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

Saturday, September 21, 2013

2013: Post 45 – In search of higher knowledge

In June of 2008 I bought my first kayak (see this post).  Two or three weeks later I did the Flatwater/Level One kayaking course.  Since then I have been busy trying to be better at the things I had learned during that course and I have been busy trying to learn things that were not taught during that course as well.  I have put a lot of kilometres (I know I should say Nautical Miles) under my bow, learned some skills, made some mistakes, and have met a lot of other paddlers.  Mostly I have had a lot of fun.

Newfoundland Kayak Company advertised they would be running the Safe Kayaking Level Two course during September.  Normally this is a week-long course but they decided to do it over two consecutive weekends instead, making it much more appealing to me (no need to take a week off work).  My good paddling buddy Hazen had taken the Level Two course a couple years ago.  I have paddled a lot with Hazen and he felt I would definitely get something out of taking course.  I thought about it and decided it could be a chance to have my current skill level assessed and to learn some new skills - there could only be things to add to my development as a kayaker...   I had a phone conversation with the instructor about the course and I signed up.

Day 1 - Friday evening (Sept 20)

Last night five students showed up for the start of the course (I forgot my camera so no picture).  After introductions our instructor, Richard, gave us the lecture on navigation.  There were some things I knew already, some things I kinda knew, and some I did not know.  But this is generally the way of many courses.

Day 2- Saturday (Sept 21)

This morning we all met again on one of the local ponds (Long Pond), and were also joined by the instructor's aid, Johnie (a Level Four certified paddler).  

We started the day with a discussion on kayak design and then got on the water for instruction and practice on basic kayak control...

Greg getting ready

Richard and Johnie


Richard and Johnie



We had lunch and then a lecture on weather.... 

...then back on the water for some rescue instruction and practice...

Richard and Jeff in the water
 We finished off the day with a rolling clinic...

Johnie took video of each of us doing our forward stroke so we could see the good and the bad of what we were doing...

The day was long but fun.  Again, there were things I knew and some things I did not know.  But now I have things I can start to work on after the course is over.  I have a feeling there will be plenty of things to work on after the course is over....

Day 3 - Sunday (Sept 22)

We met at Long Pond again this morning, but the wind was blowing down the length of the pond from the southwest, which wasn't ideal for the days intended instruction. So Richard decided he would move the class to Gull Pond where we would have protection from the wind allowing us to learn unimpeded from the effects of the wind. 

Arriving at Gull Pond we set to work bringing down the kayaks and gear to the waters edge...

Before getting on the water, Richard had a discussion on different styles of paddles...

Yep, that's my Greenland paddle in the mix.

Then we got on the water for instruction on turning and maneuvering strokes.  I was kept busy enough such that it did not occur to me to take a few pictures.   The time passed quickly and before I knew it was time for lunch... 

With refueling out of the way it was time for another lecture.  This time it was on tides and current, and leadership...

Then back on the water for more instruction; this time on support and recovery strokes.  I made a conscious effort to take more pictures....


Greg working on bracing

Nigel and Grant

Greg doing a roll

Grant and Jeff

Group shot of  my classmates

Richard and Johnie

The first weekend portion of the course is now complete.  As a group we have gotten to know each other over the last couple days and I think everyone is having fun while learning and improving our skills.  

Next weekend will be the trip portion of the course.  This is the part of the course I am most looking forward to.  We'll camp for two nights (yeah) and receive more instruction and work on skills in the ocean water.  But until then I will have to review the provided course material to try to straighten up a few things up in my mind... 

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