Saturday, June 12, 2010

2010.15.184 - Strokes Course

I have no way of checking this for sure (actually, I do have a way -- it's called the Internet. Maybe you've heard of it? The awful truth is that I'm too lazy to check), but it seems like this is the first day in three months when the high temperature for the day has been above normal. Gorgeous and sunny for a change.
And so on this sunny day, Louise and I made our way to Cadboro Bay for a course called Maneuverability and Agility, put on by the fine folks from Ocean River Sports.
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 005

It was a small class; the students were just myself, Louise and a young lady named Alex. She was paddling this beautiful skin-on-frame boat that she had just finished building a few days ago.
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 001
What a sweet looking boat. Out on the water, she quickly discovered that her boat could, as Bernie would say, turn on a dime and give seven cents change.
There was also an instructor -- that goes without saying -- but also an instructor-in-training, so basically we had two instructors for three students which means we all got a lot of attention.

We weren't the only paddlers in the water -- an outrigger race was taking place...
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 016
...and there was a slight breeze, so some sailboaters headed out as well.
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 007

The course involved tuning up our sweeps, edging and low brace turns, and moving onto high brace turns, stern draws, bow rudders, and then putting them altogether. I've never had my boat as far on edge as I had it today. I mean apart from when I've tipped over.
Speaking of tipping over, we were encouraged by the instructors to really let it all hang out when we were edging. Push it to the edge, as it were. And Louise did...
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 009
...and over she went. We were in shallow water, so not really a rescue issue (although I do recall shouting "Don't save her yet -- I need to get a picture!" at some point).
But after a moment to regroup, she was back in her boat and back at it.
2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course 019
We had a great time and learned lots. One of the things the instructor said as we practiced our strokes was not to think of the paddle moving around the kayak, but the kayak moving around the paddle. That was a very inspiring (and inspired) visualization that really helped me. That's why he's the teacher and I'm just the student!

2010-06-12 Ocean River Strokes Course
The red track is the morning session, the green the afternoon session. Note how far the tide came in during the day. It was an exceptionally low tide when we started in the morning.
Trip Length: 4.75 km
YTD: 92.83 km
More pictures are here.

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