From the president’s spraydeck: It’s here, Rock ‘n’ Roll 2011! [82]

by GEORGE JESSUP

This annual event is a highlight for me and this year promises to be as good as ever. It was at a Rock ‘n’ Roll a few years ago that I had my first taste of skills such as forward stroke, rescue, bracing and rolling. I even won my current kayak in a raffle at my first Rock ‘n’ Roll! Of course I needed lots of follow-up training but it was a starting point for me and I suspect many others.

We have a very strong line-up of speakers and as usual we have many individuals contributing by taking trips and training sessions and volunteering in other ways.  We have very supportive sponsors whose participation not only allows us to have such an interesting line-up but also to still have a modest cost for participants. I’m particularly pleased we have been able to persuade Stuart Trueman to take a break from paddling (and media interviews!!) and come back as a guest speaker.

I have just returned from another important club event, a weekend training course organised by John Piotrowski for instructors and leaders. A group of twenty-four of us had morning presentations from Ginni Callahan and Axel Schoevers followed by on water implementation of what we learnt. There was considerable emphasis on how to break down skills into simple components and developing a  “toolkit” to train others.

Another eye opening component was how to manage groups on the water. This is quite a challenge, with leaders having to adapt to a wide range of continually changing circumstances. The discussions were particularly enjoyable to me, hearing very experienced instructors and leaders discussing in great detail the best approach to group management and rescues. There were, of course, some areas where ideas differed and exceptions raised but the discussion was always constructive and useful. The end result for me was a better understanding of the issues.

This training weekend is one of many “behind the scenes” activities that contribute to the enjoyable experience of sea kayaking by club members. Sea kayaking is an adventure sport which rewards participants increasingly as their skills improve. Our instructors and leaders spend many hours developing knowledge and skills in training members and in running trips safely. Members who undergo training in the future will benefit from the work of the instructors and leaders on these weekends. There is now a challenge in making sure all members benefit from this work, particularly those who already have Sea Skills certification.

See you on the water

George “Raffle Ticket” Jessup

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