• Winter Paddling, Florida Style

    The following was originally published on my personal blog at

    Bryan Florida Surf

    Our part of the world is frozen pretty solid right now but I still got out for some paddling recently. Never mind that it was in Florida where their winter temperatures (water and air) were nearly as warm as it ever gets here in the summer. On Thursday I paddled an afternoon in the ocean to have fun and hone my skills, and on Friday our family went on a tour on protected waters to see some Floridian wildlife. I'll cover that tour in a separate post. First, since I don't often get a lot of coastal paddling in and I wanted to work on those skills, I hired Michael Shugg to do an afternoon session of coastal kayak skills with me. Mostly, I wanted to learn to play and tour in surf conditions. Michael is an American Canoe Association instructor from Orlando and he recently started the company Adventure Spirit Kayaking. We started out at a Port Canaveral boat launch, not far from a number of cruise ships, then headed out around the point to the beach at Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach.

    Palm trees and cruise ships at the launch - things you just don't see much of in Saskatchewan.

    Once out of the port area and clear of the boat traffic, I tried a couple of rolls on both sides to get rid of any rust that might have built up from a couple of months off of the water. We then took advantage of the bit of swell (1.5 feet?) to catch some waves coming in to the beach, working first on coming in slower than the waves and in control, as you would do with a load while touring. That was easy enough so then we spent most of the afternoon working on surfing the waves. On my very first attempt to surf some waves in toward shore I was broached (the following wave pushed my stern sideways until I was parallel to the wave) and I quickly capsized since I hadn't yet learned to lean into the wave. I rolled back up quite nicely so it was great to see my roll working in the real world conditions.

    A pretty calm day out there but there was some swell, I swear it!

    It was also remarkable how warm the water was. I was pretty comfortable in just a rash guard and shorts over neoprene shorts. Just guessing, I'd say the water was pretty close to 20

What our Students are Saying about Us

"You were very informative and I would recommend your class to
anyone considering taking up kayaking."

- Marvin Doepker, Saskatoon

What our Students are Saying about Us

"I wanted to stop and tell you that you are among
the best instructors I've ever had."
- Pool Student

What our Students are Saying about Us

- Donelda Gowan-Moody, Saskatoon

"Thank you very much for the paddling instruction.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Our son says that kayaking is AWESOME!"