||by Bill Porter
This year's WKC Coastal Clinic was held at Hobuck Beach Resort campgrounds just west of Neah Bay. Lead by Rhonda Schwab-Smith Sea Training & Clinics chair and her coaching staff, the clinic offered a wide assortment of leaning opportunities as well as wild life encounters on the ocean, the visual delight of sea caves and un-developed shoreline and as a bonus the class was held under bright sunny skies.
Day 1: The first morning the students spent time observing the sea, the wave trains, where the waves were breaking and then they were exposed to the challenge of getting through the surf zone. The conditions where excellent for this training, 3 to 4 foot swell and minimal wind. After mastering entering the and exiting the surf zone the afternoon was spent paddling out to Strawberry Rocks which is located about 2 miles off shore. There the group experienced the power of the surging water around 'the Rock'. On the way back to our home base several of the highly trained coaches spontaneously began falling out of their boats which started a long session of rescues. Day one concluded with good food, good beers, a campfire and exaggerated stories of grandeur from the days paddle.
Day 2: Up at the crack of dawn and out on the water by 9:30 am. Today's destination is Shi Shi beach but first the group will paddle around Anderson Point and Portage Head where 'clapotis' will be the new experience. Clapotis is caused by the waves hitting a solid object ie: a rock face and rebounding. Again, the water conditions were excellent for this training. On today's adventure we split into to two groups, one group took a bit more cautious route and the second group hugged the rock face. Yes group two did get the opportunity to perform rescues in very bouncy water ;-). A whale was kind enough to share its presence with us on our journey, bonus!
Paddling around and through the sea stacks at Shi Shi for the first time under bright, blue sunny skies was a real treat for students. After a nice long lazy lunch, a hike along the beach it was time to return to our camp. This time both groups chose the take the more challenging path, hugging the rock face. Day two concluded with good food, good beers, a campfire and real exaggerated stories of grandeur from the days paddle.
Day 3: Again, up at the crack of dawn and out on the water at 9:00 am. The sea today is a bit more excited than the first two days of class. Our plan is to paddle up to Cape Flattery, explore some of the sea caves and maybe paddle over to Tatoosh Island. Heading around the rocky outcrop of Waatch Point the group got to experience some 5-6 foot swell as we punched out into the open sea. Very exciting. We did get to explore a few of the huge caves south of the Cape however due to the sea state we did not make it all the way to the Cape. The group got the opportunity to execute a couple of un-planned rescues on the way back to camp. The students and coaches also had the opportunity to experience the power of 'boomers' on this leg of our trip. Sunny skies, warm temperatures and lot's of smiles as we end the paddle. Day three concluded with good food, good beers, a campfire and really, really exaggerated stories of grandeur from the days paddle.
Day 4: Today is a half day session devoted solely to entering and exiting the surf zone, hanging out in the 'soup' zone, timing exercises, backing out through the surf and backing into the beach and a rolling session in the surf zone concluded the on water portion of the class. A HUGE graduation ceremony was held at the base camp which included high ranking WKC dignitaries, cheer leaders and of course inspirational speeches.