Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Traditional Paddlers Gathering

A weekend in Northern Minnesota at the "Traditional Paddlers Gathering", put together this year by Alex and Chris from the "Northern Lights Qajaq Society" was for me, an outstanding learning experience with some great instructors, and a weekend meeting many new people, and getting together again with some good friends. My goal this weekend was to come out with a better understanding of the balance brace and recovery techniques ... I came home with that and much more! I didn't get a chance to work with all of the mentors this weekend, but working with Dan Segal, and Will Bigelow on the balance brace really put some things together for me. I was able to do a somewhat decent balance brace by the end of the weekend. Will also spent some time with me on Sunday working on my forward recovery rolls, something I thought I had a good handle on really improved with his help.

Now what I didn't expect while trying some of the different SOF kayaks over the weekend was how different they can feel rolling ... the not so subtle difference between a "plank" roller, and a "log" roller. Alex had me try a kayak he describes as a "plank" roller ... I felt like I was cheating! In no time at all Alex had me doing hand rolls, behind the head rolls, spine rolls, and an effortless balance brace. I don't think I'll be able to repeat those in the Nordkapp. But I can honestly say I was doing some ok hand rolls ... Thanks Alex!

The harpoon contest put together by Jeff Bjorgo was a hoot! I made it to the finals, but didn't place, to see a bunch of kayaks chasing and throwing harpoons at a blown up 6 foot long orca towed by Jeff was quite a sight!

I didn't get a chance to work with Cheri and Turner like I had hoped, there where just to many good mentors there to work with them all. I'll have to make it a point to get out East soon and try again.


Silbs said...

Oh, man, I wish I'd been there. I, too, had a similar experience with Alex who has a great analytical eye and a simple and direct method of teaching.

DaveO said...

A fine event and a fine post event up in Voyageurs. See you sometime today for boat retrieval.