Sunday, June 13, 2010

SKOAC Intro 2010

I was up around 5:30 am checking weather for the day ... predicting a high of 70F and a 5o/50 chance of rain showers for the day. A cloud ceiling of only 500ft, and a quick look at the radar showed a large band of rain headed our way, looking like it would arrive the cities around 10am. A quick breakfast, load some boats, pick up Chris, we are at the lake by 8:30 ready for the day. A quick discussion among the instructors and we had our doubts about everyone showing with the predicted weather, we had some extra warm paddling gear if someone needed it. Hopefully everyone would show.
We did the class at Shady Oak Lake this year, on recommendation from Michelle from ISK, and turned out to be a great place teach the class. A nice covered picnic area for the classroom portions, the lake was clean and small, perfect for keeping track of 12 new kayakers.

After a morning of teaching subjects on boats, paddles, and proper gear, and some dry land rescue demos, we are on the water just as the light rain starts. One on one for the initial wet exits and everyone comes through without a hitch, in what can be a tough part of the class. Most people are ok in the water, but put them inside a kayak with a tight fitting spray skirt, tip over, and it becomes an entirely different matter! Doing a few clean wet exits can add a lot to someones confidence when they start working on the rescues and taking time to be sure everyone is really ready, will make the whole day go much better than if this portion of the class is rushed.

We had an intrepid bunch this year. Everyone showed for the class, and held a positive attitude all day, right though the wind, rain, and cold. It never did get above 60F for the entire day. Every time I help teach this class, I end the day feeling like I got as much out of the day as anyone who participated in the class. Feeling the highs as someone completes their first wet exit, or gets the confidence to finally go out on a lake alone knowing that if they go over, they can safely do a self rescue, is as rewarding to me, as it is to them.

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