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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    right behind you!
    Posts
    5,191

    Sea kayak - Baja whitewater

    Last edited by Pinner; 11-27-2018 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    right behind you!
    Posts
    5,191
    So, I posted this fully intending to explain a bit further, but got distracted. Now I have a little time:

    Two years ago I got rid of 99% of my belongings and rented out my house in Denver to move to San Diego for a 90-day summer job. After that, I planned to just ramble and explore the world seeking inspiration and adventure.

    The cleaning out of crap accumulated over many years was cathartic. It took four or five months of concerted effort to get rid of it all. I gave a lot of stuff away, sold some and trashed an ungodly amount. The whole time I told myself I was clearing out the detritus in my life to make space for experiences, relationships and memories. I had no idea how brilliantly that would play out.

    Before leaving Denver all my hardcore buddies said, “Dude. So Cal, bro! Yer gonna surf like everyday, right?” But those who really know me, know that I’m balanced-challenged and that just looking at surfy, skatey things is enough to break my arm.

    I considered what else a guy can do in the ocean and sea kayaking came up. Never having sea kayaked, and with a bitter taste in my mouth from a couple calamitous attempts at river kayaking over the years, I figured I should take a lesson.

    So I went to The Google and searched for <sea kayak instruction san diego> and the top hit was a woman who I dated as a freshman in college 29 years earlier and hadn’t seen or heard from since. I sent her an email and she replied with, “Oh sweet, I could use an extra kayak guide this summer! What’s your availability.” Clearly she misinterpreted my request-- I needed a lesson, not a job!

    In the intervening years since college, Jen ran a successful kayak business in San Diego and worked her way through the rigorous British Canoe Union curriculum, eventually becoming, in 2007, the third woman and first North American to earn a Level Five sea coach award. This is a big deal in sea kayaking. Just as a UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guide is qualified to guide any mountain on the planet, Jen is qualified to guide any water on the planet.

    My first introduction to the sport was a private session where she taught me how to roll. After 35 minutes I was getting it something like 3 out of 5 times and she said, “that’s it. Lesson’s over.” The next day I learned how to use the paddle to move straight, sideways, etc. True to her word she had me tailguiding sunset tours on Mission Bay before the end of the summer. Guess you can add “Professional Sea Kayak Guide” to the old resume.

    We dated that summer and very quickly realized how lucky we are to have found each other after so many years. I moved to California in June. By the end of July I moved in with her. My contract was extended at the end of the summer and in September I proposed. We got married last August, 30 years to the week we met and are happier than ever.

    The San Diego business is now managed by a good crew of fairly self-sufficient employees, freeing her up to spend time doing what she loves most-- guiding whitewater along the Pacific Coast of Northern Baja. Rocks, ledges, pour-overs, caves-- truly unique and totally world-class.

    We have a small bunkhouse south of Ensenada at La Bufadora that serves as our kayak base. Hot water, electricity, 4G, cheap tacos, cold beer. She has 20 plastic kayaks racked in a cargo trailer with spray skirts, paddles, PFDs, helmets and everything else you’d need. We take experienced paddlers and total newbies for weeklong trips in small groups. The features we play on never get old-- they change constantly based on swell, wind and tides. Sometimes they’re mild and gentle and sometimes fearsome, but always fun.

    It’s an easy three-hour drive down the coast from San Diego and we usually take the scenic route through Valle de Guadeloupe wine country on the way home. We go down there a lot. You should book a trip with us sometime.

    ˇViva Mexico!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    10,187
    Serious FKNA Pinotnoir!

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