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Old 08-21-2007   #71
Port Washington, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by rasdoggy View Post
To those that took a kayak class, or just anyone.

Should more emphasis be put on self rescue/ SWR during the first few lessons of a Kayaking Class?

Should Classes be longer, more structured, more steps offered with less emphasis on getting the roll on the first try, maybe a session using paddle floats and goggles as aids to muscle memory, instead of as a last resort?

Should people be discouraged from teaching their friends the basic skills needed in kayaking? Leaving it to people with teaching skills and a proven method? “Read that” shops/Instructors.

Should there be a dry land theory/video class before the pool/lake?

Or is it fine the way it is?

After teaching SCUBA for 20+ years and watching the structure/style of the class change over time I am seeing many similar parallels to the way kayaking is taught.

I would like to hear for any kayak Instructors out there.

And feel free to rip on me also.....

As an ACA certified instructor, there are certain things i like to do with my class:

First off, i teach basic wet exits as the absolute first thing when the student gets in his boat. Then i move on to teaching basic paddle strokes, t-rescues, and braces/leans in that order(<--- all on a lake/pond). Then afterwards, i teach river features and basic throw bagging and self rescue.
Then we move on to basic river manuvers: Peel outs, Ferrying, and Eddy Turns. We do sometimes do basic theory on these maneuvers in the classroom, but it depends on the class and how quickly they've picked everything else up.

Personally, for rolls i dont really have them try to get it right away, taht's senseless, that discourages them way too quickly. I try to get the fundamentals solid first: good setup and good technique. then we try to do the roll. I believe that paddle floats and goggles are wonderful tools and shouldnt be left as a last resort.

If friends feel confident enough in teaching the basics, i dont feel it will harm anything, but they need to be confident enough in their teaching abilities that when the student recieves all the teaching they will be learned enough that they wont kill themselves on the river.

That's my two cents


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Old 08-21-2007   #72
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 272
you know with the rate of inflation, your 2 cents would have been worth a couple of bucks back in 2005 when the questions was asked...

"I would drag my balls across broken glass just to hear her fart into a walkie talkie" -Jay Drury
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Old 08-21-2007   #73
paddlebizzle's Avatar
Local, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 344
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Originally Posted by tboner View Post
you know with the rate of inflation, your 2 cents would have been worth a couple of bucks back in 2005 when the questions was asked...
Oh snap!
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Old 08-22-2007   #74
Port Washington, Wisconsin
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 2
Originally Posted by tboner View Post
you know with the rate of inflation, your 2 cents would have been worth a couple of bucks back in 2005 when the questions was asked...

Wow, you're a real witty one. but as it turns out, i just joined this year, so get over it....
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Old 08-22-2007   #75
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 557
can't believe i missed this one for so long. if anyone is still looking at it, I have to agree with the original post. safety and rescue should be taught early, but started slow. Beginners should become comfortable with self rescue, then start to learn basic boat and gear rescue, then learn about scouting and setting safety for rapids. So many beginners and intermediates have spent their entire time kayaking hearing these words before every rapid " Just follow me". This is nice because it is faster, but the learning kayaker never learns to scout a rapid for themselves, which also means they never learn to read water, set safety, etc. etc. etc.

So I urge all kayakers to scout more when you are learning, it will seriously help to learn how to read water.

At Downstream Edge, we believe in series of short private or small group lessons as the best way to learn and get good at kayaking. We teach paddling skills as well as develop a solid basis for safety and rescue. Our students are much more capable of running rivers after a series of lessons from us than they would be from a weekend lake/river class from a standard kayak school. It's because students have time to practice and work on things before they move on to the next step, instead of trying to cram everything in to one day or weekend. I have noticed much more improvement from my students using this method than I ever did when working for a kayak school. I have also noticed more students sticking with the sport and staying motivated.

Kayak Instruction, Swiftwater Rescue, Colorado - Downstream Edge
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Old 08-22-2007   #76
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 85
I think teaching rescue to beginners is a double edged sword. They should be comfortable with self-rescue and aware of the risks on the river, but, as always, in any rescue situation the safety of the rescuer comes first. If you are a beginner, I'm not sure if I would trust you to keep yourself safe while helping others.

In all our beginner classes (and we do teach beginner rescue classes, as well) emphasis is put on self-rescue rather than more advanced rescue skills. I personally feel that learning to prevent rescue situations is more important than know what to do should one arise, and that just means people need to learn how to read the water and judge what is or is not within their level.

That being said, I'd rather have someone that is a beginner and had some rescue training than an competent boater idiot who bought a rope and never practiced with it or had any sort of training.

Far as dryland/theory goes, we do that briefly, but some people learn by trying things, and some learn by doing it. You can explain to those who need it while sitting in boats on the lake, but you can't have those who need to try it do so in a classroom.

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Old 08-22-2007   #77
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 40
I taught kayaking for 4 years and we put very little emphasis on the roll. Maybe an hour out of a three day course.
This is how we worked our into to kayaking weekend.

*Types of kayaking
*Discussion of the "big 5"
*Boat Designs
*Fitted folks in gear
*short video section on wet exits and bow rescues
Then a good chunk of the day was spent on wet exits, bow rescues and hip snap development in a lake. How long we spent depended on the group.
We broke it down into very simple steps.

For example, with wet exits, we initially had folks get in their boats with no skirts or paddle and just had them get comfortable in the boats and flip without skirts. Then we put them into nylon skirts that are really easy to get out of. Then the instructor would demo the complete wet exit, explaining each step....Tuck, Pound, Pull, and Push.
One by one the students would work with and instructor on a spotted wet exit. We usually broke it down step by step.
First we would have the student lean forward and hug thier boat, they would flip themselves and then we would roll the right back up. if they we're comfortable we would move to the next step. Next, they would flip themselves over and pound three time and then the instructor would flip them up. After that we had them flip, pound three times, and then follow their cockpit rim to their grab loop ( but not pull it) Then they did the full on wet exit.
The students stayed in the nylon skirts for the rest of the day. Its been my experience that most people will do okay with you standing next to them and being able to think about the steps. Its when they have the unexpected flip that they will freak out and forget the wet exit.
* lunch
Then we move onto hip snap development and bow (T) rescues. The rest of the first day is spent on stroke development.

Day 2
*stroke review
*stroke combination patterns/ video feedback
*break/classroom video work with c-to-c roll
*c-to-c roll practice
*classroom/hydrology lesson
*moving water afternoon w/ ferries, eddy-turns, peel-outs
we definitly focused on self-rescue, with a few setup sessions where they flipped, held onto their gear and swam to shore. the rest of the rescues we're bow rescues with instructors and wet exits too.

Day 3
*swr discussion/ dryland throwbag work
*classroom- video work hydrology/river hazards
*class II ww run
*group managment on the river discussion at put-in
* review of moving water skills
*students as lead kayaker, switch out
*lunch/river reading discussion
*boat and land scouting
*swimming & throw bag practice in a rapid

I think that our courses we're a great success by the end of the course. Then we always talked about what to do next after the course. Roll classes, SWR, practice...etc. We always adapted the course to the speed of the group. We had groups that never made it to the "full run day" with rapids, they would stay on moving water.

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