Sunday, August 26, 2012

Teaching Whitewater Kayaking

Over the last couple decades I've dabbled in and learned a lot of sports. I've been a dive master, hang glider, wakeboarder, snow boarder, cyclist, swimmer, runner, rock climber, roller bladder and skydiver.   With every sport, I've figured out more about how my body learns. I've been able to compare the different sports a bit and learn what I like. In doing so, I've come to realize that I am actually surprised that so many people have picked up whitewater kayaking.

Whitewater kayaking is a sport that has a huge learning curve. With pretty much any other activity I've done you can ease into the sport gradually. In doing so you pick up skills that will help keep you safe and having fun. Only a few of these sports, are more dangerous when you start. As you get better, they become safer. The first one that comes to mind is skydiving. The hardest part is landing, and making sure you know how to jump out of the plane. The rest is just fancy stuff. The second is whitewater kayaking. The reason's all come down to the fact that you have to get one difficult skill before you're at all safe - your roll. As long as you can confidently flip back over, you'll be fine - but it's a difficult task to accomplish in the midst of swirling whitewater.

This weekend I decided it would be fun to give Jonas and Louise a crash course in whitewater kayaking, a sport I've now dove into 100 percent. Our destination was the relatively easy Nantahala River in North Carolina. Here is a short one minute video, showing some of Jonas' crashes, and eventual swims.