Saturday, March 04, 2006


Note later in the day - speaking of namedropping, I realize that I should explain for the benefit of non-kayakers and/or non-U.S. people - I was actually indulging in some mild namedropping in my last post - when I say "Shawna Franklin" and "Steve Maynard", most US sea kayakers who've spent any time doing British Canoe Union stuff are going to know exactly who I'm talking about. Shawna & Steve are said to a couple of the best instructors in the US - I have not personally taken classes from either of them but I've heard lots of good stuff about them. They're both 5-star kayakers - that's the British Canoe Union's highest individual award, don't know how it is in Wales but US kayakers tend to look at a person who's won their 5-star as a kayak deity.

Shawna was actually the first US woman to win her five-star - she and Leon Somme, who was also teaching for BCU week, own Body Boat Blade, which is a very well-known kayak school in Washington State.

Steve Maynard is a Coach 5, which means that not only is he a god, but can also coach others who are interested in trying to attain a spot in the pantheon for themselves. Can't give you the spot, that takes a 5-star assessor (hen's teeth), but if you've got the ability he can teach you the skills. He works for Maine Island Kayak but if you do a Google search under "steve maynard kayak" you'll see he gets around a bit!

I actually first heard about him after he married a friend I'd met through Manhattan Kayak Company - she had her own company in Long Island, Sea Cliff Kayakers. It's funny, I hadn't heard from her in ages & had assumed she'd shut up shop & moved to Maine, until sometime in January when a couple of people from Pier 63 did a trip to South Carolina that featured the very oooh-aaah-wonderful service of the outfitter coming to Pier 63 to pick up their boats with a trailer! Now for a carless NYC resident that just rocks. Anyways, I asked the bearded gentleman who was loading the boat where he was from & was quite pleasantly surprised to hear Sea Cliff Kayakers - and it was even more of a pleasant surprise to figure out that Steve in St. Petersburg was Steve Maynard (I didn't do the BCU stuff aside from Nigel Foster as I can get excellent instruction closer to home from Atlantic Kayak Tours, I was there for the Greenland folks who are harder to get to, so I didn't know the exact BCU list) & even better to get to see Melissa again for the first time in a very long time. Small world, the US "serious" sea kayaking scene. I put serious in quotes 'cause it's not really serious, we're all in 'cause we think it's fun, but my gosh we take our fun seriously!

Now I am playing timidly with the idea of trying to set up a little Greenland workshop at Sea Cliff, sometime when the water's warmed up. Cheri & Turner have now set themselves up in a way where they can load up a trailer full of their Greenland slivers, and with Sea Cliff Kayakers still in business there's somebody to help out on that end... I'm missing so many details right now I probably shouldn't even risk cursing it by talking about it, thhbbtt. I'm not looking to make any money off of it myself, just would love to do it 'cause it would be so nice to have my next fabulous Greenland session sometime a little sooner than the year or so that seems to be the usual amount of time it's taken me to manage it before & getting together a few friends for a day with Cheri & Turner on a nice beach in Long Island seems like a good way to make that happen. Daydreams are good, right?

Cheri working with me on some front-deck rolls - I'd like to continue this lesson sometime sooner than 2007!

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