Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hands down, the most amazing kayak trend yet

Look for something unusual here -- and it's not that orange is the new black (photo by Cate Hawthorne)
Kayakers generally fall into two camps when it comes to paddles. There are European paddles (as shown in the blog title photo above), and there are Greenland paddles (below). It’s sort of like Microsoft and Apple – they do the same thing but have basic philosophical differences on how to make it happen. Paddlers may claim one is superior to the other. Until now.

There’s a new way on the wave, and it’s unlike anything paddlers have seen before. In fact, it can’t be seen. It’s kayaking without a paddle. Yes, a couple of NorCal Yak pals who’ve been training with Liquid Fusion Kayaking in Fort Bragg have taken the next step – they literally dropped their paddles.

Few kayakers have done this so far, especially on the rugged Mendocino Coast. But Jeff Laxier and Cate Hawthorne, the dynamic (water) duo of Liquid Fusion, recently were training my pals and caught these images (no retouching or photo shopping) at a "pour-over" spot just south of the Noyo Harbor.

Note loose grip on the non-paddle (Cate Hawthorne photo)
Paddler Lisa Q. said it felt quite exciting. “I call it the ‘hello mom’ low hand brace,” she said. Her companion Frank duplicated the manuever moments later. Neither capsized. Mom would be proud. It may take a while for the full impact of this kayaking trend to register, but it should end all debate on proper paddle length – it’s whatever you have up your sleeve.

And now we return to our regularly scheduled reality…the no-paddle run occurred only after turbulent sea ripped paddles out of the kayakers’ hands. But they managed to remain relaxed in their cockpits and kept their boats upright, proving once again that loose hips don’t sink ships.