Instructors’ Training Weekend [79]

by John Piotrowski

Earlier in the year, club trainers had the opportunity to attend a weekend event which was held at Currarong.

The objectives of the weekend were:

  • to try and align the training methods and philosophy amongst the club’s instructors and trip leaders.
  • to gain tips and methods of training from others, expanding individual’s training methods.
  • to show support for those who contribute to training and trips for the club.

One land-based session was called ‘Building Confidence in the Surf’. It focused on dealing with paddlers’ lack of confidence in the surf — a challenge for all instructors. The group discussed a set of drills and techniques including:

  • teaching how to read the waves and wave dynamics.
  • teaching reliable bracing skills and developing drills.
  • body positioning in the kayak whilst on a wave.
  • forcing an early broach on a wave.

Group members took to the water in the afternoon to put into practice the techniques that were discussed in the morning.

Another workshop session was entitled ‘Rescues in Anger’. Instructors discussed appropriate rescue techniques for use in treacherous waters and ways to teach quick, safe and effective rescue skills that can be carried out under demanding circumstances.

They also looked at rapid deployment of tow ropes, swimming the boat out of a dangerous situation, the role of the rescuee and other paddlers, getting an injured or unconscious kayaker into the boat , looking after an injured kayaker on the water and techniques in ferrying a kayaker.

The weekend was well received by all who attended. I was worried about it being boring and the agenda being sidetracked, but the instructors and trip leaders ran with the discussion topics and then put it into practice on the water. One of the outcomes was that we decided on adopting a new rescue technique: the J rescue (I prefer to call it the legover).

There were lots of smiles and the mood was positive all weekend. Everyone enjoyed it.

Currarong was a great location. I would like to make this a bi-annual event as it is important to keep all our instructors and trip leaders fresh and keen.

I am open to suggestions for another event in September or October — location — topics — guest speakers. Let me know your thoughts and as always thank you for the effort you people put into making this club so satisfying.