May 2 – Spring Club Meeting and Luau!

We are excited to announce that on Saturday, May 2, 2015, we’ll be hosting our spring meeting from noon – 1pm, followed by a potluck May Day celebration from 1-3pm!  Everything will be held at East Shore Marina.  Excited to see new and returning faces as we kick off the season.  Please bring a dish to pass.  No RSVP needed, but feel free to contact us with any questions or ideas.

Rigging this Sunday!

Aloha, paddlers!! It looks like the weather should cooperate this coming Sunday, so we’d love to have you out to rig our canoes! We’ll begin at 10am at East Shore Marina, and if all goes well we should be finished in under 2 hours. Please email me at if you are interested so that we are sure that we have enough hands.

Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!

anxiously awaiting “spring” in ithaca!

Greetings, soon-to-be paddlers for the 2015 season!  We had our first board meeting of 2015 and are excited to welcome new and old board members!  Our lineup is currently:

President – Blair

Vice President – Cynthia

Secretary – Ryan

Treasurer – Sally

Member-at-Large – Scott

We are working to plan a fun and motivating season, and we are hoping to participate in some ECORA races and local events this summer … just so anxious to get out there and start paddling!  Unfortunately, the lake is currently frozen over …

but hopefully the water will thaw soon so that we can get out there and paddle.  Looking forward to seeing everyone soon!  Stay tuned for updates on a rigging party (if we are lucky enough to have a warm weekend on land sometime soon!) and our inaugural paddle of the year.


season is under way!

As May already comes to a close, we have several practices and events to be excited about!  We had our two novice practices where we had a total of 13 new paddlers come out!  Some were seasoned SUP-ers and kayakers, whereas a handful had never been in a boat before!  This year’s novices caught on remarkably quickly, and we’re hoping to see many of them return for the rest of the summer as the club continues to grow.

We also participated in the Plastic Tides event on May 18 ( on Cayuga Lake; a short “race” from East Shore Marina to Stewart Park designed to raise awareness and funding for the organizers’ trip to Bermuda where they will continue to combat pollution in our waterways. Our crew of 5 took off at the start of the race (trying to get out of the way of all of the SUP-ers battling the waves and trying not to crash into us!) and had a neck-and-neck race against one of our kayaking friends, Alan.  It was a good test of our canoe Hoku’s stability (and Cynthia’s masterful steering!) as the waves and wind were picking up and nearly gave us an early huli drill for the season!!  We ended up winning the 1.5 mile “sprint” and then paddled back to East Shore to warm up and head back to the BBQ.  It was fun to see so many friends on SUP boards and first-time paddlers out on the lake. Must note that the water was very brown from all of the runoff we’ve had from major rainstorms and some minor flooding earlier that weekend.  Thankfully our crew didn’t have to “swim” as much as those on their SUP boards! Fun day for the club, first “race” for one of new members Ryan, and a pretty cool cause to be supporting locally.

upcoming novice practices in May

As the water slowly warms up, we are planning novice practices on Saturday May 3 and May 17 at 10am.  This will be an opportunity for new paddlers of any experience level (or lack thereof!).  We will start with a brief workshop on land to review safety procedures and paddling technique, then spend some time in the canoes and plan our “workout” based on how everyone is feeling!  We had a ton of fun with these last year, so we are very excited to be starting back up and see some new faces, or older faces just hoping to slow it down and work on technique.  Our novice practices typically run about an hour to an hour and a half but may be modified depending how many participants we have and the experience level of our crew.

Please email me directly at to sign up or if you have any questions.  We will only go out if we have enough to fill a boat.

There is a suggested $10 donation to participate in novice practices.  If you decide join COCC, this will be applied to your dues.  Paddles and PFDs will be provided.

You will need:

– shoes that can get wet — we walk the boat in, so you will definitely get wet!  The water is still very cold, so Neoprene booties are ideal, or wool socks with high rubber rain boots.

– water-appropriate clothing.  NO cotton.  Please wear layers of synthetics if possible; fleece is great if it’s cold, headband if windy, otherwise a polyester top and shorts/pants are fine.  Dress for the water, not the air!  You will warm up while we are paddling, but it can be chilly when we stop, and painfully cold if we end up in the water.

– water bottle

– leave a towel and change of clothes in your car

We’ll post any other relevant info as the novice practices approach!

update: rigging on Saturday, April 5

Just to note: we moved the rigging session to this Saturday, April 5.  10am, East Shore Marina.  We are hoping to have everything completed in two hours and should have a pretty good turnout of club members.  Looking forward to seeing everyone this Saturday, so we can actually be on the water very soon!!

start of a new season!

Greetings all,

It was nice to see the club back together yesterday at our spring meeting.  Always exciting to see those who haven’t been out in a while, and to hear everyone’s off-season reports of conditioning and/or recovering to get ready for a fun summer out on the lake.   Congratulations to our new Board for the 2014 season!

President: Cynthia

Vice President: Dave

Secretary: Blair

Treasurer: Sally

Member-at-Large: Barbara

Also … we’ll be rigging the boats soon so that we can get back on the water and get back in shape for a productive season!  This will be happening a week from today.  If you want to give a hand, we will be meeting Sunday, March 30 at East Shore Marina from 10am – noon.  The more hands, the easier it will be, and we’ll be that much closer to actually paddling again!  If any potential new paddlers are considering joining COCC this season, this will be a great time to come out and meet some of our paddling crew.  ’til soon!

fall sunset paddles!

Greetings all … I think this is my last “blog” of the season, and probably my last paddle in Ithaca!  For this year, anyway.  The club is going to go full force through September and as far into October as the Ithaca weather (and ambitious paddling spirit) allows, but I’m leaving Ithaca for a bit … thankfully ending my season on a wonderful night of paddling in A’no:wara.  My next time in an outrigger should be in Santa Barbara, which will be a totally different experience … yikes, actual ocean swells!  I hope my training with Cayuga Outrigger serves me well!

We have had very motivating and encouraging novice practices these past few weeks with students from Cornell engaged with the Concrete Canoe team (more details coming up in April when they actually get to host the regional races!!) and with some other students who spent time in Hawaii this past year, working on fixing canoes, but not actually paddling in them!  Lots of fresh faces and great attitudes.  We have really covered a lot of distance with them, thanks also to the fantastic coaching of Terry.  Note that novice practices WILL CONTINUE for a few more weeks, most likely still on Monday nights, so continue to email me at if you are interested … I’ll keep coordinating even when I’m gone.

Tonight’s club practice was simply a perfect crew also.  Barbara, Virginia, and I came out, and we also had three fabulous repeat novices.  I wish these guys weren’t graduating — they have so much energy and focus, I would love to keep training with them to see where they will go!  They all seem to have fallen in love with the sport, so wherever they do end up, I sure hope that they find (or start) a club.  We had wind and small but steady waves.  Great communication, fantastic questions, consistency, strength … I loved it.  I can’t thank them enough for such a beautiful and “peaceful” night … even while we worked our butts off to keep the boat rolling, it is such a wonderful experience to paddle together with a fun and unified crew.  And take in some nice sunset views when we can steal a second to peek our heads out of the boat!

Thanks, all, for a great season.  Enjoy the last couple months before the lake freezes over … no better way to enjoy fall in Ithaca.

fall novice practice!

Greetings all,

As school is back in session, we’re going to have some fall novice practices to attract some of our motivated undergrads or anyone in Ithaca who is still just learning about outrigger canoeing and wants to learn paddling techniques and squeeze in some outdoor training before winter sets in!

This coming Monday, September 9, we will have a novice practice.  Plan to arrive by 5:15pm. We will review paddling and safety procedures on land and be on the water by 5:30 (or earlier if we are ready!) for about an hour.  Several students from Cornell’s Concrete Canoe Team will be present, and Terry and I will be steering (if we can take multiple boats out!).

Please email me directly at if you are planning to attend or if you have any questions, so that we can plan our boats and get the most value out of everyone’s time.  If you are interested in a novice practice this fall but cannot make it on Monday, please email me anyway and we’ll try to coordinate a convenient time in the coming weeks!

Paddles and PFDs will be provided.  Air and water are both cooling down, so dress accordingly — synthetic clothes (NO cotton or sweatshirts), layers, shoes that WILL get wet (something like tevas, water shoes, or even rubber rain boots).  If it’s windy, a fleece headband or hat is great.

See you on the water!

Kent Island 2013!!

On Saturday, August 31, 2013, we sent a crew down to compete in the Kent Island Cup Relay, a 36 mile relay around Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay.  The race is divided into 4 legs with changeouts to circle the entire island, so the two crews alternate on the 8-10 mile legs until each crew completes two legs of the course and we’re back to the yacht club.  As we had a crew of 8 enthusiastic paddlers from Cayuga Outrigger, we joined forces with a crew from New York Outrigger, one of our favorite ECORA clubs!  Bill joined the NYO crew and we kept a crew of 7 with Cynthia, Ray, Cookies, stellar “novices” Virginia, Trish, and Sue-Je, and me, with two of our novices doing one leg each.

As this was my first time steering a race (and this is a pretty big race to take on … yikes!), I was nervous about the race start (playing bumper boats against the other teams…) and the third leg, which is the longest leg (10.5 miles) and likely in the roughest water, as it crosses the southern tip of the island in a very open part of the Chesapeake.  NYO agreed that we could have the 2nd and 4th legs, as their crew (also with 3 novices!) was up for the challenge of 1&3!  Since we had an extra paddler, we were in the “mutt” (or unlimited) division, along with 3 other teams who had pulled together their crews from multiple clubs and had some extra paddlers floating in and out.  No pun intended.

So Friday night, we drove down to the yacht club and set up camp right at the finish line.  It was much windier than we expected (about 12mph) so we didn’t get much sleep, with pre-race jitters and flapping tents keeping us up.  But come morning, we watched the women’s and mixed crews take off to the canon at 7:30, then the men’s and “mutts”  launched shortly after.  With NYO en route, we took off in our cars to catch them at Love Point, the first changeout.  Upon arriving, we were informed that our team wasn’t keeping up with the other 15 boats in the race.  The water was rough with the strong winds, and there were only two safety boats available to keep an eye on the crews, so they simply couldn’t spare one to watch our crew.  They said that when the crew arrived to the change location, we could either continue on the 2nd leg as planned, but that the third leg would be too challenging for the other crew to jump into, so our race would end there, OR we head back to the start in reverse order.  Disappointed but understanding, we opted for the second option, not totally sure where we were going (as I hadn’t studied that part of the map!) but determined to make the most of it.  Thinking this was our one and only leg of the race, we went all out and worked our butts off to make our training worth it.  Cookies also had to stop paddling to tie the a’ma back on at one point, as the rigging was coming undone and un-wedged!!  We finished those 8.2 miles in 1 hour 28 minutes, which we were extremely proud of!  What a fun crew, giving it every ounce of steam.

When approaching the start/finish line at the yacht club, much to our confusion, the NYO crew was standing on shore with paddles.  But the race was over, no?  No!  Apparently, the organizers wanted us to get our 30-some miles in, so they set us up to do the “hurricane course,” out to the infamous buoy turn (PJ’s huli, which you can read about in our 2010 Kent Island blog entry… sorry, PJ) and back for leg 3, then repeat for leg 4.  8 more miles per crew, if you can follow the map and the math!  So NYO’s crew hopped back in the boat and took off while we stood bewildered on shore, wondering how we were going to complete a 4th leg after giving it our all in the 2nd!  Jack, who is a steersperson for Kent Island, provided lots of tips for how to master the turn without huli-ing (and probably took about 4 years off of my life while filling me with terror of what could go wrong) and offered suggestions of where to catch the currents on our way out and back.  We caught our second wind as we saw the NYO crew approaching, and took off ourselves to try our luck.  For 4 miles, we plowed into the wind … keeping it short and fast and never giving up through the waves.  Incredible determination from everyone.  Meanwhile, the three top crews in the “normal” race crossed our path and approached the finish line — pretty exciting!  Finally we found our buoy and braced ourselves for the worst.  Indeed we got caught on the eddy behind the buoy, but teamwork and cooperation and focus won out and we conquered the turn and kept the boat up!  Thinking that the worst was over, we started to head back, just as boat #4 joined our course, also aiming for the finish.  Little did we realize that even though the wind was now at our backs, catching the return current to our left would be easier said than done. The wind was picking up and the waves on our left were vicious, rocking our boat like never before (again, subtracting a couple years from my life … whoa baby!).  Meanwhile, some rogue waves came in on the right from time to time, but the crew responded well and magically, we got through it.  It included fantastic teamwork and communication, and this was exactly the crew for it.  We finally caught our current, the crew never gave up, and we powered through.  We could see the buoy at the finish for the final 30 minutes and there was never a lapse in energy.  We had an amazing finish (1 hour 26 minutes!) and were thrilled to see NYO on shore ready to pull us out.

We enjoyed lunch at the yacht club, watched some other teams finish (I think ours was the most impressive, personally!), and got all spiffy for the luau.  Cynthia had made some beautiful leis for each of us, and we had a delicious dinner, wonderful music of the Aloha Boys, and hysterical awards presentation from Jim.  Some of the crews finished the course in just over 5 hours … and one of the women’s crews spent 7 hours, but only used one 6-person crew the entire race — no changeouts!  What incredible teams.  We were awarded 4th place and received wild applause from the rest of the paddling community.  We had fun getting to know more friends in NYO, and were overjoyed to run into a former teammate who was with COCC at its start — Iori!  We watched her paddle like crazy with NCA and got to hang out at the luau — so proud of her!

So even though things didn’t quite go as planned, it didn’t matter.  We had an amazing experience.  Our crew was simply phenomenal, and I wouldn’t trade any of them in!  This is truly a team sport and because of the passion and strength of each crew member, we accomplished so much.

I would be completely remiss not to thank other members of the club for sending so much support and providing encouragement while we trained, to former club members for giving us this foundation and providing so much guidance along the way, and the other paddling communities and ECORA for giving us extra pushes in the right direction.  To NYO for rounding out our team, and Kent Island for incredible hospitality, keeping us safe, and providing this opportunity for such a fun and memorable experience.

Can’t wait to do it again.  We’ll have some photos soon, too!