We aim to learn by doing in these groups! You'll learn how to select appropriate play spots, how to organize the group for safety, how to risk assess a rock garden play feature, and how to read the water for maximum fun and safety. Your boat control skills should already be pretty good (and should match the level you choose - see below), so these classes will be more about getting the timing right and using the water to your advantage. Your coaches will tweak your technical skills, but you should have a range of effective paddling techniques already available to you. Participants will be divided into small groups based on skill level (see below). Please note that we reserve the right to re-group participants based on coach feedback.
These courses will be "park and play" type courses. You may not travel more than a couple of miles all day, depending on what features you find! Please note that a paddler's development from one level to the next happens on the scale of months (or years), and not days. It is not appropriate to take Level 1 on one day and Level 2 on the next. That said, coaches and participants will work together to create groups that are well matched and may reconsider groups each day.
Level 1: These participants are solid sea kayakers, but pretty new to rock gardens. We'll start with small features to develop water-reading skills and confidence and work our way up to bigger features. The great thing about rock gardening is that you can 'sit-out' anything you don't like the looks of! Participants will have more fun if they have a roll, but it's not required.
Level 2: These participants have done a bit of rock gardening and are looking to up their game. We'll seek out a wide variety of features of varying sizes to gain experience and confidence. These participants should have a relatively reliable roll.
Level 3: This is the "go big or go home" crowd looking for the biggest, most thrilling rides they can find. By "thrilling", we don't necessarily mean "dangerous", although some of the features this group chooses may have a higher risk factor. In order to control that risk, the skill level of this group needs to be higher too! Participants are expected to stay within their own personal risk tolerance levels and sit-out any feature they don't feel up to. Participants should have a fair amount of experience in rock gardens and the ability to risk assess a feature for themselves. If the gang starts to get too crazy for your tastes, there's always another feature near-by! As far as rolling goes, we're all between swims, but if you join this crowd, chances are the last time you swam, you got sucked out of the boat.