The BKCC meeting…..
If you don't know what BKCC stands for, that's because you didn't bother showing up for the meeting. This was the 'once in a blue moon' meeting of the Bellingham Kayak and Canoe Club and in attendence was Reivers, Larry B., Dale, David S., Susan B. and me. After Reivers and I got done fighting over who got to sit next to Susan, we started the meeting. We took a roll call and noticed that there was nobody in attendence from Sudden Valley (go figure?). So the first topic up for vote was whether or not Sudden Valley should be able to incorporate and become their own little city. We unamoniously voted yes as long as it was in Alabama. We also agreed that the name should be changed to Suddenly Valley since YOU BASTARDS SUDDENLY FORGET HOW TO DRIVE WHENEVER IT SNOWS! Please don't think that I am bitter because of the low attendence.
The second item up for vote was for new officers and while the rest of the group was naming possible candidates, I crawled under the table looking for just one more pretzel (service was a tad slow) and when I sat back in my chair, I discovered that I had been nominated and elected president in those 3 seconds that my back was turned. I quickly named Reivers as my vice prez and convinced him of his value to the office with a threat of using his beer glass as a urinal if he didn't agree. The reward for becoming prez was being awarded underwear that formerly belonged to David S. that had the BKCC emblem on one side and yellow stains on the other. Susan wanted to outfit me (another fantasy of mine) with a new uniform but the voting membership shipwrecked her motion before it landed on the table.
Our next item up for discussion was a boathouse. Yes, a boathouse. Half the table wanted it in Fairhaven and half the table wanted it at Bloedel-Donovan. As your new president, I said “What the Hell, why don't we go for both?” I was on my fourth beer and anything was now possible. In reality, why don't we shoot for both? Fairhaven Boatworks will loose their lease in 2010 and we could use a kayak/outrigger/surfski facility on that corner of the bay.
The waterfront is going through some changes with the demise of Georgia-Pacific and maybe we can get together and become one voice (with the assistance of WAKE) for gaining a recreational human powered watercraft facility. Meanwhile, maybe we could also get behind Duncan Howat for creating a boathouse at Bloedel. If we join forces with the native Americans (they have some federal funding) and we supply some private funding, we can turn their Cyclone fence canoe cage into a covered facility that we could all use. I could have a boat and paddle reside at both boathouses. Then I wouldn't need to drive my gas guzzling Stratolounger to the water each day and instead, I could purchase a new little hybrid Moped and zip back and forth between Fairhaven and Lake Whatcom. I could wear a sleeveless shirt that emphasized my physique and one of those half helmets that resembled a reject from a bowling ball factory. I would be a chick magnet. Women would look at me like I was chocolate. So moving forward with this boathouse thing, I decided that the color of the boathouse is to be pink and anyone that disagrees with this notion CAN SHOW UP AT OUR APRIL MEETING AND EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS.
See you there….
Re: Jerico Race
I'm thinking about doing it but we'll see what the weather holds. My anorexia is in remission so my butt has doubled in size since Christmas. Gotta start exercising some kind of control….
This is suspicious in light of your being elected Presidente'. Didn't they all become bigger butts once they were elected? I think we should have a Queen as our ruler. There is such a wonderfulselection, don't you agree? Let's see, there's Susan, Debbie, Heather, the Tracies', … so many!
We could really shatter the dominant paradigm. uh. But wait, I'mone of them paradigms. A Queen would have no use for a VP, wouldshe?
Hey Treas, - Does my butt look big in this office?
Re: Jerico Race
Larry Bussinger <lbussing@…>
As your loyal subject, I am happy to report that the office has no noticable effect on you being a butt. Treas.
I wonder if we could jazz up our club if we changed names. That was the funnest part of forming the original club. We wrangled with each other over monikers like; “Bellingham Bay Boat Bunch”, “Old Guys in Spandex”, and “Whatcom, Me Worry?”. Actually, I think the other guys picked a name when I took a pee break. But I thought up the best names. See, for instance, if the officers continue the present expansion in our nether regions we could call the club “Paddle-Arse”. I suppose that wouldn't help the membership growth comittee much. But then, if you can't add members, just expand the members you got.
By the way, is there any members besides the officers? I guess it's time for another Poll. Well, here's the thing. Sound Rowers has dominated the recreational racer galaxy by being “inclusionary”. (Now that I hold political office, new-age-buzzword-jargon are me.) So regardless of all the charming enthusiasm for pink boathouses, the club's agenda is real fuzzy and no one is sitting around waiting to do hard work that suits a small slice of the community. There is a hell of a lot of consensus building to do.
There. gimme another puff of that stuff. eeeahoo, Baby!
Re: name change
Daryl Remmler <darylremmler@…>
You guys could check with your local Coast Guard. I bet they've got some good names for your club!
On a more serious note, I think club growth and longevity means getting the kids involved. In the paddling world that means including Sprint. Talk to Seattle or Gig Harbor. They both have tons of kids on the water now.
You guys could set-up a killer 1000 M course somewhere near town. A well organised regatta would have no trouble attracting 200 racers (Vancouver to Gig Harbor). Now they even have 200 M races, so guys like me who are totally out of shape can still make it to the finish line!
Mike has been to the Ted Houk Regatta in Seattle. I'm sure he has some input on this. If you build it they will come.
Re: name change
Reivers (and everyone else), Since we were grounded by the past weather conditions (at least I was), I had some time to think about this club thing. In order for this club to survive and thrive, we need to focus on a sustainable mission. A boathouse at this time would not be sustainable. A lot of the paddlers live in proximity of the water so they would just as soon take their boat home with them. We would have to go fetch our boats before going to an out of town race. Most of us paddle both fresh and salt water weekly in the summmer months and would not use the boathouse. A sustainable mission could be promotion of the sport: like club boats, sponsoring races and holding regattas. Bellingham has the biggest kayak community in the US but a tiny flatwater racing community (K-1 and K-2 paddlers).
Just imagine what would happen if we took these kayak paddlers and turned them into K-1 racers. We could hold a regatta on Lake Padden sponsored by BKCC. The race would start with 40 K-1's lined up like a picket fence after a wind storm. When the starting gun went off, about half would start paddling and the other half would suddenly realize that they left their gps, compass, or some other navigation device back in their car. The half that did start race would stop about 100 feet off the line to discuss their destination and itinerary. As they would paddle past the swimming area, they would pull off for a picnic lunch. After lunch, they would continue on racing towards the finish line and the winner would most likely be the person that dropped the most amount of weight off at the picnic area. Do you see where I am going with this? Whatever mission we choose, we need to do it in baby steps so that this club can survive. What about doubles racing? We all love to do it but we don't have many doubles. What if BKCC had a membership and took in dues and we put the money towards more double outriggers and skis? We could also purchase a trailer in order to haul these long watercraft and use the trailer for going to faraway races. We could sponsor the A to B race by paying for a friggin' bus to haul all of us over to Anacortes instead of me hauling your sorry asses over there and then having to skip the dinner while I travel back to get my truck. Just some ideas that have been bouncing around in my head.
Re: name change
Larry and Co.
You guys would not believe the size of the Flatwater Racing Clubs just a short distance from us In BC, Seattle, and Tacoma - like massive! Show up at their Regattas (Races) and be amazed at the numbers. Kids, adolescents, adults, and geezers too. K boats lined up for fifty yards or more along the shoreline. Courses of 200, 500, and 1000 meters; for K1,K2, and a few K4's. Pretty exciting stuff!
We're not talking about something for just us, but for a big community of paddlers. Maybe not a boathouse just yet but maybe in a few years. In the meantime there are strong Flatwater paddling groups very nearby who would be way enthusiastic about talking with us, sharing resources, and assisting with getting things “sustainable”.
I challenge you guys to come to a Regatta this summer and check it out, soo fun. National Championships will be held at Green Lake in Seattle this summer!
All the Best, Mike.
Re: name change
K1 and K2 is entirely compatible with flat-water rowing needs. 1000m sprints…. Padden Lake sounds perfect. Very similar to Green Lake. Far more protection than Lake Whatcom from winds…. Where's Duncan's input on this?
I'm in CA enjoying the sunshine but realizing that as a native San Franciscan-become-a -Northwesterner that 60 degrees has become what I consider as “too warm.” Good heavens!
Re: name change
Daryl Remmler <darylremmler@…>
I know that at Sprint Nationals in Canada they have the last day dedicated to Masters racing (Canmas). As there are so many racers (1200 +), they limit it to 500 M events only. It's awesome. I went last year, and raced in 8 events in one day (K1, K2, K4, C4 Mixed events, and War canoe). It was a ton of fun. It's all done in 5 or 10 year age groups.
I believe they have started the same format in the US with USMAS on the last day, but I'm not certain. Don would know for sure about this. The Bellingham gang should look at this for several reasons.
1. It's a great way to get the whole family out to events (Max is 3 and he paddles in the back of a K2 now).
2. It's a great way to get government funding for a club, as Sprint is an Olympic discipline.
3. It's great cross-training from your ski. Good for speed work, balance, technique, etc.
4. Lots of local events. Seattle has the Ted Houk Regatta, and every second year they host Nationals.
5. The youth love it because it's social. They spend lots of time on shore “hanging out”with their friends. There are lots of team boats (K2, K4, C2, C4, War Canoe), which the youth thrive on. Team boats take away a ton of pressure when you are starting out.
A gang from Bellingham shoud sign up for the Ted Houk race in early June so you can check out this aspect of paddling more closely, and see if it fits the long term agenda of the Bellingham club. Masters Sprint paddling is huge in the East, and I really hope to see it succeed out here.
Vince Darwood <Futura@…>
You guys have a lot of great ideas. Between the surfskis and the K1s there is a lot of prospective participants in all ages and paddlecrafts. That way you have enough combined members for an impact and have already made up two or three committees.
Boat House committee
Race Committee. K1 and others
Van or Trailer aquisition
Funding may be tough at first but some paddle clubs are hundres of years old. Projects come in one at a time and build on themselfs. Maybe you could get a jumpstart with a van or trailer donation. I can't believe how many old kayak trailers there are that can be had for less than $1000. They are usually pretty beat up but certainly restoreable.
Everyone brings something to the table. Fifty K1's and fifty surfskis make a club have twice as many. Your club recognition provides clout with the municipalities a little bigger budget and volunteer base to do some significant projects.
The boat house will inspire casual paddlers to participate more, introduce new paddlers, give recognition to the community, provide a bulliten board, schedule tours and classes, be a meeting place to pick-up drop off and repair. Someday the boat house could become a shower, locker room , weight room, washing rack and meeting area. (jacuzzi, ball room, bowling alley, cigar room, hotel and such)
There may not be enough serious paddles to fill it up a rack, as they traval a lot, but, it would always be there for you when you need it. Older and younger paddlers and a lot of women who have a hard time loading and unloading paddle more often at a club. Maybe start with an expandable plan and use the space for something other than boats (i.e. weight bench). Besides, it might be a nice place to put your guest boat.
I think of the K1 clubs and other clubs in Berkeley, Newport Beach, and others around the country that have kept nice places for years.
I've never heard of any specific surfski clubs except for NorCals Wave Chaser except thay include OC. There is other sea kayak clubs that just survive on a newletter and monthly meetings in local rooms and tours.
I don't live in WA and probably can't participate in a club there but would certainly be proud to see and help something develop.
Your Mission Statement could include any and all paddlecraft and the club may provide some bylaws to operate effectivly. The individual commettees are where get things done.
I don't recomend the Old Guys in Spandix as a name though.
A tangled web we weave…..
Reivers (the vice prez) and I headed out of Marine park for Whiskey Rock today at 1 pm. Kathleen P. had sent us a couple of pink toques so we left the shore with matching pink hats. We chatted about this club thing on our way south as the wind increased from almost nothing. So far, there has been very little feedback about reviving the club except for encouragement from boat dealers. I can understand their enthusiasim but I have been aware of the silence from the majority of members. Most of us are already members of Soundrowers and will continue on that path. They do a great job of supporting races and their members include rowers, kayakers, flatwater racers, surfskiers, and canoeists. However, what they don't do is buy boats to encourage the sport.
The problem with BKCC being open to everyone that paddles is that the majority will rule on how the money is spent and if you are a minority and don't get what you want, you probably won't sign on for another year. So in order for this club to live, we either have to model ourselves like Soundrowers (don't buy boats) or limit our clientele to one or two types of racers. We have very few flatwater racers here so what if we cater to surfskiers and outriggers? We could change the name of the club to Bellingham Outrigger and Surfski organization or BOSO for short. For a small annual fee, you could be a BOSO. We could start out raising funds and buy both a double ski and a double outrigger so we could have more BOSOs on the lake on Wednesday nights. Otherwise, what is the use of reviving the club if we are going to become just like Soundrowers?
Anyway, the wind was blowing close to 20 mph by the time we reached Whiskey Rock and the waves were building. It was the most enjoyable and effortless paddle back to Marine Park. Rides galore and long ones too. We beached our boats and came struttin' into the park wearing our pink toques. Just two boys in pink hats having fun. God bless America…..
Larry et al,
Take a look at the Wenatchee canoe and kayak club if you want a good example of something that works well. They have about 100 members or so. I can't remember what dues were but they are pretty minimal. The club has authority over the boathouse on the river. They don't own it, though. There are about 60 boats in the boat house. If you keep a boat there, you pay an extra $60 a year or something like that. The officers of the club buy a new or used boat for club use about every year or two. I think they had a fleet of about 5 surfskis (stable futura 2's, a Blade, a double), maybe 3 intermediate level sculls, a couple of canoes, maybe 4 kayaks of various design - but all stable. Boat buying choices were easy as every time a club boat was used, it was signed out. When it was new boat buying time, they would buy more of whatever type of craft was most popular, and they pretty much only bought novice and intermediate boats. But, even if you do it by vote, and 60 of 100 members want the kind with the penguin flippers underneath? What's the big deal if it gets used alot?
The advantages of being a member there, are that you've got a place to keep a boat, paddle, gear, so you don't have to lug it around. This makes possible riding your bike there, go for a paddle, then riding home, or changing plans mid-day and still being able to paddle if your stuff is there. After your paddle, you have a dry place to change out of your wet clothes.
Having club boats means that it's easy to introduce novice paddlers to the sport, or for non boat-owner members to introduce other novices to the club. It's not so much that getting novices into the club is the goal, but if the parents paddle, then their kids might take an interest which is great for the other kids in the club. It's tough to get a novice to buy a boat, but if there is a boat for them to use for even 1 hr a week, they can get hooked and then buy a boat for themselves. Kids, teens, that are broke can have something to paddle as it's tough for them to convince their parents to lay out a couple thousand for somethng they've never tried before. Or, if you've got a guest from out of town that wants to go for a paddle, you've got a super stable club boat to put them in. I rarely ever made use of the Wenatchee club boats, but they got used more than any other boats in that club house.
A boat house becomes a meeting place to get together for a paddle, to help novices a bit with safety or technique issues, to post messages, etc.
When you are a club with elected or by-default officers, then the folks like the USCG, the city planner, local governing bodies are more likely to include you as you are a defined group. In Wenatchee, the club got the city to build them a dock. They got engineers to maintain the building gratis. The city was planning to build them a new boat house a few years ago and include the club interests in the waterfront development - when that waterfront finally does get changed.
Most of the members wouldn't have to be concerned with issues of whether or not to include ICF K1, OC, rowing shells, etc. for sub-groups of the club. The folks that are interested in starting those offshoots will take care of that.
But, for you 40- and 50-something year old guys that just like to do your own thing - what's in it for you? Just knowing that you're giving the adults and kids in the community a place to start, kind of like a welcome mat, should be enough. If you've got kids of your own, it will be easier to get your kid interested in paddling if there are other kids around. And in 10 years when you guys are a bit less spry and your balance isn't so average anymore because of all that hair and wax in your ears, those kids will be plucking your butt out of the water from their own ski and seeing to it that you don't drown.
How about the “Sea lyin's” for a name.
Wenatchee club boathouse
I had the opportunity to see the Wenatchee boathouse a few years ago and because of it, I actually thought about trying to get a job there. Just the site of seeing all those boats in one neat, dry place gave me goosebumps. I'm all for trying to revive a club if we've done our homework and have a really good shot at building a storage facility. My boys will be paddling in a couple of years and I'd love to have a facility where we could borrow some beginner surfskis, outriggers,etc… I've had to borrow boats from Peter M. when I wanted to take a friend out to paddle in the bay.
More feedback and support will come once the big yellow ball appears again in April or so. Right now people are skiing and not thinking too much about paddling. I appreciate all of the hard work Reivers and Larry G. have already put into this site and the idea of revamping a club. I still remember one of my first Wednesday night races when Reivers welcomed me by saying he was glad to see a new “young” guy paddling. Paddling has really improved my quality of life the past 6 years or so. We have something special here in Bellingham…..special guys wearing pink and proud of it!
Re: A tangled web we weave…..
As Erik pointed out we would be in error not to make every effort to include the wider paddling community, water-craft manufacturers as well. That includes the folks on Tupperware, they are often the racers of tomorrow.
Indeed, the Wenatchee Club is an excellent example of how to include the whole of the paddle/rowing community and make it work. The racers there are a small portion of the club, yet they coexist happily with more recreational folks. My recollection is that there were MANY more paddler/rowers that wanted to stick their boats in the boathouse than there were berths for. In fact, the waiting list was like a year or more long! Keep in mind that the membership was much wider than just those who berthed their boats in the boat house. They all paid dues, and the guys with boats in there paid more.
Again, as Erik said, this was a public facility on public land. The membership policed themselves, kept the boat house tidy, and serviced the boats. I should not think that a private venture would be advisable. It appears that the local government is sympathetic to our water-going community and a dialog has been opened. With the paddling season coming up soon it might be a good time to bring the existing groups together; rowers, sea kayakers, outrigger, and surfski. Should not be too difficult to figure out what the various needs are. Then make a preliminary pitch to the city and/or county officials. Bet that Jeff Hegedus would be able to advise us.
Where to locate the facility and how to include the K-boats is yet at issue. In Wenatchee the only paddling site was the Columbia. We have the Bay, Padden, and Lake Whatcom. So, whaddya say, three boat houses? Alright, then we would be THE paddling town, for sure.
Re: paddling (K- and C- 1,2,4) club motivations
Jeff….Thanks for your posting and support. We have some paddling legends in this community but getting these guys organized is a bitch. I have to confess that I have the same disease that the lot of them have: “I jus' wanna have fun”. I think the collective thought here is “If it isn't broke, don't fix it”.
Why form a club? Good question. We have a great thing going with the cohesiveness of our group, the Wednesday night races, and the San Juans right out in front of us. We are already considered the the top kayaking town in the country and we have more surfskiers than the rest of the country per capita. Like Mike G. said, we could be THE paddling town. We just need to hear you guys voice what it is that you think would make things better. A boathouse is a start but it may not be in the place that we paddle the most. If we are to promote the sport, our boathouse should be at a site that a newbie could use without fear of having to be rescued.
I prefer the Fairhaven area because this is my favorite spot to go to paddle, but I believe that a boathouse is better suited on Lake Padden or Lake Whatcom. For me, Lake Whatcom wins because we can store tandems and K-4's there for the Wednesday night races. So its back to the question of “Why should we do this?” That's easy, we do it for the community, our kids, and our neighbors kids. I was so amazed at the amount of kids that showed up for the Cascade distance race. If we are ever to produce another Greg Barton, we need to start teaching kids to paddle instead of harassing old men that can't climb mountains anymore. In other words, discontinue your membership with the silent majority or we'll never get this thing off the ground.
Re: paddling (K- and C- 1,2,4) club motivations
Ladies/Gents- Your input is needed. Jeff Hegedus and I will be meeting with Dan Stahl of the Port of Bellingham on Wed. to open this discussion and hopefully begin the process of creating a timeline for input, design, location, costs, etc. This is no guarantee that the Port will fall all over its feet to accomodate us, but we need to let them know, in an organized fashion, that there is a critical mass of proponents and we have a voice. It is a pretty powerful voice. How we want to use that voice is in the stew pot right now.
The only thing I want to add to this discussion is to echo Eric's contribution: There's more at stake here than generic “flat-earth” attitudes (that everything revolves around me… of which I am occasionally guilty) or maintaining perceived uniqueness in the chop and spray of our home waters. No one will take away the love and freedom of the various paddling disciplines if we become involved in the process of creating something larger and more lasting than our individual needs to revel in Neptune's glory and our ability to play in it. As we get older we can leave a legacy.
No idea is too small to be considered. Weigh in, please…. We need more input from those of you that do not often contribute (with Larry and Reivers writing tomes and making us laugh, it can be intimidating).
After reading a variety of posts from our friends near and afar, I've decided to add my perspective. Having been involved (meaning, knew what was going on, but didn't actually do anything) with this club since it's inception around 10-12 years ago I think I can add some perspective that hasn't been brought up yet. Initially Mickey B, David S, Reivers, Larry B, and myself got together because Mickey had the desire to get a sprint club off the ground on Lk. Padden. After a variety of meetings the process became stalled, little issues such as Lk Padden not allowing gas-powered motors for escort or safety boats, fundraising for a boathouse, who's going to coach the kids,… etc. kept a bunch of us from pursuing it any further.
The issue of having a flatwater club has come up lately, but is this concept actually realistic for our area? On any given Wednesday niter, how many of the 50-60 participants are in sprint boats (other than me)? Fact is if they're such a great boat for this area, everyone would be paddling them. It takes many years to become proficient in those boats, and after that, most people are still not going to paddle them on the bay, or on Lk. Whatcom. There is a reason why the majority of boats out there are either surfski's, and OC's. It's because their fun and there is a freedom of paddling any body of water you want to. I personnally enjoy K-1's, and the concept of having a flatwater club is great if…we have the right location for it, and in Bellingham, Lk Padden, or perhaps Lk Samish are the only places that would work.
Here in Bellingham we have a great venue in the Wednesday niter which many people look forward to on a weekly basis. I think if we could piggyback on that race, by having a boathouse within Bloedel Donovan Park, that would get us the most bang for our buck in terms of getting people on the water. This park has it all, bathrooms, boatlaunch, lawn area, and most importantly, it's fairly centeralized within Bellingham.
At this point, all we need is a place to store boats that the club currently has, and wants to get. Once a boat storage facility is in place, it can go in any direction the members want. Essentially, I think a club will be more successful catering to people who have a certain desire (such as boat storage), then to cater to people who may or may not exist.
Morris Arthur <marthur@…>
I am willing to support “the big picture”. But as soon as folks start talking about boats and boathouses, location must be considered. … and location will inherently identify the focus of some sort of club.
We don't have just one paddling launch. In the last three months, I have paddled Lake Whatcom, Lake Samish, Lake Padden, and Bellingham Bay– Fairhaven, Squalicum, and Larrabee. Come Spring, I'll be heading out to the Nooksack….
Where are we talking about?
Larry Bussinger <lbussing@…>
Joost jogged my memory. Lake Whatcom already has a fenced area that is available to paddlers. It was chained with multiple padlocks with a key to each user. Until I talked the Native Americans into using it (they used to leave their boats on the ground beside it) no kayakers have used it in the twenty plus years I've been paddling. I think that is because we like to paddle on the lake and the bay; we just leave the boats on top of the car. Its not the best security in the world, but I don't know of an vandalism. If we have such an area and no one uses it, would a boat house fair better? I see K-1 club boats or rowing shells needing a boat house but the K-1's need it at Padden and the rowing shells already have one at Whatcom. …and we don't have many of either. We even have Fairhaven Boat works, but only the heavy row boats and some kayaks use it.
Maybe we should just charge dues until we have enough money to buy some more “club” boats. This would tell us if we have enough people who would support a boathouse and for whom it would service. If the paddling communitee won't support the boats, they certainly won't support the boathouse. $50/yr times 100 members would buy a few good boats, with no overhead.
Jeff Hegedus <jhegedus@…>
Imagine the combined resources of WAKE, Sound Rowers, Whatcom Paddlers, Tribes, Western Washington University, Bellingham Yacht Club and Washingtom Water Trails Association joining in affiliation to promote and support recreational and competitive small craft usage of the Bellingham Bay waterfront and marine waters. Imagine a Small Craft Center on the Fairhaven waterfront, providing storage for sea kayaks, rowing vessels, war canoes, surfskis, ocean canoes, and sailing dinghys. Outside, the center has two chase boats, and storage for trailers. There is a classroom and repair shop, ample parking for visitors, locker rooms with showers, a covered barbecue area, and nice access to the water. The center is located along a greenway, with curious interested people strolling past enjoying the color and hubbub. Lasers, 420's and 505's sit on trailers in the secure parking area, waiting for the next practice run or regatta, and there are plans for a hoist to allow small keelboats water access. The center is well integrated with nearby commercial, industrial and residential mixed land uses, and paddlers enjoy venturing downtown to the redeveloped waterfront, with dock and pocket beach access. The center is nationally acclaimed for its multitude of programs, events, races, membership and safety record. Based on this success, as an extension of center programs, the Lake Samish facility is developed, and flatwater racing surpasses expectations in popularity.
As part of the downtown waterfront redevelopment process, and the updating of the Fairhaven waterfront comprehensive plan, the Port of Bellingham has graciously invited the paddling community to provide input to the planning process regarding user group needs. This will most likely involve a Port hosted public meeting at the Ferry Terminal, for the paddling community at large, following notification to the public and the above organizations.
Pie in the sky? Two weeks ago the Bellingham Yacht Club made an excellent formal presentation to the Port Marina Advisory Committee, which I chair, regarding their user group (dinghy and small non-motorized keelboat sailors) needs; it was very well received, and open discussion ensued on combining infrastructure needs with the paddling community (think critical mass). On January 31 the Waterfront Advisory Group convenes, which I am also a member of, and Fairhaven waterfront land use planning is the main agenda item.
Keep up the robust discussion, think big, and stay tuned.
Re: The Future
I hate to be an instigator from afar, or one who makes suggestions of what to do knowing full well that I won't be the one sweeping the sidewalk - for awhile anyway. . .
But, I think you guys are right on the mark. Do one step at a time right now and don't worry too much about who will be the coaches, what boats you'll have, how much dues will be etc., for now anyway. The first step is to get a club formalized and the marginal participants are vital for this as it really shows the club officers that their donated time is appreciated.
Jeff's right. Pick a venue like the bay. Lobby for a little space and if all you ever have is a boat house of surfskis, OC's, rough water shells, then that's pretty great in itself. Once you have that, getting a second lake boat house for K1's or shells will be easier - assuming that's what members want.
Anyone going down to the Wavechaser races Feb 17 and 18? I just got a plane ticket. Nice warmer water . . . cold beer . . . . men in spandex . . . .
Re: paddling (K- and C- 1,2,4) club motivations
Dale…..What I perceive that we could use on the waterfront is a place on the water. That's all that is needed for now. Throw in some parking, restrooms, freshwater hoses, a dock, and this becomes a place that anyone can use to get access to the saltwater. Marine park has all of this stuff (except the freshwater hoses and dock) and it has been working well for most of us this winter. What this place could also use is enough space to maybe add a boathouse or some other structure in the future. Maybe just a little more space to lease to a commercial business such as a tour company/kayak shop (gawd knows Bellingham lacks one). I look at Deep Cove Kayak and I see a bustling business on the water that promotes all forms of rowing and paddling. So let's start with some space, add a few necessities and go from there.
This doesn't undermine the need for a facility at another location (I'm greedy). I think we still need a feshwater facility for people that are just learning how to paddle. It was only 3.5 years ago that I spent my first 3 months strictly on freshwater and even after that I didn't go to the bay but a handful of times. Currently I see two different needs for the community: the kayakers + racers needing to be near saltwater and the newbies + racers needing to be near freshwater.
I was a member of the Seattle Canoe club on Green Lake for a couple of years while I was a student at the UW. They have a nice structure , docks, protected water, good location and active recreation and competition oriented programs. As a member who mostly wanted storage or access to the club boats I found some problems.
Race boats are fragile and club boats get used hard and abused. If they are bomb proof to stand the usage they are not satisfying to serious paddlers. Most of us learn to fix our own boats or pay if it gets too tricky. It was very hard to get anyone to work on the club canoes and there was a constant plea for work parties to work on the boats. Some of the work done was really poor. The well organized sprint group seemed to take care of their fleet but the their dues covered that part of the program and was part of the coaching duties. Those boats were not available for unsupervised use. As a casual member who was not a part of the organized programs I had slim pickings for craft. I also wanted to paddle in areas other than Green Lake and taking a club boat off site was quite a process, with good reason. Imagine how hard that could be on club boats. So how does it work out to store a nice race quality canoe in a public boat house ? Every time you unlock the door and walk in and down the racks to where you left your carbon beauty you will be holding your breath. Is it still there ? If it is there does it have some new contours or maybe just some scratches ?
In Seattle there was a constant posting of notices asking that only members be in the boat house, please no children , please do not move or touch equipment that is not your own or a club boat, please be careful in moving boats and equipment in the aisles, please do not leave the boat house unlocked while you are out on the water, please be sure you have locked the door when you leave and on and on. Locking boats to racks is very difficult and causes problems for everybody but the vandals. I found it much easier to find a storage space at home and to transport the boat to whatever settings worked the best at the time. I think the club worked well for the very organized programs, especially crew.
Re: The Future
Jeff Hegedus <jhegedus@…>
Groundwork needs to be laid before formal invitation to the officers of each organization is made (which I will handle), only after we have an approach outlined and agreed to with the Port. The idea is that the officers of each interested organization will designate a project representative, who will work with their membership, to generate initial feedback on visioning and infrastructure needs, prior to the public meeting. This will also generate some buzz, and increase attendance. The representatives will work with Dale McKinnon, who has agreed to act as Project Coordinator, to facilitate the collection of ideas; it should preferably and most effectively function as a committee. My role will be to act as an interface with the Port. Together, we can present organized thoughtful input to the Port planning process, while defining a more visible common affiliation. Interestingly, each organization brings to the table a different user base and skill set, while the overlap is actually what joins for creating critical mass and flavor.
Beginnings are sensitive times, and great opportunity is afoot. We'll know more after Dale and I meet with the Port on Wednesday, 'twill be soon
Re: The Future
I cannot speak for the jericho facility, but I can speak to the club and facility in Vernon on Okanagan Lake.
The club is currently an outrigger club. There are now 5 converts who are also paddling surfski and more are becoming interested. There are also a few members who paddle marathon canoe. The club owns a bunch of OC1s, OC2s and OC6s and has storage for personal boats. The club owned boats are great for getting people to get involved. Most often they start with the OC6s and then get interested in smaller boats.
The club is great for it creates a paddling community and hosts races (both of which you already have). It also provides coaching for people getting into the sport.
The club boats are great for it allows an inexpensive way for people to get into paddling, and offers others access to extra boats when required.
The OC6s are great for they provide an opportunity for teamwork and people to get involved who are looking for group events.
The boathouse is great for it creates a community location where there always seems to be action happening - training, social paddles, and events. It is also great to have a location by the water to keep your boat.
The one great thing about the club having an executive is that there is always someone (or a group) of people who are always looking to the future of the sport and keeping us all organized (relatively) focused on developing the sport. I know without this, the paddling community would not be the same.
From my perspective, having lived in Bellingham for 5 years, you already have many of the things an organized club can bring - a sense of community and a focus on the sport. What an organized club can bring is attention and credibility on getting a facility and more of a focus on developing paddlers and the sport. An organized club also brings work which will take away from paddling for some who volunteer to do that work.
Either way, keep paddling and enjoy.
Re: The Future
Bob Putnam <putnam_rea@…>
I can tell you about Deep Cove Performance Paddling Club. It is mostly kids and just in its infancy still. Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre has provided seed money to get the club rolling. My main goal was to get my kid paddling (12 yrs) and I knew that the attraction of him paddling with Pops wasn't going to do it. He needed other kids his same age out there on the water.
I lured some of the XC skiing kids that he races with down to paddle. The parents being active alternative sport types gave the program some support. A couple of the parents were paddlers already and had experience coaching skiing, soccer etc. Some of them took coaching course to learn technique.
Kayaking being a bit of an obscure sport makes it hard to attract the mainstream sport types…you know soccer, hockey, football types.
Initially we bought some smaller flatwater sprint boats and as the kids have grown in size and skill we have added boats. The parents are starting to get involved and are training for some of the races. Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak has put in quite a bit of cash and the club is slowly paying it back. We have also received some donations from a few other generous companies that are interested in supporting grass roots sports. We formed a “Non Profit Society” and last year we received a Student Summer Works grant and hired a young kid, 19yrs who competed on the BC Team and was good with the young athletes. He runs summer camps that generate some revenue so the club can buy more kayaks.
So far we have about 20 kids and some parents. We haven't really put it out there for more masters. I know there would be interest but I don't want the nature of the club to change too much.
One problem is that we are storing our kayaks in somebodies back yard. It would be much better to have a boathouse. Currently we have about 10xK1, 4xK2 and one ancient Struer K4 that needs some serious TLC.
Team boats like dragon boats and OC6 help bring in entry level paddlers who may progress to Flatwater but from what I can see at other clubs like False Creek the movement is slow.
The regattas are great because the kids and Masters can compete at the same event. CanoeKayakBC has also combined the Bantam (14yrs and under) and Masters Champs into the same regatta. Flatwater events (200m, 500m, 1000m) are a lot more spectator friendly than lets say, a 10 km surf ski race. Basically you set up a picnic site at the beach and surround yourself with a whack of kayaks and friends and prepare to do battle. Good Times!!
Gig Harbour near Seattle has a flatwater club that is booming. Alan Anderson is the driving force there. Affordable, high quality flatwater kayaks are available through (link no longer valid)
Hope that helps.
I'd like to toss in a few observations from the paddle sport clubs I've been involved with.
First, I agree with Joost's comments that the club needs to focus on the members it has rather than any potential members it does not have. Looking to bring in new members as a priority will quickly divert your thinking into a business model rather than a club. As soon as you start weighing off the costs and rewards of a paddling club using a business model you will see ICF paddling and kids programs get cut very quickly.
In all the clubs I have seen that are historical landmarks in the community, diversity and adult programs are much easier to support than kids programs. Again, as it was mentioned previously; paddle sports are not the fist choice of many active adults and even less kids.
As Joost pointed out, boats and services supplied need to meet the needs of the majority of your club members. If they use surfski and OC1, pushing ICF flatwater boats is not going to please members. Opportunities to try new things are always welcome, but should not be a core service you plan for.
My recommendation is that you first decide what the mission of your club is and the associated values of the founders. From there you will see your vision evolve.
If you don' take the time to give yourself this direction, you will be struggling to direct your efforts. You will also be able to attract like minded individuals with a clear statement of your purpose.
I just went through this process with a triathlon club and it was an excellent exercise and very useful.
When looking at successful club models we turned to the USA Swimming models and info, they are one of the best club systems in the sports world, and with good reason IF you follow their recommendations.
Best of luck!
PS weather is looking good for Saturday, sunny and a high of 9 C but
the wind picture is still incomplete.
Alan's points are well-modulated and make sense. Having come from a competitive swimming background, I tend to agree with his reference to USA swimming. However, a club is one thing, but municipal facilities for equipment and several clubs is another and that is what Jeff Hegedus and I will be meeting with Dan Stahl (Port of Bellingham) about in the first of many dialogues. I will tape record meetings I attend to make sure what I report back to you is accurate.
Whatcompaddlers is one of several organizations (but the most articulate, active and boisterous) that need and want some kind of facility on the Bay, (AND on lakes). How whatcompaddlers handles its growth with surfskis is up to whatcompaddlers. But a facility for all human-powered craft will take some social string and glue to build consensus among the open-water rowers, ocean kayakers, martini paddlers, surfskiers, K1&2 sprinters, OC-1&2 paddlers, pullers (native paddlers), flat-water rowers and canoeists. This is what today's meeting begins. Those of us on the water with ourselves as engines comprise a huge part of the on-the-water census. So far, we've been very quiet.
At some point, dialogue needs to start/continue with the City re: Lakes Whatcom and Padden.
Here are some other observation based on my time at the False Creek Racing Canoe Club in Vancouver as it seems to be very close to what the Bellingham multi-disciplinary club is trying to achieve.
This club is very unique in that they cater to many different paddler types from flat water ICF canoe/kayak & associated trainers, marathon canoes, outrigger canoes; solo, tandem and six, dragon boat and some surf skis.
Club boats, from what I remember are all the above except surf skis that are mostly if not all privately owned.
Most, if not all club “contentious issues” were related to the following areas (in no particular order);
equitable service & resource allocation to all user groups
user group etiquette (rental facility mentality towards equipment, facilities, staff, etc.)
There are a few other clubs looking to adopt the multi-sport model here in Canada, the Calgary Canoe Club is one, and many eastern Canadian clubs and Canoe-Kayak Canada affiliates are looking at this model to improve overall paddling accessibility as well as encourage the adult “Fit for Life” and masters populations to remain in paddle sports as a lifestyle choice.
On a final note, I would propose the following clubhouse designs for the Belling-hamster paddle sport facilities…
Design 1: single story with indoor workout facility
Design 2: larger club multi-story with indoor workout facility
Design 3: very large club multi story with indoor workout facility
Re: This club thing…..
Jeff Hegedus <jhegedus@…>
Go to www.jsca.bc.ca and check out the Jericho Beach boathouse on Engish Bay. Notice the list of clubs contributing to its use (combined small craft sailing and paddling) including the Jericho Outrigger Club. Lots of programs and events and activities and people, made possible and economically viable by a certain level of user group organization. Bellingham's version of such a waterfront facility would be different, but the concept is a very useful model perhaps.
As soon as I wake up my face, LeAnne and I are headed up to this facility for todays race. Wow, lots of sun today, enjoy it!
Re: This club thing…..
There seems to be some confusion about “this club thing:” and a facility/location for the small craft community here in Bellingham.
Let me address “the club thing” first. Today, whatever organizational form whatcompaddlers takes is entirely up to whatcom paddlers. You can define “club” as being a group of people in relationship to one another identified by documents as having membership (whether dues are required or not), with a legally identifiable address for correspondence, and a location where members meet. A “club” can also be simply a group of people with no formal ties other than agreeing to share their time and energies doing whatever they want to do, together.
The Jericho facility is NOT a club. It is a facility to house clubs, a physical and legal umbrella that provides safe, dry storage, equipment, showers, food, and is the social matrix for cross-sport communication. It gives folks that have interest but don't want to, or can't, fork out the thousands of dollars it takes to participate in various disciplines like surfsking, open-water rowing, sailing Lasers or 505s, to learn and participate in those water sports. Jericho provides the venue for teaching, racing, and training, with national-caliber coaching and instruction.
The recent excitement and buzz about the Port wanting to talk to members of the small-boating community is about forming a Jericho-like location and facility for our unique small-boating community here in Bellingham, preferably in Fairhaven, with options and exisitng facilities already suggested by the Port. This is not about whatcompaddlers. This is about Bellingham, the fact that we've been identified by Outside magazine as the paddling capital of the US, yet, there is nothing, nada, zip, zilch of our tax dollars to show in the way of supporting what we love to do on the water and that really frackin sucks.
You know the saying: Build it and they will come. This is not a “blue-skies” effort. It's real and the Port is listening, because we are willing to organize and talk with a cohesive voice…
I'm going rowing. See you out there.
Re: the officially 'unofficial' club
As a headzup on the paddling history here in B'ham, re: giving back to the NW paddling scene with some official races…
Had it not been for a group of very interested and loosely connected surfskiers (whatcompaddlers), the Dan Harris Challenge would not have continued after that first race, five years ago. As race director for the first three years of the DHC, I personally know that had it not been for the social and participatory support (hosting the after-race feeding and making sure that pre-race munchies are present for competitors), and the supplying of safety boats, all by members of the whatcompaddlers' loosely organized group, our very own DHC simply wouldn't exist. We are now going into our sixth year of the DHC and it's becoming a major event in the NW paddling scene.
In terms of giving back, whatcompaddlers is more effective, more flexible and more supportive and welcoming to newcomers than any “official” club or organization dedicated to a specific water sport that I've witnessed in the NW… except for soundrowers. To bog whatcompaddlers down in “official” clubness begs the question: Why? Why is that necessary. Because that's the thing to do? Wear T-shirts? Have a clubhouse? Have insurance? How is any of that going to further the growth of surfskiing, OC-1 paddling, standup paddling or whatever new water sport comes along. What does acquiring a trailer to help tranpsort boats got to do with being a club? I call it cooperation amongst friends.
The virtual organization of whatcompaddlers is all that is required to connect people doing what they love to do. Arbitrarily imposing a rigid, legal artifact on a social phenomenon will alter and degrade it. Change to this phenomenon will come in its own, self-organizing time.
“The person who says it cannot be done
should not interrupt the person doing it.”
… an old Chinese proverb