Paddling instructor certification workshops and paddling skills courses are rife with examples of active teaching techniques: Lectures, demonstrations, stroke modeling, games, drills, exercises, exams. Instructors should and do learn most of these overt techniques for passing along knowledge.
I’ll opine though that there is a more subtle teaching level that all instructors need to develop to pass along their wealth of knowledge about our sports. Those are the little things: The knowledge, techniques and behaviors that are impressed on students in a more passive, sometimes unspoken fashion. The instructor standing before, or paddling around a group of students maintains a focus of attention on themselves that may not be immediately noticeable. What they do, what they wear, the kind (and condition) of gear they use and how they use it are all a constant stream of ‘beta’ to students. As with many other aspects of teaching, the instructor’s ability to time-travel back to the days when they were newb paddlers can help their students learn from their experience. Continue reading
Guest Post by Nancy Guthrie
The Georgia Coast Saltwater Paddle Trail was published by the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia in 2010. The Paddle Trail is designed to start in St. Mary’s GA, and be paddled north to Tybee Island, following rivers through the salt marshes of Georgia. It stays out of the Intracoastal Waterway as much as possible, and as a result the main trail winds through salt marsh for nearly 200 miles. There are alternate routes that can add or subtract miles to the trip and it can easily be broken into shorter, stand-alone segments. Dawn and I had heard about the trail independently and each wanted to paddle the whole trail. It was through a forum post on the Carolina Kayak Club website that we started talking to each other about it and decided to go explore.
Packing boats at Crooked River State Park, St. Mary’s
While the GA Coast Saltwater Paddle Trail Guide is a fairly comprehensive guide, it became clear during the planning stage that this trail would present several challenges (long crossings, few guaranteed campsites and even fewer places to resupply food). We went prepared for a self-supported wilderness experience, and that’s what we found.
Dawn is experienced at long expeditions and I have completed several week-long backpacking and kayak-camping trips. We had safety gear (VHF radios, personal locator beacons), maps, NOAA charts and GPS units with preset way-points, emergency equipment, and Dawn had a SPOT to report in each evening to our husbands who were following our progress along the way. We also had phones and were able to call home each evening to report on how we were doing.
This report is divided into 10 sections, each representing a day of paddling and the conditions, challenges, people, or issues we were facing. The quotes at the beginning of each section are from Dawn and me or the people we met along the way. There was only one day when we did not talk with people to get local knowledge of the area. It was enjoyable to be surprised by what people would say and how many people admired the courage of two women to set off on an adventure – the quotes are just a few examples. I’ve left out the quotes from the grumpy people because those were so few and just need to be ignored when you’re on a trip like this. Continue reading
Photo by John McDonald
Having broken the already-welded hull on my old Habitat early this winter, I decided it was time to move on in looking for my next creek boat. Early last spring, I was forced into a similar situation with my river-runner after the second of my two beloved WS Diesels cracked beside the seat screws.
Back then, I made the decision to switch to the apparently robust Pyranha Burn. Many friends have/had Burns and like them. I’ve paddled my Burn pretty hard over the last year and it’s become my go-to boat for all but pure creeking, including all my whitewater instruction.
Liking the build quality, component quality, durability (so far), comfort and handling of the Burn, a transition to a Pyranha hull for my creeker made the decision to look at the Shiva a much easier process. Though I had used the Burn for much of my creeking in the interim this spring (and in the past when I was out and needed an all-arounder), I still missed the displacement hull of the Habitat on creeks and the ease with which it glides over rocks, forgives sudden cross-currents and makes boofs…well…boofalicious.
I dove in and bought the Shiva this spring on the faith that its cousin was a good telltale for its fit to my needs. In the first 3 trips I’ve had the Shiva on so far, it hasn’t disappointed. It is a different boat than my Habitat (the latter I came to refer to as my “rocking chair” for its ability to make it all so easy). I’m 6’0″ and 190 lb. I tend to like paddling toward the higher (vs. lower) end of weight ratings so I was in Diesel 65 and Habitat 74 and now in medium Burn (74 gal.) and Shiva (80 gal.). Continue reading
I am extremely pleased to announce my affiliation as an instructor with Canoe, Kayak and Paddle Company (CKAPCO) of Vienna, VA. CKAPCO is an ACA Pro School and the vibrant instruction/tour business owned and operated by my long-time friend, colleague and paddling buddy Mike Aronoff. Mike is an ACA Instructor Trainer Educator and long-time bon vivant of ACA instruction and the operations of ACA’s Safety Education and Instruction Council.
Mike and I have found that we share a love of paddling, of teaching paddling and of being students of the sports ourselves. We have similar views that instruction, done right, done with a purpose, can really matter and make a difference in our students’ enjoyment and appreciation of the paddlesports.
Instructors successfully completing a CKAPCO certification course can easily say that they got their money’s worth from Instructor Trainers dedicated to developing the most well-rounded instructors in the business. You won’t find shortcuts here. You’ll find experienced instructors with high standards who want to see you succeed at learning using the best tools we can provide. I’m very happy to add my efforts to this long-lived tradition at CKAPCO, joining names like Mike Aronoff, Greg Mallet-Prevost, Brian Stevens, Beth Wiegandt and Kenny Guerrant.
I already have a pretty good schedule of classes in the works for the summer including whitewater kayak instructor, river kayak day-trip leader, river safety and rescue and coastal kayaking. Teaming up with with the other CKAPCO instructors, we’ll be able to offer a broad range of paddlesports instruction. There should be plenty of opportunities for cross-infusion of classes between our geographic areas, taking advantage of all the skills that CKCPCO brings to the table including River Canoe and Swiftwater Rescue.
CKAPCO also offers some great travel opportunities including annual Middle Fork of the Salmon (ID), and now Main Salmon trips. Winter trips to the Florida Keys are in the works. CKAPCO offers Girl Scouts Leader training four times every year. Give me a shout if you’re interested in any of the offerings CKAPCO can provide.