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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I know there is a pandemic and that it is winter, however I am having a heck of a time finding anyone to instruct my 8 year old on how to kayak. He is actually a pretty solid boatman but I am woefully lacking in any real kayaking skills (mostly the rolling part, correct bracing,setting up the kayak etc etc). Is there anyone out there near the front range of Colorado (longmont) that knows of good kayak instruction this winter? Or anyone willing to earn some extra Christmas money getting a grommet on the right path? He has a Jackson 1.5

thanks for your help

tom
 

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Probably harder with the shutdown to find open pool space.

As a "failed" parent of young kayakers (tried to start them at 7-9yo and went too far, too fast and they got scared...but at least I now have 17 and 19 year old rafters)...and now a volunteer instructor of youth kayakers in NW Montana, I can tell you 3 rules:

1. Go SLOW
2. keep it fun
3. Refer to 1 and 2.

If you can manage any pool time at all, get him in the water and make sure he's damn comfortable swimming, diving, holding his breath. Keeps the disoriented upside-down part in a kayak less scary.
Rolling is an awesome tool, but the best techniques for a young kayaker are a good forward stroke, good balance, good brace, good eddy turns and exits, reading water...actually avoiding the need to roll in the first place!

1.5 is a great boat for a little boater.
 

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Not to hijack but when are you introducing kids to kayaking from an age perspective? Also in metro area so following additional responses to the thread...
 

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Every kid is different, every family is different.

But generally speaking, wouldn't suggest earlier than 8.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks MT4Runner- great thoughts.
I do have access to a pool (I think) as I know that could be an issue. The spawn is 8 now and for the last 2 years he has been playing on one of those silly lifetime sit-on-top kids kayaks that are probably made for a pool. But he has taken that thing down the Upper C, Gates of Lodor, Desolation Canyon and every flatwater trip we have been on. He is still getting used to getting tossed and tumbled in the bigger rapids so I expect it will be some time before he fully commits to the "real" kayak. But we cant really get him out of it once its he's on the river, unless the wind starts blowing or the rapids get a bit large and he runs back to the big boat. As far as I can tell he is a master at finding the "Sneak" line in most things he finds scary. So I'm gonna let him take his time as I dont want to scare him away. Call me a 'bad dad' all ya want but I did get a kick out of sending over the little falls at the top of Pumphouse and watching him go ass over tea-kettle in wash at 3000cfs. It gave him a wake up call of what madness can ensue and now everytime we go back he ends up playing in it to see how crazy he can get .
 

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As a kayak instructor in the roaring fork valley, I'll chime in. We teach kids all the time, but your idea of skills has to be a little looser. Starting kids in a sit on top or ducky, and teaching strokes is probably the best thing you can possibly do. One day of proper instructing on strokes and they'll transition to a tippy plastic whitewater kayak in no time.
Winter time is a hard one because it's so hard to teach kids if you can't sell them on what they're learning. Typically rapids help sell it to them. Pool sessions are great and if THEY are motivated to learn to t-rescue, roll, wet exit, (not in that order!) and play a little tag or kayak polo, get them going asap! No age is too young, but letting them find something fun about it and then running with that is what lessons really look like with kiddos.

At the end of the day, any time spent in a kayak at all will drastically influence their learning curve and path. Reduce traumas, make scary things feel less scary, and have fun with it. I bet you can find a laid off kayak teacher willing to play in a pool!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks LL,

Much appreciated. The spawn is full of motivation ! He just wants to practice this winter so his dad will let him take his new boat on the river next season.

Still looking for that laid off kayaking teacher on the front range.....
 

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Being in Longmont, are you aware of the Lyons Kids kayaking club? There's a Facebook page for them. Great group, they have boats and gear for young boaters. They do/did pool sessions at Centennial Pool on friday nights, at earlier hours than most to accommodate the youngsters. They used to have a presence on the buzz, but it has been a while since I saw them. I'll be surprised if anyone is doing pool sessions this winter, but fingers crossed.

As another option, the Eric Jackson rolling and bracing video is really good for learning and teaching how to roll, even if you don't know how. I used it to learn, and then teach my daughter, she's 14, and i think she has a stronger roll than I do.
 
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