Long Hype for Downstream Edge Swiftwater Rescue Clinic
In July I took part in a swiftwater rescue clinic, organized by the Colorado Whitewater Association and taught by Nick Wigston from Downstream Edge. Been so busy paddling since that I haven't gotten around to posting my experience.
I found this to be an invaluable experience for even the beginning kayaker.
For way less than the cost of a decent paddle I learned not only rescue techniques and strategies but also safer approaches and tools for running rivers. Most of this class had to do with the mental game rather than actual boating skills, and had a lot to do with preventing rescue situations from the get-go. Next came the "what to do" part for when the rescue ensues. I now know I don't need a PhD in engineering to peel off a pinned kayak or to grab a swimmer off a rock. Moreover, I'm more confident that I (and people on my cruises) won't panic and lose that decent paddle in the event of a swim.
I'd highly recommend a class with Downstream Edge for any budding leader or sweeper. I'll likely take a more advanced course with them next season or thereafter!