Monday, October 28, 2013

Notes from the Field: Rhode Island with Ben Rosbrook.

First morning out.
Hey y'all! This is Ben Rosbrook, third-year SMC student and WP instructor.
As the water gets colder in Vermont, we just go to the coast. Last long weekend (18-22 October), folks from the paddling crew went down to the Westport, MA area for some lessons in surf kayaking from Todd Wright, and the paddling Gurus of the Osprey Sea Kayaking Adventures board and boat shop. We got there Friday evening, and stayed the weekend at a campsite just up the road from Osprey.
By far, the best waves of the weekend were on Saturday, our first day out in the field. Carl (from Osprey) and Todd went over some key surfing principles on land, but other than that we wasted no time getting in the surf. I was in a sit-on-top boat most of the day, but tried surfing a triple-six until--after a few failed rolls--I switched back to a more stable boat. I definitely need to get back in the pool to work on rolling the boat, soon. That first day, we learned about surf etiquette, how to search for good waves, and how to catch a wave, ride it, and peel off of it. At the end of the day, it was safe to say we were pooped.

Sunday, unfortunately, was more lacking in surfability. After trying a few spots to no avail, we turned back to the boat shop and hopped on stand-up paddle (SUP) boards on the river by the shop. For some people, including myself, it was our first time on a SUP board. Carl gave us a brief overview of how to maneuver the boards on the river, and we spent the middle chunk of the day and afternoon touring down the river and back to the shop--playing with balance and spacial awareness on the way (capsizing one another). In spite of the lack of waves, we managed to make a fun day out of the still weather. After we had dinner back at the campsite, we went to explore a local beach with our headlamps--it's funny how empty beaches are at this time of year.
Instructor-in-training Peter catching some wave.
Monday wasn't huge in terms of surfability either, but we managed to get out to the same spot we were in on Saturday. We had the whole beach to ourselves, whereas we had been sharing it on Saturday--which made it easier to catch the few waves that were rolling in. By the end of this day, we were becoming more proficient at spotting good waves and knowing proper surf etiquette. Not to mention there was beautiful weather, which made hanging out and catching waves significantly more enjoyable. We surfed our faces off and, at the end of the day, I certainly felt ready to curl up in a warm sleeping bag and pass out.

Tuesday morning we packed up to head back to Saint Mike's, but before leaving we stopped for a quick breakfast with Carl and Sam from Osprey. I got pumpkin pancakes, and our waitress started a round of "Happy Birthday" and brought me a blueberry muffin when she heard it was my birthday on Monday. Not a bad way to wrap up a long weekend away.

A huge thanks to the folks at the Osprey Sea Kayaking Adventures shop--you made our weekend solid!

Signing out,

Ben R. 

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