Shadowing Kayak Classes with Alder Creek

26 03 2011

I’ll be helping Portland, Oregon’s premier paddling retailer and instructional center, Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe this summer!

Most of my experience in the paddling world has been on the business side – managing the marketing and branding for an emerging kayak importer/distributor Feelfree Kayak USA. In that capacity, I was creating a brand, marketing to dealers and consumers. For Alder Creek, it looks like I’ll be selling directly to consumers, guiding, and instructing. Should be fun!

Getting ready!

So recently I have been preparing to teach kayaking by “observing” their kayak instructors teach classes. I’ve shadowed two beginner sea kayak classes and one three-day Full Immersion Sea Kayak class.

Introductory kayaking classes involve classroom, pool, and real on-the-water time outdoors. In my most recent class the instructor was Teresa Flodin. She’s a British Canoe Union Four-Star (individual) paddler and BCU Two-Star Coach.

We spent a Thursday evening in the pool at the North Clackamas Aquatic Park. Students learned the basics of edging their kayaks in the safe and warm environment of a pool. We also practiced some Eskimo bow rescues and assisted rescues.

Saturday we spent some time in the classroom going over resources available for kayak navigation, trip planning around Portland, and general literature on kayaking. Then on to some more discussion on what to bring along on a trip and planning for a particular trip. Plus, we also went over on-the-water communication-meaning hand signals and paddle signals.

Edging practice!

So then it was on to the water!

Saturday we did a lot of games and rescue practice.

Rachel and Sabrina practiced edging and strokes.

The water was Coooooold! But Rachel and Sabrina managed!

Rachel and Sabrina rescued each other. I think they both did a great job and stayed calm and on task during the exercise!

Rachel empties Sabrina's boat!

Sunday was our third day of kayak instruction. As the grand finale, we all went up to Ridgefield, WA, and paddled 10 miles around Bachelor Island. So for everyone we had a good three kayak sessions together!

The Great Willamette Cleanup 2010

5 10 2010

I took on a section of the Great Willamette Cleanup this year – as the lead volunteer. It’s an event put on by Willamette Riverkeeper. In 2010 the cleanup stretched from Eugene to Portland, with over 500 volunteers. As an Advisory Board member with We Love Clean Rivers it was a responsibility to help out. It was no problem as I’ve led enough paddles to know how to organize a group! We were assigned the area near Dahl Beach / Meldrum Bar, which is right where the Clackamas River enters the Willamette River.

We met at about 9:00 a.m. and signed the usual liability waivers, and staged the boats down at Dahl Beach. When all had arrived we had 25 volunteers. Six canoes and two sit on tops. Our section was Goat Island to Cedar Island. I split the group into two pods and assigned Jessie Bader, my Paddle NW meetup organizer the 2nd pod. We gave the overview and safety talk and started on the beach. Then, we were to take on the ends of our stretch and work toward the middle.

We got tires!

We got blankets!

We got tarps!

Someone even left a suitcase complete with stuff inside!

Along the way we found a beetle probably realizing winter’s not to far away…

All in all, we grabbed canoefulls of stuff…and the Willamette was happier by the end of the day!

Thanks to everyone for lending a helping hand! We did a great job on October 2nd!