Kayaking

Introduction – Flat Water Kayaking

Several weeks ago, the students from the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation program conducted their three-day introduction into flat water kayaking on the beautiful Huon River.

Students spent three days learning the basic fundamentals of kayaking, rescue techniques, different types of strokes, operating a kayak safely, loading and unloading and setting up for safe kayak adventures.  The Autumn weather turned it on for the first two days with no rain or clouds in sight, however the third day was a little less favourable!

The highlight was the third day where students paddled for approximately four hours.  The day allowed students to consolidate what they had learnt over the first two days and culminated with some white water induction.

The students had a blast and are hungry for more white water action and will get plenty more opportunities as the course rolls forward over the next six months.

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Leven River Trip

With the Certificate IV Outdoor Recreation course coming to an end, the white-water paddlers recently embarked on a week of white-water kayaking, and instructing students on the Leven River.  It was a new stretch of water for the group and had some fun rapids and features to play on (contend with!), at the level it was flowing.  After the first reconnaissance mission down the river, we all retired with the comfort of Paton Park Scout Camp facilities for the night.

The following day, we enjoyed another run down the river, which was flowing at a slightly lower level, and relished the opportunity to play on some waves and plough through a hole, before an afternoon of instruction that we were to provide to some of the outdoor education students from Don College.  It was decided that we should take the students to the mouth of the Forth River, where some flatter water could be utilised, with the possibility of surfing some waves at the end of the day, if the students were up to it.  Despite the broad range of abilities in the group of learners, all students ended up surfing waves and having an enjoyable experience together.

Given the level of the Leven River the following day, we decided to take the next group of Don College students there and provide instruction that would allow a short river trip to be run.  Again, the Don College students rose to the challenge and were able to negotiate some rapids and have a safe and enjoyable white-water experience.

As the following day was our last opportunity as a group to practice our paddling before our formal assessment, we spent the entire day being drilled by ‘Sergeant’ Nate Welch, who is largely responsible for the fantastic development of the group over the duration of the course.  There was more than one occasion where I stopped to think about how far we have all come with our white-water kayaking skills, ability to pass on those skills in an effective and empathetic manner and to safely facilitate a river trip with students who are quite new to kayaking.

Beyond the professional development that has occurred within the group, there has been a strong social connection between our student group and our leader, Nate Welch, which was clearly evident on the late-night drive back to Hobart.  I would like to thank all involved for making the trip such an enjoyable success!

White Water Expedition

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Two weeks ago the paddling students from the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation were given the opportunity to introduce our climbing comrades to white water kayaking.  This was in the form of a four-day paddling expedition.

The plan was to have two days on the Huon River working our skills up to tackle the mighty Picton.  The first challenge however was to be overcome in the car park at Tahune Airwalk … this was how to pack all our equipment into the back of a white water boat.  With some helpful hints from Richard Guy there were many light bulb moments during this process.  We were then ready to “shread some gnar”.  We set off down the Huon River.

The climbers took to paddling like ducks to water, with Matty J even rolling in live water on the second day!  We finished the Huon and headed for the Farmhouse creek section of the Picton.  To start off with was a 600m walk in to the river with loaded boats.  Once on the river the fun really began.  The beautiful scenery mixed with more challenging water made for one of the best days on the river to date for all involved.

The next day the lower section of the Picton saw a few swims but also many victories with all the climbers successfully running the Gorge – finishing the trip on a high.

To watch the level of kayaking improve for both parties over the four days was fantastic.  Not only did the climbers take on and conquer, the paddling crew learnt many new skills in both group management and safety with the help of our instructors.  All left with a feeling of achievement in many different areas.

 Big thanks to everyone for such a fantastic week!

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The Adventure Begins

Kayaking

Two weeks ago the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation White Water Kayaking/Rafting students departed on their first white water paddling induction on the Huon River.

We departed from the TasTafe Drysdale campus bright and early on the bus packed with all the essentials – boats, paddles, emergency gear, and a bright pink ball for lunchtime playtime.  We reached our destination – the Huon River, for three consecutive days of flat water paddling instruction with our captains, Nate Welch and Leon Bedford.

After going through the basic strokes (on dry-land) required to function adequately on the water, it is time to get down to business and we enter the river and practice and critique our form with guidance from Nate and Leon.  We also learn the importance of  safety aspects involved with teaching and taking out groups of clients, and how to breakdown and deliver what look like very simple strokes (in the hands of the right individual) into simple step-by-step actions.

Once we reach day three, the class has developed their skills quicker than originally anticipated and as a result we embark on a 12km kayak down the Huon River.  Like sprouting grass blades at the end of winter the smiles begin to stretch from ear to ear.  The trip goes down a treat, and you would be none the wiser to the fact that for some of the class, this was their first time in a white-water boat.

The day taught us so much about rapids, eddies, and the ease of paddling when combined with good technique.  We arrive at our end point with a soft sun on the horizon and everyone tired, cold, shoulders aching but smiles remaining.

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RTO Code:  60142