Saturday, May 31, 2008

Women's Boat for June 14th

I love how fun it is to bounce around town from one woman to the next who read Halpern's last email and wants to do it. So far: Denyse, Marty, Martha, Katrien, Shannon, Katie, Leisha, Margie, Joanne, Kim, Liz and others have expressed interest. Fantastic! All I can say is, you never know what a boat of women are laughing about out there on the water until you're in one. I can't wait!!!!!! (PS-I have seen the irrefutable proof: the older the woman, the faster she is. Not that speed is even remotely important. Let's just give those younger girls something to look forward to!!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's May. Warm, almost balmy. Sea lions are napping on the rocks.
Whales are cruising our way. It's time to get outside and paddle.

Here's schedule:
Tuesday 4pm: kid paddle (ages 5-10)
Tuesday 5pm: adult paddle
Thursday 4pm: youth paddle (ages 11 and up)
Thursday 5pm: adult paddle

Here's what you should organize: teen paddle, youth paddle, women's boat. Anyone who can get a commitment from four others to form a boat should contact me and we'll arrange a steersperson and time to make that happen. Best times are sometime Tuesday or Thursday between 3 and 6pm.

Some exciting things happening this summer:
Fourth of July Parade: We're taking the OC-6 on a walk in the Fourth or July Parade, handing out candy (yuck) or chunks of pineapple (mmmm) and club fliers to anyone interested. Club members five and under can have a turn riding in the canoe. All club members should try to join in and help walk the boat.

Fifth of July Potluck and Open House: Like last year, an open house on Jackson Beach, afternoon/dinner hour BBQ and potluck. This is half for us, and half to attract and welcome potential new members. All current members should plan to attend and bring some food. We'll have boats available for people to try.

First Annual Outrigger Campout: Friday August 8th and/or Saturday August 9th. We're taking the canoes to Shaw Island and camping at the County Park. Crews paddle over on Friday afternoon/evening. Families and friends take the ferry over either Friday or Saturday. At 10am Saturday, there's a low key Race Around Shaw for people powered boats and some of us will do that (it takes 2-3 hours). In the afternoon, everyone else can play with the boats, take small trips, swim, play on the beach, volleyball, horseshoes, crab hunting. BIG Group Potluck BBQ Saturday evening. Paddle home sometime Sunday. Don't miss this birth of a tradition.

If you have questions, call me 378 5721.
Let's get going. Make this your club.
- David

Canoe Club Offers More Than Rowing

Story by Sharon Kivisto Photos by Sharon Kivisto and Matt Pranger
originally posted 08/14/2007
David Halpern's expertise and enthusiasm and a 400-pound outrigger canoe on loan from Everett will open up a new world of experiences for islanders. The former Olympian has started the San Juan Island Canoe and Kayak Club. The open house held on Sunday, Aug. 12 was typical of the family-oriented relaxed type of gathering, the club has in mind.
People of all ages paddled, six at a time, in the sturdy outrigger canoe. Meanwhile others talked around the campfire, children played in forts made out of driftwood, others strolled up and down the beach.
"It's amazing," said Willow Seaton, a Friday Harbor fifth-grader after a ride. "I've lived here all my life and the island is much more beautiful from the water."
She sat in five of the six positions in the boat - all but the steering position. She now plans to take up rowing in college.
A fellow elementary student also was impressed. "It's cool, it's quick, it makes good time," said Matthew Stepita.
Halpern started paddling when he was 10-years-old. In high school, his instructor taught white water slalom racing, believing the precision required made the students safer kayakers. Later Halpern switched to flat water kayaking and became "really good suddenly" and ended up qualifying for the Olympics. He competed in the 1984 Olympics.
Ten years ago, Halpern developed a club in Seattle which won the National Championship three years in a row. The San Juan Island Club is not about racing, per se. The choppy water is not conducive to the racing kayaks which require flat water. "It's not about the racing, it's about the teamwork," he said.
Halpern's family has had a place on Lopez Island for 30 years. He's been on Lopez full-time for three years and moved to San Juan Island a year ago. When he thought of forming a club here using an outrigger, things fell into place. The Hui Wa'a O' Puget Sound (Everett) club provided an outrigger, the Port of Friday Harbor provided storage.
In an interview Simpson said, "It's one of our policies to promote boating and this seems like a perfect fit."
The outriggers are traditionally used in Hawaii. The 400-pound weight is required to keep up the tradition. The original outriggers were constructed from koa wood. If the San Juan Island Club decides to race, they will be able to do so under the Everett club so they won't need to transport the outrigger. The ferry fees for the long boat would be too costly, said Halpern.
"I hope the club ends up multi-purpose," Halpern said. Racing, kayaking, overnight trips or just exercise. "There are fabulous marine trails up and down the Sound," he said. "People will need to make the club their own. The key is it is family-friendly and there is no pressure on the kids."
The San Juan Island club usually meets at Jackson Beach beside the net shed on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.
For more information contact Halpern at 360.378.5721 or email Halpern has an email list he sends out with updates of the club's schedule.