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

Monday, September 11, 2017

2017: Post 18 – If it's not raining, it's not training

This weekend past would be the last one in September that Shane would be available to do another Sea Kayaking Level 1 course.   Like his first course, he only had three students, (Shane, Emily, and Mark) and he asked me to come help out once again.  

Unlike Shane's other courses, I decided I would attend the theory portion of the course on Saturday morning.  It was an information refresher for myself, and I added a few pennies worth of comments here and there.  What I found was that it gave me a chance to meet the students and for us to get to know each other a little before getting on the pond in the afternoon. If Shane asks me to help him out on future courses I plan to attend the theory session portion again... I think it has a positive effect on the group dynamic rather then if I just show up at the pond in the afternoon.   

At the pond the first order of business was to show people how to properly carry their kayaks and then to get kayaks and gear ready.


All three students had wetsuits as is generally the case with newer paddlers, and Shane and I were a little concerned about them getting chilled in the forecasted afternoon rain.  But we tried to keep them moving between learning things to stay warm.

Wet-exits and basic T-rescues were taught near the shore, and then we moved out into deep water to do them all over again...



... and again, and again...


... until they could both be the rescuer and the rescuee to Shane's satisfaction.  They also did the paddle float self-rescue as well.  Just when I thought Shane was done with the rescues  he had them all do it one more time, and then we headed to shore for a stretch and a break from sitting in the kayaks.  But it wasn't a rest from learning.  I sat on the shore with my string and shovel handle and explained and demonstrated the forward stroke..   I prefer to sit on land to demonstrate and break down the forward stroke, and then get into the kayaks to learn it on the water... 





The afternoon went quickly.  Although all of the intended strokes had not been covered, Shane was thinking maybe it was time to call it a day so the students could get into some dry clothes and get warmed up, but they all said they were okay to go another while.  So Shane continued on with his instruction, and I think it was 5:30 when we finally called it a day.  At one point Student Shane commented that "if it's not raining, it's not training..."  i thought that was a great attitude, which all three students seemed to share.

The forecast called for more rain on Sunday and the wind was to be at the high end of Level 1 from the Northeast; this would be perfect for the day.  We  drove to the put-in at Conception Harbour, had a little discussion, and then got on the water...



We paddled down to the shipwreck, had a little on-water discussion about what to do in the event of a salt water capsize, and the importance of sticking together and watching out for each other.

Using our best forward stroke, we paddled over to Middle Cove where Shane went over low and high bracing, and then he had me demonstrate and explain sweep strokes and edging...

video

We handrailed the shore, stopping here and there to continue to work on things taught, and learning new things like contact tows, stopping, and stern rudders... 

In Gasters Bay there was a following sea going to Broad Cove and the students had to use paddle stern rudders to keep their kayaks going straight.

Before we arrived at Broad Cove one of the students unintentionally capsized and we watched the other two students spring into action... Emily was the first person to reach Mark and put her training to work.  Student Shane was on standby to help out and I think he misplaced a paddle stroke and he unintentionally capsized as well.  So Instructor Shane went into rescue mode while I sat on standby for whomever may need me, snapping a couple pics and a short video.... 


video

I like when these things happen unintentionally on the ocean during courses; it emphasizes to students that something like a double capsize really does happen, and how important it is to have sufficient knowledge and competent paddling partners.  It really nails home why we need to learn and practice what you have been taught so you are prepared to deal with a situation like this. 

Before we got on the beach I went over on-water communication using paddle, hand/arm, and whistle signals. 

On the beach Shane got out his tarp to put up so we could have lunch out of the rain.  Water was boiled for a cup of tea to have after our lunch.  



We didn't hang around too long after lunch before getting back on the water... 


We handrailed back along the shore...




... until we arrived at the little cove just before Ballyhack Point where the students could have a little rest and Shane gave a little more on-water instruction.  



Once we rounded Ballyhack point we were in full protection from the Northeast wind.  The rain had stopped and it was a rather pleasant afternoon.  We paddled our way down the shore a little and then made the small crossing over to and around Middle point  where Shane had everyone line up, stern to the shore.  The instruction was to use good forward stroke and paddle as fast as they could over to the shipwreck to see who could get there first... it's always a fun way to end the day.




Back at the cars I took the class photo and Shane had a little chat with his students to get feedback.  Student feedback (both good and bad) helps on future courses.  We got into dry clothes and then went over boat design... Shane would normally do this after lunch but we figured it best not to be standing on the shore in the wind and he decided to wait until we got back to the cars.

The students....

Mark

Emily

Shane

And the photo of Shane's third Level 1 class...

Instructor Shane       Mark        Emily      Student Shane    
Emily, Student Shane, and Mark... you guys rock!  You guys really embraced the suck factor over the weekend with the poor weather Mother Nature gave us.  With the weather we had, and the amount of time you guys spent in the water I would rate the course as more like Type 2 fun... kind of sucks to be doing it but you will reflect back on it and decide it was well worth it... I know at times you guys had to be chilly but you were all smiling and seemed to be having a good time.  

This is likely the last Level 1 course Shane will teach this year as he is tied up with his non-kayak life for the rest of September and in October the ponds are cooling off and the air temperature is getting colder.  Most students taking this course have wetsuits and in the colder months it is much better to have a drysuit if you are going to spend any amount of time in and out of the water.  However, Shane did say if someone comes to him to do an October course he would consider it if they have a drysuit.

I had more fun than I thought I would helping out on the courses Shane offered this year since he become a Certified Level 1 Kayak Instructor.  I feel that twelve kayakers in this province received high quality instruction from Shane.  I picked up on some little things that will help make me a better kayaker than I was before... there are always things to learn no matter how long you have been kayaking.  Good job to all of Shane's students he had this year, you all progressed and I think you are better kayakers for taking the Level 1 course.  I hope everybody stays safe out there....

1 comment:

  1. This was a really fun course! I'm glad I decided to take the instructor route, I enjoy teaching. Thanks for your help Deano! Having someone else to add some tips and tricks was a great help.

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