Advanced Search

Clavey Blog

Here you will find the latest from Team Clavey and friends.

Paddling The Petaluma River

Posted by on May 13, 2016 in Blog, Clavey News, Team Clavey | 0 comments

Paddling The Petaluma River

Paddling the Petaluma River By:  Jeff Kellogg – Here at Clavey we’re open every day except on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Those are our days to paddle! It’s pretty cool to be able to hit our favorite paddling spots and not have to worry about crowds, because everyone else is working! Most mid-week breaks finds us paddling at different areas, usually within 30 minutes of driving time from our store in Petaluma. Over this last Fall and Winter we’ve been able to paddle on Tomales Bay, Walker Creek, Drakes Estero, and the Estero Americano. These outings also provide us the opportunity to paddle the boats that we sell and offer in our demo program such as Necky, Eddyline and Delta. With such great paddling within a close distance, it’s easy to forget that the Petaluma River is right here in our own backyard! So a few weeks back, Ryan and I were looking at tide charts and observed that this particular Wednesday had an ideal high tide in the morning at the turning basin in downtown Petaluma, with a strong ebb covering a few hours before slack. This meant that if we timed it right, we’d have a nice current carrying us out towards the mouth of the river where it meets the San Pablo Bay. We decided to make it a one-way paddle and left a shuttle vehicle (with a small cooler filled with cold beverages) at the Black Point boat launch in Novato. We stuck to the main channel, where it’s very easy to stay on course. However, once underway we knew there were very few spots to get out of our boats, so we planned accordingly. We made pit stops at the Petaluma Marina, and at Gilardis Marina where we also had a quick bite to eat from our packed lunch. It sure would be awesome to have a tavern of sorts here…A burger and a beer would be a welcome boost for the final leg of this paddle! Long gone is the fun Greek restaurant that use to be at Gilardis, but there is some building activity at the site and rumors that a new restaurant may open. At this point in our paddle we noticed the river current, generated by the outgoing tide, was really evident as it passes under the docks. This is an area where we to took some precautions not have our kayaks get swept under a dock. Then a mile or so down the river from here, it opened up where we saw glimpses of the Highway 37 bridge. The take out point is on the right just after the bridge. Again we were aware of potentially strong currents around the bridge pilings and near the boat ramp especially since we were landing during a strong outgoing tide. The Petaluma River is a tidal estuary and is approximately 13 miles long. It passes through a wetland marsh that supports a complex web of life. And paddling downstream away from downtown the color of the river, the mudbanks, and the surrounding hills becomes a subliminal carpet of greens. A variety of birds can be seen: Great blue heron, night heron, egrets, killdeer, canadian geese, and numerous birds of prey. Feel free to drop by the store (except on Wednesdays) and we can show YOU some different...

read more

Sit On Top vs. Sit Inside Kayaks

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Blog, Gear Reviews, Instructional | 0 comments

Sit On Top vs. Sit Inside Kayaks

This article appeared in paddling.net which is a great resource for info on all things kayaking! Kayaks come in two basic styles. You got Sit-on-Top (SOT) kayaks and you’ve got Sit-Insides and both are available as singles or doubles. They also come as hard shells or as inflatables. Although there are some major differences between sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks, they share many of the same parts. The top of the kayak is called the deck. The bottom is the hull. The front is the bow and the back is the stern. On top of the deck you’ll often have deck lines or bungees. At the stern of the kayak, you should find some grab loops and some kayaks have rudders. Rudders swivel side-to-side in the horizontal plane and are controlled by foot pedals. Skegs simple drops straight in the water and help the boat go straight. Both sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks have seats and some form of foot support, like the foot wells in this sit-on-top kayak. There are also foot pedals which slide on the track to adjust for different sized paddlers. Foot wells are convenient, but if you’re going to be spending a full day on the water, you’ll want to use foot pedals. They’re a lot more comfortable and you get a lot more support from. The best kayaks will also have a built-in back rest, which makes sitting in a kayak a lot more comfortable. The biggest difference between the two types of kayaks is that sit-insides are enclosed. There is an area called the cockpit where you sit. Around the cockpit is a cockpit rim where you can attach a spray skirt to keep water out. Inside the cockpit you will find a seat and foot-pedals that you can adjust according to you leg length. With hundreds of options out there, choosing a kayak can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. And it’s hard to make a wrong decision. The best way to narrow down your options is to identify how and where you’ll be using your kayak. Will you be paddling on a sheltered lake or at the beach? Will the water will be warm? Are you looking for a kayak that can travel quickly or you are more concerned about having a very stable boat that will be difficult to tip over. Your first and biggest decision is whether to go for a sit-on-top or a sit-inside kayak. And there pros and cons to both. Sit-on-Top Pros & Cons Sit-on-tops are the most user-friendly. They’re very stable, easy to get in and out of and there is no feeling of confinement on them. They’re also self-bailing, which means they have small holes (called “scupper holes”) that allow the water to drain right through them. Another big thing about sit-on-tops is that you can slip on and off them as you please. All these features make the sit-on-top kayak a great choice for nervous paddlers, for warm environments and for paddling with kids who love to swim. The downside to sit-on-top kayaks is that you’re guaranteed to get wet while paddling, while sit-inside kayaks allow you to stay dry. Sit-inside Pros & Cons Sit-insides shelter your lower body from the wind, which makes them much warmer. Sit-inside kayaks are great for...

read more

Halibut Fishing in the North Bay

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in Blog, Instructional | 0 comments

Halibut Fishing in the North Bay

It’s an honest fact that Halibut are one of my favorite fish to catch (and not just because they taste so good). Halibut are solid fighters and when you finally get them to the kayak, well, that’s when the real fun starts. They have a real nice set of chompers and they love to snap at you sometimes when you’re trying to make the transition from the net or gaff to the game clip. And then, just when you think all is well on the home front, they can go ballistic out of nowhere and scare the bejesus out of you. Halibut meat is light and flaky and tends to cook fast. Keeping a close eye on the cooking process will enable you to make sure that you don’t overcook this delicate flesh. If you do, it’s still not bad. But of course, it’s always better a bit on the moist side. Personally, I’m not a fan for a bunch of sauces or flavorings on the fish because it’s mild flavor.Poached or grilled with just a bit of butter is my cup of tea. LOCATIONS The San Francisco North Bay has some excellent spots for halibut. I don’t fish much in the South Bay so I can’t offer too much advice on that, but a quick peruse of the NCKA forums will give you plenty of recommendations. My favorite spots include the Alameda Rock Wall, Paradise Park, Muir Beach, Tomales Bay and Bean Hollow State Park. BAIT I’ve fished for these flat-faced flounders with both live bait and soft plastics. I know some people swear by frozen bait but that’s just never worked too well for me. For live bait I’ve used Shiner perch, Sardines, Anchovies, Smelt and Mackerel. Live shiners can be bought at the Loch Lomond bait shack in San Rafael or Mike’s Bait in Oakland. I go to Mike’s when I’m in the east bay and Loch Lomond when I fish Paradise or Muir. In the warmer months you can also catch your own live bait in San Fransisco and Tomales Bays. Two years ago there was so much bait in Tomales Bay that we couldn’t stop fishing for Sardines and Mackerel because they were too fun to catch. Use a sabiki rig size number 8 or 10 with a small weight on the bottom on a light rod and when all the hooks load up with fish it’s crazy fun. Be sure to check the Fish and Game regulations for the areas you fish for live bait as the number of hooks you can use are different according to specific areas. TIDES The best tides to use are the lesser tides that have the least amount of movement when fishing in the bays. Me, I like fishing an incoming tide.In the ocean I also like to fish through the top of the tide as the water is a bit clearer giving the bait a better presentation to the fish. FISHING There are a few different ways to fish with your live bait. One is to use a three-way swivel. One eye of the swivel is connected to your mainline. One is connected to your leader. The last eye of the swivel is connected to a dropper line that has your weight attached to it. The...

read more

SUPing the Petaluma River

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Blog, Places | 0 comments

SUPing the Petaluma River

Written by Ronnie Ayres The historic town of Petaluma sits on the banks of the same named “river” which is actually a tidal slough as most resident paddlers are quick to point out. Either way sounded good to me as the warm sun had me pushing aside my heavily used neoprene booties, still wet from the 40 degree water of Lake Tahoe, 3 hours up the hill.   The Petaluma River once was a major thoroughfare, supplying the agricultural bounty, poultry and dairy products to booming city of San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Beautifully preserved, the downtown is a quintessential Main Street USA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.   There a few very easy spots to put in along the river, like at the turnaround off D street with public floating docks which once served as a roundabout for boats picking up cargo. The Marina is another spot with a boat ramp and docks and is home to the Lokahi Outrigger Canoe Club. Heading south down the river and out of town, the landscape opens up into pastures and parks with waterfront bike and running paths. Know before you Go Whenever Standup Paddling a new zone, consideration of the local tides and winds is key and a great to place to get that info and the best equipment for the conditions can be found right in downtown Petaluma at Clavey Paddlesports. From Standup Paddle rentals, sales and tours, the crew at Clavey has the region wired. Take a Standup Paddle tour on the wildlife heavy waters of the Point Reyes National Seashore or on the twisting backwater sloughs of the Petaluma River. Paddle with them under a full moon or in the dark of the new moon and experience bioluminescence at its brightest. Clavey Paddlesports carries the full line of Tahoe SUP boards, paddles and accessories to get you out on the water and experience this region from the Paddler’s...

read more

10 Reasons to SUP (Stand Up Paddle)

Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Instructional | 0 comments

10 Reasons to SUP (Stand Up Paddle)

1.  Fun – Stand up paddle boarding can only be described as great fun, especially for those people who love being on the water.  That’s why it’s the fastest growing sport on the planet. 2.  Anyone Can Do It – People of all ages are trying it, loving it and including stand up paddleboarding in their recreation and exercise routines.  Many surfers are converting to SUP surfing because they have the ability to catch more waves in a set, as well as offering a better view of incoming sets.       3. Easy – Learning how to stand up on, stabilize, and paddle a SUP in flat water is much easier than learning how to surf in waves.  (If you’ve ever tried surfing you know what I mean.)  Of course a lot of people progress to riding their SUP’s in the waves, but you don’t have to in order to have fun. 4.  Exercise and Fitness – Stand up paddleboarding is great exercise.  It strengthens the core abdominal muscles as well as arms, legs and all the muscles of the back and shoulders.  Whether you go out for a flat-water paddle, surfing, or racing, women can burn 500 – 700 calories and hour, and for men calories burned can range from 700 – 1000.  Many people are using stand up paddle boarding as a platform to practice Pilates exercise and yoga on the water.  Any way you try it, SUP’ing has great fitness value.  5.  Minimal Ultra Lightweight Equipment – All you need to get started in the sport is a board, paddle, leash and PFD (personal floatation device or lifejacket).  Ultra lightweight boards and paddles make transporting them a breeze.  6. SUP Anywhere – Stand up paddleboarding is versatile and can be done anywhere you find safe water. You can SUP on lakes, rivers, ocean, bays, and harbors.  If the surf is flat it doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure.              7. Family Time Together – Stand up paddleboarding is a great way to share fun as a family.  Mom, Dad and the kids can easily master SUP’ing.  You can even bring your dog along for the ride.  8.  Social Time With Friends – Once you learn how to SUP you’ll soon find that it is even more fun to paddle with friends.  It’s effortless to paddle along side your buddy and just chat away. 9.  Gets You Out In Nature – Stand up paddleboarding puts you right out there to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of nature.  With the water under your feet you’ll find that you have the perfect viewpoint to observe amazing creatures swimming and moving about below you.  You’ll be able to see birds in action, witness a serene sunrise, paddle through mist, or marvel at a breathtaking sunset. Whether you are on a solo, family, or social paddle stand up paddleboarding connects you with your natural surroundings.               10. Inspirational Recreation – Stand up paddleboarding is a healthy activity to recreate and recharge yourself. It puts you in the moment and provides the opportunity to reflect on the values and realities that are often missed in the activities of daily life.  Gliding across the water gives you a sense...

read more