Monday, 18 June 2012

A surf session from the other side

Saturday started very cold for our latitudes, while driving to the meeting point the thermometer in the car read 7 degrees and the sun was already shining! Worst was that the day was going to be spent in the water, 'at least the water is still not as cold as it will be in another month' I thought.

After the surf session with Adrian and Ken during the 'grade 3' weekend I saw in the calendar that Adrian was going to run a "gentle introduction to surfing in kayaks" and I asked him if I could help with something.

The class' aim would be to make the paddlers feel a bit more at ease in the surf zone by teaching them what to expect and how to react when the kayak has to launch from or land on a beach with waves breaking on it. So on Saturday morning we had 6 eager paddlers ready to get wet under the guide of Adrian as instructor and Mark and me helping him.
After introducing to each other and Adrian described what we were going to cover during the day I launched my kayak in the small surf we had in the protected corner of the beach. Then I came back showing how the kayak was broached (put on the side by the wave) and how to perform a low brace. All that while Adrian explained to the group what I was doing.

Getting ready. The waves were perfect to learn.

After that we split the group in 3 with Adrian taking the only double in the group and Mark and me 2 paddlers in single each. We did some exercises to avoid the waves like timing the exit and reverse paddle when the wave is catching up on the coming in. Later we did some low brace practice in the soup zone (the area where the waves are already broken).

Brian helps Wendy to get ready while I tell her... something I don't remember :-)
Kerry and Ian practice in their double under the directions from Adrian

Wendy comes in front of the wave.

We made a break to eat and started the afternoon with a 'train', one after the other, parallel to the beach to practice the low brace in the soup. The problem was that we came out of the protection of the corner and the waves were not so small anymore. Pretty soon we lost a few in the group with capsizes and wet exits. We moved back to the protected corner and we practiced high braces but paying special attention to technique as to prevent injuries to the shoulders.

Lisa practicing a high brace.
To finish the day only those who wanted did another 'train' venturing further out of the protection until a big spilling wave took half of the group to the beach, some in the kayak others swimming and me doing a 'submarine'. To make a 'submarine' you need to survive the wave without capsizing but you need to make it break on your skirt so the skirt collapses and the whole wave finds its way into the kayak. After a couple of seconds the boat will stop being thrown up and down by the white water and your boat will be floating just below the surface. Relax and enjoy a very stable and slow kayak where the waves just roll over its deck.

It was a good day where I hope I helped others to find the surf zone is a fun place to paddle.
Hopefully I can help in this kind of events more often. Thanks Adrian for the opportunity and the confidence in me.

The photos were taken with Adrian's camera but almost everyone had a shot with it so I don't know who took what picture.

1 comment:

  1. Nice report.

    Got some very complimentary feedback from particiapants about the session and the contribution you made to it.

    Looking forward to working with you again when we adopt the "Gentle Intro" concept with rock gardens next month (although, the "gentle" might be gone by the end of the day for some!).