it to a paddle was rewarding in many ways. I do feel a connection with the water I did not feel paddling with my Werner. Plus, nothing is quite as nice as that Cedar smell driving home from the lake!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Malone Autoloader....

I finally bit the bullet and ordered a rack system. I hear good things about these from the kayak builder's board. They fit right to the factory racks and run about $100. I'll make sure to give a review on them as soon as I use them.

They can be ordered at clcboats.com.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Patuxent Back On The Water....

I cleaned up this boat today with the intent to sell it. The Patuxent 19.5 was the first boat I made. In the picture of the cockpit you can see a coin from the year 2000 when the boat was completed. CLC doesn't offer this design anymore. It was going to list it on Ebay today but made the mistake of paddling it. Whoops. It is fast as hell and rolls pretty well too. Shoot. I guess I will keep it a little longer.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Templates for the Yost Sea Rider

These are for my Yost Sea Rider. I have been sick so I needed something to do. I got a little sick of daytime tv. These are just the templates for stations. I need to make the cutouts for the keel/chines/stringers and transfer these to half inch plywood. I have never made a skin on frame before and I still am looking for info on how to skin this thing. I think I would like it black. I don't know if it will be PVC or nylon or canvas. Inexpensive is the key to this one. I am putting most of my money into the Point Bennet right now. This Yost will just be for rolling and quick day paddles.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Freya Hoffmeister.....:)

Amazing. I hope she makes it up to the training camp this year!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

QajaqTC Training Camp Is Half Full.....

So I hear the class is filling up! I am PUMPED and can't wait! This is going to be a great event. Three days of nothing but kayaking and hanging with good people! Does it get any better than that?

If you don't know what I am talking about or you made your decision to go just now.....click on the cool pic of Dave Braun relaxing in a balance brace.

I hope to see you there!

The Bennet is coming together...

I have been pretty busy at work but was able to get my panels cut out. I think I am going to use sheer clamps to attach the deck. Duane does not recommend this and it will add weight, but I like the stiffness it adds to the boat and adds strength to the gunwales.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rolling On Mud Lake

The day I after I learned to roll at the Civic Center pool, I had to go out again. There is a lake by my house with pretty warm water, and I have a wet suit, so I decided to go. I called up my friend Matt Durand who is an expert canoeist (correct term?) and EMT, and he agreed to go with me. Once out in the water I became a little apprehensive due to what felt like very cold water. We found a shallow spot in the lake and he encouraged me to go for it. I started with a side scull which got the adrenaline flowing and also got me ready for the water temp. It really wasn't all that bad so I just went for it. I hit my first one on the third try. I could still hear Dave in my head telling me to keep the paddle up to my chin and my head back. Once I had the proper body position I rolled so fast I almost window-shaded. I did it a couple times and feel a lot more confident about rolling now. I can't wait to go out again.

However....the Acuta was damaged during this paddle. I am taking some advice from the message boards on how to fix it, but I am worried about the future of this boat. I can still use it for rolling but I am sure the tracking will be affected. I ran onto a log at high speed and it crushed the keel and dented the two bottom panels. It has gotten me motivated to finish my other two boats.

I didn't get any rolling pics unfortunately. Matt was too busy making sure I came back up. He is a great guy to paddle with.

Thanks To Dave.....

Thanks to Dave Braun, of QajaqUSA, I am rolling my qajaq! Three days ago Dave invited me to a pool session at the local civic center. The first thing I noticed was how nice everyone was and supportive of a new paddler! I felt very welcome. Dave had me practice a couple wet exits and assisted rescues. Then he slapped a tuilik on me. I HAVE TO GET ONE OF THESE! I know some people don't like them but it made me feel more secure and buoyant. Then he taught me to side scull, balance brace, and then I did a standard roll.

I credit the speed in which I learned this to having a fantastic teacher, a decent boat, and great support from the other paddlers in the pool. Thanks to everyone! I am getting pumped for training camp!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Qajaq USA....

I just wanted to plug the site that got me motivated to start kayaking/building again. Like many paddlers, I tend to go all-out when I first get into a sport. Back in 2000, I paddled every day until I kinda burned out. After reading this site, my interest in kayaking was recharged and I am excited to be on the water again. The greenland community has been very supportive and seems to be filled with great people. Special thanks goes to Dave Braun of QajaqUsa, who I have yet to meet, even though he lives in my own town. He helped answer some basic questions I had concerning the greenland qajaq and building the paddles.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


This is olympic kayaker Jeff Smoke. The guy is way fast and a MICHIGAN NATIVE! I love rooting for the home team. Good luck with your training, Jeff!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Skin-on-frame kayaks....Great Site!

If you have never visted Yostwerks.com, you are missing out. I will be building one of these this winter in a non-folding version, just for rolling. Tom offers lots of different designs and the offsets are free!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I always wondered why people had these little balls on their decks. It's to help get your paddle back underneath the bungees! I am such a newbie.

There is nothing like being out in the middle of a lake and not being able to get you paddle strapped down. "Hold on guys! I gotta paddle back to shore and strap down my storm paddle"! Dork! I just don't wanna be that guy!

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