Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Scenes from 1 & 2 Star Training

It was an all around wonderful weekend - except for the 5 hour trip home. There was a terrible accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge and it was closed for 9 hours. We didn't figure that out until we were sitting in traffic so motionless that a spider began spinning a web between the bow of one of the kayaks on Prof. M's minivan and the SUV in front of us.

Aside from that, FANTASTIC weekend, 3 of our 10 students got assessed at the end & all got their 2 star ratings easily - I think there were a few more who would have passed if they'd tried, but 2 days of training, even on flatwater, is pretty intense, and a lot of people just ran out of steam & decided to take the Leisurely Paddle with Pete option. But I think everybody learned a lot - that's the main thing.

Great students. The person standing up in the boat is one of 'em - that was fun! It was funny, we were working on low braces towards the end of Day 1. T-rescues were right after the bracing, so after conferring with the other instructors ahead of time, I decided that we'd start easy - then allow the bracing session to segue into the T-rescue session. People were entertainingly slow to start going over, but once the first couple of capsizes happened & people realized it was all OK, & there was this great sensation of people really starting to cut loose & have some fun! We branched out from T-rescues into paddle float & cowboy. Earlier in the day, I'd stood up in my boat and then jumped out as a "stupid coach trick" forfeit for being caught in a red light-green light game, and M. decided that she wanted to try - she wanted to try the cowboy rescue anyways, and she was getting bored of wet exits...

And then there's Chalu demonstrating what a wonderful job we did of teaching steering strokes.

Boy was that a fun class.

We did lunchtime presentations. On Day One, Tom P., the head instructor, introduced the BCU system and Sebago.

On Day 2, I did a short presentation on kit. I'd written up a list of the basics as a handout, showing what was Coast Guard required (actually I did another handout with sample pages from the USCG Boating Safety website as I think it's really good for sea kayakers to know the regs they are expected to follow) & what's just a good idea; I then brought out my own stuff & just went through it piece by piece.

I'd showed the list to the head instructor in advance & asked him to vet it one more time before I started my talk. I was a little nervous, you see, about the possibility of accidently leaving something obvious out & looking like a dope.

Chalu approached me afterwards as we were beginning to launch. He had a very serious look on his face.

"Excuse me, Bonnie, but I wanted to ask you something - I think you left something out when you were talking about kits."

"Really?" I attempted to maintain a collected expression while mentally I began frantically rummaging through the list o' stuff trying to figure out WHAT boneheadedly obvious piece of perfectly everyday gear I'd left out. Drawing a total, complete blank - "What was that?"

"A banjo".

It's good I wasn't in my boat yet 'cause I think I would have fallen over from laughing so hard.

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