Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rough water and rocks test kayaking skills

Many paddlers make a false distinction between flat-water and rough-water skills. They practice maneuvers in calm conditions that would never work in dynamic water, thinking they will learn "advanced" skills for more challenging conditions.

Dave Olson puts boat handling skills and timing to the test.

This past weekend at The Gales Storm Gathering, participants discovered that there are no such things as advanced skills. There are simply solid skills applied to advanced conditions.

Leon applies his tidal race skills to the Menomenee currents.

The wind, waves, current and rocks put everything to the test. If a rescuer didn't hold on tight to a swimmer's boat, the wind swept it away. If a bow rudder wasn't effective, a rock was decorated with gel coat. Choosing the wrong edge in current led to immediate feedback from the river.

Incident management has urgency if you are drifting towards rocks.

As Shawna and Leon told us, a five-star paddler is just applying three-star skills in five-star conditions.


norconkm said...

Thanks for the blog and pictures. Looks fun - especially the river in a sea kayak, if for no reason other than being different from what I'm used to.

It didn't work out for me to go this year, but maybe I'll have better luck (and a functional drysuit) next year.

bpfamily said...

We'd love to see you there next year!