Saturday, June 07, 2008

White water kayaking

I had a chance to try some white water kayaking. My boyfriend organized the class and someone dropped at the last minute so he squeezed me into the slot. He also went out but with a group of friends as we went on on the class last weekend. He is so sweet! This was a beginner level class meaning they assume you have no skills. But since this was a group lesson, they tailored the class to our skills which was nice. I normally do sea or touring kayaking, I have a very nice 18 foot kayak that is about 20 inches across. I don't have to fight to hard to get the kayak to go straight. Now the white water kayak on the other hand was about 6 feet long and about 25 inches across maybe more. And very flat on the bottom. I really had to focus on doing correct stokes or I would send the boat around in circles. It was lots of fun to play in the white water kayak as it is very responsive to little stroke changes.

They had everyone do a wet exit from the kayak, which is basically you flipping over the kayak then pushing yourself out. So at this point everyone is wet. It was a very hot day so I think everyone was grateful to be wet. Once everyone was mostly used to moving the boat around we started learning sweep strokes to change direct then bracing to help stay upright in turbulence. The group split up after that with one group learning rolling and the rest were going to go run an eddy line. Most of the group did not make it past the first current area so the group of 6 dropped to 2 plus one instructor. I made it up past the current line. Further upstream the 2 of us plus the instructor worked briefly on rolling and bracing a little more. My roll was good. and off we went.

Running the eddy line was really scary at first. When you see it and watch someone go over it I had to wonder how I was going to make it. I didn't make it the first time but I did roll back up. The other guy didn't make it but he didn't flip either. I didn't make it the second time but my roll was really getting good. The other guy flipped and decided to wait for us on land so he could rest. I did make it over the eddy line on the third run then flipped again on the forth try and rolled back up. I decided I was too tired to try again and I got a little water up in my sinuses so I was done. But I was very happy that I seem to have a very good roll in a white water boat under moving water conditions.

I was so happy that my boyfriend managed to get me in. He seemed to enjoy hearing about how the class went. The instructors were telling him how some of his group were really good and pointed me out. He had to fess up that I had been paddling flat water for a while now and had most of the skills down. I think he was flattered though. They were surprised to find that I had never done white water before.

It was a long day and I have found out that white water kayaking is very exhausting. I think I got a better night sleep after spending about 3 hours on the water with the class. I think the sun and heat also played a role in that. I used spf 45 and didn't get any colour on me. Might be worth dropping down to 30 just to get a little colour. I am white as a ghost. It is a little scary.

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