Teaching at Westwind

Living out here on the rugged Oregon Coast,  there are few places that rival my home stretch of sand for sheer beauty,  the mile long beach and estuary directly south of Cascade Head is one of them.   I first saw this idyllic place when I made the mistake of landing a kayak on the front of Cascade Head in a rising swell seven years ago.  Tent pitched in a crag I climbed the thousand foot slope behind my prison beach and stared enviously at this perfect slice of shoreline while I waited for the surf to subside.   Six long days later I was finally able to break free,  and I never did land at that beach,  but I did vow someday to return.    That opportunity came last fall when Westwind Stewardship Group
invited me to come teach a workshop at the their retreat.   So it was that in the middle of a tempestuous February I loaded up the subaru with sticks and strings and skins,  and headed a couple hours south to ply my trade.

A day late due to a freak snow storm we got right to work building the decks in the Westwind shop.

At 13 years old Lucinda is my youngest student ever!   (and yes,  she did build the whole thing by herself)

One of the coolest things about my job is all of the interesting people I get to hang out with,  Lindley here,  in addition to being a capable boatbuilder is also a world ranked triathlete,  at 67 years old!   I started my beach runs ten minutes behind him to avoid humiliation.  

With just four students this time we had plenty of time to explore.  

While the intelligent students climbed a trail to this amazing view of the entire property...

...I attempted a more direct route up a 45 degree mud slope.   Not recommended.

Bending the ribs in on day 2.

Always an exciting moment.

After tying on the stringers it suddenly became very important for everyone to try to balance the frames on their keels.

Peter examines his progress.

End of day 2

End of day 3,  oiling the frames.


Day 4,  sewing on the skins!

Carving paddles before we put on the coating when the room has to be dust free.

A pile of satisfying planer shavings.

Dyed boats in the background.

Day 5,  coating the kayaks and the paddles.

After a stormy night with 70mph winds,  we loaded the finished kayaks during a brief sun break.

The crew and their boats on a flatbed trailer being towed behind a tractor.

Beachfront delivery!

The beach inside of the mouth of the Salmon river.

Lindley launches.

Lucinda naps....

The whole crew rafts up for a photo,  but Lucinda calls for a race...

...and they're off!

A successful class in a beautiful location.   Thanks to Westwind for inviting me,  I hope to return again.

Back to Cape Falcon Kayak