Sport Taping for Sea Kayakers

by Nancy Soares on August 1, 2016

Editor’s note: Thanks to Taylor Furry for taping my shoulder with Kinesio Tape and taking the pictures. Thanks also to Robert Kendall for photographing the wrist wrap and helping me with that and thanks to Holly Hutchinson for the RockTape.

Kenisio Taping for a rotator cuff

Kinesio Tape for a rotator cuff

Sport taping has been around for a long time but lately people have taken it to new levels enhancing healing and performance. My personal taping experience comes from a martial arts background – in order to pass the first degree black belt exam in DanZanRyu jujitsu I had to demonstrate the ability to tape. My sensei Professor Musselman taught us students to tear off multiple small pieces of athletic tape to set up for the project. This saves time and just makes it easier. You can anchor the pieces to something nearby like a table for easy access while you tape. The tape goes on the joint in the direction best suited to stabilize it, each strip overlapping about halfway. Then a second tape layer is wrapped in the opposite direction, those strips overlapping as well. It’s a good technique – I wrapped an ankle for the test and when we cut the wrap off it stood alone like a boot. Solid.

Sport taping has generally been used for supporting joints so athletes can continue to train and compete. Taping can also support a joint during the healing process after an injury. But new technologies are being applied to the tape itself so that it can be used in more therapeutic ways, and new taping techniques are being developed to help active people stay active. For example, I tried Kinesio Tape for the first time on my shoulder. Here’s what the Kinesio Taping website has to say about its method:

My kenisio taped shoulder from the back

Kinesio Taped shoulder from the back

“The Kinesio Taping® Method is a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting.”

The tape is designed so that it massages the tissue gently while the body moves. This promotes circulation which in turn speeds the healing process by bringing blood and nutrients to the injured muscles. It’s also soothing.

From the front - note the overlapping

From the front – note the overlapping

When my shoulder acted up (good ol’ rotator cuff) one of the guys at the dojo taped it for me with Kinesio Tape, and it definitely helped. My shoulder felt secure and it didn’t hurt when I trained. You can leave the tape on for a few days and it will keep supporting and protecting the joint.

I’ve also used RockTape. According to their website, RockTape reduces pain, decompresses areas of swelling and inflammation, and delays fatigue, among other benefits. Below I’ve included a technique for supporting the wrist joint using Rock Tape taught me by my massage therapist, Holly Hutchinson. Because wrists are one of the weak links in a kayaker’s chain, I thought this method would be useful to our readers. It really reduced the discomfort in my wrist and allowed me to move without pain.

Pull the flesh down away from the hand, stretching the tissue.

Pull the flesh down away from the hand, stretching the tissue.

Pull the muscles down away from the hand to stretch the tissue and then, holding the muscles in the elongated position, apply the tape perpendicular to the tissue fibers. Release the muscle and leave the tape on for up to three days. It helps to have someone to assist you if you’re taping a shoulder, elbow, or wrist.

Place the tape perpendicular to the muscle fibers and then wrap, keeping the tissue pulled down.

Place the tape perpendicular to the muscle fibers and then wrap, keeping the tissue pulled down.

Keep the tension on the muscles gentle but firm, not horrendously tight. You should feel a mild easing in the joint as the muscles stretch.

Wrap the joint tightly but not so as to restrict movement or blood flow.

Wrap the joint tightly but not so as to restrict movement or blood flow.

I highly recommend tape for even minor joint pain. We don’t always think of ourselves as athletes, but everyone who values an active lifestyle can benefit from treating themselves like an athlete. A little support goes a long way to heal and preserve our active bodies. We hope you find this information useful.

I’m sure there are other types of tape out there but Kinesio Tape and RockTape are the only two I have personal experience with. Got any other suggestions for taping or methods of joint support? Let us know by adding your comment below!

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Crescent City Solo Kayak Adventure

by Nancy Soares on July 4, 2016

Editor’s note: This is my second solo kayak trip ever. It was way cool. I decided to write it in the third person. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

Hey, I found a sea cave!

I found a sea cave! There are seals on the rocks through the mist on the other side.

She started out on a hot, sunny morning. The drive to the coast was lovely. Cloudless blue sky and tall green forests, a winding road. Missing her companion, no music, quiet, reflective, open. Letting the energy pass through and watching the ten thousand things stream toward her.

She arrived at the beach and found a place to put in. The low tide was just turning. The beach was flat, the waves were as flat as they ever are on the Northern California coast, and the fog was in, caressing the land’s edge and hanging densely offshore. It was hot inland and that means fog on the coast. She couldn’t see the stacks and rocks she wanted to explore offshore, but she could hear the voices of many seals and sea lions through the fog.

The north end

The north end

She strolled along the beach, wondering if the fog would lift. The sun burned through the marine layer but couldn’t actually be seen except for a spot in the sky where the fog resolved into an orb brighter than the surrounding grayness. Two guys in fishing kayaks took off over the small surf and disappeared into the mist. Well, she decided, I might as well go out. She walked back to the truck, donned her wetsuit, and pulled the X-15 off the rack and down to the beach.

Woman of the Sea

Woman of the Sea

She paddled toward the north end of the bay since that was nearest. Bluffs, a little rock garden, a bit of surf rolling in and a flat cove nestled under the headland. Some nice rock formations. She turned south and west and paddled toward a sea stack that caught her interest as a result of its shape. It looked like a woman rising out of the sea, looking west, her right shoulder out of the water and her long thick hair pulled back. She named the rock Woman of the Sea. She continued to paddle toward a giant sea stack, actually a small island, where all the ruckus was coming from.

One of the many rocks surrounding the island

One of the many rocks surrounding the island

Sea stacks, reefs, and rock formations surrounded the island, making for a cool labyrinth to paddle through. It turned out the area was an operating rookery. Seals and sea lions draped all over the rocks. They were everywhere, lounging, playing, rolling, diving, and swimming and it seemed like every one of them was vocalizing. They looked at her curiously. Many slid off their perches as she passed and some followed her. They blew through their nostrils like little whales off her stern as she wound through the rocks. It’s all very well to stay 100 yards (or whatever it is) away from marine mammals but they will follow you.

In the labyrinth

In the labyrinth

She thought how much her partner would have loved this. Why had he, as he said, gone into “self-destruct mode”? Why did she have to keep someone she loved at arm’s length? Healthy boundaries, but it was rough. She really did love him, and they’d had some wonderful times together. She let it go, opened her heart, and paddled on. Weaving through the rocks, wishing she knew the names of all the sea birds.

Hundreds of small black and white sea birds surrounded this rock. Cormorants as well.

Hundreds of small black and white sea birds surrounded this rock. Cormorants as well.

Of course there were cormorants, oystercatchers, and gulls (who knows all those gulls?) but there were many, many others as well. Their voices filled the air with a crackling sound, like fat frying. As she approached the north end of the island she saw what looked like caves, but when she got closer she realized there was a seal or sea lion on every rock. It wouldn’t do to get too close. Another time.

Approaching the island from the north

Approaching the island from the north

She paddled around the inside of the island, avoiding wildlife as best she could. Several enormous big daddy sea lions roared with great booming voices, but it seemed as though they were just establishing presence rather than threatening. Still, she was careful to point her bow away from them and find the most open path.

Big Daddy Sea Lion

Big Daddy Sea Lion, right in the middle of the photo. Let’s not get too close!

There were hundreds, maybe thousands of furry animals, large and small, and nearly every available rocky space was occupied. Leaving the rookery she approached some interesting formations to the south that loomed out of the fog.

More caves

More caves to the south

But looking back toward the rookery she saw what looked like more sea caves. Leaving the exploration of the southern end of the bay for another time, she paddled toward them. The entrances were guarded by posses of marine life, but she was able to get close enough to see they were worth investigating when their guardians had departed later in the year.

Another tantalizing cave

Another tantalizing cave

Happy with the discovery of caves, she meandered back toward the put in. She’d been out for about 2 1/2 hours and although the fog had stayed pretty dense for most of the paddle, from time to time it would lift and she could see the shore and the many rock formations that surrounded the little bay on the outside. She surfed a tiny, smoothly rolling wave onto the sand and got the boat back on the truck. It was warm, so she wrapped her towel around her waist and wore her bathing suit home. It was a great little paddle – mild but really interesting. Slowly her knowledge of the Crescent City kayaking environs was growing.

But she still missed her buddy.

Do you have a favorite paddle spot around Crescent City? Please tell us about it by clicking below!


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