If you just go for a paddle than you can stop thinking about wanting to go for a paddle.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011: Post 3 - Poor numbers for pool sessions

At last night’s pool session we only had 11 people.  On Saturday past there were only half a dozen of people.  I cannot figure out why more people do not come to the pool sessions.

When I first started my kayak life I spent a lot of time during that summer on Long Pond (by MUN) trying to learn some basic kayaking skills; forward stroke, edging, bracing, rolling, etc…  Obviously, due to the space, the pond and the ocean are far more conducive to learning certain skills, like the forward stroke.  But I found trying to learn others skills, like edging and bracing, did not work so well for me on the pond and ocean.  I admit I was reluctant to really commit to bracing and edging for fear of capsizing in the deeper water and then having to get someone to help me back in my kayak.  I did get my first roll on Long Pond; it was September and the water was chilly.

Then the pool sessions started up in the fall.  Foolishly, I felt some intimidation when I started going to the pool sessions.  I remember thinking about how limited and non-existent my skills were and there were all these skilled, experienced paddlers rolling and bracing their way up and down the pool.  They all seemed to know each other and talked and laughed and were having a good time.  But there were newbie’s there too, like me.  These same skilled and experienced people would often give me their time to help me learn and practice skills.  For instance, Brian Duffet (others too) would get out of his boat, put it up on the pool deck, and spend time teaching me to roll; basically, he was paying his 10.00 to teach me kayak skills!  How great is that?

I have been going to the pool for three winters now.  The warm pool and the lack of having to wear all the kayak clothing and gear make it much easier to learn and work on skills.  I spent a lot of time in the shallow end so if I missed a brace or roll I could wet-exit and just stand up – no big deal.   It is where I’ve initially learned and developed a lot of kayaking skills like rolling, bracing, and edging.  Then, by attending the St. Phillips Thursday evening practices I have transferred skills from the pool to the ocean.  An example is that I’ve capsized for real several times during paddles on the ocean (a lot more times on Terra Nova River) and unexcitingly rolled back up.   It is because I have practiced this particular skill a lot in the pool, then later on the ocean,  that capsizing in the real world has never been a big deal; no panic involved, just set up and roll.  I’ve also seen my buddies Sean and Tobias capsize on paddles and simply roll themselves up.  Both these guys have spent a lot of time at the pool, and at the St. Phillips practice’s, learning and developing their skills as well.  The three of us, like others, have figured out the value in dragging our boats out to the pool and paying our ten bucks. 

Often the last thing I want to do is load up my kayak and go to the pool on a Tuesday or Saturday night.  Most of us have better things to do with our time.  But I believe in the importance of skills development and maintenance, and the necessity of socializing with others who share the kayaking passion.   When the poop hits the fan on a real paddle, and it will at some time for everyone who paddles, I hope to be able to deal with things.  In order to do that it has to start somewhere.  For me that place starts at the pool and then progresses to the ocean.

I suppose everybody has to find their own reason for coming to the pool sessions.  And until they do the numbers will remain low…


  1. I love going to the pool - its pure playtime! I think you have to keep practising rolling to keep it sharp, and a winter spent outside is pretty unconducive to practising, never mind developing skills.
    Now if I lived in Australia it would be a different story...

  2. I enjoy the pool too, Mac, and agree with what you say in your comment... I try, and often do, get to both the Sat and Tues night sessions. Sometimes I bring my WW kayak and sometimes my SK just to change it up. Last winter there were Saturday's that we would paddle and, since my kayak was already on the car, it was easy to go to the pool in the night. Those days I enjoy; spend time in the cold on the ocean and then go to the nice warm pool for play... This winter our buddy Tony R (your familiar with his blog) has discoved the pool and now seems to look forward to coming....