Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Send Off for Mike & Will

Last night CCK hosted a send off get together for Mike Simpson and Will Rich along with Erik and Sam of Martha's Vineyard Eco Adventures. As many of you who follow us here or on our Facebook page already know Mike and Will will be paddling from Key West to Portland, ME on stand up paddle boards! Erik and Sam are driving them down to Florida along with all their gear! Their expedition is known as "SUP The Coast". In doing this they hope to spread awareness and raise money for two specific causes which stem from these passions. The first is Wounded Warrior Project, a national organization which supports America's service men and women, particularly upon their return from duty. Mike and Will will be meeting with Warriors along the way.

The second cause they are supporting is physically "closer to home". We live on, and love, the ocean, and she obviously plays an integral part in this adventure. They have chosen to combine their efforts with a great group of people who work hard (and have fun at the same time) to educate others about the well-being of our marine eco-systems on which we so closely depend. SUP Clean-Up, a world-wide organization based in North Carolina, couldn't be a better fit for what they're trying to do. Mike & Will expect to spend approximately one hour a day picking up trash on the beaches along the way. Mike brings an IKEA bag along and can easily fill it in an hour. That's not a bad idea, next time you head to the beach bring a shopping bag (like the one you bring to the grocery store) and fill it with trash. Imagine how much more beautiful our beaches would be if everyone just filled a bag with trash and brought it off the beach.

Mike & Will have taken every precaution imaginable to stay safe on this journey. Not only are they carrying EPIRB's and PLM's but they also have SPOT Satellite Messengers. If you'd like to follow their progress you can at their SPOT Tracking Site.

We hope to have Mike & Will here for our Annual Collinsville SUP Cup and Stand Up Paddle Festival on August 20. You'll be able to hear all the great stories they'll have to tell!
As a side note CCK is now a chapter of SUP Clean-Up! We believe we are the first inland chapter! We'll be scheduling regular clean ups on Farmington Valley waterways. Watch our web site for dates and locations!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

SUP the Coast

Starting March 1, 2011, Will Rich and Mike Simpson will embark from Key West, Florida and head north to paddle the Eastern seaboard on stand-up paddleboards. They are combining two passions, paddling and helping people, while fulfilling a dream of seeing the East coast from the water. In doing this they hope to raise both awareness and money for America's service men and women, and stand up for those who stood up for us.

Will Rich: Will is 27 years old and currently lives in Little Compton, RI.
He grew up in the United States oldest seaport,Gloucester, MA. The ocean has always been a
large part of his life, starting when his mom threw him in at 6 months and he has a hard
time getting out ever since, with his longest time away from the ocean being ten days
while he made a trip to Europe and spent some time exploring England on his way to surf
kayaking in Portugal.
After a quarter life crisis at 25, and searching for more freedom,  Will walked away from his office job and
hopped a boat for the Caribbean working as a deckhand. He now works as a crew chief for Gentle Giant Moving and Storage.

He met Mike while surfing a secret spot that he found by mistake and has now known him for 8 years. He 
started stand-up paddling boarding 2 1/2 years ago after Mike introduced it to him, and he hasn't looked back.

Mike Simpson: Mike realized in 1989 while swimming a surfboard down Gore Canyon of the Colorado River, that a kayak seemed more fun than getting beat up on a surfboard.  Mike followed the snow in the Colorado Rockies and chased the snowmelt down the raging rivers of the West for 12 years.  In 2000, on a Colorado River trip through the Grand Canyon, he met a group of surf kayak crazies.  Mike has been surfing his entire life and when introduced to stand up paddleboarding it was the perfect hybrid of kayaking and surfing for him.  He has paddled countless miles and introduced hundreds of individuals to the sport.  From surfing big waves to paddling any distance in any conditions, stand up paddleboarding has become his life. 

You can follow Will & Mike on this journey on their web site and donate to their cause the Wounded Warrior Project.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mapping your Trip

I usually carry my GPS on my kayak trips. I use the GPS along with the chart to determine my location. During the trip I can see my progress on one of the screens that gives me the total distance, my current speed, moving time, stopped time and average speeds. There is also a track, or cookie trail, that appears on the map screen that shows where I've been. At the end of the trip I can save this track on my GPS.

I use a program on my home computer, Expert GPS, to upload this track information. This program will display the track on a topographical map. I can easily save portions of this map as a piture file. Below is a track of a paddle from the Connecticut River up into Hamburg Cove.

A menu link from this program will show this track on Google Earth. Google Earth will also allow me to save images of this track.

In Google Earth I can zoom into areas that I want to see more detail. The picture below shows the harbor area in Hamburg Cove. From my track it appears that I crossed over (or maybe under) one of the piers. The GPS signals are very accurate but at times they do show some error in the actual track.

Here is a map picture from another trip. This was a trip in Buzzards Bay at the south end of the Cape Cod Canal. Here I broke the track into two legs and added a legend. I "mark up" my map pictures by importing them into MSPaint, making my changes, and then saving the new picture file.

I use the eTrex Legend Cx by Garmin. As you can see its time for me to get a new GPS.
- Brian Cooper, CCK Staff

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Walking On Water

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is quickly becoming all the rage in paddle sports. And rightly so. It's a new perspective on being on the water as well as a low impact form of exercise while having fun. I just spent 7 1/2 hours on a SUP up at Twin Lakes while my husband fished from his kayak. I wanted to make sure it was something I really wanted to invest money in before purchasing one. I'd been on a SUP before but only for about an hour at a time.The day started out paddling from the Twin Lakes put-in, across first lake and into second lake where there is better fishing. There are lots of ski boats on first lake which will kick up some swells and big wakes. The board I was on was a Hobie 11'2" ATR and I had my Werner Nitro paddle. This board handled great! I found the stability to be very reassuring in those swells. Once into second lake while Tom fished I lounged on the board and enjoyed the day. I was able to sit, stand if I needed to stretch my legs, put my feet in the water and swim off the board. I felt like I had my own island! I had put deck rigging on the nose of this board so was able to bring my essentials, a towel, a change of clothes if the weather turned bad, food and water. After spending close to 4 hours leisurely exploring second lake we headed back to the put-in. From one end of second lake to the put-in took me 2 hours all standing and I wasn't the worse for wear. I appreciated the lightness of the Werner Nitro during those two hours and the buoyancy of the blade. I'm a 47 year old woman not in great shape but I would highly recommend paddle boarding to anyone. I absolutely plan to buy one and make it my main form of recreation on the water. As I get more comfortable on the board I'll be working on those step back and pivot the nose turns! Maybe even look for some small waves to surf.

Here are some thoughts:
SUPing & PFD's - you definitely want something low profile. A lot of SUPer's are wearing inflatable style vests, for me personally I'm not a great swimmer so I like some flotation. Considering the Kokatat Orbit, Astral Bella or Stohlquist Rocker (has a beverage pocket!). These vests put a lot of the flotation lower on your body and leave your arms freer to move so you avoid chafing under your arm.
Footwear - some SUPer's prefer to go barefoot so they can feel the board. For me standing barefoot for a long time hurts my feet, I need support. I wore my Merrell Waterpro's which have arch support and are designed to drain when you step in the water. I could still cool my feet no problem.
Rigging your SUP - a must for flat water SUPer's. Carry a dry bag or two with daily essentials. Both NSI and SurfTech have peel and stick lash points you can apply to you board. a Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag with exterior lash points looks like it might be a perfect addition.
The last thing I would consider for anyone doing long days on flat water is maybe bring an extra kayak paddle for those times when you just have to sit down!

There are now so many SUP options, the hardest part will be trying to figure out which one to buy! Come on in and check out the latest SUP's from Hobie & SurfTech!

-Mel, CCK Staff