Monday, October 05, 2009

L4 training and certification

I wanted to get my sea kayaking certification so I could also teach sea kayaking. I haven't been doing nearly as much sea kayaking this year which makes me sad when I think back on it. I really should have been getting out on my own terms. Instead I really focused on the whitewater side of things which I think may have been beneficial for my sea kayaking. At least I can deal with rough water with few issues. The training was over 5 days (but was supposed to be over 6). We started off with two days here in the DC area at Wide Water on the canal. We were 5 people only 3 of us were going to go and do the whole L4 training and certification. The other two girls were in just to get an L2 training and certification. Day one we learned about the ACA and what it can do for us as well as learned how to do all the strokes in the L2 repertoire. There are not that many but we were developing a way to teach as well, not just how to teach one thing.

Day two we moved on to us being the teachers and everyone else being students. After each person had a chance to be teacher, we all had a chance to give constructive feedback to help them become a better teacher. I think time more then anything will be the big helper. Some people didn't really model the strokes well and others were just a little too verbose, but everyone did well teaching to us.

Day three we moved out to the Chesapeake Bay and did some more modeling and teaching out in choppier waters. We started off with our pre-planned talks which were supposed to be about 10 minutes in length. Most of us were pretty spot on. Some people didn't cover everything in their topic as some topics were just very large. The navigation talk really needed more work. The person really didn't seem to cover enough for anyone to get anything out of it. I think I was left more confused after his talk then I was before. Again we got feedback on everything we did.

Day four saw us out at Assateague which is famous for its wild ponies as well as being a great surf spot. And today the weather was more then cooperative with the surfing department. We had at least 8 foot ocean swells with 4-6 foot breaking waves, about 18 kts of winds and about 5 kts of current (if not more). We did a whole bunch of skills demonstrations as well as teaching strokes to the 'students'. Before the class was set to go there was a concern that we would not have enough people. In the end we had 13 people today, more then enough to run the class. One girl (the only other girl) had to leave early because she was still recovering from her cold. Since she was just re-certifying it was fine.

Day five saw us with only 10 people, and milder conditions. We ended up playing in the waves generated alongside the sea wall. Good judgement meant you stayed away from the sea wall, bad judgement meant you were in the sea wall. Everyone managed to stay away from the sea wall. I did get window-shaded (bowled over) by a wave or three but managed to roll the boat back up. All in all it was a good day. I managed to get an L3 certification which is great and on par with my abilities. I hope I get a chance to do some teaching this year but I fear that the teaching time is almost over. Hopefully I will have a chance next year.

I think part of my take home message is that I need a smaller boat and better outfitting. I might be able to just outfit my current boat, but I think I am still too light to properly manage the boat in bigger conditions. I also need to work on my roll to tighten things up and make it stronger. I also need to get out in L4 conditions more to just get comfortable playing in them before I can get an L4 certification. I thought the conditions were pretty gnarly at first and was focused a bit more on the fear, but looking back on the fourth day, I found that I actually had some fun in spite of the gnarliness of the conditions and would love to get back out and learn to better handle them. The 8 foot swells were pretty phenomenal.



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