I took this photo with my iPhone before we put in on Wednesday. Awesome group dynamics, great times. We did flatwater sessions before each class, with the first one being about 1.5 hours long on Monday. We hit EJ’s Strokes and Concepts up hard, then Rolling and Bracing to prepare for the enslaught of whitewater river running and playboating about to be had. Each day the group got stronger. Dane was there to help me each day and was awesome. Having him in the group is like having a 17 year old energizer bunny in a kayak, that’s moves quickly from helping others to spending 15 minutes in the biggest pourover on the river doing swirly grams, and then back to helping again.
I tend to push the envelope on somethings, but usually with a good end result, and hopefully a lesson to be learned. Dane was stressing every morning that we were going to run out of gas in the van on the way to or from the river. I announced that we would not be getting gas any time soon, to Dane, and to the students, but instead we would see just how far this van will go on empty. Nobody, other than Dane seemed to care about it, so each day I surprised even myself as to how far it would go on empty. On Wednesday we loaded in it at the take out (all 12 of us) and it made it about 500 yards up the take out road before running out. We all piled out of the van, pushed the trailer off the side of the road, pulled out lawn chairs, a cooler, and had a takeout party right there on the side of the road. We tuned in 106.9 Virgin radio, and were fully prepared, thanks to Jana, who is the take out party queen, with snacks, beer, etc.. When a bus from Ottawa Kayak School went by, they asked what happened and offered to take all of the student/paddlers back to the lodge; nobody wanted to go. An hour later, the maintanence van showed up with 5 gallons of gas and we were off, with me as the designated driver. I think Dane learned something there.
Some highlights of the class were:
1. Running Garvins Chute- and everyone who did it doing it really well.
2. Everyone on Thursday Surfing Phils Hole- and liking it (and some on other days too)
3. Garberator surfing.
4. Push Button Surfing
5. Jet boat at the takeout for a sunset cruise and swimming/rock jumping session, and BBQ dinner/party on the boat.
6. Waking up in my cabin (dane and i stayed in cabin 6- the lucky one)- to a lost naked woman trying to get into my bed at 3am. when she saw it was not whom she thought it was, she started scurrying around the cabin like a scared mouse looking for the exit. Being 1/2 asleep, when she went accross the room and covered herself up with arms I somehow in my drowseyness got the idea she had grabbed and was holding Dane’s laptop. when she ran out of the cabin, I quickly followed her and said, “Hey, what are you holding there? Let me see! Is that Dane’s computer?” My suspicion got worse when she wouldn’t show me. Ha, seriously… then the rain woke me up more as she stood trying to open her truck door but it was locked, and I realized it wasn’t a laptop she was hiding. i asked if she was OK, and smiling, she said yes, and was ready to see me go, probably so she could see what was behind door number 2. Dane never woke up for this, and being the night of his birthday, it would have been more fitting for him to have had that experience, wondering at first, “uh…. ?”
I also taught two 3 day clinics and they were incredible as well. Great groups and times. When I wasn’t teaching adults, I was coaching at the Keener Program. Keener (Keen and Eager Teen) The Keener program is a summer camp for kayakers that want to be the best they can be. Head coach Stephen Wright (National Champion, and bronze medalist in 2009 world championships), as well as Joel Kowalski (5th place 2009 worlds), and Nick Troutman (current World Champion), and myself coaching there puts 4 of the top five finishers in the last world championships on the roster of coaches. Add the Ottawa River and access to the newest Star series and you have a recipe for higher learning for kids in their kayaks. The kids are at Lachine Rapids in Montreal today surfing Big Joe, V wave, etc.. They left at 5:45 am. Dane, Emily, Joel, Nick, Rafa, and more went through this program and it had a big impact on their lives. I finished my last day of coaching that yesterday.
I am now in Syracuse, heading to see Rendesvous River Sports in Jackson Hole, WY tomorrow, then going to Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City. Jackson Kayak has a booth to show off some sweet stuff for 2011!
check out www.ottawakayak.com for information on how to try out a new Jackson Kayak on one of the best rivers anywhere, while learning and playing away the week, or weekend.