Friday, 22 August 2008
Yet another scruffy waif has found it's way into my collection. This orphan had no name. It had merely been branded Number 15 & as I towered over its cowering & bedraggled frame in the August sunlight; I felt a heartbeat sense of it's former self, a residual soul under the dirt & I heard myself proclaim: We can rebuild you, we have the technology. Today you are number 15, a refugee from The Village, tomorrow you will cut surf & turquoise seas & shout, I am not a number - I am a free Anas.

You have wonky teeth I know, & your retro-fit hatch & deck lines are both equally amusing. You have your wires crossed, literally. Your pure Igdlorssuit progeny is askew.

The ancient emblem tattooed onto your ass Number 15, as always, reads: British Canoe Manufacturers Association - The Reflection of Excellence.
Some work will be needed to restore you, there is no debate, & some may hurt a little, or seem unnecessarily brutal. Your footplate is an original alloy bar wingnut affair, drill jammed in like an amalgam filling without anaesthetic. Your forward ballast is an onion bag full of polystyrene chips & a birds nest, & your open wounds are creeping. Your split stock seating bucket is lined with finest executive karrimat & your gelcoat is a near non existent collection of scars that could have only been acquired whilst fighting a very small room. Your glasswork is atrocious, inside a fashion of magnificence, & you're coming apart at the seams, but fear not Number 15, 1972 & 2008 will both be good years & the times, oh the times...they are a changin'.

£75.00 all in for the official adoption papers, but remember Number 15 - beautiful flowers grow out of the wreckage & the dirt, & the girl who sells them in rags, is prettier than all those dancing, high-falutin' lights.
One final aside, the Skye-vine has recently reported Murty & Gordon giggling openly in his Ornsay kitchen about this Anas possibly being re-rendered in fantasy brown. Gordon Beige apparently laughed loudest. ;o)

In the near future I'll finish putting together a pdf.file of Anas restorations if it's handy to anyone. As well as being applicable to nearly all modern glass/carbon kayaks, it will include Anas Acuta specific detail, including everything from retro seat fitting, gel coating, minimalist but practical refitting to rear deck surgery & reshaping - the works in fact. If it's useful to anyone, all good, if not, it'll kick around until it is.

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 20:35:00 | 1 Retorts
•≈ Anemos
Tuesday, 19 August 2008
The leaves of an urban morning

The cloth anemometer says: If yer pants are flying on the line, it'll arguably be fun offshore.
Hebrides - NNE 30°, 5 or 6 decreasing 4 or 5. Moderate or rough, rain, moderate or good. Seas are rising & the swell is making giant boulders creak against a bed of slow moving humpbacked raw force. There is wind in the wires, & a premature, fleeting autumnal feel threading through our village streets. I saw a person leaning into their scarf today until the sun glared between swift cloud shadows, & the sea has opened this years bidding for brave souls.

& lone distant pelagic activities invariably beckon. I may be some time.

posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 18:19:00 | 0 Retorts
Thursday, 14 August 2008
What a day - It had been so warm I had barely noticed I'd jumped into the Anas in my jeans, day boots & socks, wallet & phone in pocket, flung the Akullisaq on & readied my throat with a formal yet light instructive tone. I spent the day drifting up & down against chop & slight wind on Loch Mór Bharabhais, voicing do's & dont's, holding the occasional coaming, & demonstrating the shere amount of dynamic rotation, deep edge & passive sculling action a kayaker can pull from the drag & flick of a Norsaq. It's interesting to see how each individual, independently of another, deals with the grey area so often found & left untaught in the Euro approach to capsizing, rolling & straight paddling technique.
Today became a confidence class, exploring the Greenlandic artistry of kayaking halfway between being upright & capsized, finding the balance, feeling out the physical positions & without becoming rigid when it deserts, bending to neither panic or coercive action. It's great to see people progress, on any level, see them feel their natural technique & buoyancy discovery grow without p.f.d's or those ridiculous paddle float devices. To sit back & see a class group up & gauge it's own advantages & limitations of progressive scenarios, bare boned & alive, to see that Oh My God!! of self discovery spark in their eyes & Rolling is fun written in their faces..or as in today's case - Not rolling but floating half way over on my own without drowning is fun...

The collie of course was totally uninterested in the days proceedings apart from an instance of trying to swim the width of the entire loch in an attempt to keep me in visual contact. We took a break & dug out some whale bones. He soon returned to the r.v & continued his furious Great Escape dig in the sandy banking of the loch eventually widening its entire surface area by an unprecedented foot & a half...

Dem Bones

Loch Mór Bharabhais* in itself is an accessible & excellent venue for teaching confidence classes, practicing rolls you can't do, as well as doubling as a paddling haven for beginners when giant offshore surf unsettles their minds. Situated 10 minutes North of Stornoway & separated from the wild ocean by a gentle shingle levee, it has clean water, sandy launches & open camping machair. A future venue for a Hebridean rolling meet? I need another loch of this caliber on Skye other than Gedintailor & Camastianavaig...Still, there's always throwing them in directly at Rubha Hunish :o) The loch also makes a great tactical base camp, with Dail Beag & the Bearnaraigh peninsula directly South & the exposed Western edges of Rubha Robhanais to the North.
Anyways, tomorrow it's a wee trip to the vet, for they collie no me, then face down Norsaq sculling & Norsaq rolls & maybe set up the Qajaasaarneq ropes if I can get two cows to stand still.

The Barvas levee

* The small loch S.W of here at Brú, Loch Eirearaigh, is currently carrying a
Cyanobacteria hepatotoxins bloom warning & should be avoided.
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 21:30:00 | 0 Retorts
Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Wether inside the turbulence of a full kayak roll, or free soloing inside the aerial boundaries above black crevassed talus, confidence in the axiom, the center, allowing the hips to dictate momentum, intuitive position, approach & speed of execution, will bring you into the light above the surface - effortless. Allowing physical transferral expands it. Trying to think it into existence stifles it. It - that circling whip of acceleration effortlessly enhancing the roll, the dynamic move, from its core into the outside edges - From here on, failing to stay upright is a joy & a reason to kayak, as is freefalling from the high reaches of a climb. Because you have confidence in the outcome of an event, because you have engramming in place, you are free to enjoy the space between losing & regaining what the teachers crassly term as control of an expected outcome. You are able to play in the gaps between knowledge.

I'd thought those words in my sleep last night & woke this morning scrabbling around for a scrap of paper, stumbling half asleep toes into the dogs water bowl. Positive visualization of technique is a valid tool, but attending your own talks in your sleep?... And that's another thing! Will the neurons at the back of my skulled auditorium, who insist on chattering through each unconscious lecture, please see me afterward!

A virtually effortless & self perpetuating circular motion exercise. A kayaker, climber or Aikidoka who understands flexibility & centered body movement will out muscle the muscle everytime. It's do I put it... command or coercion with a passive voice aye, a secretive collusion of asymmetric symmetry resulting in a perfect roll...
My biggest challenge will soon be learning to stay upright, as I realize I spend most of my time teaching people to fall over...
posted by •≈ Sgian Dubh at 13:21:00 | 0 Retorts