by Bryant Burkhardt
Several CCK instructors (Sean Morley, Matt Palmariello and myself) just got back from teaching at the Lumpy Waters Sea Kayak Symposium up in Oregon. It’s a great event that brings in instructors from up and down the coast (and some from further abroad) for three days of advanced instruction in a dynamic ocean environment. It’s similar to the Golden Gate Sea Kayak Symposium here in our area that CCK is a big part of. Courses include rock garden rescues, advanced long boat surfing, caving tours and incident management. The students at these events are skilled and experienced paddlers but they are eager to learn more.
While it is possible to get out there and learn through experience with your friendS that is the hard way. Advanced instruction works just like beginning instruction – it shortens the learning curve, it helps you get to having fun more quickly and it greatly increases your margin for safety. You can learn specific skills or general concepts and learn from people who have a breadth of experience that most paddlers just cannot get on their own. After seeing the improvement in the skills and confidence of students this past weekend and getting their feedback it just affirms what a difference instruction can make.
At CCK we are big believers that you never stop learning. In addition to our many introductory classes we offer advanced courses in Tide Races, Open Coast paddling, and even a 3-day Kayak Camp with Ben Lawry. And that learning extends to our instructors as well as our students – we have several staff members participating in an ACA Stand Up Paddling certification course right now, we are setting up an Advanced Coastal Instructor course in December, and we regularly hold instructor workshop days.
So wherever, whenever and however, get out there and keep learning.