Tag Archives: kayak

Meet the Paddlers, Part 3

NBBC exists to enable and advocate for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in particular, and all through the New York Harbor. It is a community organization, and the member-volunteers — trip leaders, trip assistants, and program volunteers — who keep us on the water come from that community and give back to it by making NBBC programming happen.

Here are two more of those amazing volunteers. If you see Monica, Ros, or any of our trip leaders and volunteers around the club or out on the water, say hi, and thank them for lending their time and skills to keep North Brooklyn boating!

And visit the Trip Leaders and Volunteers page on the NBBC website to learn more about them!

Monica

Founding member
Kayak trip leader

First canoe-kayak Roosevelt Island circ, 2012

First canoe-kayak Roosevelt Island circ, 2012


Q. How did you become a trip leader?
As NBBC was getting set to open, I flew to Tybee Island, Georgia, for several intense days of training and testing so the club would have its first ACA-certified trip leader in time for opening day in spring 2012.

I also conducted workshops in those early days, and my 2012 workshop has blossomed into five: Trip Planning Theory, Trip Planning Practice, Marine Radio and Weather, Rules of the Road, and Knots for Kayakers.

[See the NBBC calendar for Monica’s upcoming workshops!]

Q. Tell us about a favorite route or trip that you like to use for club paddles.
A. After thirteen years of leading kayak trips on the East River, my favorite trip is any that lets people fall in love with paddling and thereby inspires them to care for and cherish nature and the environment. Plus, a side effect of learning to paddle is a boost to self-esteem and confidence.

To that end, I try to make my trips accessible to as many skill levels as possible, especially beginners, while keeping safety and fun in mind.

Finally, it gives me great joy to have played a part, even if small in those who go on to become leaders or instructors, continuing the cycle.

Monica in the East River

Monica in the East River

Ros

Membership coordinator
Canoe trip leader

Paddle instruction, Opening Day, 2016

Ros gives paddle instruction, Opening Day, 2016


Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
A. I stumbled upon NBBC when I was doing research for a harebrained scheme, trying to get to this abandoned island outside of the city. Dangerously ignorant of paddling knowledge and other essentials, I was looking for a place that would rent a little hand-powered boat to me. Thankfully, that trip never materialized; if it had, I might not be here today! Anyway, I was smitten by the idea of a community boathouse whose work was to open access to our waterways, provide ecological and historical context, and equip folks with skills to venture out safely. So, I joined.

I finally made it to a night-time paddle going up Newtown Creek. As we waited for a couple of barges to do-se-do, our canoes gunwhaled up by wooden pilings on the Queens side just distal of Sims Recyling, we saw something incredible: bioluminescent comb jellies swirled beneath us, their electric blue forms flashing, folding over themselves, drafted by the tiny wakes of our canoe paddles.

Since then, I have been coming back to the club as much as I can. It has allowed me to discover so many things I love that I didn’t expect to find when I joined: the Dutch Kills swing bridge and other beautiful rusty fixtures along the creek; the epic annual night-time Manhattan Circumnavigation; the opportunity to learn so many interesting skills in community, like starting a fire with a knife, quartzite, and charcloth; witnessing groups of NYC schoolkids seeing tiny grass shrimp, snails, and fascinatingly disgusting bristleworms for the first time; relaxing my shoulders on a water break as the wide expanse of blue surrounds my small boat; working together as a crew on the water and off; laughing my guts out around a campfire with all these great goofy amazing people. There’s nothing better in Brooklyn.

Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined, in general and in NYC specifically?
A. Okay, I did have a little sit-on-top kayaking experience before showing up to the club; I had gone out with some friends in Louisiana before. But compared to what I’ve learned from other NBBC paddlers, I knew virtually nothing. And look at me now, ma!

War-canoe rescue training, Hallets Cove

War-canoe rescue training, Hallets Cove


Believe it or not, Ros has a lot more to say! Learn more about Ros, Monica, and other super-skilled and endlessly enthusiastic NBBCers on the Trip Leaders and Volunteers page!

Meet the Paddlers, Part 2

In the last post, we presented two of the volunteers who make everything that happens at NBBC happen! From sunset paddles to bridge-shaking parties, what we do is powered by our amazing member-volunteers. On and off the water, our trip leaders, trip assistants, and program volunteers make it possible for NBBC to fulfill its mission: enabling and advocating for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering North Brooklyn.

Now meet a couple more: our two Klauses (in German: zwei Klauseln)! If you see Klaus, Klaus, or any of our trip leaders and volunteers around the club or out on the water, say hi, and thank them for lending their time and skills to keep North Brooklyn boating!

And visit the new Trip Leaders and Volunteers page on the NBBC website to learn more about them!

Klaus R.

Safety Committee coordinator
Canoe trip leader
Kayak trip leader

Klaus R. meets the winter head-on

Klaus R. meets the winter head-on


Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined, in general and in NYC specifically?
A. Born in North Germany right between the Baltic sea and Atlantic, I grew up with fishing boats, racing one-man sail boats and rowing sculls. Ten years ago, I discovered NYC waters with the Manhattan Sailing School, getting certified for keelboats, but I actually never thought of paddling the East River in kayaks or canoes until I joined NBBC.

Q. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a particular club trip.
A. I recently joined a winter paddle to look for seals. Paddling out from Coney Island creek, it started to snow, and at some point the only sight of land left was our destination, Swinburne, a tiny artificial island south of the Verrazano Bridge. The horizon was hidden by a white curtain, and the water completely calm, when a group of seals popped up, curiously watching us. We navigated back by compass.

Klaus steers the Public Paddle

Klaus steers the Public Paddle

Klaus S.

Canoe trip leader
Kayak trip leader

Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
A. I live ten minutes away — so gaining access to a fleet of sleek decked ocean kayaks made my becoming a NBBC founding member a total no-brainer. I hugely enjoy the vastness of personal space our local waterways have to offer. And if that sounds like I’m of solitary inclination . . . well, maybe, but being a trip leader over the past four seasons has certainly kept me in touch with a great community and hugely motivates me to keep learning and to share the wonderful experience.
Q. Tell us one of your favorite stories about a particular club trip.
A. So my favorite paddle is quite reliably the one I’m on right now — no matter how long or short. But one of the best things at NBBC is hanging out at the fire pit after the paddle (or even instead of a paddle). Ask me there, and I’ll be more inclined to recapture a story or two…

Klaus S. at Liberty

Klaus S. at Liberty

Meet the Paddlers, Part 1

Everything that happens at NBBC, from sunset paddles to bridge-shaking parties, is powered by our amazing member-volunteers. On the water, our trip leaders, trip assistants, and program volunteers make it possible for NBBC to fulfill its mission: enabling and advocating for human-powered boating on the waterways bordering North Brooklyn.

We want you all to know who they are! If you see any these people around the club or out on the water, say hi, and thank them for volunteering their time and skills to keep North Brooklyn boating! So there’s a new Trip Leaders and Volunteers page on the NBBC website. Here are a couple of the fantastically skilled and generous people that you can learn about there:

Patterson

Canoe Programming Coordinator
Canoe trip leader

Patterson shows wildlife thriving in the Living Dock to a class from St. Joseph College

Patterson shows off the wildlife thriving in the Living Dock

Q. How did you first find North Brooklyn Boat Club? What’s your origin story as a club member?
A. I discovered the Club at an art event in Whale Creek, called the Newtown Creek Armada, and picked up a card. I joined as some of the last containers were being delivered and found a lot of trips to join, both kayak and canoe.

Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined, in general and in NYC specifically?
A. Zero, pretty much. As a paddler, I am a happy product of NBBC.

Learning is good!

Q.Tell us about a favorite route or trip that you like to use for club paddles.
A. I am one of those who like going places where you can get out of the boats and do something. Going to Costco or the Greenmarket at Socrates Park embodies everything good about human-powered boating. Hallets Cove beach is an easy pick for that.

And by far the majority of my trips are on Newtown Creek, where the Club is ideally situated as a launch point. The best trips are our weekly Summer Birdwatching trips, definitely. I have become a citizen-scientist and learned enough to be a tour guide — I’m no Mitch Waxman or Willis, but I can introduce people to the Creek if they haven’t been before. Newtown Creek is my backyard, and it’s an endlessly fascinating place to visit.

Vincent

Vincent B. in his kayak

Vince in his kayak


Kayak Programming Coordinator
Kayak trip leader

Q. What kind of background and experience with paddling did you have before you joined?
A. I had kayaked and canoed before in the Adirondacks with my family as well as fished from a kayak in the Long Island Sound. I had never had any skills training but, being a surfer from Long Island, I grew up loving the water and picking sand out of my ears. I was looking for group of people that shared a belief in environmental protection of our marine ecology. I found it paddling in Brooklyn, NY!

Q. How did you become a trip leader?
A. I wanted to take on a leadership role to bring kayaking to more club members. The trips leaders started me as a trip assistant familiarizing myself with the local waterways. I took it upon myself to get American Canoe Association trip-leading training and started planning and leading trips with other trip leaders until I was able to do it on my own.

Vince surfs it in!

Vince surfs it in!


Learn more about Patterson, Vincent, and other super-skilled and endlessly enthusiastic NBBCers on the Trip Leaders and Volunteers page!

Patterson, Willis, and Brian with a visiting class

Have You Been to the Lake Sebago Cabin Yet?

Sebago Cabin, August 7, 2016

Sebago Cabin, August 7, 2016


NBBC members who are also American Canoe Association members are eligible to stay for up to five consecutive nights at the club’s fantastic lake-side cabin in Harriman State Park. How can you resist? Paddle the lake in one of the canoes or kayaks belonging to the club, or join one of the many ACA paddle classes.
Turtles at Sebago, August 7, 2016

Turtles at Sebago, August 7, 2016

Sebago cabin pathSign up for cabin stays through the NBBC calendar. And find out all the details at the cabin’s page on our website. And if you haven’t joined the ACA, now’s the time! NBBC is a Paddle America Club affiliate of the ACA, and NBBC members receive a discount on ACA membership. And ACA membership lets you use the club’s Sebago cabin and much more. Sign up today.

Join the club. Head for the cabin. Paddle the days away.
Camp Sebago Cove