Monday, August 17, 2009

Sea Kayaking

I haven't had many chances to get my sea kayak out onto the water and I feel pretty bad about that. I really need to improve my comfort level and ability in kayaking if I want to do such a huge paddle as I have planned. As such I was pleasantly surprised to discover that one of the outfitters in the area had a social paddle session that I could join. At the same time, since I wanted to go through the instructor training, I joined the group as an instructor helper. I will eventually be taking my training and certification with the same outfitter so this is a great way to improve my teaching ability as well as get my boat back on the water.

Teaching Flat Water
As I knew the instructor, it was fairly easy to join up and paddle with the group. I wasn't sure what to expect at the first paddle and thought I would be following around another instructor to watch and learn. What actually happened was I was given a few students to work with for rolling practice, then I was put on the spot to teach a small group of students how to do a sculling draw. The instructor who suggested I teach this stroke will also be my instructor for the certification. So it was time to put on the instructor face and paddle at the best level I could. By the end of the two hours, I was exhausted from teaching, and the double portage. But after talking with the instructor, it looks like I am on track to have at least an L3 certification to teach. I would like to see if I can get a higher level. If nothing else, going through the training will help me improve my abilities even if I don't get the certification.

On one of the next paddles I helped with, I was filmed. Mostly for some basic strokes to demonstrate ability. This is supposed to be a good teaching aide as well, but I dislike watching myself. I do manage to see what I am doing wrong though which does help. It seems each time I go out with this group I get put on the spot, which is nice. It challenges me to be on top of my game. It is interesting that the more I work with the instructor the more he tries to convince me to come work for them. He is trying to steal me away from the competition. I have been invited to join then on their saturday Potomac tours to show off the beauty of the Potomac to new paddlers. I wasn't able to go this time, but I should be able to go next time if I am not teaching.

Back on the Ocean
I was out with a small group on the weekend and finally managed to get my boat out on the Chesapeake Bay. While the pace was quite relaxed, it was nice to get back into proper torso rotation and even surfing a few waves. It was a very hot day though and I managed to get a fairly nasty burn on my shoulders. My kayak handled quite nicely and I can't wait to get it out again. I really do miss the feel of the boat, even though whitewater is fun for playing.

Maine Rough Water
In order to improve my abilities, I just registered for a rough water symposium that is set to occur the beginning of September in Maine. The symposium is over 4 days and it will take me two days to travel there and back. I am looking forward to it with a slight level of dread. I registered to go through the BCU 3 star sea training and assessment. This will be in rough water with big winds. I am not sure I am in shape enough for that but I guess I will find out shortly. I am also not sure about my abilities out on the ocean in rough water. I simply have not had any major opportunities to get out in such conditions recently. I have been doing a lot of whitewater kayaking which I hope will help my abilities. They do suggest that cross training in another discipline like whitewater or canoeing is a good idea.

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