Archive for Training


Easy visual to understand how wave period impacts ocean swell

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Bill Vonnegut offers us a crisp comparison of the difference that the same wave height (3 feet) has with two VERY different swell periods of 8 seconds and 18 seconds respectively. This is often a hard concept for paddlers to understand, and very helpful when planning open crossings and of course surf or rock gardening. 

I usually describe the difference as how much water and energy the wave has (longer period having exponentially more of both), and I feel that many folks find that hard to digest. As always, the “best” height/period combination will be group and site specific, but for surfing on our Long Island play spots, we generally prefer as long a period as we can get (18 seconds is unheard of here) and smaller waves to go with it. On days with very short periods, we need somewhat taller waves to compensate, but that quickly becomes dumpy and no fun.

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Our Winter Pool

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Has just passed its hallway point & we are down to just two remaining sessions. I understand a lot of folks who aren’t snowbirds or year round cold water diehards kind of just pack their boats & gear away & don’t look back until the azaleas start to bloom.

So if you find yourself in that category you may want to consider getting that kayak off the garage rack a little early this year & hosing out the spiders & joining us on March 25th or April 1st.

Like Steve has mentioned in previous emails, there is always at least one extra spot open at every session by default & additionally you will find at least one or two members will invariably have scheduling conflicts where they can’t make it & generously donate their spots to the first taker.

You would be surprised at how fast you can learn a new skill or overcome bad form with someone right there beside you to coach you out of those ingrained bad habits or show you a new technique.

Also the clear pool water makes it way less intimidating to dunk your head while practicing things like wet exits/self rescues, doing a high brace or learning to roll, re-enter/roll, or even handroll ! Pair of swim goggles & you’ll be instantly more comfortable seeing all your surroundings, paddle position, etc as opposed to the less than optimal <cough> river or bay waters here in Summer.  (& no jellyfish or algae blooms to consider). Can even bring a friend & share the session as two hours straight is pretty tiring if you haven’t been in your boat since october or november.

Below here is a quick click ‘n play video of Mike G coming up on both sides & some assorted pics of the preseason sessions so far.Oh, & Mike, Tom & Troy here playing in the deep end




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When you’re on the water or on a remote shore it’s a given that it will be a while before help can get there.  That’s why First Aid and CPR training is so important.  That’s why NACK has again teamed up with Port Jefferson EMS  to provide initial training and/or recertification for our members.


All NACK instructors are required to be First Aid and CPR Certified and many members are also trained in this vital, life saving skill.  The First Aid component of our instruction also included a discussion of hypothermia and hyperthermia, allergic reactions and the use of an epi-pen epinephrine autoinjector, lacerations, shoulder dislocations and other injuries common to on-the-water activities.

Many thanks to Vincent Olivieri, our talented instructor and the Port Jefferson EMS.

Many thanks to Vincent Olivieri, our talented instructor and the Port Jefferson EMS.

Out on the water is no place to take chances.  It pays to have the skills to deal with situations that may occur and to be able to call for help if necessary.  That means preferably a VHF Marine Radio or at least a cell phone in a waterproof case.  Always bring your first aid kit, wear your PFD (Life Jacket) and prepare a float plan to let folks where you will be and when you’re returning.  Be prepared, stay safe, and enjoy your day on the water.




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Spring is in the Air, with NACK paddlers everywhere

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This just in from ALAN.

Well, after a few official & unofficial April paddles the new paddling season has officially begun (though for a few of us lucky ones, the 2014 season never ended!)

Timber Point (41)

NACK held its first peer practices of the season this past Monday & though it seemed that having a Nassau County option may have bled off some attendance from the Timber Point session, it still was a very productive & enjoyable evening for the foursome who turned up @Great River. A nice outing, capped off by another beautiful, trademark Connetquot sunset. -with no bugs! (yet)

Under a warm late afternoon sun & with now-reasonable water temps we practiced various advanced ruddering strokes & assisted rescues right off the launch area for a while.

And even though early arrivals Tom & Debbie had already warmed up with a paddle downriver & around Nicoll Island, they were more than happy to then lead Ron & myself down & around for another lap.

A steady wind out of the South with some wind driven waves greeted us as we turned into the bay. Was a nice mix of conditions.

Timber Point (24)

Once we were headed back upriver, a quick stop at the ‘drowning hole’ was made to try some practice rolls; then back to home base to call it a night.

Only complaint (if there was to be one) would be the dusk/dark park closures at Timber Pt & Heckscher killed any plans of us catching the full moon rise over the bay that night.

-May have to ‘Go West’ next month to Alhambra or J.Burns for that June Moon.

See you out on the water…  -Alan M.


Timber Point (21)

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A Cautionary Tale

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Alan has a cautionary tale for us. Just as for “want of a nail a kingdom was lost”, for want of a secure bow tie down my kayak was lost! Simplest thing like not making sure the excess slack line on tie down strap was properly knotted and out of harm’s way became a very expensive lesson learned.

Although the Eddylines and similarly thermoformed plastic boats actually have more give and can flex a little better than glass without spiderweb cracks they still can’t be aggressively bent 30 degrees to the side from cockpit to bow! (as mine was when it’s bow kissed my car’s hood after I ran over my tiedown.)


*Good news* for me was that it didn’t happen on the LIE & no one was hurt. (actually no one was even around at 5am to witness my kayak self-destruct right in front of me)

Also good that I had such a full 1st paddling season (all winter through) and went on so many awesome trips (topped off with ½ dozen winter NACK pool practices) that the total loss I absorbed was still money well spent. I couldn’t even begin to put a price on those beautifully scenic fall foliage paddles on the Nissequoge and Carmens rivers.

Nissequoge (183)

Followed by cold winter paddling through Huntington & Lloyd harbors with snow-covered hills all around, Regular harbor seal sightings from October til April on numerous trips to Jones Beach and OysterBay; Lighthouse trips including Fire Island, Execution Rocks, Old Field and Huntington.

Nighttime paddles, fullmoon paddles, and most recently venturing out into the surf zone in Fire Island inlet!

SurfZone (27)

Just an incredible and enjoyable sport with incredible NACK people sharing their time and experience and even now offering to bring extra boats for me to keep me going & help shepherd me through this temporary setback.  See some additional pictures.

No regrets here at all except for the Murphy’s Law timing of my mishap -just as I was leaving for the Mahnattan Circumnavigation. trip. A real Homer Simpson “Doh!” moment if ever there was one. So much planning & anticipation. Freezing & packing water bottles, fruits, snacks and goodies, charging cameras , cellphone and VHF. Preparing clothing changes and raingear, printing maps, remembering EZ-Pass, waivers and ACA card, etc, etc, etc. So much effort undone in an instant by a lazy knot come undone. So I guess for me its back to the basics.

Planted (3)

You can’t get much more basic than the very last item on the L1 assessment: “Securing boats to rack” !!! Thanks to all and hope to see you out there real soon… -Alan M.

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Summer Newsletter 2014

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Summer Newsletter 14


The Summer Newsletter is now available with lots and lots of pictures.

Here’s what John Jr. had to say: “Hal has done it AGAIN, 36 pages of absolute beauty, pictures and information. I cannot thank Hal enough for putting this together. However it is all of the members who contribute articles to Hal that makes this a Club Newsletter not just Hal’s talk.”

“It is great to have a new member, Troy, who contributed a fantastic article. Our Unofficial/Official photographer Lynne does a great job in showing what our club is about.”

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Summer Schedule 2014

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the bridge

The North Atlantic Canoe & Kayak  Summer Schedule 2014 (third quarter) is now available.  Paddling trips, training and assessments and practice sessions and more!  It’s time to get out on the water.  For the latest version updates will be posted to our Schedule Page as they occurr.

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Peer Practice June 9 2014

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Heckscher State Park Peer Practice

The weather looked threatening, but the rain held off. An 11 knot wind was driving the chop on the bay toward the beach. Bob, Rich and I meet Steve on the beach for a pre-practice briefing. Conditions were at the lower parameters at which the Level 3 test will be given. And a wakeup call for basic skills!

With the wind pushing against you and waves bouncing you around, a simple bow recovery became a test for both the paddlers involved.  A stern pry, awkward on flat water, became a natural stroke to control the kayak in a following sea. Rather than slogging away into the chop, pick and time your stroke to paddle downhill. It is an energy saver and great fun. The last lesson of the day was not to exit on the beach side of your kayak.

Paul V



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