Saturday, September 10, 2022


URI’s Bay Campus beach is a great place to launch for a paddle because it offers a variety of paddles. You can paddle up the Bay for a nice touring paddle; you can cross over to Jamestown; you can paddle down the bay to get more ocean conditions.

Our plan for the day was to head south along the Narragansett shore and look for rocks and swell for some playing.

The way south didn’t offer much. The conditions were mostly flat along Bonnet Cliffs and crossing the cove.

Whale Rock looked relatively fierce. The spot just in front of the tower offered a nice spot to bob around and practice holding position in swell.

After Whale Rock we headed back north to the cove just south of Bonnet Shores. The swell was setting up  nearly perfect for surfing. The was a biggish outer break and a smaller inner break that were spaced so that you could catch the outer break and link your ride with one from the inner break. You could also be adventurous and use the break close to the rocks and catch a bigger break.

We spent a good amount of time playing before heading in for lunch.

After lunch, we went back out and did more surfing.

The surf was perfect for the group. People could hang inside and take the small waves, head to the back and ride the big waves, or test your mettle trying to catch a big wave and not get surfed into a rock. There was also plenty of space to just float and enjoy the weather.

I mostly spent my time on the outside break and trying to maintain speed and control so I could extend my rides by catching the small break. When I didn't mistime the wave or just misjudge a swell that looked like it would break, I did pretty well.

I worked on using forward strokes to maneuver without killing my speed. The Aries is swede form boat with most of its rocker upfront on the flat planing bow, so the bow never takes much to swing around. It is the stern that has all the keel and requires a bit of work to free up. I good sweep stroke was enough to keep things going straight. I also was more conscious of using my edges to control the hull. The edging seemed to help in freeing up the stern enough to keep the wave from overpowering my attempts to maneuver the bow.

Catching the second break was always a nice little rush. Just as I could feel the kayak losing speed, the stern would lift up a little. A few quick strokes and I was flying along again.

Compared to the surfing, the paddle home was tame. We did try to find some rocks to dodge.

Back at the beach people thought rolling practice was a good idea, so I joined the fun. For a while I was just being a spotter and offering my bow to anyone who needed a boost. When it was my turn, I managed OK. One on each side.

I also tried some rest position sculling where you lay flat back on the water and gently scull to catch your breath. I hadn't done it in years, but once I got over the nerves it was pretty easy. Kayaking and bike riding  are pretty similar in that once you learn, you never forget.

The rolling and sculling was a great way to end a great day.

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