Loma Prieta Paddlers (LPP) is a whitewater kayaking club, based in the South Bay. If you are new to kayaking, new to the area or are just looking for a group of fellow paddlers; check us out.
The Moke Races
Cache Creek Races
Being out on the river is the reason most of us took up the sport of kayaking. Each spring our paddling schedule for the year starts to take shape. We usually have a Memorial Day trip to the Trinity, several during the spring snow melt, a "get your bunny wet" trip on the North Fork of the American around Easter, South Fork of the American Camp Lotus Weekends each month from June-September, a Kings River trip in the later summer and the Mokelumne River races in September. Toss in an assortment of other trips run by club members and there is something going on most every weekend from April through September
When rivers are low (or very high), typically November through March, we'll occasionally do a surf kayak trip to a nearby ocean beach, such as Pacifica, Bolinas, or Santa Cruz. Another option is Elkhorn Slough, Monteray Bay or San Francisco Bay.
Club trips tend to be on Class II or III rivers (for beginners or
intermediates), because that's the level that the majority of paddlers
enjoy. Club members often arrange private trips to a wide
variety of rivers and excitement levels.
We don't publish our trip schedule on this website, but we do freely distribute it at the monthly club meetings and via our email list server to all club members.
The trips that club members put on the schedule vary from year to year depending on water, weather and who volenteers to lead a trip.
To give you an idea of the types of trips we run here's a list of the trips from the 2010 paddling season.
Joining A Trip
A club trip comes to life when a member volunteers to lead a trip. That trip leader handles signups, trying to make sure the trip has sufficient skilled paddlers to support the newer and less experienced boaters. He or she generally limits trip size. (The typical maximum is 8 to 10, but this may vary depending on many variables.).
If there is a trip you would
like to go on
all you need to do is contact the trip leader and let them know you'd
like to be on their trip. Trip leader contact information is on the
trip schedule and their names and contact info are also on the club
roster. Please contact the trip leader as soon as you know you'll be joining
the trip. Trip leaders need advance notice in order to finish their
trip planning. It's important to make sure the group has the right
experience level for the river conditions and that camping and
logistics are set for the group size. Please don't just show up at the
put-in asking to join a trip.
Try to sign up for a trip that you think is within your skill level rather than too challenging, particularly as you are just starting out. The trip leader will be able to help on this, but it is difficult to judge how people will react to moving water and real-time decisions. When in doubt, remember, you can always do the easier run this time, and sign up for the other run the next time it's offered. If you have any special physical or time constraints, explain these when you first call. If the leader doesn't know you or your paddling skills they will ask you a few questions about you paddling background to make sure they feel comfortable with your skills for the particular conditions expected on this river. For your and the group's safety it's important that your skills fit into the group's skill levels and the expected river conditions.
The trip leader will let everyone know the meeting place and time a few days before the trip. This is usually done via phone or email.
What to Bring
Here's a list of the kinds of things you should be packing for a trip. Everybody adapts their equipment list to their needs and paddling situation.
How a Trip Works
Check your gear packing carefully before leaving home. Make sure you show up with everything you need. Remember you'll need your helmet, PFD and float bags as minimum safety equipment in order to paddle on the trip.
Bring your own lunch and water bottles, ready to stash in your boat.
Make sure you know how long to allow for the drive. Show up a bit early, so you have time to get yourself and your boat ready by the appointed rendezvous time.
Make sure you arrive with plenty of gas in your car for doing a shuttle.
Make sure your put-in gear (EVERYTHING you'll need on the river, including your lunch) and take-out gear (what you'll need right after the trip) are separate and as ready as possible when you arrive. Your put-in gear will go in a vehicle headed for the top of the run; your take-out gear heads towards the bottom. You may sometimes not see the put-in car after the trip; if you're unsure, ASK about this before planning to leave some bag or basket in that car.
If you've driven, expect to participate in the shuttle. Generally, the trip leader will do the advanced math required to figure out the shuttle. The usual plan is to get all the boats and people to the put-in using as few vehicles as possible, while driving all the other vehicles to the take-out, with a spare car to carry all those drivers back up to the top, so they can go boating, too. After the trip, unfortunately, somebody has to drive back up to the top, to bring drivers of put-in vehicles to reunions with their vehicles. There are many variations, depending on the location of the put-in and take-out relative to the road back home at the end of the day, the length of the trip, the length of the shuttle, the quality of roads involved, the numbers of people and boats, and the schedule constraints of individuals.
The typical trip has 8 to 10 paddlers, but fewer are usually better. The group may include 1 to 3 first-time-on-the-river paddlers, 3 to 4 paddlers who have been on previous beginner trips, and a few intermediate paddlers as safety boaters or to warm up after a break from paddling.
On beginner trips, the trip leader will probably begin with a safety talk. Pay attention; ask questions about anything on which you're not absolutely clear. If you have any special medical needs (such as bee-sting allergies), make sure the leader knows the situation and knows where your medications are, with any special instructions for administration. (Pack them in a dry bag and bring them with you.)
The group will usually have a competent paddler assigned as the lead boat and another as the sweep boat at the end of the group. The rest of the group should stay between these two boats. Try not to get ahead of the lead boat; if you find yourself ahead, eddy out as soon as possible. If you are having a difficult day, don't dawdle at the rear with the sweep boat, as it would be difficult for paddlers who are downstream to help if you get in trouble. So, stay somewhere in the middle of the pack, don't bunch up, and keep an eye on the lead boat.
The objective of most trips is not to get down the river as soon as possible. We'll take time to play on waves or holes, scout rapids or work on alternate routes or moves through a rapid. It's not end result, but the journey that makes the trip fun. On beginner trips we take extra time to work with new paddlers and find good spots to try surfing, ferries and rolling.
Remember to thank your trip
are mere mortals just like you and I. They just
have more river experience, with an interest in passing on some of
sense and enjoyment to the next group of paddlers. Even experienced
leaders are fallible; don't expect them to be perfect. Let's all
appreciate the efforts they make to try to give us fun, valuable days
on the river. Everybody makes mistakes; on the river, we hope
they are minor ones. The trip leader's function is to basically provide
the guidance and organization needed to provide a safe and hopefully
enjoyable trip on
the river. The point here is that whitewater boating does have some
risks associated with it, as with any other outdoor activities. Each
is responsible to a large degree for his or hr own safety. Do not try
to delegate this to the trip leader. Remember, our trips are basically
a cooperative effort.