Looking for fellow ocean touring paddler(s) for Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay, Sonoma County

Just starting out as a kayaker & had career at sea - research ships & diving. Sometime soon taking a kayaking course and very interested in rolling w/Greenland paddles. Thanks. Denny

There are a just a few paddlers in those areas that post here. Peter will likely see your post and guide you. If not look up The Bay Area Sea Kayakers group, https://www.bask.org/. They do organized paddles, sometimes that far north and would be a good group to know and they can guide you to local paddlers in your area. In the mean time be careful paddling solo in Tomales Bay and Bodega bay, even though conditions there can appear fairly benign lots of novice paddlers have gotten in trouble there misjudging swell events, wind and current. I did a trip where we were outside the Tomales bay and supposed to come in and wind, waves and tides didn’t conform to the forecast, very sketchy, not something for paddlers just learning ocean skills.

As @SeaDart mentioned, definitely look up BASK. They are the largest club in the area. Something like 500-600 members. The core is centered around SF/north bay/east bay, but there are active members from Sacramento to Santa Rosa to Monterey. All the good stuff, like access to the calendar of trips, is only available to members.

Petaluma Paddlers, a meetup type group, would be another option: http://www.rockandwater.net/mailman/listinfo/petalumapaddlers
They paddle Tomales fairly often.

Also as mentioned, be very careful on your paddles. Most people realize the dangers on the coast itself. But Tomales Bay is a sleeper - pretty much every year, the northern end of Tomales Bay (somewhere from Hogg island to the mouth) claims the life of a paddler or fisherman. Strong currents, cold water, winds that can pick up, big waves at the mouth, few other boaters around to assist if you get in trouble, etc. are factors.

Assuming you live up in the area you are paddling, BASK does have an evening pool session at Sonoma State on Thursday nights. That could be useful toward your desire to learn rolls.

Thank you for your excellent reply. I joined Petaluma Paddlers a couple of days ago, but it is some type of old-style email list group which I forgot how to use back in the 90s. I will try to look up BASK. Thanks again - Denny

Joined BASK and the pool where they do the roll practice is 7 miles from my home. Can’t be any better than that. Thanks again - Denny


One of the people who organizes the pool practice is Jan, who does a lot of coastal rock gardening. You can see the type of stuff he does in some of his videos:

I think you said you were new to kayaking? If so, first step would be an intro to sea kayaking class. Basics of the boat, strokes, gear, etc., but most importantly the rescues. The closest site for decent classes I can think of is Clavey Paddlesports in Petaluma. Kayak Classes in the Bay Area and Petaluma | Clavey Paddlesports

Similar classes, but a but further away, is Sea Trek in Sausalito. https://www.seatrek.com/ Full disclosure, I work there part time as an instructor and guide.

For more advanced classes, Liquid Fusion Kayaks in Fort Bragg is an excellent choice.

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Liquid Fusion: Jeff laxier co-owner of Liquid Fusion is great, I think he is only giving private lessons now, but he’s very good and patient too. I did several trips and courses with him when he was at Aqua-Adventures in San Diego.

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You should go to Fort Bragg and enjoy the rock gardens with Jeff after you get the basics down following some classes (preferably from experienced ACA or BU instructors) and experience. Sure glad I did a year before C19 shut down the world. Jeff and Cate are great !!

Keep in mind, to benefit from rock gardens (or surfing, rolling, or other higher level aspects) you need to have the basics down. Any of these classes should come after having taken an intro class (and maybe a second level intro class) and having paddled at least a half dozen times.

If you are skipping the classes and self learning through friends, videos/article, and trial and error, add a bunch more days of paddle time in (though I am a strong proponent of classes as a way to kick start, so don’t recommend a total self-learning route).

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