Last issue I said we would have a look at the Australian Board of Canoe Education Awards and standards for sea kayaking. I will have copies of the various awards at Honeymoon Bay if you’re interested so please come up and ask for them. Well, let’s see the aims first. The main aims of the Board are to promote safety in canoeing, foster understanding and knowledge and to encourage experienced paddlers to take a greater responsibility in training.
Now, the bit about experienced paddlers and training. Why should experienced paddlers spend their time in training? Why should they give up their weekends of open water paddling for training purposes?
Well I think we all like to see paddlers attain a level of skill sufficient for them to look after themselves on the ocean. Let’s face it, rescues – real rescues – are not fun! They are stressful for the rescuer because they are the person who has suddenly been lumbered with a huge responsibility, and they are often quite a traumatic experience for the victim because, for one reason or another, they are (pardon the pun) out of their depth.
I also think it’s human nature for people to help each other. It’s great to see paddlers increasing their skill level. You buy a sea kayak but you just can’t buy the skill level to match the boat straight over the counter. Skill is something we must learn and go on learning for years.
So, if everyone in sea kayaking got involved in this and passed acquired skills on to newer paddlers it would be terrific. Things are improving in the Club with more paddlers becoming involved in training and skills acquisition through the Board of Canoe Education Award Scheme. There are two award streams basically. They are Skills awards and Instructional Awards.
Skills Awards first this is where to start. The progression is as follows:
- Introductory Sea Award
- Sea Proficiency
- Advanced Sea Proficiency
Each award requires a higher level of skill. You don’t need to have the Introductory Award to do the Sea ProfK:iency award. However, the Sea Proficiency Award is a pre-requisite for the Advanced Award. I don’t really want to get into great detail here about the nitty gritty of each award -it ~uld require too much space and in any case, the award requirements are freely available from any Instructor or Senior Instructor in the Club.
Let’s place them in relation to the Club’s own grading system.
For the Sea Proficiency Award you must be able to roll and possess a resuscitation award (usually a First Aid Certificate) So, this places Sea Proficiency Award holders at Grade 4 on the Club’s (pre-2000) grading scheme. Advanced and Introductory Award holders are therefore above and below this level respectively.
So, what if you’re say above Intro level but not quite at the Sea Proficiency level? How do you make the next step? Go on Club paddles, paddle your favourite areas, request some skills instruction, talk to experienced paddlers and read what you can find on the subject. We run weekends like “The Next Step” specifically for paddlers wanting to increase skill levels. When you think you’re ready for assessment at a particular skill level, let us know and I’Il organise an assessment day.
The progression in steps is logical. Paddlers know their level and, importantly the leader of a trip knows that paddler’s level too because that paddler has been formally assessed at that level. The leader knows that paddler X will be able to handle the surf at the next beach, or assist in rescues and towing if required. It makes sense!
The Instructional Awards in sea kayaking are:
- Senior Instructor
Once again there is a logical progression both in skills/ knowledge and requirements. Please talk to Frank Bakker or myself if interested in these awards.
Well, that’s a brief outline of the Awards scheme. I commend it to you. It’s not expensive, it’s good fun and I guarantee you’ll learn heaps. You’ll pick up skills you can pass on to other paddlers in years to come. That’s what it’s all about!
Next issue, we’ll have a look at the effects of wind and waves. Hopefully I’ll get the article on Sea and Swell written for the magazine too – can’t do everything at once .At least I’m out of the Cave of Shame for now!