Home Sweet Home: Paddling Trinidad, Calif.

By Helen Wilson, 13 April 2014

  • DATE

    13 April 2014


    Helen Wilson



I love traveling, I truly do, but one thing that traveling does for me is make me appreciate home, my friends and Trinidad, California, my home waters.

After the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium earlier in February, I took the rest of the month off to enjoy being home. For my husband Mark and I, kayaking “season” gets busy again starting next month, so I’m soaking up as much of home as I possibly can.

Last Sunday, our local kayaking club, Explore North Coast, had a rescue practice day at Trinidad. Conditions were a little wonky, to say the least, with forecasted swells of 14 feet at 13 seconds. One thing that’s nice about Trinidad, though, is that it has both a harbor launch and a surf launch, so there’s usually a way out no matter what the conditions. In the nine years I’ve been paddling here, I can only recall a couple of days when we were unable to launch and went for breakfast instead.

I met my paddle pal Michael Morris for a before rescue practice paddle, and the two of us headed south to go around some of the larger rocks. This was not a good day for rock gardening, and as we went around one of the larger rocks we had to pick up the speed a little as a large swell started to crest. As we dropped down the other side, I couldn’t help but smile. I LOVE Trinidad.

After going around a few more rocks and stopping to watch the waves crash in amongst others, we headed back to the beach to meet up with the Explore North Coast group. We didn’t land, but instead sat back and watched as everyone made their way out.

Mike Zeppegno and Damon Maguire were the hosts of this paddle, and they had several exercises for people to practice, including both assisted and self rescues, as well as rescue scenarios in rocks using both towlines and swimming. It was a great day to practice skills, but an even better day to be home, on the water and with friends.

Helen Wilson

Helen Wilson is a sea kayaker out of Arcata, California. She enjoys open ocean paddling in her skin-on-frame qajaq and can be found playing off the northern California coastline and in the lagoons several times a week. She’s never far from water and enjoys being underwater as much as being on the surface. She specializes in traditional paddling skills using traditional equipment. She competed in the Greenland National Kayaking Championship in 2008 (Qaqortoq, Greenland) and again in 2010 (Nuuk, Greenland), receiving five medals in four disciplines. In July 2014, Helen and her husband, Mark Tozer, will be returning to south Greenland to host their second commercial expedition.

Helen performs rolling demonstrations, presentations and instructs at events worldwide. She has written skills articles for several publications including Sea Kayaker magazine, The Masik and Ocean Paddler magazine. In May 1010, she released an instructional DVD, Simplifying the Roll with Helen Wilson. In September 2013, Helen and Mark released a second DVD, Yoga for Outdoor People. Both DVDs are available worldwide. She also serves as a board advisor for Qajaq USA.

Besides from being a kayaker, Helen’s other passion is yoga. She is a registered yoga teacher (RYT), and Greenland or Bust often includes Yoga for Padders as part of their programs.Contact Helen at [email protected]