Body Boat Blade News & Updates

A Quick Update

by Shawna Franklin

Hello from Body Boat Blade!

We thought a quick Q & A would be a great way to greet spring and the upcoming 2016 paddling season!

How is Leon?

I am doing great and healing from the 5 surgeries that I had in just over a year! (2014-1015)

A lower back laminectomy, a total hip replacement, 2 carpel tunnel surgeries, and a new foot joint! I am biking to and form the shop every day, swimming & snorkeling in my new RipCurl wetsuit ( I feel like a super hero in it!), I am hiking around Mountain Lake on a regular basis and I am getting back in my boat for more and more paddles! It has been an interesting year complete with loads of doctor’s visits, hospital stays, helicopter rides, and wild ferry rides! I look forward to seeing everyone this coming paddling year on and off the water!

Where did you spend Christmas?

Christmas was on Sucia this year - the weather was cold, a light snow was falling on Mount Constitution as we left North beach. We had the campsite to ourselves, ate oysters and drank wine by the fire. We found a trail that we had not ever hiked on in the 20+ years we have been here! We can’t wait to share it with students this coming season! When we got back to Orcas the next day, we took advantage of the snow and climbed to the top of Mount Constitution - our own sea to sky adventure!

Where are the best hikes?

We think Moran State Park is the place to go! Mountain lake is a 4 mile loop, and hiking from Cascade Lake to the top of Mount Constitution only takes 4 hours round trip! Of course it takes longer when we have snow on the trails like we did this past winter.

How are Seth and Svetlana?

Seth and Svet are doing great! They are now living in Seattle in a beautiful apartment in Lower Queen Anne with a view of the water! Svetlana got a full time job in the city and Seth went along to expand his knowledge of throwing pots on a wheel and make sure that Svet gets 3 home cooked meals a day! We are hoping that Seth will bring back our ceramic BBB mugs soon! We are excited as Seth will be helping out on quite a few BBB classes this upcoming season! We are going to have to coax Svetlana to Orcas by telling her that her kayak misses her!

How is home life? (Shawna and Leon live with Shawna’s mom Evelyn and sister Tara)

Unfortunatley, Tara has taken a turn for the worse, as some of you will know that she has down syndrome and a few years back was diagnosed with Alzheimers. This January, she developed a seizure disorder on top of all of that! Leon and Shawna witnessed several grand mal (tonic/clonic) seizures and Leon even got to fly off island with her in the helicopter twice! She is at home now, stable and as content as we can make her. She now has a care team that comes into our home for 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whew - getting old is NOT for sissies!!

Is Shawna still doing art?

Yes I am! I still have a fascination for crows these days and have been spending time drawing and painting them. I even entered one of my paintings into a juried show down in San Diego and it got accepted! I am also still working on my on-going children’s book - I hope to finish that project up this year - stay tuned!!

How is the new shop?

We are loving the new space and can’t wait for our season to start and for everyone to come in and see it! We are ordering our window stickers this month. We have way more foot traffic finding us. Shawna’s art gallery looks great too!

How is 2016 shaping up?

Fantastically! We have a great start to our season! Deception Pass, Foundations, Performance Paddling, and Coastal Navigation and Tidal Planning were full of fun and learning!

Keep a close eye on our website or call us to find out what we have going on as we are always adding things to the schedule! We will have some guest coaches joining us this season along with the normal BBB crew (Shawna, Leon, and Seth) so have a look at our Coaches page for updates on who is joining us!


In a Search of Effortless Perfection:
Carabiner For Your Tow Systems

by Leon Sommé

There are many things that make or break a good tow system and we think the carabiner or hook used to attach your line to the other boat is a crucial one. This post is about our search for that perfect carabiner, what we know are the problems with some carabiners we have used over the years, and what we hope to be created in the near future.


Spring Cleaning

by Seth Albanese

It’s been a very busy winter, and I’ll admit I’ve not spent as much time on the water as I would have liked.  Between wrapping up last season, filming, launching our web store, and a thousand other things, I allowed myself to get distracted from the things I feel are most important to me.  I could feel the time off the water, both physically and emotionally, so with the weather warming up and our first classes rapidly approaching I decided it was time to dust off the cobwebs and start getting ready for the upcoming coaching season.

Staying Warm in the “Off” Season: Hands and Feet

by Leon Sommé

If I can keep my hands and feet warm on my winter paddles I'm happy to be out in the cold and wet weather. It took a lot of years to figure out how to achieve this state of bliss for my extremities. Here are some of my methods for keeping them warm while paddling in the winter season.

Paddling in the "Off" Season

by Shawna Franklin

It's cold and grey, very grey. Everything looks and feels quiet, like being outside after a fresh snowfall. White smokey mist hangs in the trees all day long. Clouds take on the color of the darkened sea and are heavy overhead. The quality of the light is sharp and glinting making the mountains appear closer than they are.

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End of the Season Report from Shawna, Leon, Seth and Svetlana

by Shawna Franklin

This has been an awesome 2014 season for us here at Body Boat Blade and we want to share some highlights and thank everyone that came out to join us on the water!

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Simposio de Kayak Pacifico Sur - Chile

by Shawna Franklin

Shawna and Leon have recently returned from a trip to South America, where they taught at the first ever South Pacific Kayak Symposium in Chaihuin, Chile.

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Where in the World are Shawna and Leon?

by Seth Albanese

Shawna and Leon have been on a whirlwind tour, teaching and taking classes all over the world!

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Skookumchuk - Work or Play? and Wisdom on a Blackboard

by Shawna Franklin

Going to Skookumchuk is a yearly trip for Body Boat Blade and it suspiciously always falls around the time of Leon's birthday in early September. This year we went to the wave with former students and friends.

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Body Boat Blade on Tour in Denmark!

by Shawna Franklin

One day in the mail we received a large black envelope from our Danish friend Thomas Sørensen. Thomas sent us two nautical charts of the area we would be paddling in Northern Denmark this summer and at least 4 different types of Danish black licorice candy!

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Tofino Surf Vacation & a Gale Force Wedding!

by Shawna Franklin

Tashi and Taiga Schorr woke up on Thursday, February 9th and asked their mom, "Mom, is today the wedding day?" "Yes!" she answered. Leon and I were on our annual Tofino, B.C. surf trip with friends.

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Why We Made this Film and Why it is Different from Other Instructional Videos

by Leon Sommé

A wise coach mentor of ours once said to us "a student will never hate you for experimenting but they will never forgive you for boring them".

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