Trips, training and getting your gradings


The recent club-wide survey fed back that members wanted more training and more trips with more of these offerings outside of Sydney. Of course, when the club offers professional quality training and trips for free, there will never be enough to satisfy demand.

The club committee and I are aiming to achieve more trips, training and enough of it located in places other than Sydney through more people leading and instructing. In addition, if the club has more guides and leaders, the pool of talent for future instructor development in years to come is also increased.

The club has an array of trips and training talent.

The club is training up most of the Sea Leaders to AC Sea Guide standard and, to back fill the void, training a group of Grade 3s to AC Sea Leader standard. The club’s formal structured training sessions for each level were completed across the last few months, facilitated by Rob Mercer.

The informal, more personal development continues and the assessments at each award level have started. The aim is to complete all assessments by Rock and Roll 2012.

This is not to forget that other members have pursued their own training and assessments outside the club.

The places on the guide training course simply came out of the existing sea leader pool. The places on the sea leader training were selected by those that wanted to attend (a lot of people) with places allotted to those that had the set pre-requisites and could actually attend the set weekend.

Some effort went into ensuring that people from north and south of Sydney attended the sea leader training so as to develop club talent out of Sydney. A weekend was the chosen format so that non-Sydneysiders could attend.
More training

Training is conducted by the instructor team, both flat and sea. It is more difficult to grow the club at the elite level but not impossible. The club recognises it needs to foster the elite level development by holding regular instructor weekends.

The club’s volunteer instructors decide how much, how, when and where they want to contribute. This approach allows each instructor to tailor their contribution to suit themselves.

It has been suggested that paying the instructors would motivate them to put on more training. Perhaps this is true but my thought is that, while ever there are options to take paid training from instructors who make a living out of the industry, the club should focus on free training.

Getting assessed

Getting to Grade 1 is rudimentary. An ungraded paddler can take their log book to any club leader, guide or instructor and perform the two skills, a wet exit and a 50m swim, and achieve grade 1 in around five minutes. Do it before you start, at a break or at the end of your paddle.

Getting to grade 2 requires a demonstration of a reasonably long list of skills. Some people join the club with some of these skills. For most, attending the basic skills training achieves it. An alternative is knowing that many of the skills are taught over successive weeks by instructors on the regular paddles on Tuesday evenings, Friday or Saturday mornings. If you don’t already have your full grade 2 signed off in your log book, my suggestion is to take your log book on all club trips and get it signed off. You can even suggest to your instructor that they run a session on say assisted rescues to give you practice and get you signed off.