Friday, April 24, 2009

Mid-Atlantic Kayak Festival

I just registered for the MAKF that is coming up in mid-May. I first heard about the festival at ECCKF when one of the organizers was doing some shameless self-promotion. I was talking to him about the ACA (American Canoe Association) and BCU (British Canoe Union) classes I wanted to take and he handed me a card promoting the festival. This looks like a great festival and not only is it in my back yard, but this is the first year it is happening and they managed to get some really big names in the kayaking world to come down and participate as instructors. I am looking into doing the ACA L3 assessment as well as the BCU 3 Star training and the 3 Star assessment. Seems a little boring to just do training classes and assessments but I really want to have my skills as good as possible before going out on an expedition trip. I am really exited that they are offering a class over the lunch hour that discusses expedition trip planning. I can't wait to go to that talk and hear what is really involved with what I want to do.

The festival is happening up near Annapolis in Maryland at the YMCA camp. I have never been there before but it seems like a good location as it will offer housing, food and the bay is only 2 miles away. Having the bay so close means that classes that require rough water conditions can just paddle out to the bay and have the conditions if they are present. This is a big if as when I registered, I was actually told they may not have the conditions so I opted to not go for the 3 Star assessment but I stayed with the training as I think it will be a good class to take.

After registering, my classes will include the BCU 3 Star training on Friday which is the whole day. On Saturday I will be doing the ACA L3 assessment in the morning followed by incident management in the afternoon. Sunday I will have advanced strokes on the bay in the morning and a nature paddle in the afternoon. I opted for the nature paddle at the end as I felt I would likely be exhausted and there didn't really seem to be anything that I was interested in taking. It seems there are few people signed up at this point and chances are I can move classes around if something comes up. As this is the first year this festival is occurring, the small class sizes will mean more personal teaching then would otherwise have occurred has the classes booked up solid.

The reason I wanted to get both an ACA and BCU assessment is that I felt if I were to travel around the world, which is actually on the list of things to do, that a BCU personal achievement award would be worth more then an ACA achievement award. I feel that since the BCU system has been around for longer that more people around the world have heard of this and will know what exactly it means. The ACA L3 is not equivalent to the BCU 3 Star as I found out when I was discussing this with the coordinator during registration. The L3 training and assessment will all take place on calm water and is more an assessment of skill and precision. The 3 Star training and assessment takes place on rough water with 2-3 foot following seas and about 15-20 knot winds. This is an assessment of skills in conditions and not so much precision. The BCU recently changed their system and the old BCU 3 Star was on calm water but now the new 3 Star is closer to the old 4 Star. I will eventually have to get out on rough waters and train up to get a 3 Star. There are other festivals and still tie to work on skills. My fingers are crossed that I will pass my L3 assessment.

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