Cale Circumnavigates Lake Superior

Meet Cale...

May 9, 2024

Hello, my name is Cale Prosen, and I plan to circumnavigate Lake Superior in my kayak this summer. I am 20 and have just finished up my sophomore year of college at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. Proudly from Cloquet, MN which is near Duluth, and spent much time in the outdoors in various pursuits. I am majoring in biology, chemistry, and secondary science education and would like to tie these together somehow.

Continue reading

Wave Forming

Isle of Man Sea Kayak Symposium

Featured photo by Adventurous Experiences.

International Training with Adventurous Experiences

September 23-25, 2011

My bet with Dale Williams, founder of Sea Kayak Georgia, on Sunday September 25th: that I can get a smile from even one of the paddlers from Finland. We are headed down toward the Isle of Calf off the south end of Isle of Man. Southerly winds blew hard last night and are expected to go to Force 6 this afternoon. Yesterday, Dale and I took our 16 students surfing in two different groups with the help of local Isle of Man guides. They’ve sure been paddling and training with Keirron and George, as their idea of beginner/novice surf instruction had us in longish swell with some seriously noisy break. Nervous students don’t learn well; as the Finns mostly paddle in the Baltic Sea with no real swell or current, Dale and I quickly paddle a retreat to a more protected smooth spilling beach break. We best remember that our local Manx guides operate on a pretty crazy standard if they think that last ledge was a proper instructional area for novice/intermediate surfing.

Continue reading

Wave. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Eddie Would Go

When a surfer drops onto the face of a wave at the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, it’s a long way down. The prestigious surfing competition takes place during the most active swell season at Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore, from December 1 to February 28*; it requires waves of more than 20 feet to run - and that’s Hawaiian scale. The faces of those waves measure upwards of 30 feet. The event honors legendary Hawaiian surfer Eddie Aikau. Twenty-eight surfers are voted by their peers to compete in “The Eddie”.

Eddie Aikau became the first lifeguard for the North Shore of Oahu in 1968, including the surfing mecca of Waimea Bay. In Eddie’s 10 years of service, he made over 500 rescues with only a surfboard and fins. There wasn’t a single fatality.

Waimea. Image by markof4123 from Pixabay.

Waimea. Image by markof4123 from Pixabay.

In 1978, Eddie volunteered to crew on a 30-day, 2,500-mile journey which was to follow the ancient route of the Polynesian migration between the Hawaiian and Tahitian island chains. The double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokule’a, developed a leak in one of the hulls and capsized about twelve miles south of the island of Molokai. Aikau paddled out toward Lanai on his surfboard to get help. Although the rest of the crew was later rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Cape Corwin, Aikau was never seen again.

EDDIE WOULD GO.

Most give credit to the late surfer Mark Foo for coining that famous phrase. At one Invitational, swells were enormous and the organizers were contemplating closing the competition for safety. Foo looked out at the surf and quietly, factually, stated, “Eddie would go”.

In the end, it’s not about Eddie Aikau’s final act of heroism. What endures is the legacy of Eddie's selfless giving and service to others, so that they could discover the pure joy of riding the waves.

*The 2020-2021 Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational has been canceled over pandemic concerns.

Featured photo: Wave. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay. 

What Every Kid Should Be Able to Do by Age Sixteen

"Go simple, go solo, go now.” These are the words that propelled paddling legend Audrey Sutherland through numerous kayaking adventures during her 94 years of life. The epic free spirit, who died in 2015, believed that security came not from money but from building one’s own skills and unlocking one’s own courage.

"Go simple, go solo, go now."

Audrey Sutherland urged people never to wait for the right moment to travel. “What we most regret are not the errors we made, but the things we didn’t do,” she once wrote.

Continue reading

Sea Sculpture

Shumagin Islands, Home of Storms and Fog

by Stan Chladek

Expedition Members: Ron Monkman, Richard Kocher and Stan Chladek.

June-July 2004

In June of 1741 Vitus Bering, the Danish explorer in the service of the Russian Imperial Navy sailed from Kamchatka southwest and subsequently west to discover Alaska, making landfall between the mouth of Copper River and Cape Suckling. After turning east to discover Kodiak Island he later landed at a group of mountainous islands off the coast of Alaska Peninsula. The crewman of the ship Saint Peter, named Shumagin, became very sick and was taken to shore with hope that his heath would improve. He died a day later, apparently from scurvy, and was buried at the narrow isthmus between the ocean shore and an inland lake, on the island which is known today as Nagai Island. This archipelago of 22 islands, located near the tip of the Alaskan Peninsula (about 280 miles east of Dutch Harbor on the Unalaska Island) was named Shumagin Islands in his honor. He was the first in a long list of Russians who died during their more then 120-year occupation of Russian America.

Like the Aleutian Islands toward the west, the Shumagins were originally inhabited by Aleuts. Their lives were totally based on using kayaks, baidarkas, for hunting sea mammals and fishing, since the treeless islands provided very little subsistence. In pre-Russian times, there were probably twelve native villages on six main islands (Unga, Popoff, Korovin, Simeonoff, Chernobura and Nagai). As the times passed, the villages dwindled, partly due to losses from civil strife, partly due to Russians, but mostly due to ravages from Kodiak Islanders (Koniags), who launched long distance kayaking forays from their home far northeast.  In the twentieth century there were only two settlements left and after the village of Unga was abandoned in the sixties, only one settlement exists today, Sand Point, inhabited by both native and white population.

Studying the charts of the Islands indicated that all the ingredients of an interesting sea kayak trip should be there: remote islands with exposed coasts and steep topography, and long lines of cliffs intercepted with infrequent beaches. We could expect some protected areas in large bays, and most often we would be exposed to the swells of the open North Pacific. We anticipated similar weather as on my last expedition to the Aleutian Islands: that means wind, fog and rain and more wind. We thought that perhaps conditions could be a little milder, since charts did not indicate too many tidal currents. In fact, the tides were relatively small (only about 8’ in spring). As it turned out, the weather was indeed similar as at the Aleutians, with the famous williwaws (katabatic winds) viciously blowing quite often and quite suddenly. The Pacific beaches turned out to be more gradual then those on the Bering Sea, thus enabling us to get good surf rides and much easier landings and launchings. Also, there were more protected bays. However, the frequency of rain and fog even exceeded our rather pessimistic expectations!

Continue reading