No, that's not a typo.
In case you haven't heard, Undercurrents is undergoing a significant renovation this winter! Our first step was to move the whole store into our basement so we can continue to serve the paddling community, while renovationg the store to even better serve the community starting in the spring. The temporary basement store has picked up the informal name, UnderUndercurrents.
UnderUndercurrents looks better than one would expect from a basement store, or so customers keep telling us.
We are open our usual winter hours (Tue-Sat 10-5. Closed Sun, Mon & holidays). It's business as usual, except we are in the basement. Drop by for a visit!
Meanwhile, upstairs we are demolishing the walls we don't need, and preparing for the actual building to begin. We patiently wait for the City to issue the building permit. And wait. And wait.
Once again, Undercurrents will be hosting pool clinics this winter at the Mount Royal University pool. And, we have released the dates for the 2016 - check the dates for each clinic by visiting our Lesson pages - each clinic is listed in the right column. Or, follow the links below.
This year, we have brand new Jackson Rogue kayaks for our clinics!
The Kayak Discovery clinic is a quick introduction to the basics of kayaking. It is ideal if you are wondering if kayaking is for you, or to prepare for travelling somewhere hot this winter!
The Kayak Rolling clinic is a great opportunity to learn to roll your kayak, or to improve whatever parts of the roll you have. The low participant:instructor ratio ensures every participant receives quality individual attention. We use Paddle Canada-certified Kayak Rolling instructors!
Our Kayak Self-rescue clinic will introduce you to a variety of self-rescues and assisted rescues. This is a "hands on" program, so come prepared to participate fully.
We also have spaces available to Practice on Your Own so that paddlers can practise their skills without an instructor. It is a great excuse to do a little paddling and socializing while the weather is cool!
Did you hear that Undercurrents is staying in our current location? And doing an extensive renovation?
As part of the reno, we are redoing the exterior of the building. That's the first portion of the renovation to be nailed down so far. See the sketch above. We will be removing the big blue protrusion above our doors and windows, and also remove the decorative yellow brick. Replacing all that will be stucco and river rock! The rest of the building will be painted to match the stucco.
And, we'll have a new sign. The background is stained wood in the classic canoe/kayak/paddleboard shape (top view). Our traditional name & wave logo will hover above the wood in white.
We are also doing extensive renovations to the inside of the store! Our “complete make-over” will include a new floor, more showroom space, brighter & more energy efficient lighting, new racks & displays, as well as a general reorganization.
It's going to be a good looking store!
While we renovate upstairs, we’ll be temporarily set-up in the basement (“Under-Undercurrents”), so we can continue to serve your paddling and IceBreaker needs!
As more details on the inside arise, we'll fill you in.
It is true when they say, "If you take care of your kayak, then your kayak will take care of you." The off-season is the ideal time to spent quality time with your boat, before you put it away for the season. We are often too busy during the paddling season to address the little things on your boat that need attention, but now is the time to get to it. Then when spring comes, you and your kayak can just hit the water!
Here is a checklist of items you want to address when winterizing your kayak.
I have exciting news about the latest and greatest paddling sport - Greenland style SUP'ing. I just invented it! Yesterday!
If you are unfamiliar with SUP, it stands for Stand Up Paddleboarding, and it is exactly as it sounds. You stand up on a board (looks like a big, wide surfboard) and paddle with what is essentially a long canoe paddle. SUP is a legitimate sport that is experiencing explosive growth right now. Google it and you will see lots of photos of Hollywood-types doing it, news about races and articles about how anyone can do it. (Undercurrents might even come up in your Google search as we are among the leaders in Canada in teaching SUP.)
Back to the story of my great invention ... yesterday my beloved and I went out to the Ghost reservoir to play around with a racing SUP and a Delta 16. Long story short, I forgot my SUP paddle but had brought my new Greenland-style sea kayak paddle.
A Greenland-style kayak paddle (or GL paddle) is the result of hundreds of years of design evolution by the hunter/kayakers in Greenland. While it looks like a fancy 2x4, it is far more than that, believe me! GL paddles are growing in popularity because they are easier on the body than the usual "Euro-style" paddles that you normally see. Its design allows for a variety of paddling styles, each developed for different weather and/or sea conditions. GL paddles are also optimized for the easiest style of rolling out there - it is what we teach in our rolling clinics.
Anyways, as I was saying, I forgot my SUP paddle. So not wanting to wreck our paddle day, I paddled with the GL while standing on my race SUP. It worked okay. The design shape of the GL paddle was quite comfortable in my hand, although I'm sure those hunters did not foresee that. In SUP we sometimes kneel in rough waters, and the GL was great - I used it kayak style.
GL SUP has everything going for it! SUP is exploding in participation. GL paddling is also experiencing great growth right now. Now that I've combined the two, watch out! I just need to get Jennifer Anniston out trying "Greenland-style SUP" with the paparazzi near by and the world is my oyster. You read it here first!
Still, next time I'll try to remember my SUP paddle.
If you have seen the latest edition of SUP Standup Paddler magazine ("available at Undercurrents now" - shameless plug!) you would have seen a fabulous photo of three paddlers surfing a tidal bore on their SUP boards.
Tidal bores occur when the ocean's incoming tide moves up river against the river current. The wave or waves can travel upstream for miles. These are real "tidal waves," not to be confused with a tsunami. They don't happen in many places, but they look like they are worth the trip.
SUP Standup Paddler magazine has a 'behind the photo' description and video of this tidal bore and the surfers. Fascinating! Visit that page here.
Park your car upriver. Paddle down towards the sea. Then surf the bore back to your car. It doesn't get any better than that!
Who even knew that there were world records for waterfall descents in dingies? Ya, dingies?!? Here is the video. Check it out for yourself.
I'm not expert at extreme dingy, but it looks like all you need is more courage than brains, a few people that are close enough friends that they will help you but not so close friends that they will try to stop you. Oh, and a crappy dingy from Cdn Tire.
At least the celebratory beverage at the end is classy.
No words have ever been more truthfully stated! Remarkably, it took an Australian beer company to do so. A friend linked me to this actual Australian beer commercial, and I knew all you canoers and kayakers would appreciate it.
P.S. "Canoe" is Aussie for "kayak."
On Wednesday (June 2nd) there was a "test-drive" of the Calgary Weir (Harvie Passage) by invited experts and the area designers.
Randy and Mark from our strategic partners, RMPC, and our repair guy & paddler extraordinaire, Mark, were among the invited experts to test the features and provide feedback to the designers and construction folk. Everyone who paddled it found the features were more exciting than anticipated. Of course, the water level was only 90 (on the low side!) so that makes the waves more retentive.
The team was testing "drop #3" and "drop #4" in the river left channel. The first two drops are not constructed yet. And, the river right channel is partially completed, but has no water flowing in it, yet.
A YouTube video with some of the highlights is below. Check it out!
It is extremely important to note that the weir area is still closed to the public. The weir itself is as deadly as ever! Plus, it is a violation of federal law to be paddling there. Oh, and there is construction going on everywhere around there!
The construction project is only half done and is scheduled to be completed in 2011. Until then, we all need to paddle vicariously through Mark, Mark and Randy!