Words by: Lee Vincent
Lessons are valuable at every stage!
Kayaking is a sport based on progression and most times that progression is not linear. Like many sports, most people start off by taking a lesson, or series of lessons, that teach them the basics of the sport like rolling, eddy turns, and ferrying.
Once people have their basics under them, they often head off down the river in the company of their trusty paddling friends and continue to progress through practice, practice and more practice.
Without an outside influence most paddlers hit a plateau at a certain point.
With that in mind, I signed up for a private day long lesson with Anna Levesque while we were down in North Carolina in February. I had paddled the Gauley River with Anna a few years ago and loved her approach to teaching. My goal with the lesson was to lock in some mental and technical skills to help me with my progression up to class IV creeking. Rocks and steepness are not something I paddle often enough and the skills needed there just don’t seem to be coming naturally to me.
Over the course of the day, we did two laps on Wilson Creek and I learned some amazing tips and tricks – both technical and mental. I learned how to do a better job at sideways rock boof/butters, how to read steep creeks, how to deal with those tricky lateral waves and most importantly, to SMILE, even when you feel anxious. It was a great reminder that a good instructor can make a huge difference.
Be sure to check out the full roster of courses that Aquabatics offers in both Calgary and Edmonton. There is something from beginner to expert and NOW is a great time to infuse your paddling season with that next tip or trick.