might be teaching a small class...

of locals some basic sea/rec kayaking. This will be a small class that will more than likely have folks that are in the boat for their first time in it.

I have had a few classes and consider myself competant (though my wife disagrees) and can remember what we went over in those classes. My question to you is…

What do you think is the MOST important topics to cover with a BASIC boating class?

Topics that will not be covered are Rolling. anything else is fine.

Help me out here folks…

Having just taken
a beginner pool class this winter, I would suggest that the most important items to cover are the basic strokes, the hip snap, bridging, and rescues (both assisted and solo).

But then, my sole objective is to make it to the take out in one piece and still breathing.

Good luck and I am sure that the enthusiasm of the participants will make your job easier.

Maybe include something about when NOT to go out?

Torso rotation
This may not be the most important thing to cover, but I’ve taken one half-day class, and while the instructor mentioned torso rotation, she didn’t really spend much time teaching us to do it. I’ve learned on my own what a difference it can make as opposed to just “arm paddling”–but I think something called a beginning coastal kayaking class should have taught me this. I’ve learned more from my own reading and practice.

ACA and BCU links

– Last Updated: Apr-12-04 4:55 PM EST –

Safety should be a primary topic for both on the water and off.

Here are a couple of outlines to review for ideas:

ACA Introduction to Kayak course

BCU 1-3 Star Closed Cockpit Kayak

Are you certified as an instructor?
If not, wouldn’t you want to be before giving a class to beginners?

Just curious. My own mind-set, if you will.

rec/sea kayak
which one is it,temp of water,site?


– Last Updated: Apr-12-04 9:29 PM EST –

But actually looking into that.

But a bigger question is would you rather have John Q public buying their rec boats at Sams and tossing them in the river, OR at least have someone take a small amount of time to explain a few concepts to them? As someone who has to fish them out of a river on occasion when they flip on tours I help guide, I would choose the latter.

Also, the classes I am VOLENTEERING to give some folks who have asked, will be on sheltered water in a very controlled environment.

So which is more productive, me knowing what I know but not sharing it since the ACA has not ordained me, OR sharing what I know and helping some new folks out a little?

Better definition.

– Last Updated: Apr-12-04 9:28 PM EST –

mostly rec boats from the carolina on down. Maybe a nice seakayak thrown in if it shows up. Site is on a small lake with warm water and zero boat traffic. There will be no "tours" or "trips" involved save maybe a friendly paddle at the end of the day. PFD's will be mandatory.

I said rec / sea since the definition gets blurred in most peoples mind, unless they are hard core or live on the coast.

Wet exit with paddle and boat control,

– Last Updated: Apr-12-04 11:34 PM EST –

Assisted rescues, unassisted rescues (paddle float rescues). Importance of dressing for immersion, (that rescue work will make them listen) limitations of boat type and skills, forward stroke, "real kayaking starts when you lean the boat in order to turn", sweep stroke, low brace turn without cranking down on the paddle and stalling, reverse stroke. Thats in a full 8 hour 2-5 mile day.

As to being certified I do not hold that as a requirement for volunteering. OTOH I always tell folks to get better instruction. Folks like Sanjay, Sing, BNystrom, and a host of wonderful paddlers have taught me plenty on the water. I don't not believe any of those folks are certified. I do not believe that Derek H. holds current instructor certification either.

ON the other hand in three years I have spent about $1000 on professional instruction and guided trips with a strong instructional component.

I teach during the summers and use the Red Cross course as a guideline. I teach basic strokes, wet exits, rescue techniques if you flip and parts to the boat and paddle.

Good on ya.
The biggest difficulty I see with new paddlers in our group is … getting into the boat. I am amazed at how many folks don’t take the time to learn and pratice this most basic manoeuvre. It seems to get ignored or glossed over in most courses. Have fun!

Peter is right
Teach them how to wet exit and get back in the boat. Also make sure you check for bulkheads and/or float bags before you start.

PS - I believe Derek H holds a BCU Senior Coach rating.


Instructor Cert
I taught volunteer classes for 2 years before seeking my own ACA cert…it made all the coursework more relevant than if I had gone in “cold”.

Good for you–go for it!

Sounds stupid
But along with all the other good things posted above. Before you start find out who can and can’t swim!! You would be surprised how many don’t tell you till there in the water! Find out a bit about there backround medical. Not for liablilty but just so you know what your dealing with. I had a guy in a class that after rolling over 3 times on me and really struggling. I finally getting him going and out onto the lake only to find out then that he has a pacemaker and has been kept from doing anything strenuous. everything turned out well but it would have been good to know if it hadn’t. just a thought! Good luck hope all paddles well


lucky students

– Last Updated: Apr-13-04 6:40 AM EST –

will certainly benefit from your skills and level headed approach to paddling.

How many in your group? How much time will you have with these folks? One time or multiple sessions? Expect no more than one or two skills to be effectively demonstrated, practised, reviewed and learned in 60 to 90 minutes.

I would include safely transporting, loading and unloading these new yaks. Returning home alive by filing a float plan, paddling with someone, basic asfety gear and how not to become a grease smear on the front of a good ole boy's bass boat. Then getting into and out of the yak, how to go in a straight line and making turns.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

your opinion is noted

– Last Updated: Apr-13-04 6:50 AM EST –

But, if you would, where does the stupid part come it.....

been some fighting on that front
But I do not know 100% about the final outcome. I learned a lot fron him though, and every instructor I have ever had could learn someting by watching the way he runs a class, whether one likes his techniques or not. A great day for me, even If I had no sense of history of this wondreful sport.

for example
after folks are signed up and I glance at the medical form. We’ve gone through introductions, paddle grip, kayak parts,it’s about 30 minutes before we’re sitting in a kayak on dry land to put skirts on/off:

student:“I might have a problem with this”

me: “why?”

student: “I had breast surgery a couple months ago”

student: “I had shoulder surgery a couple months ago”

student: "I had stomach surgery a couple months ago:

SO,get the dialog going EARLY with every person, and get something going from them fun or silly,as you’re more likely to find out on land than on the water even when the above weren’t written down on any form.

For example: “I’ve got four questions to get things going: 1. what’s your name

2. What did you have for breakfast

3. can you swim

4. have you been in a kayak before”

the above only happened about 1 in 100 people but it gets your attention.

Comes in like
LeeG brought up. You ask but sometimes you have to ask just the right questions to get the answer you need. It’s amazing what people will leave out THEY don’t think is relitive. Like alergies they think hay fever! You mean Bee’s or maybe the peanutbutter your having for lunch. Or other things that can get someone in big trouble fast. Just some of those stupid things people forget to tell you that you have to drag out of them. Alot that can’t don’t want to admit they can’t swim and don’t think they need to. It’s a kayak class not a swimming class. People can be interesting sometimes.

Good luck & happy paddling