Courses are most satisfying for participants when they stretch your comfort zone just the right amount. This is easiest to accomplish for a group when all members share roughly the same skill level. Self evaluation can be very difficult, but please have a look at the following descriptions and give us an idea of where you fit. Your self-assessment doesn't commit you to any group - a primary job of the coaches is to: 1) establish suitable groups and 2) ensure that every participant in their group is suitably challenged. Please let your coach know on any given day if you'd like to be challenged more or less. The great thing about this area is that different skill levels can be accommodated in the same group. The most aggressive paddlers can work with the biggest swells in a set, or the biggest, most challenging part of a feature, while less experienced paddlers can work with the smaller swells and easier parts of features. If you're not getting what you want, please talk to your coach!
Level 1: These participants can perform a variety of techniques to control their kayak including sweeps, draws, and rudders. They can edge and brace in small waves and have practiced assisted rescues within the last 9 months. Rock gardens may be an entirely new environment. They may not be able to roll, but are probably working on it. They can paddle 6-10 miles in a day. The focus of courses at this level will be in learning to read the water and understand the rock garden environment, perform accurate risk assessments for any feature, and to fill in any gaps in technical proficiency needed to negotiate simple, low-consequence rock garden features.
Level 2: These paddlers have some experience in rock gardens and are looking to increase their ability to read features and develop precision control for more challenging manuevers and features. They can probably roll, but not always in "combat" conditions. They perform assisted rescues quickly and efficiently in bumpy water. They can paddle 10-15 miles in a day at a good pace. The focus of courses at this level will be on refining water-reading and risk assessment skills with an aim to promoting confident judgement and independence from coaches.
Level 3: These paddlers have significant experience in surf over 3 feet, rock gardens, and/or class 3/4 whitewater. They will have a pretty reliable "combat" roll (but we are ALL just between swims), and can perform assisted rescues quickly in rough water and under pressure. They always wear tow lines and know how to use them. They have the skills and judgment to tackle big, technical moves and understand the consequences of bad timing, or mis-reading water. These groups will be working as coherent teams with every member contributing to safety, while being thoroughly challenged.