Wednesday, April 02, 2014

April's Newsletter

For us, March was a month of celebration. Both our birthdays fall in March, and so does our wedding anniversary. March is also the celebration of season changes. The days get longer, and the grass turns from brown to green. We're currently in Wales, and tiny lambs are roaming the hills, flowers are popping up in every crevice and field, and life is once again appearing. The other great thing about spring is that the whole kayaking season lies in front of us, and this year is looking very exciting.
In March, Helen headed to Half Moon Bay to teach Simplifying the Roll and Combat Rolling for California Canoe and Kayak. Mark ran a BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment with James Stevenson, and we brought in guest instructor Pete Jones to run BCU Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning. After that, we hopped on a ferry to Dublin, Ireland, where we celebrated Saint Patrick's Day and our wedding anniversary. Once we were back in Wales we ran Simplifying the Roll, BCU Open Water Navigation and Tidal Planning and a BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment.
At the beginning of April we are guiding an expedition around Anglesey, and then we head to the Ladies Paddle Symposium, also in Wales. After that we go to Scotland, where Mark is teaching an Advanced Leader and Trip Planning class. Meanwhile Helen is flying to the U.S. to run Yoga for Paddlers and a Paddle Day for our local club, Explore North Coast, teaching Combat Rolling and sticking around to teach private rolling classes during the ENC Kayaking Social.
Later in the year we have classes and symposia scheduled in the U.S., Wales, Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Israel and Mexico. We will also be guiding an expedition in South Greenland, which is now fully booked.
We've been working hard on organizing the U.S. Storm Gathering symposium, taking place in Trinidad, California on March 6, 7 and 8, 2015. Save the date!
As usual, visit for more information and our current Events calendar and Blog postings. For questions, comments or to schedule us in your neighborhood, email
Happy paddling!
- Helen and Mark
Dr. T's Coaching Corner
If you have ever worked towards a specific goal, be that learning a certain technique, perfecting a roll or preparing for an assessment, the chances are you may have received some guidance from a friend or coach along the way. But what happens afterwards when the goal is accomplished? You might consider becoming a mentor to someone else who is on the same pathway.
Mentoring can be a powerful personal development and empowerment tool for everyone involved. Not only is the mentee challenged and guided, it is also a test of the mentor’s knowledge and understanding of the subject. For instance, if someone has recently become a sea kayak leader, not only can they share their experience of the assessment process but also what they did to get to that point.
Mentoring should be a helpful relationship based upon mutual trust and respect. It not about ‘do it my way or it’s the highway,' but more about wisdom sharing and reflection.
Program Schedule
BCU 5 Star Sea Assessment:
March 29 to 30, Anglesey, Wales
Anglesey Expedition:
March 31 to April 4, Anglesey, Wales
Ladies Paddle Symposium:
April 5 and 6, Glan Llyn, Wales
Yoga for Paddlers and Paddle Day (ENC):
April 19, Big Lagoon, California
Combat Rolling:
April 20, Crescent City, California
Advanced Leader and Trip Planning Training:
April 18 to 23, Oban, Scotland
Private Rolling Classes (during the ENC Kayaking Social):
April 24 to 27, Big Lagoon, California
Simplifying the Rescue:
May 4, Whiskeytown, California
Simplifying the Roll:
May 3 and 4, Whiskeytown, California
Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning:
May 9, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Training:
May 10 to 11, Anglesey, Wales
BCU 4 Star Sea Assessment:
May 17 to 18, Anglesey, Wales
South Greenland Expedition:
July 9 to 20, South Greenland
Nordic Tour:
May 23 to July 4 and July 24 to August 31
Copyright © 2014 Greenland or Bust, All rights reserved.
Helen Wilson and Mark Tozer • (707) 834-5501

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Greenland - Home Ground

Many places around the globe feel foreign, but only a few feel like a world unto their own. Greenland is such a place, and in this short piece by filmmaker James Aiken, seen through mini-portraits of two people who live there, you get a small but tangible sense of how wild and untamed and off the edge of the map it is.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sea Kayak Safety: The Throw-Tow System

This rescue system can be used in several different ways. As a tow system it can be set with variable lengths. Depending on the diameter of line the bag can accommodate up to 20 metres, but comes with 15 metres as standard.

The system can be reversed so when used as a throw system it can be projected into a rescue from the seat of a kayak, yet still be used as a tow system. Having a strong clip at both ends of the system means that once projected into the incident, the casualty can clip it into their kayak or hold on, to be pulled clear of any danger.

The belt of the tow system is designed so that the anchor point of the bag can swivel around the paddler’s waist by the attachment of a stainless steel ‘D’ ring onto the bridle of the belt.

This allows the tow line to run freely when changing direction and also allows you to carry the tow line to the front of you when sitting in the kayak, which is handy if you anticipate needing it in the ‘Throw’ function whilst negotiating rock gardens.

Difficult landings

The system really does come into its own when used to assist in difficult landings, initially in the landing of your own kayak using a ‘Swimtow’ technique, then quickly recovering it and deploying it as a Throwtow.

Surf rescues

The Throw-Tow has been used effectively in up to 4ft of surf whilst towing rafted casualties in to the beach. If you are acting as the anchor man at the back of a surf rescue you can rig the system so that when released it still performs effectively as a drogue.

Designed to be worn slung beneath the arm and released by using a quick release buckle attached to the shoulder of your PFD (Buoyancy aid). The system can also be attached to the belt or using a fairlead and jam cleat be mounted to your kayak.