Sports Center




Sam Drevo & Kate Daniel

Beginner kayaking class

kayakers image Offered in the spring semester, the class is geared for the novice boater. In the pool, students are taught basic strokes, how to maintain balance, and how to control the boat. Then the class moves on to bracing techniques for keeping the kayak from tipping over, and the Eskimo roll, for righting an upside-down boat. Students are taken through a gradual step-by-step process so they become very comfortable and confident.

Lectures are laced with kayaking philosophy and are geared toward the mental and spiritual aspects of river running. Students are taught how to "read the river," interpreting subtle features in the dynamic river environment, and route-finding skills. Techniques are learned for being in full control of the kayak when on the river, including eddy turns, peel outs and ferries. Videos and slide shows are used extensively. The core of the program is to develop a safety consciousness. Knowing how to recognize hazards, how to perform rescues, and how to avoid dangerous situations are key aspects of the class. Students graduate from the class with a wealth of "river wisdom."

Two river trips on easy, local rivers introduce students to currents and moving water and are the reward for all the work in the pool. On the river trips, students are also shown river processes at work and how this ever-changing environment is shaped.

Intermediate kayaking class

kayaking image This continuation of the beginner class is taught in the fall. Students who have a reliable Eskimo roll and understanding of kayaking basics may take the class. Pool time allows student to hone their basic skills to where they become "actions without thinking." Video taping of individuals is used for critiquing fundamentals and for fine-tuning of techniques. Lectures focus on safe river running including first aid, rescue techniques, and advanced river reading skills. Students are taught how to develop "otter mind," an attitude of playing with the river, being fully comfortable in the river environment and having a deep understanding of potential dangers and risks. While kayaking is an individual sport, the team concept is emphasized. The "piece de resistance" of the class are three days on the river where class two and three rapids are negotiated. Often the rivers that are run are designated "wild and scenic," abounding with wildlife and scenic beauty. The goal for students who complete the intermediate class is to have the skills and knowledge to begin running rivers on their own.