30 Sep

Ancient Transport to modern fun

The kayak and the canoe are two of the world’s oldest forms of transportation. These forms of transport have obviously been around since people have been living in areas with large bodies of water. The oldest known canoe is a dugout canoe we know about today, discovered in the Netherlands, where it is currently housed in the Drents Museum. At more than 9000 years old this astonishingly impressive Pesse canoe, as it is known, is one of the oldest extant boat in the world. First discovered in 1987 in Nigeria, the dufuna canoe is a boat from the Stone Age and is the oldest boat in Africa. At some 8000 – 8500 years old the Dufuna Canoe rivals the Pesse canoe in its antiquity. As such an ancient part of human history, it’s fun to think that despite the various technological advances over the intervening millennia, the canoe still remains a part of humans lives.

We will probably never know how early human felt about their canoes, how they used them simply as tools for crossing lakes, seas, and rivers, or if they were used for pleasure and escape and racing, as we today with cars and internet use our beloved watercraft. We do know that today there is a massive canoe industry worldwide and a great number of associated industries such as camping, trade fairs, and boating tourism.

How our ancient ancestors used canoes—as sources of pleasure as we use them—may remain a mystery for us modern human, but it is undeniable that we use them as such. In recent years, in Europe, it has become more and more common for people to do river trips, paddling up—and more often—down the great rivers in a manner not necessarily unlike how the Pesse canoe might have been used.

In modern day US and Canada, the canoe is closely associated withNative American peoples and their contribution to the world of watercraft has is palpable even today. Unlike in highly urbanised Europe many of the canoe trips throughout North America involve paddling through areas of wilderness, yet to be populated (perhaps never to be populated) by humans. For anyone with a taste for that sort of adventure and with something of a competitive spirit, a trip to Canada might be just the prescription for fighting cabin fever.

In places like the Philippines and Indonesia, a very different tradition of canoeing was developed. In archipelagos cultures the focus of water travel was on ocean transport. There the outrigger canoe was developed, with one or two floats that run parallel to the main body of the boat and provide added stability in choppy ocean waters.

Regardless of if you like American wilderness, the blue waters of the South Pacific or the streams, lakes and rivers of Europe, next time you hop in a canoe and paddle out on the water, you’re continuing a human tradition thousands of years in the making


10 Jun

Homage to boating

It’s not always easy to explain why it is that I love water sport. It could be the simple fact that I’m outside in nature (or at the very least out in fresh air). There’s also the biological that that exercise releases endorphins and that, by definition makes people happy. And of course it’s impossible to deny that I absolutely love the travel that comes with the sport, when I care to indulge myself a bit and travel in over to row.

In fact, some of the most fun that I have rowing can actually be when I’m thinking about it as much as actually doing it. Often at night if I’m having trouble falling asleep I like to plan out my fantasy water sport holidays. Top of the list would be probably have to be taking a couple of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and getting the canoe and heading for three months down the Mississippi, exploring the history and the culture—both before and after the region was colonised by Europeans.

It doesn’t have to be those opportunities for flights of fancy that attract me to rowing—and at this point I should confess that I don’t care if it’s kayak, canoe, raft, or anything, so long as I’m out there on the water. While the chances that the sport gives to indulge in a couple of escapist fantasies are great, it’s no substitute for actually getting out there and doing it.

Lately, my favourite has been rowing on nearly frozen waters. In my area the rivers don’t quite freeze over in the winter, but rather ice up round the edges. While it can wreck havoc on the hull of my favourite kayak, for example, to bump into ice, there’s a certain stillness and peace to being out on the river with bits of ice in the quiet. It takes a bit of physical fortification to want to get out in the cold and if I’m honest with you, there have been more times that I’ve cancelled my icy plans than gone through with. (Sometimes a warm bed on an icy winter morning is too alluring a temptation not to forgo a bit of a paddle.)

But above all, I think what is the most attractive aspect of the sport is the simple headspace that it provides for me. Many athletes describe a feeling of bliss and serenity when they are competing it or practising their chosen sport. I am by no stretch of the imagination a proper athlete but it must be said that I do very much feel that my might is most clear my, thoughts most lucid when I’m on a boat. I can’t imagine how more intensive athletes feel that way—sports with sudden movements and quick responses like in tennis—but I find I think best. And for me there’s no better marriage than that of mind and body. And as such I am eternally indebted to water sports.


22 Sep

Improving your kayaking skills

Let’s say you love the water. You’re out there every weekend and sometimes after work in the summer time to paddle away the hours in the your local beautiful lakes and streams, soaking in the wondrous landscape. At a certain point though there’s only so much kayaking you can do before your skill development starts stagnating and that’s often a time when people start getting bored in something that they have previously loved. There are a lot of options for how to hone your skills further and create new challenges for your hobby.

The first option is an obvious one and that’s the social one. If you’re passionate enough about kayaking (and it doesn’t matter if you’re already an expert or if you’re still a novice), you’ll be welcome in probably any kayaking club. These organisations are there not just to provide a venue to discuss with others your hobby, but also to act as a support structure to help you improve your skills and give you new ideas. The easiest way to get involved is to search the internet for a club in your area. They often have ‘open house’ nights once or twice a month when people who aren’t members can come and introduce themselves and meet the local kayaking community. In addition to getting good advice you may met people who will give you tips on where and when to kayak, and such groups very often take yearly trips together, which can be a nice way of making new friends in addition to improving your skills.

If clubs aren’t your scene and you prefer to strike out a bit more on your own, then consider going to kayak events, such as races or technical competitions. While there isn’t often a lot of mainstream media coverage for these events, betting sites are excellent sources of information. If you’re lucky after or before the competition you may be able to talk to some of the athletes who are usually happy to share tips with amateurs and give advice (although if they’re not in the best mood after a poor showing you may want to give them a large berth) to fans who are either seasoned kayakers or just getting started out in the sport. Aside from the kayakers there’s a great many fans that are themselves accomplished kayakers. People usually love sharing their passions with like-minded people so it wouldn’t be too hard to make connections with people.

With so many possibilities to meet new people and improve your skills on the water there’s no reason for you to sit round and do that same old paddle every weekend (unless of course that you’re perfect content with comfort of nice routine and a lovely kayak!)


29 Aug

Membership

The Delta Blades Junior Crew is a highly competitive rowing program developed for high school-aged boys and girls from San Joaquin County . The Delta Blades compete in the northern California league of the Southwest Junior Rowing Association, which is comprised of crews from all over California, and parts of Arizona and Utah. The Delta Blades is made up of four separate squads: Novice Men, Novice Women, Varsity Men, Varsity Women.

We are energized by involved parents, excellent coaches and enthusiastic rowers.

The season begins in early September and goes through mid-May, culminating with the Southwest Regional Junior Championships held in Sacramento.

The team practices 5 times per week (practice schedules are listed under Team Info).

The Delta Blades hold three major recruiting campaigns—summer, fall and winter. Athletes who wish to transfer from other programs will be subject to a screening and/or tryout period.

Currently, there is no tryout period for new athletes, however rowers who underachieve in the areas of technical proficiency, physical performance, attitude and commitment will risk being cut from the team.


rowing
3 Aug

Benefits of Rowing

Rowing is a lifelong sport than can be performed and enjoyed by people of all ages.
· Rowing is a smooth rhythmic motion and impact free.
· Rowing offers diverse training opportunities: inside, outside, water, land, competitively, or recreationally.
· Rowing promotes well being and self-esteem.
· Rowing is a sport you can bet on.
· Rowing is a collegiate scholarship sport.
· Rowing, along with cross country skiing, burns the most calories per minute of exertion compared to other sports.

Rowing improves performance in the following dimensions:

· SPEED DEVELOPMENT
· JOINT MOBILITY
· STRENGTH
· FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT
· QUICKNESS
· AGILITY
· BALANCE
· FLEXIBILITY
· NUTRITION
· LINEAR MOVEMENT
· POWER
· MENTAL TOUGHNESS
· ACCELERATION
· EXPLOSIVENESS
· REFLEX TIMING
· MUSCULAR ENDURANCE
· NEURAL-MOTOR SKILLS
· MUSCLE RECRUITMENT CAPABILITY
· BONE STRENGTH AND DENSITY
· STRENGTH OF CONNECTIVE TISSUE
· CARDIOVASCULAR MUSCULATURE
· LUNG CAPACITY
· MUSCLE ENDURANCE
· BLOOD-OXYGEN CAPACITY
· RESTING HEART RATE
· CALORIE AND FAT BURNING
· BLOOD CIRCULATION
· METABOLIC RATE
· MUSCLE MASS
· BODY COMPOSITION
· MUSCLE TONE
· RESPIRATORY EFFICIENCY
· STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY, MOBILITY, COORDINATION
· BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL
· And finally, rowing is FUN!