(above photo by Eros Hoagland of kayak diver Eric Anderson)
This page is updated on a regular basis...following the history, how-to-hints-emergencies, are a few kayak pictures of the 60's thru the 90's...all kayak input is welcome...E.Anderson
(click on above link to view a great video produced by Mark Shimizu)
(click on above link to see how to build a great kayak cart)
We called it board diving in the 60's and 70's but now it is classified kayak diving. The board diving tag was given because back in 60's and early 70's the mode of dive transportation was basically a long surfboard (12' or so) manufactured by the user. Divers would purchase a 12' surfboard blank, fiberglass it; add whatever they wanted on the top side to hold gear and a keel on the bottom. The diver would lie stomach side down on the board and kick in a rotating fashion with dive fins on to propel the dive board. Arms could be used; however, the kick provided more power. If a diver truly knew how to propel one of these boards travel to inaccessible areas because of distance or terrain was a thing of the past. Soon after this endeavor professional dive boards came on the scene. There were boards now showing up in dive competition or dive meets. I believe one of the first to make the rounds was named the Terry board (named after the diver Terry from Oregon). The 19' slender Ryan and Super boards soon followed. The Super board is a knock off of the Ryan with a swooped up bow. It was swooped upward to prevent the nose of the board from hanging up in kelp. There were a few more, but I cannot recall all of there names. Malotte came out with a 12' board called the Scout. It was a hollow fiberglass surfboard with a storage area in the front. Soon after came the Scout 2 or the much improved Malotte, the Mulder, Royak, Elephant, and a host of others. The Royak was called “the little wet boat” because you were always sitting in water. It was designed this way to create a lower profile and more stability. There were 3 models developed, traditional model, cargo model, and the paddler model. The traditional model was the first to be sold. A few fiberglass models were made, but soon ABS plastic was the norm. Many of the older ones are still seen today and Royak is still in business. Dive boards were now being propelled by paddles rather than human arms and legs, henceforth, some diving councils would not allow paddles to be used in competition meets. The 19’ Ryan and Super boards, along with the 14' Mulder were the choice of the top dogs, anyway, it sure seemed that way. In the 1972 Nationals U.S. Championship Spear Fishing Competition held in the Sacramento area on the American River almost all competitors used the 19’ dive boards or the 14' Mulder board. Actually, Roland Mulder took a Ryan board and cut 5' from it and devised his own dive board. He produced these in his garage and a few of them still exist today. The main problem with the lie on top of board did not allow for much forward visibility. Your torso was lying on a raised portion of the board that housed the hatch. Therefore, you were no more than a few inches above the water; however, this was a plus if you were facing the wind. Also, if you were not in top physical condition or had some body flaw in your arms or legs you could not achieve maximum propulsion from your board. Anyway, the rules soon began to evolve and paddled boards were now accepted in dive competition. Today, most all dive paddle boards are engineered to allow the paddlers to sit-on-top (not inside) with storage areas in the front and back. There are many, many dive kayaks on the market. At the 2007 National Spear Fishing Meet in Ft. Bragg, California Ocean Kayak’s “Scupper Pro” seemed to be the choice of many competitors.
KAYAK DIVING HINTS:
1. Always have on board a legal personal floating device approved by the U.S.C.G. It is required by law, and, it can add more floatation to your kayak if needed. Wetsuits are not Coast Guard approved for this requirement.
2. Have a compass on board; you never know when you will be surrounded by a dense fog. Have a dive flag on board and display it when diving…
3. Always bring a bottle of water, Gatorade, or something similar to drink. It helps to feel refreshed after diving and will give you more paddling strength on your homeward journey.
4. Store your heavy dive equipment in the aft compartment (weight belt, abalone, etc.) This helps keep your bow elevated and makes for easier paddling. Have your other dive gear arranged in the order you will be donning.
5. Have your fishing license, abalone card, etc., in a watertight container that is easy to retrieve if requested by an official. (CDFG do check kayaks)
6. Have an anchor that fits your needs with enough line. Most kayak anchors hang up in the rocks and the kelp. So an extremely heavy anchor is seldom needed. Let out plenty of anchor line. You do not want your line to be too short. A swell or changing tidal conditions have sunk many kayaks. Also, have your anchor line attached to a device that allows for easy dispersing and retrieval. Always carry a knife on board so you will be able to cut your anchor line if needed.
7. Attach your paddles to your kayak by a short line (be sure it is a good solid knot). see #1 emergencies
8. File a verbal kayak dive plan with a family member or friend before departure.
9. Always keep your hatches secured. An unexpected chop or swell can fill an open compartment very easily.
10. Always check the weather conditions before leaving on your journey. Be extremely careful paddling south in the morning because the normality of the north coast is wind from the northwest in the afternoon. This makes for extremely difficult paddling on the homeward journey.
Why I Dive from a Paddleboard
By Ed Ikemoto
I was asked “why do you like diving from a paddleboard best”?. I know I like paddleboard diving better than walking off the beach with an inner tube or pushing my short knee board. It made me stop and think about when I first started diving for abalone.
The first time I went diving for abalone I was told by my new dive partner, I needed a float, an inner tube, an anchor and a game bag, that is, if I wanted to get abalone. So I bought an inner tube, picked up an anchor and got an old rice sack for the abalone.
We went to Salt Point Ranch, paid our $2 fee for the car and drove down to the dump. We climbed down to the water at the old dump and pushed off with my tube to the dive site.. Pushing a tube was ok and that’s the way I dove for a long time.
My dive buddies (Eric, Leonard and Sam) decided they were going to upgrade to a surf board. It didn’t take much to convince me to get one too. I bought my blank and with their help I became a board diver. This was a big improvement over pushing an inner tube. It made diving more fun, it gave us range, mobility and a the ability to get out of the water and relax when we through diving. The paddle back to the beach was much easier than pushing an inner tube.
From the surf board we upgraded to the 19’ Ryan board, then to the Royak and when I needed more storage for sleeping bag and cooking equipment for an over night trip I got a Scupper Pro.
Now that I’m older (77years) I do like diving from a paddleboard better than pushing a inner tube or a short board. I like my trusty old Royak and I use it most of the time, and I expect to be using it for the next ten years..
EMERGENCIES: by Eric Anderson
This is a short scenario of what I’ve had to do while encountering various kayak emergencies. Hopefully, you will not experience these mishaps. In short, anything can happen so be prepared.
1. On returning to my kayak I discovered that my paddles had become unattached and were gone. I dived all around looking for them but I did not find them. I had a mile to paddle homeward and no paddles. Up a creek without a paddle…I climbed on board and pondered my plight. Bingo! I took my fins and put them on the ends of my spear gun. I cut some of my anchor line and tied the fin straps together creating an instant 6’ paddle…The make shift paddle worked.
2. While diving for abalone once I was hammered by a sleeper wave. I saw my kayak smash against a rock then settle back down when the wave retreated. I kicked over to my kayak and noticed water surging into the aft compartment at an alarming rate and my board was slowing going down. What to do! I grabbed an abalone and applied it over the gapping hole. I held the ab there until it sucked down…Instant patch!
3. Excess water in the compartments….Use your mask as a bailing bucket…Slow, but it does work.
4. Forgot your anchor line?…Drape bull kelp over your kayak…Works well in the fall when the kelp is extremely long.
5. Need a rest paddling. This only works when running with the wind. Put your long fins on and lift your feet upward…HOOWA you have a great sail.
(double click image to enlarge)
Terry Prindiville (U.C. Bear linebacker...one of Pappy's Boys) cruising Fish Rock on a Marlotte dive board
New diver Justin Williams (12 year old) on old paddleboard (Marlotte). Proud Grandpa, Cecil Williams, knows this kid is going to be a great diver....and, I believe him...
Ed Ikemoto (1968) using his 12' dive board...Notice the game in his gear and game compartment.
Eric Anderson, Major Richard Kubicko, Ed Ikemoto and Len Alger on kayaks of yesteryear. The kayaks are: Super Board, Royak, & Ryans.
Phillip Anderson along side his14' Mulder Board and his dog Major...
Phillip Anderson cruising Ocean Cove on a Royak.
A gaggle of Aqua Knights and their dive boards and kayaks on the beach at Union Landing...
Unloading the 19' long boards at Ft. Ross.
Ron Kauk and Don Kauk propelling a 12' dive board in a non-standard fashion in 1968....They didn't get very far.
Louie Ozenne on a Scupper Pro in the early 90's.
Ken Salva loading dive kayaks for a dive in Gualala.
Eric Anderson, Phillip Anderson, and Ed Ikemoto in formation.